A number of years ago, I began consciously creating a photo archive of the pens that passed through my hands. Sadly, at first I ignored the day-to-day bread and butter pens and only retained photos of the more unusual ones. Four years ago or so, I came to my senses. Given the huge disks and vast acreages of backup media we now had there was no reason not to keep everything from the gold-plated Swan to the lowest cartridge-fill Platignum. And so I did. I didn’t really know why. I had no project in mind but I knew they would come in useful one day. Such appropriate photos as I have are going to illustrate John Brindle’s Mabie Todd pen list.
However, I hadn’t sat down and planned a photo archive. I just chucked stuff onto a backup disc. My backup is like the neglected attic of my PC. You know the kind of thing. That trunk there contains Great-Uncle Murgatroyd’s naval uniform and his wooden leg, and yonder woodworm-eaten wardrobe over there is the actual cupboard that contains the family skeletons. Of which there are more than a few, believe me. Really, it’s not quite that bad. But it’s bad enough. I backed up everything. When I remembered. So one directory will contain the image and data files for March 2009. Another one contains six months of absolutely everything from November 2008 to February 2009. It’s a little like if you ran around the library tipping the shelves and throwing the books on the floor. You know the good stuff’s in there but you’re going to have to dig through a lot of rubbish to get to it.
In 2010 I got some sense at last and began taking a set series of images for each pen, and those were used for sales purposes as well as archiving. Each set was accompanied by a writing sample which identified the pen. Those ones can be raced through. The others – well, it’s hardly efficient but it’s entertaining, just like the neglected attic would be. Now, where did I put Murgatroyd’s leg?