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Man the Pumps! He’s Listing!

Posted by Dirck on 3 January, 2013

It was suggested to me in a comment a little while back that I compose a Top 5 List for the past year.  My initial reaction was to decline, since my pen budget keeps me in rather modest pens and I do more than enough to bore my readers already.  Reflecting since then, I have come to realize that I’m being unfair to my readers in two ways; surely, like me, they are capable of seeing beauty even in the lowliest of pens (and I have even said nice things about some Wearevers) and surely if they’ve been reading me for any time at all their powers of enduring tedium are well exercised.

So, let us begin with the Highly Idiosyncratic Top Five Pens I Liked Based Upon Inconsistent Criteria and Which I Got in 2012:

This No. 2 is #5!

Oh, stop showing off.

Tied at fifth spot are a couple of pens one would be hard pressed to see the connection between, the TWSBI Vac 700 and the John Holland Fount-Filler.  About 100 years separates the release dates of these two pens, but I liked them for much the same reason; they are excellent representatives of rather interesting filling mechanisms.

This example is in the aptly-named Maximum Orange. I should probably add “!!!!” to that.

Number four is the Sheaffer VFM which is not really a fantastic pen, but it is a nice nod from a major maker to the idea that one can make an inexpensive pen without making a cheap pen.  Hoorah, the non-sucky entry level pen!

Despite the name, it isn’t oppressively huge.

Third place appears for similar reasons.  The Faber-Castell LOOM is also a gratifying acknowledgement of the existence of paupers like me by a company which is quite capable of charging vast sums of money for a pen.  This one slides ahead of the VFM because the insistence upon capitalizing the name is very slightly less silly than “Vibrant, Fun, and Modern”.  Very slightly.

Being English, it is able to maintain a stiff upper lip while being pipped at the post.

I was tempted to have a tie in first place as well, but that sort of thing is dramatically unsatisfactory.  My choice for runner-up thus bows to the demands of narrative in both providing a clear winner and offering some substantial conflict.  The Italix Parson’s Essential has, frankly, much more connection to my heart than the eventual winner, since my example of it was a gift from my family rather than something dredged from the sludge of a bay.  This is enough to put it firmly in my “keep until I die” category (which is composed mainly of similar gifts), but when I explain why top pen got to be such, I think I can justify myself… at least to myself.

Hail the conquering hero!

My top pen for 2012 is a pen that hasn’t been made in fourteen years, the Sheaffer Targa.  The reason it takes top place because it represents the biggest turn-around of attitude I’ve had to date in an attitude towards a pen.  When I’d looked at it in pictures, I was entirely unmoved by the Targa.  “Ho-hum,” was one of my more enthusiastic statements about the breed.  Then… I got to actually hold one.  Now I own a couple, and I understand why the enthusiasts for it get so worked up (almost moreso than in the case of the Parker “51”).  So, for having smashed a prejudice, this pen gets the laurel for the year past.

…which suggests this will be an annual examination.  Curses!

Today’s pen: THE WINNER!

Today’s ink: Iroshizuku Fuyu-Syogun


16 Responses to “Man the Pumps! He’s Listing!”

  1. Is the comically miss-matched cap and body a deliberate design feature of Faber-Castell or is it just me?

    • It is, amazingly, something one sees in several of that company’s models. The relative diameter of cap and barrel are a bit whimsical, to be sure, and in terms of colours I managed to get the left-most and pointiest bit of the bell-curve describing aesthetic appeal of that model. I have to say in its defence that it is slightly less jarring in three dimensions and in less pervasive lighting.

  2. I have a Wearever that I’m quite fond of, actually. I never thought of doing a top 5 of my pens, I’ll have to ponder this. It will be a tough choice because in a way they’re ALL my favorites. I have never had the pleasure of writing with a Targa. All of my Sheaffers predate the Targa era. Right now I’m becoming reacquainted with my Snorkel Admiral, in fact. Seeing the John Holland warms my heart, because I’m a BHR fan. I have a bunch of BHR Conklins, Hollands and Wirts.

    • I’ll admit that some of my initial ambivalence on the notion stemmed from a heavy foundation of “You can’t make me choose!” and I’m even now I think I might have erred, or snubbed, or… you get the idea.

      I think BHR is a great material, although I find myself hesitating over using most of what I’ve got in it because I’m letting its relative fragility and tendency to discolour grow to near-phobic proportions. That Evans I used on Monday had me in a breakdown loop like that space-probe on original Star Trek; don’t leave it in your pocket because body dampness will ruin the colour don’t leave it on the desk the fluorescent lights will attack it don’t leave it in your pocket…. and then the smoke and sparks start.

      LOVE the Snorkmirals. As far as Targas go… I’m not going to press anyone to try them, any more than I would a “51”. They’re not much different in writing from Imperials, but the caps slide on in a nicer way. Perhaps the recommendation is to not spurn one should it fall across your path. 😉

  3. Well, I am rather drawn to the Faber Castell myself, but I’m a sucker for pink. I enjoyed this post!

    • A chacun son gout, of course (and missing some accent marks)– I may say it’s funny-looking, but I did after all buy it AND anyone who uses a Rotring Skynn twice in one week can hardly set up as an arbiter of good taste.

  4. Walter said

    As the son of a master mariner, I know that one can sail under a list for quite some time. Once the pumps are engaged, it is generally too late. I have a fondness for my Targa, a slim model that is hopeless when attached to a cart but goes like a house afire with the converter attached. The nib seem slightly off kilter but when you hit the sweet spot it rocks and rolls. HNY to you and yours.

    • Well, I’ve clearly been beyond hope for quite some time 😉

      Despite my past-stated dislike of over-slim pens, I should like to try a Slim Targa one day, just for the sake of comparison. I wonder if there isn’t something inherently wicked in the slender cartridges; I have yet to be able to get my TRZ to write quite as I’d wished, and I’m entirely reliant on refilled cartridges.

  5. ladyambrosiaj said

    I am now lusting even more after a Fabre..maybe this year is the year!

    Miss your letters my friend 🙂

    • It’s on its way! Surely you saw my admission of stupidity a few posts back!

      • ladyambrosiaj said

        I missed it actually but now I shall go looking for it because I am mean like that 😉 I shall keep an eye out for it! Can’t wait 😀 my poor little pen dedicated to writing letters to you has been eyeballing me lol

  6. Maja said

    Thanks for taking the time to do a Top 5 “New” Pens, 2012 edition blog entry. I have to admit that it took a while for the Targa to grown on me as well; the tubular barrel always looked at odds with the inlaid nib to my eyes….until I tried it out (posted, of course). Great pen, great choice. I acquired a Sheaffer Cadet in the ‘fiesta red’ colour this year and it’s in my top 5 for this year, along with my TWSBI Mini, a Sheaffer Sagaris, a Visconti Pericle (early version of the Pericles model) and an OMAS Bologna.

  7. […] lifting), and still somewhat enmeshed in the tendrils of hindsight, I thought I would follow my big Top Five from last week with another, equally baseless and non-applicable-to-anyone-but-me list in a bluer tone.  Here […]

  8. […] year I went to a little bit of trouble and put together a couple of year-end lists.  This year… well, apart from engaging in a “make your own foie gras […]

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