Pen Views

Pen Views

December 2010

The Close to another Year, Some Consistent Themes

 

In 2010, everything in the "world of pens" is different now. Or is it?

I recently came across the November/December 1995 issue of Pen World and as I looked through the magazine I concluded that not that much has changed since 1995. New pens continue to be introduced to the market and there were consistent themes to the pens from 1995 to day in 2010.

Advertising

Advertising is an area where I found a fair amount of consistency. Today, one of the themes of pen marketing to align owning a quality pen with high profile individuals or a particular lifestyle or event. Linking a lifestyle or event to a writing instrument helps to broaden overall market appeal. For example, the 2010 Montegrappa Muhammad Ali pen can appeal not only to those who would buy a writing instrument, but also to followers of Muhammad Ali or boxing.

Waterman Advertisement - FriendsBack in 1995 there were similar themes. Waterman, for example, ran a full page ad outlining how the writers of the very popular TV series, Friends, each use a different Waterman pen. Pens, the show Friends, writers all this linkages.

The themes of many of the advertisements where also not that different than that of pen advertisements of today.

  • Visconti was profiling the Michelangelo Limited Edition pen. Here is a beautiful celluloid pen that looks consistent with lines currently produced by Visconti.
  • Cross was celebrating its 150th Anniversary with its limited Gold and Sterling Silver Anniversary pens. Anniversary pens by the companies are regular themes.
  • OMAS was profiling the Cinema, a pen that was part of the long standing Arte Italiana line. The pearl grey celluloid pen look as classic as many of the OMAS pens produced today.
  • Montblanc was running it crisp black and white advertisement. The ad could run today and it looks very current. It would be difficult to know it was from 1995.
  • Aurora's full page ad for the Optima pen, was titled "Noble Origins". Here is a consistent theme with its marketing of today of Italian design. The made in Italy is very mucn part of its 2010 advertising theme.

Those are just a few of the advertisements that I could have inserted into a 2010 magazine and they would not have looked out of date.

The 1995 issue included an interview by Glen Bowen with Norman Brokaw, the Chairman and CEO of the world's largest talent agency, William Morris Agency. The article is chucked full of photos of Norman with various Hollywood actors and actresses. Very similar to the linkages with famous people today.

Sure enough, Norman Brokaw has a Waterman fountain pen in his shirt pocket. It was his father's pen and he told Glen Bowen it was the only thing he asked for from his mom at age 13 when his dad passed away.

And since most of us don't have only one pen, neither did Norman. He talked about a Waterman pen given to him by actor Bill Cosby and he references other pens such as those by Parker, OMAS, Montblanc and Cartier. One of the pens he acquired was the OMAS Cinema Pen commemorating the 100th Anniversary of film. Fitting for someone so involved in the film business.

Pens and the US President

Pens for Presidential Signing

The particular pens that are used by the the US President is topic being talked about in 1995 as well as today. News papers and pen discussions boards often identify brands of pens used for these important occassions.

The photo to the left, from a 2010 issue of Time shows an assistant setting out the 22 pens the US President used to sign the health act.

Clinton PenThe 1995 issue included an article on the Parker Pen that was used by President Bill Clinton for the signing of legislation.

President Clinton used a variety of ball point pens for signing documents. Despire the range of pens used, a Parker ball point in black lacquer became the Official William J. Clinton pen.

Washington lawyer Philip Ross wrote an interesting article in the 1995 issue of Pen World about the various pens used by the President and others.

On-Line Connections

We as have been on-line longer than we may think. The 1995 Pen World issue included references to posting about pens on CompuServe - some of you will remember CompuServe as one of the first on-line experiences to exchange information. Today, there is regular and ongong discussions taking place on web sites such as pentrace.com or fountainpennetwork.com.

Some Pens are Immortal

Parker Duofold Mandrian YellowIt seems that some pens are immortal with interest about the particular pen remaining constant. The Parker Duofold is an example.

The 1995 issue of Pen World profiled the release of the new Parker Duofold Mandarin Yellow.

The 1995 advertisement notes: "The new Parker Duofold Mandarin Yellow has a classic look with modern technology. Vintage pen lovers appreicate it for its retro appeal. Contemporary pen lovers like its clean lines and technical perfection".

Immortal it is. The most recent issue of Pen World (October 2010) includes Part I of an article by Barry Gabay's about the Parker Duofold.

