What's up at Ravens March.

Vintage pens-Handmade books-Silly statements

Posts Tagged ‘Waterman 12’

The Next Best Day of the Year

Posted by Dirck on 2 November, 2018

I don’t know if it’s altogether wise for Fountain Pen day to necessarily fall within a few days of Hallowe’en; what do we have, then, to keep us functioning and joyful for the next few months until this golden confluence is less than half a year away once more?

(Overdramatizing for comedy is how I have fun)

ANYWAY, while I sit here and quietly enjoy scribbling with (probably) the oldest pen I’ve got, here’s a fellow expressing his thoughts on the day:

There is, by the way, nothing wrong with even an XXF point on a pen. Sometimes you need a fine line in your life. I revel in all widths of point.

Today’s pen: Waterman 12
Today’s ink: Waterman vintage blue  (so as to not startle the poor oldster)

Posted in General Blather | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Posted by Dirck on 7 September, 2017

This Week’s Pens Inks How Much Novel Progress
  • 1,926 words typed

Yes, it should be more. A long weekend and a trip to the eye doctor conspire against me.

Posted in Progress Report | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Looking Elsewhere for a Moment

Posted by Dirck on 1 September, 2017

I’m sure each and every one of us has had as full a budget as possible in the past week of bad environmental news, given events in Texas, Louisiana and… well, most of south Asia.  Today’s film is not altogether a distraction from those events, although it addresses them directly in no way.  It is a glance at the other side of the coin, as it were; a little dot of hope for the future as far as the interaction of the natural world and humanity’s urge to make big tools.

Also, it’s got that guy from Red Dwarf in it:

Isn’t that swell?

Today’s pen: Waterman 12
Today’s ink: Diamine Bilberry

Posted in General Blather | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Tricky Treats

Posted by Dirck on 31 October, 2014

I’m going a little overboard, perhaps.  It’s a special day, though, and I love to hand out treats.  First, because it’s the early part of the entry, a little something for all you folks with little trick-or-treaters to see to:

Now, I have spend the past week mulling which story to post here, and in what format.  Since it’s a longish one, I’ve decided that the best bet is to embed it thus as a PDF file, and let it be read in a separate window.  It being… well, not a Lovecraft pastiche, but certainly a direct reference to one of his works (and not one of the overtly racist ones), I have some doubts about it ever being commercial.

The other film for today is aimed at those who don’t have any kids to pilot through the dark and leaf-blown streets.  Those who find themselves walking all alone through the echoing spaces of a house that, for one night at least, fails to be a cozy sanctuary.  Those who listen with straining nerves for the sounds that should be the cooling of the timbers without another human in the place to turn to and laugh dismissively at the atavistic fears a dark October night may conjure….

If you want something to take the taste of that out of your head, there’s some other creepy stuff available here that’s worth a look.

Today’s unutterably ancient pen:  Waterman 12
Today’s grimly-hued fluid of inscription: Noodler’s red-black

Posted in General Blather | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Fashionably Scrawny

Posted by Dirck on 18 October, 2010

With the exception of Friday, last week was one of very thin pens.  I have contemplated previously on the interface of pen and hand, but this past week made the matter rather less academic.  You see, I had some correspondence which needed attention over the weekend, and here were there pens full of ink.  Most days I only do a few pages of writing, but after nearly twenty pages altogether I have one word to say on the subject of ultra-slim pens of a certain age.


I note that the offending pens are all of a certain grim era, the late 1980s and early 1990s.  This is not, referring back to the graph of pen sales, the nadir of the fountain pen, but it is after the point which saw the common appreciation of the fountain pen go from writing implement to fashion accessory.  Sure, it writes, but you’re not expecting to do much more than sign a credit card flimsy or jot down a telephone number at the disco.  Prolonged writing is for… something else, I guess.

Remember that these pens are not only quite thin, they’re also relatively heavy, as the bodies are made of metal.  I can write a lot longer with the Waterman 12 or some other hard rubber pen that I can with the fashion pens, although they’re all much of a sameness in terms of thickness.  The combination of holding fingers very close together while supporting a brass tube is the real generator of misery.

I don’t think that any of the pen makers of the time avoided this particular trap– certainly Sheaffer and Waterman had their own entries.  To judge by that graph, this little trend didn’t do any real harm to fountain pens in general, and perhaps it even helped them start getting back on their feet.  That said, I don’t think I’ll be writing anything above a page with one again in the foreseeable future.

Today’s non-slender pen:  Sheaffer Legacy I (which is on its maiden flight today, and I will likely have a few thoughts to share later in the week)
Today’s ink, low fat only by chance:  Pelikan 4001 blue-black

Afterword:  I am not particularly fond of my van.  It is heaping expense and inconvenience upon what was never a healthy relationship, and assuming it is available to me tomorrow I’ll be cramming a number of things into the lunch break that should have been done from 2pm yesterday until 8pm tonight.  If I appear here at all, it is likely to merely be a statement of the day’s companions.  If anyone has a Toyota Previa or early Honda Odyssey in good function that they’re willing to trade for a Ford, I’ll gladly oblige with both the van and references to some mental care professionals.

Posted in General Blather | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Aie! Dropper!

