It all started with an attempt to improve Arvin's handwriting. Somehow, ball point pens just slid all over the page and the result was a disaster. So... Arvin, one of the two Classical Cats whose pen page this is, bought an old fountain pen at an antique show. He repaired the pen and began to use it. This reminded him how wonderful fountain pens are. At the next antique show, he picked up another pen. That lead to his looking for pens wherever he went and adding them to his collection. Soon, Ann, Classical Cat #2, joined her husband in becoming interested in fountain pens. This all took place in the late 1970s. Today Ann & Arvin have a good-sized collection of fountain pens. They love the classics: Parker, Waterman, Sheaffer, Wahl Eversharp, but have a special place in their hearts for a little-known brand called Chilton. Today they still haunt antique stores and shows, look for estate sales with pens, trade with friends, and share their pen collecting hobby with friends on the internet.
The Chilton (and Crocker) Pen companies were in business from around 1902 to 1941. In that time they created some of the most beautiful and technically perfect pens made.
The Parker Pen Company has been in business since the late 19th century and is still in business today. We are partial to the big and bold duofolds and to the early models.
And then there are the Watermans, simple and yet elegant, with flexible nibs that write like a dream. We love the early ones, the gold and silver overlays, and the big fat gorgeous Patricians from the 1930s.
Another brand of fountain pen that we are in love with is Wahl Eversharp. We especially love the pens of the 1930s, the large deco band models designed to compete with the Parker Duofolds, and the inimitable Doric, like the column, twelve sided and simply gorgeous.
Of course our collection is not limited to the pens listed above. We've been collecting for close to twenty years and have been lucky to find a wide variety of pens and pencils.
A great site for pen information and the Stylophile monthly online magazine is Pen Lovers. You can find all manner of interesting information here including an extensive library of pen photographs.
Tom Zoss, president of Zoss Communications, Inc., maintains an electronic mailing list for people interested in all aspects of fountain pens, especially collecting vintage ones. The list service is free. Link to Tom's page and follow directions to join.
Finally in February 1999 we attended our first pen show in Los Angeles. What an amazing experience. We met many of the people we had been hearing about for years and with whom we had been doing business over the internet. We also met many friends from the internet pen list services. We had a wonderful time playing with our pen pals from all over the country. And we came home with a large number of additions for our collection, especially Chiltons and Crockers. It was a great show.
In 2002 we attend our second pen show also in Los Angeles. This time we concentrated on acquiring daily writing pens with extra special nibs. We spent quite a bit of time at the table of John Mottishaw who specializes in personalizing nibs to just the right feel for each writer. We bought several of his pens and commissioned him to personalize a number of other pens for us.