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Out with the Old, in with… Something

Posted by Dirck on 29 December, 2011

With the new year impending, one’s thoughts tend to turn to the passage of time.  One who dresses anachronistically and regularly uses half-century and older artifacts, even moreso.

Today’s contemplation grows out of the consideration of ink for today’s pen.  It is, let us be clear, old.  When I’m using a pen which is very specific about being extremely old, or one that is quite vigorously modern, I tend to think about the agreement of ink and pen.  I have mentioned elsewhere that some inks don’t wish to pass through some pens, but this is a more shallow form of agreement; will it look funny?  A Rotring Core producing a subtle sepia line does look a little funny, likewise an Evans laying down some mad fuschia, and while I’m not opposed to cognitive dissonance (the very foundation of comedy!) since I’m about the only one who will notice at all and thus be the only one with jangling expectations, I tend to keep older-looking inks with older-looking pens and zippy inks with modernist pens.

However… while cognitive dissonance has limited charm, there is more to life than compliment.  When applied well, contrast can be extremely pleasing without making the artistic nerves rattle.  One remembers, too, that these pens might have used some slightly sizzling inks back in their day.  Grandma may not dance the Charleston any more, but that’s a matter of maintenance rather than inclination.  The pens, metaphorically speaking, still have plenty of snap in their garters.

Today, then, a contrast, of a somewhat faded old pen and a rather vivid ink.  Dissonance is the soul of comedy, but graceful counterpoint is a necessity in the best music.

Today’s harmonious pen: Sheaffer 5-30SR
Today’s melodious ink: Noodler’s blue

An aside– I was in such a state yesterday, I was incapable of properly celebrating the benefits of existence.  Via the FP Geeks’ podcast, I am again to receive a free pen.  This time the item is a startlingly orange Sheaffer VFM (a modern item, not to be mistaken for the desirable PFM), which I’m interested to try as an example of Sheaffer’s current output and as a rarity for the company– a pen that doesn’t take Sheaffer cartridges.  Does this imply anything for production of the cartridge that has been feeding Sheaffer pens since the mid-1950s?  Only time will tell, but while we all wait, I get to play with a new pen; thanks, Eric and Dan!


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