Posted by Dirck on 19 August, 2010

Today’s pen is what we pen-folk call an “eyedropper” pen.  This is going back to the very dawn of fountain pen technology, and as with so many developments in human tools, likely comes from not looking at a given problem from all angles.  “Wouldn’t it be nice to have a reliably-writing pen which carries it’s own ink supply?” said any number of inventors in the 19th century, but one gets the feeling none of them took the extra step of, “Say, how are we getting the ink in there?”  The easy answer, which is exemplified by this sort of pen, is to put the ink in as one would put it into any other vessel– take off the lid and pour it in.

Of course, this is pretty tricky with something pen-sized, as the combination of liquid surface tension and the limits of human motor control render pouring fluid into anything smaller than a cordial glass messy.  Thus, the application of the eyedropper to the question.  I actually use a 1ml insulin syringe, available thanks to an ill cat in the extended family.

The main charm of the eyedropper pen is its simplicity.  There’s nothing in there but space to store ink, so if you’ve got some serious writing to do, an eyedropper is the way to go.  The Fountain Pen Network is heavily populated with discussion about whether this pen or that will convert into eyedropper usage (as a hint– there are a couple of pens that work extremely well).  However, I find that every time I use an eyedropper, I am reminded of why I don’t use one very frequently.

Filling is a very fraught experience– one needs to balance the barrel, a long, thin tube with most frequently a rounded bottom while manipulating whatever thing it is one is using to transfer ink from the bottle, and then while one recovers the section from wherever it has rolled off to and manage to get it screwed back on.  I’ve yet to have a disasterous spill yet, but I can easily imagine one.

The main drawback to the eyedropper is that it tends to dribble.  This is a result of a combination of old feed styles and thermal expansion.  The latter is a problem as the pen empties– the air in the barrel expands as one writes, and since the point is down this expansion forces ink into and eventually out of the feed.  Why does it expand?  Because your hand is generally hotter than the air which is coming in to replace the ink, and since the barrel has little insulation in it, everything inside tries to get up to the same temperature.  Eyedroppers are fairly popular in India, it seems, and I guess in a part of the world where air and body temperature is frequently about the same, this is less of an issue.

The feed simplicity is sort of culpable, though.  With early pens, like this one, there wasn’t much choice, but with modern eyedroppers, there is.  Considering that piston- and vacuum-filling pens also store ink in the barrel, and yet aren’t known for their drooliness, one might look askance at some modern eyedropper makers.  I do, although there are some sublimely expensive ones with interesting anti-dribble controls that I dare not look askance at for fear someone will expect me to pay for the privilege.

The other big issue is the joint between barrel and section.  Unlike most pens, where the reservoir is more or less permanently sealed, in eyedroppers, this remains a point of potential escape for the ink.  Some more advanced models rely on o-rings, but most require regular applications of some kind of hydrophobic material, like pure silicone grease, which keeps the ink in its place without damaging the material the pen is made from.  Failure to renew this protective every few fillings leads to seepage, right where your fingers meet the pen.

Guess what I neglected this morning?

Today’s slightly senile pen:  Waterman 12
Today’s villainous ink, seizing upon a chance at escape:  Noodler’s Tulipe Noir.

Posted in General Blather | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Making up for lost calories.

Posted by Dirck on 23 November, 2009

I’m going to step away from pens for a moment. I was driven to make Sunday dinner due to a brief spell of illness on my mother’s part, and to use a phrase seldom heard in this part of the world, I really pushed out the boat.

Roast beef, at the precise point of rareness that is ruddy but not bloody (for which I can thank a briefly malfunctioning oven, curse it as I might at the time) and requiring slightly more chewing than butter (for which I thank our local butcher, who apparently has a pipeline to some other dimension where beef is never tough). Baby potatoes, boiled to doneness and tossed in butter. Carrots thrown into the same pan as finished the potatoes, not glazed but sweet on their inherent sugars. The ribbon on this particular gift of food was the Yorkshire pudding, lofty, golden, at once crunchy and soft.

I led a deprived childhood, as Yorkshire pudding is a recent event in my life. I don’t know if I might have refused it at some young age, thinking that pudding must necessarily have come from a box labelled JELLO, but the first encounter I can recall with it was not ten years ago, and it has been a very irregular part of my diet. This month, though, I’ve had it three times, once in a restaurant and twice by my own hand– because you should try an unfamiliar recipe out before calling it Sunday dinner, just like you should figure out the fixing of pens on your own collection before digging at someone else’s.

I had mentioned this to my mother, and my sense of deprivation. She cited a certain concern with the technique of making, which I can understand; pouring batter into a base of hot oil is intimidating, and the whole affair is honestly a lot of effort… but the end result is so very worth the chase. If you think you have any business dealing with a 400F stove, I urge you to give it a try– there’s a fine recipe here, although I worked from the recent update of The Joy of Cooking.

I will concede that after cramming down this meal with immoderate gusto, I fully understood how one of the more popular sports in Victorian England was Gouty Foot Supporting. I recommend it, but perhaps not too frequently.

Today’s pen: Waterman 12
Today’s ink: Lamy blue

Posted in General Blather | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »