Sunday, February 9, 2014

Fountain Pens et al

I have not posted in forever.  I start to think about posting about something and then I think - nah.  Pretty dumb - I just need to DO IT.  

So.....on that note.  Yesterday I cleaned out the closet in my computer room/Beasley's cage room/girl hideout room.  I have a lot of stuff.  My sister knows.  I often say to myself when not wanting to spend money, "hey - why not shop my own house?"  This means opening up drawers or cabinets or closets and taking everything out and - hopefully - culling some things.  But the ultimate reward?  I pull out things I forgot I had and, since I'm the one who picked them out, I LOVE them.  It's like getting something new. 

So on to the closet in my room - the doors on this closet are old real wood lever doors that fold out.  I have my desk up against one of them, so only half the closet opens.  The half that didn't open?  Turns out there wasn't as much clutter on that side as I thought.  It was mostly just dusty and needed to be vacuumed.  I had some old framed family photos - primarily of me at various stages of growing up - that hung in my childhood home when I was a teen.  I look at them and can't believe they are as old as they are and, incidentally, I'm as old as I am.  But let's not go there.  I pulled the pictures out - they are now under our bed in our bedroom until I want to do something with them.  I don't like the frames - they are plain black wood (real wood) frames, but they are part of My Past, so I have to build up to getting rid of them and just keeping the photos.  Or not getting rid of them, whichever I eventually decide.  They are safely shoved under our bed until I am in a picture/frame/old photos mood.  

I also found Christmas wrapping paper that I forgot I had.  Every year I think I'm running out of paper and buy a few rolls.  Now those have all been moved to a different, more accessible closet.  I won't have to worry about Christmas paper for at least a couple of years.  That was all that was on the non-opening side of my closet.  The opening side was jam-packed.  I had shoes covered with dust that I will never wear.  Instant donations to Good Will.  I found bags of yarn in lots of colors, which was why I started digging through the mess anyway.  I wanted to try to make these from this web page that I saw linked on Facebook by this person whose blog I read every day and admire very much.

So once I finished getting rid of shoes, throwing out junk, vacuuming and straightening, I proceeded to gather some colorful yarn skeins in order to make the first heart.

However - major detour.  I found a basket that had some old wool skeins from my friend that passed away in 1998.  She was a very dear friend and a Christian mentor for me for many years and she had no children.  She left me all her books, many of which were from Bible College, all her old photos, her mother's photos, and her sewing supplies.  She rarely threw anything out and had many old colors of thread on wood spools.  Her books are from the 40's and 50's and her photos go all the way back to her childhood (she was born in 1921) and her mother's childhood.  How I love to look through those photos and old letters.  They are kept in her Lane hope chest from the early 1940's which is at the foot of our bed.  I went through everything in there when my sister was here last.  There is one letter to her mother as a young girl from an admirer who was spending the summer in Wyoming in 1910.  The letter is written in pencil and the envelope and stamp are still with it.  It details the young man's experience as a cow poke.  He was writing the letter by firelight.  Just holding that letter makes me picture so many of the Grace Livingston Hill characters.  The basket I had stashed in my closet also had writing utensils in it, which I had never paid attention to before.  There was an old fountain pen (not the cartridge kind) and pencil set, an old pocket knife, a set of children's wooden colored pencils still sharp and unused, a tin of Prang crayons, 2 replacement nibs for the fountain pen, and a Redipoint pen stamped with First Federal Savings bank, which is no longer in business.  I looked up the fountain pen on Ebay and found one just like it going for over $140. and the bidding wasn't over yet.  I won't be selling any of these items, but it was fun to identify them.  The fountain pen and pencil set was a Sheaffer from about 1945 or so.  Both the pen set and the pocket knife belonged to my friend's husband.  It was fascinating to find out that the pocket knife was an "Imperial" brand made in Rhode Island anywhere from 1946 to 1956.  There is actually a forum that published a document that determines, based on the look of the logo, what year any Imperial pocket knife was manufactured.  The logo carved in the base of the blade where it connects to the handle is called a "Tang Stamp".  Who knew?  This web site is all about fountain pens.   Here is a site that has scans of all the booklets that came with fountain pens from a wide spread of years.

The one thing I noticed was that every single item was Made in the USA.  The crayons, the pens, all of it.  How sad that most of what we buy nowadays is made somewhere else.  Here are some pictures of my "vintage" fountain pen and pencil set, etc.

The pencil still has lead in it.  The nib on the fountain pen is 14k gold.  The pen is filled by unscrewing the top cap and pulling it in and out while the pen is dipped in ink.  By the time I went to Catholic school, we still had to use fountain pens, but we used the cartridge kind.  Much easier!!

The 2 green boxes are from the extra nibs.  The boxes themselves are "vintage".  I couldn't believe there were web sites totally devoted to fountain pens, both past and present, and all their accouterments.  

This is the Imperial pocket knife.  It has gotten a LOT of wear and the blades were still sharp.  I found pictures of this for sale on Ebay also, but there were a couple of days left on the item, so I don't know what the final bid was. 

Somebody used these crayons as you can see below.  The tin is unique.   The crayons are called, "Crayonex". 

The Redipoint refillable pencil is above.  The top pulled off to expose an eraser.

Here are  the colored pencils.  I have a feeling these were for Bible marking during Bible college for my friend.


And finally, above are the extra nibs.  One is "firm fine" for "general writing" as it says on the box, and the other is "rigid fine" for "fine manifold", which I guess is a term for a nib capable of calligraphy.

Oh - and the whole reason for cleaning the closet to begin with?  The yarn.  Here is my attempt at one of the hearts.  It's ok, but it's not perfect.   I need to make a few more to practice and to get it perfect.

In the first picture, Squeebles, my Maine Coon kitty, is helpfully displaying my crochet heart.  If you look closely, I think his tongue is out.  I have no idea why, but he sometimes forgets that it's out and it looks quite comical.  I also included a little better picture of the heart.  

So there you have it.  My first post in a couple of months.  I hope - don't roll your eyes - to be writing more often.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Before you said it, I already had rolled my eyes . . .Also Squeebles looks more like he's saying. 'What is THAT thing on my bod? and GET it OFF or I will!!!