Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Four Years of Palimpsest: Top 10 posts of 2012/13

Happy anniversary to Palimpsest, which is four years old this November. May it live long and prosper. 

Here are the top 10 most popular posts of the year:

1. Montblanc Meisterst├╝ck Classique Platinum fountain pen.
Had it not been for the Montblanc emblem at the top of the cap (and the price tag), the inexperienced user might have been excused to think that this is just another fountain pen. Read more
2. Stationery Store Series: R.S.V.P. Berlin
Tucked away in a little street off Berlin's Rosenthaler Strasse, RSVP is what one may call a stationery boutique. It is nestled in the less shiny part of the German metropolis - there are no grand architectural gestures here, no gleaming structures. Read more
3. Platignum 1930s Fountain Pen review
There must have been a day in history when pen companies decided to phase out flexible nibs. What induced them to dispense with this  marvel of writing technology I cannot begin to fathom but a sad day that was, dear Readers, in fountain pen chronicles when the flexible nib was no more. Read more
 4. TomBow Oceanic Mechanical Pencil review
Designed no doubt with an aquatic animal in mind, the TomBow Oceanic is a member of the mechanical pencil group of graphite organisms. Read more
5. The Pocket Pencil of Johann Faber
"Well, he wrote so furiously that he broke his pencil and had, as you observe, to sharpen it again. This of interest, Watson. The pencil was not an ordinary one." Read more
6. Montblanc Starwalker fountain pen
The mild antipathy I was seized by during my brief encounter with a Montblanc Starwalker fountain pen was not born out of the facts. Read more 
 7. Summit Cadet S100 fountain pen
I left the London Writing Equipment Show last week, dear Readers, with a Cadet in my pocket. Read more
8. Back to School: The Magic Multiplying Pencil
Back to school for all here in the United Kingdom and those hoping to cheat their way through their timetables will be sad to know that a Magic Multiplying Pencil is certainly not the way forward. Read more
9. Pick a Pen Series: Montblanc Happy Endings by Kenneth Moyle
I've been bad-mouthing Montblanc for what I've considered their over-rated pens for years. Read more
10. Pencil Archaeology 2
The pencils of the last Pencil Archaeology post justified the title: they were battered, their paint chipped, their markings barely visible. These ones... Read more 

Stephens' Ink Scarlet Writing Fluid No. 451
The dark fluid that faintly gleams with a hint of red wouldn't perhaps look so appealing if it wasn't for the elaborate Victorian label on the glass bottle that contains it... Read more

Thank you for reading. Here's to another inkredible year.

Monday, 11 November 2013

Parker 5th - a brief encounter

Is it a fountain pen, is it a rollerball, is it a felt tip? Parker 5th is so named, says Parker, because “it offers a genuine fifth way of writing”, the innovation consisting “of a cutting-edge refill tip and an engraved metallic hood.” Palimpsest encountered this 5th wonder of writing technology in Pen Shop’s Edinburgh branch and spent some time deciding whether it was a glorified and extravagantly priced gel pen or a rollerball masquerading as fountain pen. They call it Ingenuity. Although it has been called the “Faux-ntain Pen for Everyone” (and not without reason), I may be perhaps excused if I do not care about its falsity and fountain pen pretensions: because the Parker 5th writes a treat.

The criticisms may abide. Fountain pen lovers are horrified by the nib look-alike the Parker 5 is sporting. Under the engraved metallic hood hides a felt tip which has ridges (ridges!) resembling the feed of a fountain pen. Parker 5th is luxurious enough to look like an exclusive fountain pen, yet it is not – obviously there is no real nib and the selection colour ink refills available is limited. Rolleball lovers will be mortified with its price tag – ranging from £57 for a Premium Shiny Chrome to £145 for the Ingenuity Large Black Rubber Chrome Trim.

And yet. Palimpsest cannot but admit that a strange attraction developed between her and that chimera of a pen. The Parker Ingenuity that she got to handle in the Pen Shop felt very comfortable, its texturized soft touch black rubber barrel was not sticky or sweaty, the design was sleek and she found that she was amused rather than annoyed by the felt tip coming out of the fancy hood. It wrote smoothly and effortlessly, it glided most pleasantly on the paper, leaving clear, smudge-free marks. It felt just write in her hand, it looked good. She could enumerate a dozen reasons why Parker 5th pens are wrong but she does not care to confess that she wouldn't mind one for Christmas.

Some pics of the Parker Ingenuity snapped in the Pen Shop in Edinburgh:

Friday, 8 November 2013

Ink close to his heart

Emigrants Leaving Ireland
by Henry Doyle, 1848.

"On a trip to Peebles before they left home, Walter bought himself a book to write in, but for several days he has found too much to pay attention to, and too little space or quiet on the deck, even to open it. He has a vial of ink, as well, held in a leather pouch and strapped to his chest under his shirt. This was the trick used by their cousin Jamie Hogg the poet, when he was out in the wilds of Nithsdale, watching the sheep. When a rhyme came on Jamie he would pull a wad of paper out of his breeks' pocket and uncork the ink which the heat of his heart had kept from freezing and write it all down, no matter where he was or in what weather."

Alice Munro, The View from Castle Rock, Kindle edition 2010.