What's up at Ravens March.

Vintage pens-Handmade books-Silly statements

All’s well.

Posted by Dirck on 20 April, 2010

Once again, a double meaning. Referring to yesterday’s potentially grim speculation, I may report (for those who don’t open the comments on a posting) that the departure of the Penquod for parts unknown is entirely voluntary– the enterprise and its commander sail on, however covertly. I have been asked to pass well wishes along by diverse members of the Fountain Pen Network, who lament the incremental (ink-remental? encré-mental?) loss of literate comment on the internet, but who are all quite glad to hear it’s not an enforced departure.

This past weekend, my wife insisted on going to a local antique shop. This is not, as it seems to be for some men, a great trial for me, as I enjoy looking at the artifacts of the recent past– it’s a little less fun with our son in tow, as he’s now self-propelled and demonstrably interested in his world. The same urge that lies in the hearts of the builders of the Large Hadron Collider is well represented in the toddler; what happens when we bang these things together? It is a valid way of discovering the make up of the universe, but it has consequences if practiced in an antique store.

Despite having to carry the increasingly-heavy son, I did get to gander around the place. My wife’s main interest in the expedition was filling in some holes in an heirloom china set of her mother. I was, of course, looking for pens. I had previously looted this store, and there was not much in the way of fountain pens that I was interested in. There were, however, ink wells, and I fell victim to my own foolish urges and bought one.

“Ink well” is a rather abused term today. It’s applied to ink pots, ink bottles, and even desk pen stands, but seldom outside a certain well-informed minority is it used specifically. I am using it specifically– a container for ink which is specifically meant to allow a pen to be dipped into it.

Frequently, one thinks of the mock-Victorian brass letter-holder with a couple of little lidded pots (an original one would have a ceramic insert, Victorian inks being ravenous), but mine is a space-age object. A heavy glass dish with thick walls, supporting a lid from which a capillary-action capsule depends, drawing up the ink to supply a pen which is thrust into a hold in the lid. The whole affair looks rather like a curling rock with its handle straightened and sticking up at about a forty-five degree angle.

Actually, it looks, in absence of a pen, rather more like its nick-name– a hockey puck. The well in question is an Esterbrook “Dip Less” 444, and it sadly came without its pen. I’ve been able to make shift for the moment with another Esterbrook pen, from my “eight ball” holder (the company did seem to attract game metaphors).

The official Dip Less name comes from the fact that the correct pens shared the feed of fountain pens, and would on a single dip write rather a long time– writing this entry to this point would probably have required only two dunks. I am fairly anxious to move it into a permanent engagement, but I should like to find a correct pen for it first, as I would feel very silly having anyone see a fountain pen sticking up out of a dip well on my desk at The Regular Job.

Because other people notice this sort of thing. Of course they do.

Today’s Pen with built-in ink supply: Eversharp Skyline
Today’s Ink: Skrip blue-black:

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