I spend the first weekend of November at the Ohio Pen Show — as I do every year — and I came home with a cornucopia of treats. You already know my favorite Ohio Pen Show pick-up, the Woodshed Pen Co. demonstrator that is the centerpiece of the feast. But that’s not all.
First, the non-pen items.
Most inexplicable? A mysterious green teabag, still sealed. I can neither remember nor explain this. It was that kind of weekend.
Most explicable. Not pictured is the bag of coffee beans from Tim Hofmann of The Coffee Mess that I bring back each year. I needed that deliciousness, not to mention the caffeine, the first morning back home.
Cutest. A brown Fountain Pen Day pin given to me by Cary Yeager, Mr. Fountain Pen Day.
Technically stolen. A pad of paper emblazoned “Central Ohio Pen Club.”
If I may digress, let’s talk about the Central Ohio Pen Club. Big fan here! The members are super nice. And look at that pad of paper. There’s a logo! And what a logo: a giant pen hovering over the state of Ohio, and dripping a substance that seems far too menacing to be just ink.
Yes, it’s a little frightening. Central Ohio Pen Club does not play, apparently. But as long as I don’t have to take part in their grisly initiation rituals, I am okay with it.
Think of it this way: Is there any other pen club both organized and prosperous to print up pads of paper and just leave them out for people to take? Not to my knowledge. I know a winner when I see one.
So, yes, I’ve joined the Central Ohio Pen Club. No, they don’t know it. Yes, it may be against their will. But did the Pilgrims wait for an invitation from the Native Americans?
Most colorful side dish. Three Autopoint pencils, vintage, part of a huge lot we were selling at our table.
I like Autopoints, very much, and this is the second time I’ve come home with some from Ohio, but these are vintage, so even better.
Bottom-line, if you’re going to put me at a table all weekend, I am going to end up buying at least some of the merchandise. Since I came home with the new-old Autopoints, I’ve been writing with the yellow point a lot, too, not to indicate the location of electrical lines, but just to mess with people.
Most divisive. Also “greatest thing since sliced bread.” My new ballpoint — a novelty pen, in the shape of a woman’s leg, advertising a San Juan hotel that was obviously quite fun back in the day.
Do not at me. This is a slice of American history. I care about history and other intellectual things.
Also, my friend Bruce had this on his table, and he very kindly gave it to me when I exclaimed in delight, “It’s a Major Award!”
Do you get that reference? Because I’ve learned that one’s reaction to the leg pen correlates almost exactly with familiarity with the movie A Christmas Story. Other important factors appear to be “sense of humor” and “willingness to dispense with good taste.”
Okay, maybe it’s a little vile. That’s what makes it so good.
Anything inky? Yes! I bought ink from Papier Plume. This is all thanks to my friend Pam, who is “on it,” in general, and specifically when it comes to pens and inks. She texted me early in the show that Papier Plume was there, with some special ink, so I abandoned my post to find them and buy some before they sold out. The ink is named 011, to celebrate the store’s eleventh anniversary.
Since the name “Eleven” brings to mind Stranger Things, I figured it had to be good, and it is. Patrick from Papier Plume said they were going for the color of dried blood, which is a little creepy, and thus very Stranger Things, and actually very Central Ohio Pen Club, now I think about it. But I don’t really see the dried-blood resemblance. From my pen so far, Eleven is a beautiful coppery color, with great shading, and perfect for late fall. Eleven stars.
Now the fountain pens.
Something purple? Indeed. There is a purple pen up there — a purple Sheaffer School Pen from the wonderful Nik Pang. That is for my younger daughter, who likes purple. Despite the color, it’s nice-looking. Sort of like that green bean casserole dish — better than you’d expect, given the ingredients.
Any non-purple fountain pens? Yes! For which we are very thankful.
There are also two Parker 45s, from our table. It’s another chapter in the “if you’re going to put me at a table all weekend, things will happen” story. Or the “I ate too much at Thanksgiving” story.
These 45s are part of a large estate we’re handling. Our latest batch includes many trays of lower-priced but excellent vintage pens, from Sheaffer, Parker, Esterbrook and other makers. As I said last year, a lot of vintage pens are great deals these days, because of the shift to modern pens. I just can’t sit and watch all of them be ignored. So at last year’s Ohio Show I bought a Parker 75 from our table, and this year I bought two Parker 45s.
The 45 isn’t fancy, but it’s a great user pen even today. It uses my favorite filling system for ink fans, the cartridge/converter system, which makes switching inks a breeze. It’s built to last. And ours were $25 each with gold nibs or $17 each with steel nibs. I bought a navy 45 with a 14k broad nib and a green one with a 14k stub nib. I nobly resisted adding one in flame red and another in turquoise. Though there just might be a little more room if I loosen my belt….
What about dessert? Best for last. Of course there’s my Woodshed Pen Co. “Hot Wheels” demonstrator, as we’ve already seen. But I also came home with a beautiful Bexley “Columbus Pen Show 2018” pen that I won in a giveaway at the show.
I am chuffed. Not only because I almost never win anything, but because I really like this guy. It’s much more elegant than my usual pens. It has a vintage-inspired overlay of sterling silver. Mine is terracotta orange, with a gold-plated overlay, but Bexley also makes them in black, blue and yellow.
And there we have it. Ohio was a fun time, and I am thankful.