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DC Pen Show Post 2015

Y'all this show is a monster. It's a show you have to go to, but it shouldn't be the first pen show you ever attend. I've seen some people posting on Reddit that this was their first pen show, and I can only imagine how overwhelming that must be. When I went for the first time it was my second show (Raleigh was first), and it was kinda jaw-dropping.

This year I have pictures of pens and stuff, but also pictures of the people we talked to throughout the day. We didn't get as many as we'd have liked, but it's always weird to stop talking to someone and say "Hey! Let's get this on film!" As you'll see, though, there are some people who just know how to pose for a picture.

Huge thanks go to my wife, Audrey, for handling the camera. She's so much better at remembering to take pictures than I am.

Chef Brandon Lee

Somehow we only got this one picture of Brandon. He's the maker of some seriously fine chocolate. Also, he's a great guy.


This is Corey from Staedtler. I really liked their spread last year, and they've certainly added to it this year. Also, Corey knows how to pose for a snapshot. This is his "cool face." 

Some of these pens are wood, some are acrylic, some of them have a wood inlay in the clip. I really dig that clip, y'all. It's a very cool look. Very distinctive. Even the ballpoints have a really good look.

I especially like this one. The blend of colors and textures really calls to me. Thing is, it's a little on the expensive side. $3000 is outside of my budget by a little bit.

If you didn't think of Staedtler as a fountain pen company, you're going to have to adjust your expectations. These are (from what I've seen) top notch pens.


I'm usually not a fan of these pens. They've got a sort of flashy look to them that doesn't appeal to me. My Laban (a PF-900) is an excellent writer, though, so this is definitely not a brand to ignore.

Mine is kind of like the ones on the right, below. Those are ballpoints, though, and mine is a fountain. Same idea, though.

This nib belongs to an acrylic pen that isn't pictured, but the nib was very cool.

Fountain Pen Hospital

This is as close as we got to the FPH. I know we walked past it a couple of times, but we were always on a mission. By the time we twigged to the fact that we hadn't looked there, they were all gone. Oh well. Next year, I guess.

Von Moos

This is Dr. Von Moos. He has the diamonds. And emeralds. Sapphires. You know. He's got pens for dignitaries and Presidents. He's also totally willing to let plebes like me handle these works of art.

That sign behind him says 1215. Sooo...this company has some experience.

I mean, I don't really want to write with most of these. They'd have to be locked in a museum or something.

I love the look of the pen below, and it's surprisingly comfortable to hold. I didn't try to write with it, but it makes enough of an impression just sitting there.

The one on the right below looks like a kit pen that I've seen around. This one is the first I've seen with actual diamonds all over the end, though.


Syd Sapperstein of Wahl-Eversharp was ready for pictures. He's got an automatic pose and he just drops into it at a second's notice. Sweeps the glasses off and he's ready for action. We might have made him demonstrate that a few times. Okay. Lots of times.

That deco-band pen is really hot. I feel sure that I have a picture of the nib somewhere, but I can't find the dang thing. You might have to trust me. It's a great looking nib. (I don't know about $850 great, though. That's rich for my blood.)

So many versions of the Skyline, now. There are a few that I really dig. That yellow one above, for instance, was calling my name. Also, oddly, the brown one. Word.

The New "Esterbrook."

They're not like the old Esterbrook, but they're...pens. Also, the lighting was impossible in this part of the atrium.

The clip is kinda nice on these.

This one I liked. It looks like a resin that you'd find on a Conklin, but the band definitely says "Esterbrook." The clip is over the top, though. If this re-born brand is going to survive, it needs to simplify. Get the pens right. Give the community what they want. Then make a bit of flash once you have the audience.

Here's the Lincoln Pen. I know that because it says "Lincoln" on it.

The section is pretty nice. It looks like it would be sharp and uncomfortable, but it's actually just the right amount of "grippy".

Van Ness, probably?

We've only got this one picture of the Van Ness table. At least I think that's what it was. I got recognized by Brad Dowdy (the Pen Addict) and we had a chat. I totally missed the table after that, I think. Anyway, these are little bottles of Iroshizuku. Cute, right?  The KWZ Inks in the foreground are a Polish brand that I haven't tried before. I'll try to get some samples when I work through all the inks I've got lined up, but that's gonna be a while. I did manage to write swatches at the ink table, though. Some of them look like good iron gal inks.

Newton Pens

Shawn Newton is about the nicest dude you could meet at a pen show. These pens are all hand-made. Like, all. "His jeweler" makes some of the nibs. Shawn is making the clips. I didn't ask about feeds, but I bet they're hand-carved (though I don't know for sure). They're all awesome pens. Ebonite, acrylic, wood, whatever. If you don't know Newton Pens, then get to his site. He even raises money to give as college scholarships! 

I just noticed that Andi from ThePurlBug is in the background. She's swell, and her blog is one that I frequent. Check her out on Instagram, too.

The lighting at this show is awful. Awful. It hates cameras. Trust that these look better in person.


For some reason, Visconti was over in a dark corner this year. Weird place to put them when there were open tables in the lighted area of the atrium. I also wish we'd gotten a picture with the awesome Italian dude who was telling us all about the pens this year. Very interesting dude, and I think his accent made Audrey swoon just a little.

The new Van Gogh pens for this year. You'll see them later in better light at the Anderson's table. They all have rose gold trim and rose gold on the nibs. There were a couple of these that I barely resisted buying. Barely.

I'm sure you've seen these before, but they're worth seeing again. One day I'll work up the nerve to drop the money on these. Maybe I'll hit the lottery.

She was at the Visconti table, and I snuck this picture as Jimmy was giving her a hug. No one doesn't love Jimmy Dolan. (I have no idea if I'm spelling his last name correctly.) Everyone knows Jimmy, and I've never heard a cross word about him. He's one of the people we look for at every show. If you don't know him, you should get to know Jimmy.

This is an interesting rack of pens. The ones on the right are very modern for a Visconti. They're sorta flawless in their fit and finish, and I want one of each.

The pens on the left, though, those are a trip. They're a little gaudy and a lot NSFW. If you look at the one on the inside, you'll see a little jewel just above the clip. That's actually a lense. If you look through the other side of the lense you'll see lots Naked-people art. And the barrel slides off, and there's situations. Arabian Knights, Kama Sutra, you know. That sort of thing.

More Visconti pens. This picture I kept because of the lighting.

I wish I'd gotten more pictures of this pen. It's called the "Speakeasy" and there's a flask in the barrel. A booze-selector just above the threads (so you don't forget what's in the barrel), and it comes with a flask. Freak out your friends and drink out of your pen.

Obligatory Binder Picture

Most of my Bexley pictures didn't come out. It's another part of the room where I know there are more pictures, but I can't find them. Maybe they're lurking on my phone. Anyway, these are some Bexley pens. Howard Levy is the man behind this Ohio-based company, and he makes a huge variety of pens. I've got a review of the Bexley Phoenix coming one of these days.

Speerbob, of Ebay fame. I didn't get anything from him this year, and that's a first. I think other people snapped up his deals before I got to the table.

Anderson Pens

Our friends, the Andersons. Even dead tired, those two are a pleasure to be around. We always make a bee-line to them and circle back around whenever they're not swamped at a show. Steph was there, too, but we didn't get a picture of her for some reason. (Sorry Steph!)

I said something hilarious right as Audrey took this picture, and that's what Lisa looks like when she's in the middle of a good laugh. I don't know if she'll let me keep this picture up long, but it's too good not to share.

Surprise! New Platinum pens.

And more Platinums. I really like that urishi pen in the middle, below. It's mostly black, but the reds show through on the edges, and that's a great effect.

The Van Gogh pens are really good looking. The rose gold is an excellent match to some of these colors, and the few in the middle are especially good. the greenish one and the red/blue are hot. And that blue on the left end. I resisted, but not by much.

Rose gold is so hot right now.

Argh! I don't remember what company this was. We only took a couple of pictures of these pens because the guy behind the counter said we could have 3 and then we had to buy a pen. So we took 3. The third had the sign in it, but I don't know where it is. I'll add the maker if I can find it (or if someone can tell me what it was).

Steampunk pen. Look at those nails, tho...
These are all custom, obviously, and there are some really cool ones. For instance, one is made from the scalpels of heart surgeons.


Ron Zorn

That's really as close as I got to Ron until the end of the show, this trip. You need a pen fixed? Ron will do it quick.

S.T. Dupont is a brand that I can't afford. Audrey and I have a running joke that if I pick up a cool pen at a table, and I don't know what it is, it's a Dupont. I post this picture mainly to show why the lighting is so dang weird in just about all pen show pictures. Look at all of those lights. Spots. Chandeliers. Cans. Mirrors. All of the things. It's bright in there, and hot, but there are too many sources for most cameras to deal with.

A zillion light sources + shiny pens = bad pictures. At least you know why, though.

Bung Box

I was pretty excited to hear that Bung Box was going to be at the show. The prices were really high, though, so I skipped it. Inks were $35 each, or 3 for $100. Yikes.

Some of these have really fun illustrations, though.