The article is very interesting and Barry writes about always wanting an Duofold and the experience of getting his first Duofold - the senior-size Big Red.

 

1995 Pen World Fall Preview

Pen Releases Holding Strong

The October 1995 issue of Pen World included their annual feature, What's New For Fall.

My first thought was that this would be an area where I would see a big difference in terms of the number of new pens being profiled in 1995 compared to 2010.

I was surprised to see the number of pens profiled in the 1995 and 2010 Fall Preview features to be very similar.

Some of the companies have changed, but overall the production of new lines, as illustrated by the announcement of new lines, has not dropped as I had thought.

Not only the number of new pens lines, but also the similarity of style. Some of the pens profiles in 1995 could be part of a 2010 preview, and they looked as classic today as in 1995. For example, the Stipula Novecento, first issued in 1993, but the line introduced in the US in 1995, is still in production. A true classic.

 The table below summarizes the new lines of the 1995 and 2010 Fall Preview.

FALL PREVIEW 1995 2010
Aurora Dante Alighieri TU Collection
Bexley Cable Twist  
Bossert & Erhard Sterling Boscolor  
Caran d'Ache La Modernista  
Cartier Louis Cartier  
Colibri Michey & Minnie  
Conklin   Herringbone Series
Conway Stewart   Britannia, Brunel
Cross 150th Year Pen Edge
Curtis Australia   Komo Collection
Danitrio   Asaborake N-906
Natsukusa N-935
Rhythm DE-124
David Oscarson   2012 Limited Edition
Delta   Italiana
Diplomat   Excellence Collection
elesee Dynamic Series  
Faber-Castell pen & pencil set

Anello Series

Francois Yves Luthier La Modigliani  
Franklin -Christoph   Model 02 Intrinsic
L. Michael Fultz Moorish Night  
Lamy   Dialogue 3
Laban   Kaiser Collection
Le Boeuf Great White Shark  
Loiminchay   Riviera aves Maki-e
Michael Perchin Blue & Gold (Faberge Egg)  
Montblanc   Mark Twain
Montegrappa Romeo & Juliet  
Namiki Grance Collection (Pilot)  
Nettuno   Tridente
OMAS UN Food & Agriculture  
Opus 88   The Classic Series
Parker General Douglas MacArthur, WWar II Parker Premier Black
Pelikan   Souverän 800 Blue
Pilot   Custom 74 Smoke
Platinun The Urushi, The Maki-E Rabbit, The Maki-E Plum Tree  
Reform Calligraphy Set  
Sensa .925 Sterling Silver  
Sheaffer Crest, Targa, Fashion & Triumph Colours Intensity
Stipula Noventro  
Taccia International   Celestial Pearl Collection
Urso Luxury   Venice Collection
Visconti Michelangelo Limited Edition Painted Homo Sapiens
Carbon Dream
Waterman Edson, Green New Generation Hémisphère
William Henry Studio   F8-6 Fountain Pen
RB8-8 Roller ball
Royal RB6 Roller ball
Yard-O-Led Imperial Dragon  

 

Best Pens - Readers Choice

The issue also included the results of its reader's survey in terms of the Best Pen of the Year. I wish Pen World would have retained similar categories so it was be easier to make comparisons between the Best Pens of 1995 and 2010. There is quite a variance in the catagories.

The 1995 designations were as follows:

  • Best Pen Classic: Parker Duofold (hands down winner, no other pen came close).
  • Best Limited Edition: Montblanc Prince Regent.
  • Best Modern Design: Waterman Edson.
  • Best Pen Technical Design: a tie, Namiki Vanishing Point, Visconti Alhambra.
  • Best Pen Advertising: Parker Sonnet.

 

 

Sheaffer Legacy 1995As I closed the 1995 Pen World magazine and looked at the back cover I did see a change.

Sheaffer had for a long time "owned" the back cover. I looked at some of my oldest copies of Pen World, as far back as 1992, and Sheaffer was there running a full page back cover advertisement. That is sought after marketing real estate!

No longer is this true, as now other companies rotate their ads on the highly valued back cover.

 

As 2010 closes out and I look forward to 2011 and the pens that will be released, I can conclude there are numerous pens to be introduced into the market during the coming year.

 

Your pen, an expression of you.