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The Universe of Writing Culture

AP Limited Editions salutes the year of the

Snake handmade with passion

Loclen from Italy why your favorite “pen” just might be a

pencil vote! PWʼs Readersʼ Choice Award ballot inside! FEBRUARY 2013

The first writing instrument dedicated to the “Hippocratic Oath”, and its theories under which the medical school was founded. To remember Hippocrates the father of western medicine. Considered the founder of medical science, he revolutionized the concept of medicine as distinct from other fields, thus establishing medicine as a profession.





Download technical data sheet on the official website

The Hippocratica collection includes a fountain pen, a roller and a ball pen. The fountain pen offers the new and revolutionary nib, the “Fusion” nib. FUSION nib (patented) The invention relates to a new type of nib, with improved writing quality, consisting of a combination of different metals that make the pen more functional, enhancing the physical-chemical properties of the ink. FUSION features a "plate" of solid gold that due to its high thermal conductivity heats the ink in transit between the conductor and tip of nib. FUSION is a nib that has higher resistance characteristics, adapting to any hand, even the untested hand of the novice new consumer. The base of the FUSION nib is steel, enriched with a "layer" of solid gold thus marked 18Kt.

Exclusive North American Distributor 21306 Gault Street Canoga Park, CA 91303 USA T (818) 704 - 8888 F (818) 704 - 8112,

International enquiries T +39 0815030251 F +39 0815036028

Toll Free Order Lines (888) Delta Pen (800) 274 - 9232

100‰ ORIGINAL ITALIAN QUALITY ITPI SYSTEM These products are entirely made in Italy made with natural top quality materials made with exclusive designs of manufacturer



AP Limited Editions Water Snake

63 take your choice!

Vote in PW’s annual Readers’ Choice Awards. Instructions and ballot begin on page 63.


36 pencil me in

A wealth of options awaits for those in pursuit of pencils.

40 pencil for your thoughts

Pencils have their own special niche in the realm of writing instruments.

44 author! author!

A pen collector and his buddies share their knowledge in a book series.

48 fresh, relevant, unique

Levenger delights with unusual and innovative products for the serious reader and writer.

56 mechanically inclined

Loclen transforms concepts and materials from the automotive world into writing tools.

59 keep it in perspective

A new book reveals Japan’s unique contributions to fountain pen artistry.

69 the way things “use-ta” be

A pen enthusiast acquires a treasure trove of new old stock Sheaffer pen parts

72 pure elegance

Bulb-filling fountain pens were models of efficiency.

52 uncommon artistry

AP Limited Editions produces culturally rich art pens for the connoisseur.

56 36


departments WHAT’S HOT NOW


06 view

welcome, 2013!


08 mail

our readers speak

10 news 14 now 22 date

people, places and events

new pens and other products

mark your calendar


26 note 30 shop 66 nib 76 network 78 source

penning memoirs

The Pen Place, Kansas City, Mo.


classified advertising



guide to products and services

80 imho

incidental acquisition




W 2013!



ack in November, I was amazed to see a short profile on CBS Sunday Morning about David Rees, a guy who left a lucrative career as a political cartoonist to become a fulltime artisanal pencil sharpener. He sharpens No. 2 pencils by hand, treating each as a woodworking project—and he stays very busy. What that profile said to me was that there are a whole lot of people who dig pencils, and that Pen World should pay more attention to this overlooked writing instrument. So we’ve begun to do that in this issue. See “Pencil Pushers, Unite!” and “A Pencil for Your Thoughts” to learn how pencils originated and evolved, as well as what’s available in the contemporary market. Something to look forward to: a profile of a well known vintage pencil collector in the near future. Of course this issue is chock full of pens: from drop-dead gorgeous art pens (AP’s Water Snake is on our cover; see “Uncommon Artistry, Uncommon Success”) to the contemporary designs developed by Loclen, a relatively new Italian company, to early bulb-fillers. We also drop in on Pen Place, a beautiful shop in the fabulous Crown Center in Kansas City, Missouri; intro-

duce you to some pen collectorsturned-authors; explore Japan’s formidable contributions to fountain pen artistry; review some of the nibs—past and present—of Montblanc; and much more! We also present our nominations, along with instructions and a ballot, for our annual Readers’ Choice Awards (see pages 63–65). As we have done for the past few years, we provide thumbnail images of all the nominees, but these are most useful to refresh your memory if you have already seen a larger image or the pen itself. On the ballot, references are given so that you can easily find larger photos, and we urge you to make use of them. All nominated pens were seen in PW for the first time during the past calendar year, so we hope you will round up the last six issues (back issues may be ordered from and thoughtfully mark your ballot. This is your opportunity to tell us and the entire industry what you liked best among the pens of 2012. Have fun!