I don't know that Jim got up from this position more than a couple of times all day on Saturday. That set of tables was slammed all day, and for good reason. I've never had a pen from FC that wasn't great. Pens are hand-made. Nibs are hand-tuned. You can't lose with an FC pen.

This picture of Scott is blurry. I think Audrey was shocked that Scott smiled in a picture. Smiled.

This is the Model 02 in Amber and Cinnamaroon. Audrey calls it the "Iced Tea" pen, and I think she's really on to something there. I didn't buy this one, but only because we've already got an 02 in the house, and I wanted something I didn't have already.

This was a new pen at the show. The one on the left is a mini 20, with the Tiger Red 20 on the right. It's a good-sized pen when you post it, but a little small for me I think. If you're looking for a pocket/purse pen with a slip cap, this is a dang good one. The cap is really secure. Don't worry about that.

Annnd new inks! These were a surprise to me at the show. I was browsing the table and I got down to the end with the ink and noticed that there were too many bottles down there. I managed to say "Hey, Lori..." before she handed me samples to take home. These will be on the blog soon. I'm using Terra Firma and Black Cherry in pens right now, and both are great.


If you've ever dealt with Diplomat's US Customer Service, then you've probably dealt with Hillary. It was great to chat with her for a while at the show. There are new things coming from Diplomat in the near future, according to Larry.

Their coolest pen, the Aero, is now available in Matte Black. I still like the brown best, but this matte black is hot right now.

It's not a pen show unless you have ink on your hands.

You can also get the Traveller in Matte Black. It's a good look.

Edison Pens

The pens on the end look like blanks, but they're actually pens. Seamless pens. They have had a bright green acrylic in the past, and I'm almost glad that they didn't have one at this show because I would have had to have it. I do need an Edison one of these days. I really want one of the unusual ones, though, and I always end up passing. One day I'll break down.


Distributors of Omas, Aurora, and Montegrappa, Kenro always has a presence in the smaller ballroom. They make the Italian brands that I've not gotten to use (yet), and I look forward to using them soon.

That's Ryan, the account executive, and it was good to chat with him again at the show. I envy his job. All those beautiful pens around all the time...

This is another part of the show that is really difficult to photograph. The lighting is extra weird, and glare is inescapable. Focus is fleeting. Trust that these are beautiful in person.

I think I like the shape of the ballpoint better than the fountain in this set. Am I crazy?

Montegrappa and Omas showing off some good design. the Omas clips are so good. There's something about the curve, the wheel, and the broad clip.

You like a color? I bet that there's an Aurora for you. I like the yellow quite a lot. Of course.

This is not a pen. It's a Maclaren. I don't know their models very well, but it might be a P1. Anyway, it was parked at a Walmart. Yep.

This was a little table that was  off to the side of the main ink table (which I steer clear of at the show). This is a really excellent way to do this ink testing, I think. they should just do this with the whole table in the future. It's a wooden box drilled, with Platinum Preppys affixed it it. I think the lids are glued in to the box. The pens are filled with KWZ inks and labeled. No mold problems, no contamination. No mess. Excellent idea!

That's Jim again. This was after the show closed up (we were the last people in there, I think) and he was helping out a few of my problem nibs and showing off a wifi microscope that he just got. It's pretty neat. So grateful that he was able to make some of my pens write like they are supposed to. Now if I can talk him into grinding some nibs into Jim-nibs for me...

Lastly, here's a group picture with Andi and Wesley, Elizabeth and Dex. Andi is ThePurlBug (mentioned above). Wesley is her man-friend who is holding my grail pen in his hand. Elizabeth and Dex are from the Triangle Pen Club, which was well-represented at this show. I didn't get a picture with Paul from or with Brad from PenAddict, or with Mary of From the Pen Cup, but it was very cool to meet them. There is never enough time when you're only there for a day. We might have to pony up for the trader's pass next year. Maybe we can talk the organizer into doing a "press pass" or something for bloggers. One can hope, right?

**EDIT: Arg! I also got to meet Matt Armstrong (Pen Habit) and Cary from FountainPenDay. Ugh. Memory fails me sometimes. Sorry guys!

Below are Rachel and James. They were handing out some little notebooks they'd made called "Prairie Knots" that had all sorts of different papers in them to try out inks. That's such a cool thing to hand around. I kept mine, but Audrey gave hers away to someone who hadn't gotten one.

Also, could I look any more awkward in this picture? Oh well. They deserved to be showcased for putting together a bunch of free things for the community and giving them away.

Whew. That was a long post. If you've made it this far, then you're to be commended. Committed. Something.


Other Blogs To Check Out:

ThePurlbug's DC Tips

Paul's DC Show Post

From the Pen Cup
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