Friday, 19 February 2010

Pens and the inks they use.

Pens and ink make the perfect partnership. Both needing each other to create a complete product. Different pen types use different types of ink, below are the different inks and the types of pens that they are used in.

The humble ballpoint pens use an ink that is a thicker, paste type ink which is created using a dye solute in an alcohol solvent. This ink is then applied to the paper through the ballpoints rolling ball mechanism at the tip of the pen. The ink relies on gravity and pressure in the chamber for coating the ball.

Fountain and rollerball pens use a dye solute in a water-based solvent. This is a thinner more liquid type ink. The fountain pen uses a nib and a feed system to draw ink from the reservoir through to the paper. The rollerball pen was initially designed to combine the convenience of a ballpoint pen with the smooth "wet ink" effect of a fountain pen.

The newer gel pens uses an ink in which the pigment is suspended in a water based gel. Gel pens are very similar in design to that of a rollerball pen. With the barrel containing the ink reservoir and pen tip, that is covered and protected by a cap. The main advantage of gel inks is that it has a much higher viscosity, which in turn helps to support a higher amount of pigments in the gel.

Inks come in a variety of colours and depending on the type of ink is dependant on the colours you can get. In fact the gel inks can even include metallic and glittery colours. The most common colours are blue and black for most pen types, with red also being very popular for ballpoint pens.

Happy handwriting, in which ever ink you choose…

Friday, 8 January 2010

Caring for your Fountain Pen and its Accessories

Unlike a ballpoint or a rollerball pen, which need little or no attention when looking after them, the fountain pen needs a bit of TLC. This required care is mainly down to the workings of the nib component of the fountain pen.

Cleaning the Nib

In order to keep your fountain pen working at an optimal level, it is recommended to clean out the nib at least once a month. This will ensure good and even flow of the ink. The cleaning is done by ‘flushing’ out the pen by running water through the nib section, until the water runs clear.

If you use a converter, another way to clean out the nib is to fill up the converter with water, as you would with the ink normally, and then to expel the water by twisting the piston in the opposite direction.

Once cleaned you will need to air dry the pen before new ink is put back into the pen. These cleaning methods are also good for when you are changing ink colours in your pen.


Converters operate using a piston system, which is used to draw up ink into the pen. Filling the converter is done by placing it in the pen, as you would with a cartridge, making sure the piston head is at the bottom. You then twist the top of the converter which in turn raises the piston head and in turn draws up the ink into the converter through the nib which is placed into a bottle of ink.


Always try and use a good quality ink, as they are designed to keep your pen writing smoothly. Also make sure it is ink designed for use in fountain pens, as some inks contain lacquer that will actually seize up the mechanics of your fountain pen.

Using all the about tips and advice, should help to keep your fountain pen working at its most optimal level.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Make Giving a Pen Personal with Engraving

A pen makes the ideal gift for occasions such as Christmas, birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, graduation or retirement. But by adding a simple engraving to the pen, the present becomes so much more meaningful, special and unique. Sending personalised gifts to your friends or family is a fantastic way to show them how much you care. Engraving is the process of incising a design or pattern into a surface, in this case the barrel or cap of the pen. As pens are made out of different materials, the finish of the engraving can vary from pen to pen. It is important to know which style of engraving fits the material of the pen and your personal taste. For example, stainless steel, chrome plated and solid silver pens produce a very subtle engraving style. Pens with a lacquer finish would give more contrast when engraved, as the top coat is cut away to reveal the metallic surface underneath. Depending on the type of metal underneath, the message appears in either brass or chrome.

Due to the size of the space that can be engraved, you will be limited to how much you can say with the engraving. With most pens you will be allowed up to about 24 characters, which for most is enough for a short heart felt message, such as ‘I love you’, ‘Congratulations’ or even just the person’s name. They will always have your special message to hand, every time they use their personalised pen, and with the wide range of pens available these days you are sure to find a pen that is suited to the person you are buying for.

So if you are stuck at what to buy for that special someone, be it at Christmas, birthdays or any other special occasion, why not consider heart felt messages on personalised pens.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Luxury Italian Pen Brand Visconti

Visconti pens, from Florence Italy, are the epitome of elegance, luxury and quality. The fountain pens, rollers and ballpoint pens by Visconti make up a wide range of high quality instruments, each with a strong identification.

Every Visconti pen model is developed with the most advanced know-how, using the most precious materials available. Using both traditional methods and the more modern and unprecedented techniques to craft their pens.

Celebrities across the world including Morgan Freeman, Clint Eastwood, Charlize Theron, Marcia Cross and Oprah Winfrey are fans of the lavish ranges, which play on a treasure trove of historical moments.

What I love about Visconti’s pens are the way they are designed around themes of some of the most notable moments in art, archeology, philosophy, mathematics, literature and history. Subjects includes the Forbidden City, Art Renaissance, The Ancient Knights, Visconti Van Gough, Wall Street, Opera and others; a story lies behind every pen. This makes Visconti Pens very unique.

