Sunday, September 12, 2010

Communications outage

Apologies to all who have been trying to reach us by phone over the past week or so. We've been preoccupied with packing up and relocating our workshop, and didn't realize until Friday afternoon that our phone wasn't working. All incoming calls were being sent automatically to voice mail, and to a particular mailbox that we don't normally use. Fixing the problem wasn't especially difficult, but it may take a couple of days to catch up on all the missed calls.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Summer hours

We are back from the Washington, DC pen show, but things will remain slow for the remainder of August, between family time and moving our workshop.

Attendance at the pen show was good, yet it seems that most shows -- this one included -- are becoming more and more dominated by consumers, rather than collectors. This goes beyond the divisions between new-pen and old-pen people, for while few who come to pen shows to buy new pens are collectors, a substantial numbers of those buying old pens aren't really collectors, either.

The need for collectors to carve out a space for themselves is becoming increasingly apparent, at shows and online as well. This has been highlighted in the discussions recently prompted by the temporary shutdown of the Lion & Pen site -- one of the few collector-dominated pen forums -- and the launch of David Isaacson's new Fountain Pen Board -- clearly aimed at collectors over users.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Pen forums update

Fountain Pen Network is back, malware-free. Apparently took a while to clean up, and longer to get Google to de-blacklist them. Word is that Lion & Pen will be back before too long, as well. Perhaps it could be arranged that the regular maintenance payments for hosting and the like be automatically withdrawn from a special Paypal account, to which donations could be made by readers and forum participants.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

A bad time for online pen forums

Pentrace is still alive and well, but Lion & Pen has been down for about a week, and Fountain Pen Network got hacked and has been down for repair for a couple of days now. Before it got taken down, I did get warnings from my antivirus program of malware from the site, and it looks as if this was no false alarm. If you visited FPN recently, you may wish to make sure your antivirus protection is up to date, and run a full system scan with it just to be sure.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Volcano delays

We have held a few shipments to northern European destinations for a while, until flights have resumed. I'm sure there will be a backlog of shipments that will take a while to clear, and it seems best to wait a bit until things have settled down a bit.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Rhode Island flooding

Things are a mess in our poor state, but we've been lucky: no damage either at work or at home -- though we did have to set up a portable pump in a low point in the basement to keep things under control. When the water started coming up from the floor in an area where we'd never had problems before, my first thought was to check the downspouts and to consider putting in a second French drain on that side of the house. Then I took a closer look, and realized that underground drains were immaterial, once the soil became saturated all the way to the surface! Wet enough to drown a worm.

Our kids' schools have remained open, too, though some after-school activities were cancelled. Just as well, considering all the additional traffic as people try to find their way around road closures. We drove up to Boston for a lunch date yesterday, and the traffic delays were all manageable. Ended up giving a friend a ride back to Providence, however, after he found himself unable to get a train from Boston -- though we later found out that service was restored in time for the end-of-day commute.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

LA show report

Another very successful Los Angeles pen show. Despite a handful of cancellations due to the snowstorm back East, turnout among dealers and full-show registrants was strong, and there were some truly outstanding pens on offer, with notable strength in early Watermans. Sunday's "public" attendance seemed to be down a bit, though this is often quite variable at this particular show. In fact, this is not so relevant for those of us on the vintage side, as most of the Sunday shoppers are more consumers than collectors, and are looking almost entirely for new pens. This year, however, we were wearing two hats, and the table display was devoted entirely to the American Art Plastics line of celluloid and ebonite stock -- so we were hoping for as many penturners and custom pen fans as possible on Sunday. As is, quite a few ended up with samples of our new materials; and when you have something good, all you really need is for word to spread.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Philadelphia, here we come!

First pen show of the year is coming up this weekend; we'll be heading down there Thursday, closing up shop until Monday. It's been quite a few years since the last time we were there; used to spend a lot of time in Philadelphia, before moving from Manhattan to Providence.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Site updates

Finally got around to fixing some display issues, where fonts were being displayed in miniature on browsers other than Internet Explorer. If any pages look a little funny, a click on your browser's reload button should fix things. Let us know if something looks broken even after reloading, though.

Next up: updating filling instructions, pen anatomy pages, and photos on Pen Profiles.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Happy New Year!

2010 is here, and we'll be back in the shop Monday, catching up. It's been a pretty hectic holiday season here, enlivened by a fair amount of snow and minor colds brought home by the kids.

For the first time in many years, we're planning on attending the Philadelphia pen show, which runs from January 22-24. We'll be bringing some pens, but are not planning on a full setup -- so if you want to see anything in particular, please let us know ahead of time so we'll be sure to bring it. The main focus will be our other venture, American Art Plastics, and we'll have a large batch of newly-made hard rubber stock available by then, which we will be selling at the show. Getting this classic material re-made has taken much time and effort, and I can't begin to tell you how satisfying and gratifying it is when the results come through. The stuff is just beautiful: rich colors, great feel, vivid patterning, plus it machines like a dream and polishes up like glass -- easily the equal of the best of the vintage hard rubbers.