AP Limited Editions beats the odds and creates success with a focus on art and culture.



Uncommon Success


t’s not uncommon for new names to pop up in pen-dom now and then, but it is somewhat rare for an unknown brand to demonstrate staying power. That’s one of the things that makes AP Limited Editions unique; the relative newcomer continues to make some serious noise in artistic limited editions. Anuj Poddar, founder of AP Limited Editions, began his company in 2006, and the response was astonishing. AP pens quickly garnered a reputation among collectors and connoisseurs for quality and craftsmanship. But make no mistake, it’s taken constant hard work on the part of Poddar and his staff to consistently create fine works of art. “I divide my time between the United States and Singapore with frequent visits to Europe and other parts of the world,”


Poddar says. “The travel gives me the opportunity to find inspiration in various different cultures and environs.” Poddar’s entire experience with pens is informed by culture. His love for pens began at age nine, growing up in India, where he was introduced to fountain pens. After relocating to England in his teenage years, Poddar saved his money for pens and dreamed of having his own pen line. However, Poddar spent years building his own collection, meeting other collectors and attending pen shows before finally putting the proverbial pen to paper and starting AP Limited Editions. Perhaps that is why AP’s pen offerings seemed so dynamic so soon: they were years in the planning. Essentially, AP’s production is divided between limited editions and one-of-a-kind pieces, and production

numbers—even in the largest editions—are kept low. For example, the Water Snake Pen, new this year in honor of the Chinese Year of the Snake, is limited to only nine pens. Total. Poddar says, “Our edition sizes are very limited, so our pens are very scarce and unique. Our collectors enjoy the fact that our pens are so rare and special.” Poddar understands the nature of pen collectors, and as a result, he creates a product that attends to every detail. “Our customers are discerning and understand the value of their acquisitions,” Poddar says. “We are driven by passion and the continuous pursuit of perfection in quality of the art form and technical features of our pens. We have constantly engaged customer feedback in our creations. Our pens are both works of art and perfect

Le Cirque, an example of Russian miniature art and a tribute to the history of the circus from AP Limited Editions opposite, from left Wisdom and Power, Ganesha 108 and Garden of Tsuru pens by AP Limited Editions

Commemorating the Year of the Water Snake, which begins on February 10, AP Limited Editions launches the Water Snake pen, a limited edition of nine pieces, featuring maki-e lacquer work by Tatsuya Todo.

writing instruments.” The pens are eyedropper fillers, except in the Writers Series of Japanese lacquer pens, which uses converters. The pens carry 18 karat gold nibs, and the company has begun offering rollerballs in addition to fountain pens. A new draw is the company’s “bespoke” service, in which customers can special order one-of-a-kind pens. Poddar’s staff is small: just a handful of artisans on staff, a few special artists whom Poddar has met on his travels, and his wife, Smita, who heads the creative team and is responsible for the design of many pens. She and Anuj keep things simple, eschewing metal clips and rings for an aesthetic that focuses on barrel and cap. The pens feature one of two main types of art: the ancient Japanese lacquer art of maki-e, often with inlaid mother-of-pearl, abalone, gold, silver and other precious metals, or Russian miniature painting with its stark black background, vibrant colors and 54

precise attention to detail. “Our pens are expressions of our dreams and experiences,” Poddar explains. “They are inspired by our interpretations of nature and culture. We create our pens based on what we love and are passionate about. When we come up with an idea, we want the artists we work with to give us their best. We give them a great deal of freedom, and we almost always get more than we expect in return.” That could be applied to the Water Snake, a maki-e pen that features a brown snake slithering up an aquamarine path, all atop lush black lacquer. The art is by one of Poddar’s favorite maki-e artists, Tatsuya Todo, known also as Kosetsu. Poddar says, “Maki-e allows us to depict an idea in two or three dimensions. It is one of the most unique art forms anywhere in the world. The maki-e technique used on this particular pen and the manner in which the inlay is done is different from most of our previous offerings.

