FLOAT ABOUT... © Copyright Jan 21st, 1999 Issue #18

Hello to all... Sorry for the delayed release of FA. With each day, new obstacles prevented publication, but I made it! I see you made it through the holidays too. Is it my imagination or were they exceptionally stressful this year? It was, by far, the most hectic season I have ever experienced. I felt a bit like Santa packing last minute rush-orders. Many loving men, women and children went out of their way to surprise their spouses, siblings, and parents with float pens. I thank them all for allowing me to take part in their playful conspiracies.

For those of you that sent cards... thank you so much. I truly enjoyed them. This is a Holiday Greeting from Eskesen. Just wanted to share it with you. I purchased Christmas cards with the sincere intention of mailing them. Many things got in the way. Our annual project for the Ohio Arts Council, float pen orders, our craft biz, and the holidays collided about November 22nd. They didn't untangle until Jan 5th. I'm not sure when the migraines began, but getting through the end of 1998 was a challenge. With the completion of the projects, and by adopting a slower daily pace, the fog has finally lifted. With eyes wide open I am ready to ring in the New Year. It's comforting to know that I am surrounded by my fellow collectors. We will step into the new Millennium together... territory I wouldn't want to enter alone.

1998 was an incredible year for float pens and collectors. In the USA, Eskesen's 1997 twist 'n click designs hit the souvenir stands last spring. They were met with mixed reviews, but have since gained acceptance. Glitter pens were soon to follow and within just a few months evolved into a new global product line. In the fall, Eskesen initiated pen production utilizing the new and more environmentally friendly plastics. This reformation changed the look and feel of float pens forever. That's not all. The year ended with yet another big-bang when Eskesen introduced floating action Scripto lighters.

Every day, via the Internet, pen collectors are finding one another. Hundreds of pen enthusiasts have come forward to announce their passion for collecting float pens. I can't wait to see what 1999 has in store for us all.

But for now, we find ourselves in the dead zone. It's an annual period when float pen hunting grinds to a halt. It's unfortunate it coincides with winter. Our neighborhood has been cloaked in accumulating layers of snow for many days. The thickening white blanket seems to insulate and even isolate us from all that is bad in the world. However, after a week, that protective aura erodes. The realization that we are trapped begins to take it's toll. For you, winter might mean snow, rain, or perhaps just endless dreary days. Don't despair. Soon spring will arrive and with it a burst of float pen activity. In the meantime, it is best to relax and enjoy the quiet time. Winter is an excellent season for trading pens.


The folks at Topline .... have some exciting news to share. Once in a while you will find an Eskesen pen that is about a half inch shorter than the classic pens we are accustomed to. In reality, the bottom barrel is the same length as a classic, it's the window component that has been reduced in size. In the past, the shorter style has been popular in Europe, but rarely seen in America. That is about to change.

The window component, inside the Scripto lighters, are condensed to fit in the lighter's jacket. This same component used in the lighter can be applied to a classic barrel to create a pen... a short pen! When a client places a custom order for lighters, they now have an added option. If they do not wish to order a full 1,000 Scriptos... they can meet the minimum quantity requirements by adding short pens to their order. In your search for pens, it will be wise to include locations that offer lighters, as they may also have matching float pens. By the way, the shorter style is every bit as nice as the classic rendition. I especially like the way it fits in my pocket and purse.

Topline reports glitter pen sales received rave reviews from vendors in the souvenir sector. The public is crazy about them. The original glitter pens were simply location names spelled out in colored letters. The names were showered by floating glitter contained in a clear window. The positive response by the public has inspired more designs. Many of the newer glitter pens are enhanced with creative graphics, which make the pens more interesting and adds depth to their design. A new Florida glitter pen is on the new list.

Topline has decided not to continue producing one of my favorite float pens. The Buffalo, New York pen that featured children and a snowman floating in a sweet winter snow scene is no longer in production. Sorry to say, I am sold out. I wasn't aware of the discontinuation until I attempted to place an order for them. If you have one... hold on tight.

Speaking of discontinued pens... Bright Ideas has dropped their Felix the Cat, Babar, and Archie float pen series. Felix has been sold out for quite sometime. A limited inventory of Babar and Archie pens remain. Now is the time.

