Sunday, December 30, 2012

Recycled Currency Stationery by Crane's

Several days ago I was rummaging around in a desk drawer where I keep miscellaneous stationery -- notepads, legal pads, notebooks, and things like that.  And I ran across an item I had forgotten about: a pad of paper that was made from recycled U.S. currency.  Even if it were not for the legend stamped at the bottom of every page (see photo), this paper would nevertheless betray its origins by its overall green shade and green fibrous flecks woven into the paper.  In spite of being recycled, it's quite a heavyweight paper, and takes fountain pen ink really well.

This got me to thinking about where this paper originally came from.  According to the Internet, the paper for U.S. currency is made by Crane's, with a content of 75% cotton and 25% linen.  This mix makes it way more durable than ordinary paper made from wood pulp.  But when you recycle any kind of paper, it weakens the fibers and the recycled paper is never as strong as the original.  But in the case of this paper, it can still be pretty darn good.

So in the 1990's, Crane's experimented with making this recycled currency paper, and marketed it under the brand name "Old Money."  (I am pretty sure this is when I bought this paper, so it's about 20 years old at this point.)  It's great paper, but then as now, there was little to no consumer demand for it, so production was dropped.

BUT: thinking about the lineage of this paper, it suddenly occurred to me that this qualifies as genuine Crane's stationery.  Cheaper, and greener (in more ways than one), but still definitely Crane's!

I really like this paper, and I would like to track down some more of it, if any exists.  If anyone has any leads to a source for this paper, please let me know in the comments!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas!

I was fooling around with a pointed pen last night, and generated this.  It turned out pretty well, so I am sharing it with you, and wishing you the same.  Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Pilot Cavalier Marbled Fountain Pen For Trade

OK, this is really kind of a heartbreaking post for me to write.  I bought this Pilot Cavalier marbled fountain pen a while back on eBay.  It wasn't the cheapest pen I ever bought, but it was a good price for what I got.  I bought it for two reasons: 1) It's a Pilot, and I love pretty much any Pilot I have ever owned; and 2) the brown marbled design on the pen is absolutely stunning.  (My crappy pictures don't do it justice, but trust me, it is a beautiful pen.)

There's one fly in the ointment, however, and for me it's a pretty big fly.  Have you guessed what it might be yet, from the pictures?

Think, think think!

It's the nib.

Lord knows, I am no fountain pen expert (although I do have a blog and I have stayed at a Holiday Inn Express at least once in my life), but everyone knows that the cardinal rule of fountain pens from Japan is: THE NIBS RUN SMALL.  So if you want a fine, you should order a medium.  What happens, do you think, when you get a fine?

You get a pen that lays down a line no thicker than a mosquito's eyelash.  And that's pretty darn thin.

Don't get me wrong, I love absolutely everything else about this pen.  And I love the appearance of the nib itself -- look at how streamlined and sleek it is.  It fits the overall style of the pen perfectly.

But it's SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO FINE -- and I don't mean fine in a good way.

Therefore, I am going to try something here.  I know I have about 3 readers (who knows, I may be flattering myself with even THAT number).  But I really want this pen to go to a good home, and I wouldn't mind getting another pen that would be more suitable for me and my writing style.

So how about a trade?  I would love to trade this pen (in perfect condition, inked only once, and it will be clean as a whistle when I send it out -- I think I still have the box as well) with someone who wants to get rid of a low-end Pilot that is comparable.  As long as I am throwing this out there to the Universe, might as well go for broke -- I would ABSOLUTELY love to trade it for one that is exactly the same, except with a medium nib.  But I am not that persnickety.

Respond in the comments please, and let's see what happens!

UPDATE: This pen has now been traded.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Review: Exacompta Index Cards

I won these index cards in a giveaway hosted by Stephanie at Rhodia Drive, and they were sent to me directly from the fine folks at Exaclair.  They came along with an awesome Rhodia webnotebook and a index card folder, but today I am reviewing just the index cards.

Packaging is always beautiful and PERFECT on Exaclair products like these.

 Four different pastel colors -- easy on the eyes!

These are high quality index cards with a beautifully smooth surface.  As you might expect, they take fountain pen ink like champions, with absolutely no feathering or bleedthrough.

Yes, index cards are just about as utilitarian a product as they come, but if you have to use them, shouldn't you use cards that are pleasing and high quality?  I say yes!  These are highly recommended!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Review: Bic Fountain Pen

Today I want to review something that is a juxtaposition of two items that normally don't go together: the Bic Fountain Pen.  I have had this particular pen for some time now.  You probably will have a hard time finding this in the United States, if it's available at all.  The wording on the packaging suggests that it is a product of the U.K./Europe, but never fear -- there always seem to be plenty of these for sale on eBay, so this pen is as close as your nearest mouse and keyboard (or these days -- touch screen, I suppose).

This is an especially compact fountain pen due to its simple but elegant telescoping nib unit.  However, the other Bic fountain pens I own are equally compact, so this is evidently a design decision on the part of Bic, and they carry it off marvelously.

The pen accepts international ink cartridges, and the nib is elongated and striking, with interesting holes along either side.  As far as I can tell, these holes are merely decorative.  This particular pen has a fine-to-medium nib, although you obviously don't get a choice with this ultra-low-end kind of pen.  Other models I own have nibs that are essentially fine, though, so there is obviously some variation here.  That's OK -- it just adds to the excitement of writing with the pen for the first time!  The body on this model has a slightly rubberized finish, which gives it a good feel in the hand.

One of the reasons I like this pen is that the design of the cap and nib has this vaguely retro "World of Tomorrow" feel, like something straight out of Tomorrowland at Disney World.

The only possible drawback with this pen is the telescoping mechanism, a feature that I have not seen on any other Bic fountain pen.  Even though it works flawlessly, it's one extra step between uncapping the pen and writing, so it does slow one up from time to time.  However, it must not slow me up too painfully, since I do return to writing with this pen regularly.

I highly recommend this pen; if you can find one by scouring the Internet, by all means buy it -- it's well worth its price!