There are more than 1,000 pieces of mother-of-pearl and abalone used on this pen. The minute detail can only be appreciated under magnification.” This attention to detail is prevalent at AP Limited Editions, and that includes Poddar’s recruitment process. He works with artisans he genuinely admires and scours the globe for new talent. The success of his Russian Miniature Art line is a striking example. Russian miniatures showcase profoundly detailed and colorful images, often on a flat black background. The art form is closely associated with the Russian Orthodox church, whose icons adorn cathedrals and homes alike. The miniaturists Poddar works with took to translating scenes onto caps and barrels quite naturally. “Russian lacquer art is strictly two-dimensional but shows up the minutest detail and is vibrant in color with no restrictions. The artist is able to capture still life or nature and wildlife in their truest form,” Poddar says. “My wife says Russian miniature art offers her ‘endless opportunities’ of creative experience, and we have expanded the scope and depth of the Russian miniature techniques by introducing the rich art history of different cultures,” he adds. Above all, Poddar is passionate about creating art that lasts. Like the collector that he is, Poddar wants his pens to be cherished, and he has built his business upon that foundation. He says it best: “It is a marriage of innovation, passion for art and perfection in what we do that drives our brand.” And that’s something to make some noise about. Visit NICKY PESSAROFF is a freelance writer based in Las Cruces, New Mexico.

The Blade of Magnificence pen in maki-e, depicting an eighteenth-century sword characteristic of British India; the diamond-shaped AP logo is seen both on the 18 karat gold nib and on the crown of the cap.

Exclusive Distribution According to brand founder Anuj Poddar, AP Limited Editions intentionally limits itself in terms of retail outlets for its pens. Our retail customers are very carefully selected, says Poddar. We visit each store to see what they sell, how they present the products and how they treat their customers. Once we are satisfied that there is a passion and a pulse that beats in the store, we present our pens to them. As a result, AP pens are sold in the finest writing establishments in the United States, Southeast Asia, India and Europe. Recently, Poddar introduced a special edition line sold exclusively at Aesthetic Bay in Singapore.


BAB B BABEL BEL Collection

91 pieces Limited Edition URSO & C. s.n.c. - Tel. +39 (0)384.74443 - - ARTISANS OF EXCLUSIVENESS SINCE 1985 - MADE IN ITALY

Classic Design. Clearly Refined. 7 colors available in fine and medium nibs.

Winner of the Pen World 2012 Reader’s Choice Award; “Best Value in the $200 or Less Price Range”

The Stairway to Heavenly Writing Laban’s innovative new precision cutting process employing a diamond blade was used to engrave an intriguing Stair Step design onto a sterling .925 pen. The linear pattern creates a pleasing contrast to the alternating smooth black lacquered steps. The rhodium plated sterling Stair Step collection is available in ballpoint, rollerball or fountain pen with steel nib.

ex clusi v e f ount ain pens hand p ainted in Russia xc fo ta pa Model: T Th he Swineherd By Hans C Ch hristian Andersen Limited editions: 4

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OMAS Israel 50th Jubilee Limited Edition, in box. Estimate $800 to $1,200.

Fine & Vintage Writing Instruments MARCH 12 Specialist: Rick Propas • Visit our website for catalogues, previews and auction times 104 East 25th St, New York, NY 10010 • tel 212 254 4710


PANTONE® COLOR OF THE YEAR ! o o t o k s n i h t We

Introducing the Waterford Kilbarry Emerald Isle – Named for the beautiful parish in Ireland where Waterford is located. Available in: Fountain Pen with Bi-Color German made Steel Nib in Medium, Roller Ball and Ball Pen

Exclusively distributed by Hampton-Haddon Marketing Corporation {ÇääÊ7ˆÃÃ>…ˆVŽœ˜ÊÛi˜ÕiÊUÊ*…ˆ>`i«…ˆ>]Ê*Ê£™£{{ÊUÊÓ£x‡{În‡£ÓääÊUÊwaterfordpens@hamptonhaddon.comÊUÊ

Available at the following fine pen retailers: Airline International •• El Paso, TX Ph# 800-592-1234 Dromgoole’s •• Houston, TX 713-526-4651 Fahrney’s Pens •• Washington, DC Ph# 800-624-7367 Flax Pen To Paper •• Los Angeles, CA Ph# 866-514-3529 Fountain Pen Hospital •• New York, NY Ph# 212-964-0580 Ito-ya Ginza •• Tokyo, Japan Ph# 03 3561 8311 Mora Stylo •• Paris, France Ph# 014-354-9919

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Pen World 1988-2012 Order back issues of Pen World. Buy issues featuring your favorite pens. Only $9.95 per issue plus S&H. Rare issues are $15.95 each plus S&H. Discounts for orders of 10-plus copies.

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