8/20/13

DC Fountain Pen Supershow (Part 3)

Okay, let's get finished with the Show! I don't know how anyone gets to that balcony in the picture below, but maybe next year I'll find out. These were just a couple of pictures that I snapped as I walked into the main ballroom. For those that haven't been there, the Supershow takes up two ballrooms and the lobby of this very nice Sheraton in Tyson's Corner, VA. It's pretty immense.

The person sitting behind the display is Deb Kinney. She repairs pens and grinds nibs, and she's from Raleigh. 

I didn't even get to look at these pens (in the picture above). They were right by the door, but I got distracted and never went back to the table. Anyone know anything about this brand? I'm not familiar with Classic.

These pictures are of the Taccia table. The pens in the glass box (below) are inlaid with mother of pearl, and they're pretty fancy. The big pen in the middle is actually a rollerball, but it looks pretty cool anyway.

These pens are also Taccia, but you'd be forgiven for thinking that they were Rotring 600s with wood inlay. They have the same hexagonal barrel, and the same clips (I think). The nibs and such are different, though. They're called the "Timeless Collection" and I couldn't stop fiddling with the ballpoint version. They twist at the middle, and it's a really satisfying twist-mechanism. It's smooth, and you can really feel the German engineering on this Japanese pen. Good combination.
 As you can see, these are the same pens. The reason we don't have more Taccia pictures is that they were in a corner of the ballroom, and the lighting was weird. Ballrooms, man. Not good for photography.
 Taccia also has pens that look like a stick of bamboo (or some kind of tree) that are made from "sustainably harvested buffalo horn." I don't know what this means, exactly, but the pens look nice. I'm a little hesitant to endorse pens that are made of horns instead of antlers (horns don't fall off, antlers do).

There's also a pen called the "Covenant" that reminds me of the Franklin-Christoph 33. I (somehow) didn't get a picture of it, but Taccia might be sending me a pen to test out in the near future, so I'll have plenty of pictures then. The trick of it is that most of the pen is actually the cap, and you unscrew it from the bottom and pull out the pen-body. Unlike the F-C 33, you can post the cap back onto the body to write. It adds a little extra heft and width to the pen.

Next to Taccia was Diplomat. Audrey got a Diplomat last year, and she still loves it. I've got it in my bag right now, as I keep forgetting to review it because it usually lives at her office. We really like the Diplomat reps. They give you the impression of a good, solid company that stands behind their product.



 The pens below are part of their standard line. They're classy, but with a bit of flair. The nibs are steel, and they're very smooth. The pen above is the new Aero. It's not available yet, and they didn't have any of the fountain version of the pen at the table. I think they're on pre-order now. The pen feels solid, the grooves are really comfortable, and they come in a brown color that I kinda need to have.


We spent a lot of time talking to our buddies the Andersons. Brian and Lisa are great, and you should check out their store, blog, and podcast. Lisa said she'd make me some inkdependence.com paper if I send her a design to print on them. So, if anyone is an artist, send me a design! (There's not much in it for you, but you can say "I made that!" when you see the paper on my blog.) I bought a bunch of paper, some Sailor ink, and a Pilot Metropolitan/Plumix set from them. (My mom liked my original Metro-Plumix so much that I gave it to her. Hi Mom!) I feel like I might have gotten something else, but I can't think what it is.

 Anderson Pens is also selling Sailor now. I couldn't decide which one to get, so I didn't get one this time. I've heard only good things about their nibs, so they're on the list of things to get one of these days. Any suggestions? Also, since Sailor and Goulet had their falling-out, you can use the Andersons for your Sailor pen and ink needs. (I didn't see the Sailor rep at the show, oddly. They were there last year with all of their nibs, and it was quite the layout.)

Audrey got me a Laban PF-900 as a gift a few months ago, which I need to write about one of these days, and we were kind of surprised to see them at the Show. I don't remember them being there last year, but I didn't know the brand at that point so I might have missed them. They're a Chinese brand, and the rep was dealing with a bit of a language barrier at the table. I really like the way that my Laban writes, but I didn't see anything like mine at the show.




These are a couple of limited edition Mont Blancs from the Fountain Pen Hospital's table. They didn't have as much stuff out on their table as they did last year, but I think they were focused on getting rid of their vintage parts this year, and I bet lots of their stock was bought up before the show opened to the public on Saturday.
 I really love the Jonathan Swift pen. It's got this fat, conical cap that I really like. It's like a tricorn on top of your Mont Blanc. Very neat.
This is the Honre de Balzac pen, and it's less impressive. This is the rollerball version, but the style is the same on the fountain. It's too fancy for me.

These two pictures are of the custom rack at Edison Pens. I still don't have any Edisons, but they sure are pretty. Brian Gray makes these pens, and you can get them in a dizzying array of acrylics. Really beautiful. (Also, I don't know why these pictures are oriented the way they are. Blogger does that to me, sometimes.)
Below are some of the finished pens. The custom pens start at $220ish and go up from there. Some of these are piston fillers and pump fillers and all sorts of interesting systems. I like the engineering, but I'm not up to the price-point on these pens. 

Mike, from Michael's Fay Boy makes some really interesting pens. They're a little wild, and a little artsy. Some of them are modeled on pistol silencers, some of them are precisely modeled on Civil War cannons (which are mostly solid brass and super heavy), and some of them are spirals. The mechanism in these ballpoints and rollerballs is really nice, and the fit & finish is excellent.



We also got to see Tyler from Organics Studio at this show, and Audrey talked him out of a free bottle of Arsenic ink because she named it for him. He was the other guy there in a bowtie, and we got a shirt and some Jules Verne ink from him while we were there. I've reviewed several of his inks over the last year, and his new ones are definitely worth checking out.


A few last pictures:

 We're both very excited at the start of the show!

And here's our haul. Hooray for pens! Can anyone name the stuff in this picture?

Of course, after we left the show we needed some food so we went to the Tyson's Corner Mall. Well, we thought that's where we were. We were actually at the Tyson's Corner Galleria. It's fancier, but not as big. And there's not much food there outside of restaurants. What they DO have is a Mont Blanc store. I didn't get a pen, but I did get each of their limited edition inks. I came away with Albert Einstein, Jonathan Swift, and Honre de Balzac. They're a grey, dark green, and turquoise. I haven't tried the Swift, but I like the other two so far.

Here's a picture of the inks we ended up with from the show/weekend. Quite a haul. A couple of these were free, and the Arsenic that Audrey got isn't in there. She'd already taken it to work to show off to people in her soil science lab (where they study arsenic).


 Whew...that's it. That's all of them.

Reactions:

5 comments:

Brian Gray said...

Thanks for posting!

Michael Matteson said...

Thanks for reading and, even more, thanks for making such cool things!

Azizah Asgarali said...

I very much enjoyed your three part show recap! Thank you!!

Michael Matteson said...

Thanks, Azizah, I appreciate that.

Richard Chang said...

Nice writeup and pictures! You should ask Rick Propas how to access the balcony. His site (http://www.thepenguinpen.com/) apparently has shots from that angle...