I’ve never found an old pen that I didn’t like. I’ve found quite a few new ones that were hard starters and practised the art of skipping. They were often quite annoyingly difficult to fix too, so I can say that there are some modern pens that I don’t like. There are even some that I hate because they persist in their wicked ways.
Old pens are generally easy to repair. There’s a routine, and if you follow that they respond wonderfully. Though externally they may show the wear and damage of their years, once they are re-sacced or re-sealed and have had their sections and feeds cleared of deposits of old ink, they are effectively brand new.
That’s true of the great pens, the Onotos and the Swans, the Conway Stewarts, the Parkers, Sheaffers, Wahl Eversharps and Conklin Crescent fillers and it’s often also true of the lesser pens we come across.
When you deal with as many pens as I do, there’s a tendency to become blase’ about it. Most of those old pens are fixed, write-tested and put up on the sales website in a matter of days. I write with them enough to ensure that they perform as they should and that’s all. I know that if I used them for longer I would begin to appreciate their particular charm – every one is different – and I would be reluctant to part with them. Indeed, from time to time a pen I buy for resale has so much appeal that it goes into my box of personal pens. I try to be strict about it and not allow my accumulation to become excessive. I know, though, that every one of those pens that I sell has its own special charm that its new owner will discover if it was bought to write with. Those who buy pens just to complete a collection will doubtless derive a different pleasure from their acquisitions. Me, I’m a writer and that’s the pleasure I derive from them.
The most expensive pen I have is my Ford Patent Pen. It has a wonderful flexible nib and when I fill it without a bottle full of ink it’s going to be on my desk for at least a month. It starts heavy and gets gradually lighter. At the other end of the scale is my Platignum Varsity which is an equal pleasure to write with though it isn’t flexible and needs refilled fairly often.
I’m going to bring this fairly pointless ramble to an end quite soon. Really.
Perhaps the point that I’m trying to make is something like this: I want the pens that I pass on to my customers to be a pleasure for them to use, as much of a pleasure as I get from the pens that I keep for myself.