Just some of the most notable themes, include:

H.R.H. Her Royal Highness

Started in 1996, this diamond-encrusted range was dedicated to Princess Diana. Designed following a request from the Sultan of Bruneil, some of these pens are made from gold and are encrusted with diamonds and other precious stones.


Visconti Wall Street is the inspiration for this simple yet highly stylish range. With an elegant clip and an original shape – neither rounded nor square – these unique pens are admired by men and women alike.

Divina Proporzione

This fountain pen collection was formulated following a study of mathematics and history. Sleek, solid and tasteful, the range embodies class.


Clean, ergonomic and practical, these modern pens offer a clever retractable mechanism conceived to create an element of surprise. With 29 components, the range is intricate yet effortless.

The Forbidden City

Based around the ornate palaces of the Forbidden City and their incomprehensible symbolism and secrecy, these pens sit within a ‘cage’ through which the gods, the dragon, the lion and the phoenix can be seen.

There are many others Visconti Pen themes, all just as magical and inspiring as each other.

Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Graduation Pen Gifts

Graduation is the day we all look forward to for at least three years and look back to for years to come. It's the watershed between youth and adulthood, the end of one's studies and the beginning of one's career, the day that celebrates achievement and merit.

For this day to stay in our memories for longer, we usually think of marking it with beautiful souvenirs - special gifts that would remind us of this remarkable occasion. We use pens everyday and always carry one around, which makes pens great gift ideas not only aesthetically but also practically. It is a present that will be frequently used by the receiver and will last long.

Traditionally, we give fountain pens as graduation pen gifts. However, with the fast and innovative development of pen industry some might prefer smart rollerballs or high-tech multifunction pens. There are more popular brands to choose from such as Parker, Waterman, Lamy, Sheaffer, Caran D'Ache and less known Aurora, USUS, Online. Another popular gift for graduates - solid silver pens by Laban and Waterman that look particularly stunning when engraved. You can engrave the graduate's name and degree title, the date of graduation or why not a cheerful note of recognition and encouragement? Engraved pens are a great way to make your graduation pen gift stand out and remind its owner of that special occasion for many years to come.

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Parker Pens

The history of Parker pens started back in the nineteenth century, when the Parker company was established. Founded in 1888 by George S. Parker, whose philosophy was creating “a better pen,” today Parker is an internationally renowned producer of fine writing instruments. The determination and foresight of its founder turned Parker into a global leader among pen producers as well as an icon in the world of writing instruments.

The first Parker fountain pen was patented in 1892, and that is when Parker Pen Company entered the market. Through the years Parker’s endless determination and constant drive for excellence supported the development of the brand. Parker is internationally renowned for its innovative technologies and cutting edge designs. The innovation that made Parker stand out came in 1894 with the invention of the Lucky Curve – a break-through ink feed system, designed to drain the ink back into the reservoir by capillary action when the pen was kept upright. This invention made Parker a major player among the producers of fountain pens.

Today Parker is one of the most recognizable pen brands around the world and the illustrious list of its loyal users is constantly updated with new names. Among the most prominent users was Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who wrote Sherlock Holmes mysteries with a Parker pen. Parker pens are also used daily by the world’s most influential leaders to sign treaties, trade agreements and other important documents.

Parker range includes a multitude of beautifully designed pens, of which the most popular ones are: Parker Sonnet, Parker Duofold and Parker Latitude. These come in different forms, including fountain pens, ballpoint pens, rollerballs and mechanical pencils and in different colours to suit the tastes of the most demanding lovers of fine writing.

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

The Fisher Space Bullet pen is an Example of Great Modern Design

Well designed pens can look beautiful and intriguing. Some pens are wonderfully ornate encrusted with precious jewels and metals, whilst other pen designs focus on modernity. Lamy design excellent Bauhaus influenced pens, but my favourite example of modern design is the Bullet pen by the Fisher Space Pen Company. The bullet pen is considered an example of 'exquisite industrial design' and is on permanent display at the New York Museum of Modern Art. Its status as a design icon has been enhanced by many endorsements, including an appearance on the ‘Pen’ episode of Seinfeld.

The Fisher Space Bullet Pen looks exactly like a bullet; sleek and aerodynamic. It could be mistaken for a modern sculpture, perhaps by the famous American sculptor Jeff Koons. He is famous for using highly reflective surfaces, and when the Bullet pen comes in shiny chrome it looks fantastic. Its unique design means that it always gets lots of attention from onlookers, and is sure to impress your friends. The Bullet Pen was designed to fit in a pocket, and also is quite slim so that it can slip unnoticed into a pocket. Consequently, the Fisher Space Bullet Pen is one of the most practical for when you are travelling or away from your desk.

The Bullet pen looks great, but also has an interesting history. It was designed in the 1960s during the Space race, with the intention that astronauts could write in zero gravity. The pen is fitted with a pressurized ink cartridge which allows the user to write upside down, in water and in extreme temperatures. The pen is available in several finishes, but my favourites are shiny chrome, blueberry and rainbow (very groovy man!)