Upcoming Plans

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A quick post on what I’ve got coming up.

From Kickstarter I have three pens due.  A Wancher True Urushi Dream Pen, which I will review after around a month of use.  The Edge by Venvstas/utopos-design, which I may review though it’s a low cost potential one off by Lucio Rossi,  Reason for reviewing it will because Venvstas (Lucio) does produce a range of architectural engineering influenced pens.  Finally there is a Franklin-Christoph 31 with Jonathon Brooks material under the P.I.F. campaign.  I do need to review my F-C pens, will be an interesting challenge as I feel like I’m a little bit of a fan boy.

I’ve two more pen purchases planned (one is already ordered), though I’m keeping quiet about those at present (one is a substantial cost for me).  Hopefully the first of these will be reviewed in February/March.

For my next couple of reviews I’m going small scale British.  I’ll be reviewing pens by John Twiss then Powerful Signature next.  Hopefully I’ll be able to borrow a Italix Parson’s Essential from a pen club buddy, leaving just (a far as I’m aware) the Worcester Pen Company (does anyone have one of their pens I can borrow?) to cover.

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Sad News – Bureau Direct

A sad piece of news emerged yesterday.  As many of you will already know, Bureau Direct have now ceased trading.  Always a good source for stationary, inks, and to a lesser extent, pens, they will be missed.  Here is the news in their own words from their final Wednesday newsletter.  From Dominic:

“As of now we have ceased trading. Sadly the difficulties of surviving in these turbulent times has claimed another retail victim, one that will never hit the headlines or be discussed on Newsnight, but maybe should because so many similar stories will occur and affect so many people but never get heard.

So that’s 23 years of Bureau, almost to the day, 15 of them spent online. That’s a lifetime for many. As always the ride has had its ups and downs, but what I would like to say is a personal goodbye to all Stationery Wednesday readers. Over the years I have had so many nice replies that it has eased the stress of writing an original email each week. Stationery Wednesday often came after Stressful Tuesday!

The other great pleasure over the years has been the staff who have worked here. It really has been like an extended family and it was especially sad saying goodbye to Des, Monica and Faisal at the end. Days you hope you won’t repeat. But despite everything there has been an overwhelming sense of warmth towards us, the business and what we tried to do from the staff, customers and suppliers. So thank you. I’m sorry it didn’t work out in the end.”

and from Jo:

“It is hard to put into writing how it feels after 23 years to have to walk away from Bureau: It has been our life after all. But, along with all the other retail casualties of recent times, we have been sunk by the uncertainty and the discounting that seems to stalk the high street – online is not immune either.

We have tried so hard this year to hang on, hoping it would get better, but despite the support of so many of you it just got harder. I can only say it leaves me quite broken and I am in tears as I write but I really do want to thank you all.

Some of you we talked to on the phone, some we chatted to on email, some we only knew by the names that popped up so regularly on the orders. But we felt we knew you all. In the end the real pleasure of Bureau was not really the stationery but the fantastic staff team, both past and present and all of you – ever loyal, often funny and always with an eye for a nice pen or notepad.”

I know we all wish them and their staff well.

 

Lamy Scala – Glacier Edition

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The Scala is an often overlooked pen in the Lamy range, as at launch it competed with the Studio, and in more recent times, with the LX and Aion.  Price wise it is the most expensive of the bunch, both in standard steel nib form, in addition to the gold nibbed special/limited editions.  I actually purchased this pen before any of its rivals in February 2017, first being attracted to its looks, then finding the pen in a sale at a good price.  While the review here is for the specific model, much applies to all versions of the Scala fountain pen, and virtually all to the other gold nibbed versions.

The model is part of the range of limited editions created for the 50th anniversary celebration of Lamy.  At the time there was criticism of the cost of the dark amber 2000 model and the higher pricing seemed to filter down as this pen was around £10-20 more than comparable Scala models at launch.  Over time the prices started to come down to around £165, the more normal price then for a gold nibbed Scala (steel ones were and still are about £85).
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Onoto Magna Classic and Chuzzelwit

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Onoto was a brand created by De La Rue in 1905 for the manufacture of quality fountain pens, first in London, then in Scotland, and now in Norwich.  During that time one of their most successful models was the Magna, also known as ‘The Pen’.  For more information on the brand and its history please see the company website at https://onoto.com/the-onoto-history/, else it will take up too much space here.  Needless to say, after a period of serious trouble and very low sales, the company was taken over by a fan in 2005 and in 2010 the Magna Classic was brought out, harking back to the classic pen.  Numerous models have been based on this design, all hand crafted and with steel nibs by default, gold as an option.  Presently, as of late 2018, Onoto are moving from using Bock nibs to Jowo (visually identical).
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Faber Castell Loom (Matt Gunmetal)

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To most in the UK, Faber Castell produce art supplies, the fact they also produce pens (and are possibly the oldest surviving pen manufacturer) passes the average person by as few high street stores stock their fountain pens.  Even then they are often over looked as the Ambitions and eMotions tend to be the only options and price wise start in the mid £60s, where as those few shops selling them will also have Parkers, Cross and Lamy pens starting around the £15-20 mark and many of their models for less than the cheapest Ambition.
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Lamy Imporium

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Lamy is in an odd position.  Despite bringing in a different industrial designer for each pen model they release, and the emphasis on following the Bauhaus design principals, to most people they are know for two pens.  The low end stalwart of the school/first fountain pen market, the Safari (covering also the Al-Star and Vista variants), and the design icon, the 2000, considered by many outside of our hobby, a high end pen and a one time purchase.  Also not helping is the wide array of models below the ‘2k’.  The similar CP1, Logo, LineA, and ST, along with the Accent, Aion, Studio, and Scala, can make people forget that Lamy also produce higher products, chief of which is the Imporium.
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