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March 31, 2010

Glass Nibbed Pens

J. Herbin's hand blown glass pens are beautiful and elegant works of art as well as treasured writing instruments. Although they are new to Writer’s Bloc, glass nibbed pens have been in use for many, many years.

There is a lot to like about glass nibbed pens. The dipping pens are easy to clean so they are great for trying out new inks or for when you are experimenting and mixing your own custom ink colors.  When the nib becomes slightly blunt, super-fine sandpaper can be used to renew the surface of the nib.  Hand-made glass pens are often beautiful works of art, with no two pens being exactly alike.  And, the nib reminds me of a soft-serve ice cream cone. Who doesn’t like ice cream?

Blogger Leigh Reyes has a glass nibbed Spors fountain pen that she uses to create beautiful works of art. She mentions that these pens were popular during war time because most metal was used for the war effort. If you want to watch her in action, YouTube features a video of her creating art with “a glass nib and the wanton use of ink.”

Natalie Perkins has a review of a glass dipping pen hand-made in Australia at definatalie.com. Her drawing is lovely! She reminds us that these pens are also good for the environment.

A guide to old fountain pens by Olle Hjort has a feature article about HARO, the pens with a tip of glass that were first manufactured in Germany in 1926. An advertisement from 1944 points out that glass nibs wear more evenly than metal fountain pen nibs because they can be held however the writer likes. These nibs were also cheap and could easily be changed.

If you’re adventurous and want to try making your own glass pens, Arrow Springs provides some instructions on their website.

March 23, 2010

Aurora Fountain Pen Hidden Reservoir System

Check out this detailed diagram (courtesy of Aurora Pens, Italy) revealing the structure of an Aurora Fountain Pen.

An interesting and unique feature of many fountain pens made by Aurora is referred to in this picture: the hidden reservoir system. (However, it seems the diagram above should be pointing to the piston to indicate the hidden reservoir.) Instead of having a flat bottom as most pistons do, the bottom of the Aurora piston has a small indented chamber that holds extra ink. When your ink seems to have run out, turning the piston counter-clockwise all the way down to the feed will push the ink contained in this small chamber into the feed of the fountain pen. Aurora’s handy hidden reservoir system gives you an extra page or so of writing before you have to refill!

Close-up of the feed on an Aurora fountain pen. There is a small "post" that sticks out.

A small reservoir hidden in the bottom of the piston contains extra ink.

Turn the piston counter-clockwise all the way down to the feed to force the extra ink into the feed.

The hidden ink reservoir is now empty, allowing you to write another page. A feature unique to Aurora fountain pens.

March 17, 2010

What is Nib Creep?

Nib creep is when ink from a fountain pen "creeps" out from between the slit in the nib onto the surface of the nib. According to the experts on The Fountain Pen Network this can happen due to a few different reasons including the type of ink in the pen, the type of metal the nib is made of or a small imperfection in the slit of the nib can be responsible for drawing ink out on to the nib. Some people do not like the way it looks or are concerned about staining something with the excess ink, however, a bit of nib creep does not seriously affect the performance of a fountain pen. I have a fountain pen that has some nib creep that seems to happen most during hot weather, but it does not affect the way it writes. For me, I don't find a little bit of nib creep to be particularly bothersome.

March 10, 2010

Alice in Wonderland

All of you Johnny Depp fans out there must be thrilled at last week’s release of the film Alice in Wonderland! This new adventure film is an extension of the classic novels Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass. The movie is directed by Tim Burton and stars Mia Wasikowska as Alice, Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Anne Hathaway, Crispin Glover, Michael Sheen and Stephen Fry.

The original novel Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was written in 1865 by Charles Lutwidge Dodgson under the pen-name Lewis Carroll. The first version of the story was told by Charles Dodgson to 10 year old Alice Liddell and her sisters during a boat trip up the River Thames. The girls loved the story so much that Alice begged Dodgson to write it down and give it to her which he did over 2 years later. This 1864 version of the story was called Alice’s Adventures Under Ground and was illustrated by Dodgson himself. In 1865, an expanded version of the story was published with illustrations by John Tenniel and the title Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (often abbreviated to Alice in Wonderland). The novel instantly gained popularity and has been popular ever since!

Alice follows a white rabbit wearing a coat and looking at his watch down a rabbit hole to encounter peculiar creatures such as Bill the Lizard, a caterpillar, a grinning Cheshire Cat, the March Hare, a Dormouse, the Mad Hatter, the Queen of Hearts and more. It is believed that the characters and the places in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland are based on real people and places in Charles Dodgson’s life.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland can be read online as part of the Gutenberg Project. As of March 2, 2010 this book took the number one spot in the top 100 EBooks on this website! If you are an Alice fan you can find some fun Art Deco 7321 Alice in Wonderland themed journals, planners, wallets and more at Writer’s Bloc. We also have a couple of notebooks with cover illustrations of tall Alice and Alice & the white rabbit. What is your favorite part of Alice’s adventure?

March 03, 2010

Caring For Your Aurora Fountain Pen

Once you’ve invested in a fine quality writing instrument such as an Aurora fountain pen, one of the first questions many people ask is, “how should I take care of my fountain pen?” Aurora Pens recommends both “love and cleanliness.”

To clean your Aurora fountain pen, the manufacturer recommends using exclusively cold water, using water to fill and empty the pen and/or cartridge repeatedly, until the water rinses clean. To clean the outside of the pen you may simply use soap and water and then thoroughly dry the pen.

Aurora advises that to safely clean your fountain pens you should “absolutely avoid any use of alcohol, solvents or hot water which could ruin your pen and compromise its surfaces.” To eliminate any ink stains simply leave the pen in cold water, even for a few days if necessary.

If you should happen to damage your pen from an impact or fall, Aurora has experts that can repair your pen and return it to you as good as new.

As far as the “love” goes, we trust that you already know how to love your fountain pens! We love our fountain pens too! Depending on how you are going to use your pen, it can be helpful to have a nice pen case to store it in.

If you have any helpful tips on how to care for fountain pens we would love to hear your comments.


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