Worldwide Marketing .... is forever busy creating first-class designs for the promotional industry. Remember the Madonna tip 'n strip? One of many fab Worldwide Marketing products. Their new Saval Foods mustard is equally outstanding.

The Saval Food Corporation was founded in 1932 by Harry Saval, principally as a processor of corned beef and distributor of delicatessen products. For over sixty-five years, Saval Foods has provided superior delicatessen to the foodservice, institutional and retail trade. They've earned a reputation for service excellence and continue to be the preeminent delicatessen specialist in the Mid-Atlantic region.

Many of us reside outside of their distribution range, so the company name may not be a familiar one. Even so, the pen is a must! The Saval Foods mustard and Heinz ketchup pens make the perfect pair. Both are marvelous examples from Woldwide Marketing. Both instruments are conceal/reveal clicker styles with black barrels. Ketchup pours from the bottle over a basket of french fries in the Heinz pen. Yellow mustard flows over a hotdog in the new Saval Foods pen. Did someone say 'Lunch'?

Christian Andres... a German collector/designer, is really making a name for himself in the float pen industry. The December 1998 issue of Sammler Journal, included a float pen article written by Christian. This popular publication is dedicated to antiques and collectibles. The four page article is rich with color shots of pens from Christian's personal collection. The Delmonte Tomato juice conceal/reveal style pen is cool. From it's appearance I would guess it is an 'oldie'.

It saddens me to report that Christian lost his computer equipment in a burglary of his studio. I am pleased to announce it didn't seem to slow him down a bit. Several new Floaty Art designs have surfaced since last we spoke. At least 8 new designs that I am aware of. These include a pen that features a German Shephard wearing the Red Cross insignia, and an advertising pen for American Darts. An arm reaches for the phone at Christian's Floaty Art studio in his own promo pen.

The window foreground in his Koppfilm pen is plastered with monitor frames
The word 'Koppfilm' appears in the monitor windows

Reach Christian via email (4/19/2010 NOTE: Email no longer active) with your trade proposals. If you would like a color copy of the article... send $4 to me (to cover color copy costs and postage). Note... the text is in German. At this time, I do not have a translation.

Nancy Nerenberg ... has updated her homepage, http://www.FloatArt.com, to include a new section entitled 'What's New'. From there you can get current on all of Nancy's pen designs. Nancy worked with Morrison & Foerster (MoFo) to create a pen for their litigators. An amusing article regarding the pen, it's origin and MoFo appeared in the San Francisco Daily Journal on December 15, 1998. Read all about it on Nancy's website. I have a handful of MoFo pens for sale/trade under Advertise.

Two of Nancy's newest designs appear on my sale/trade list. Look for the West Valley Internet pen in the Advertise column. Her Los Gatos, CA with Mountain Lion pen is under US/Locations.

Floaty Industries... continues to produce cutting-edge pens with a humorous touch. That is what prompted me to add yet another category to my pen list. The Humor/Messages category will be home to many Floaty Industry pens. A very clever Cat & Mouse design, by Jack Keely.

Linda Hoover emailed to say... a friend had spotted a float pen in the movie Apt Pupil. Janet Novak, of New York, confirmed the report and provided more details. The pen, presumed Eskesen, has a clear window with a motorcycle afloat inside. While the pen is cute, Janet warns... it is a disturbing film.

Elvis has been sighted... in a float pen. While shopping at a Little Professors, in Columbus, my eyes were drawn to a paperback cover. The Berkley Signature Edition Novel is entitled Stark Raving Elvis, by author William McCranor Henderson ($6.99).

The image of Elvis, dressed in white and holding a microphone, is captured in the window of a giant black float pen. Glitter and sequins float over The King. I sincerely believe the pen is an artist's rendering or computer generated image. An Eskesen pen may have served as the original model, but this interpretation is enlarged. The pen appears diagonally over a black matte cover accompanied by red and black titles.

Did I read the book? No, can't say that I have, but I will share this quote from the Village Voice... 'A story that's simultaneously preposterous and profoundly concerned with contemporary American culture and its myths. Henderson has a fine ear for dialogue and a way of writing that doesn't condescend to his characters or ring false.' Time to curl up on the couch and relax?

Congratulations ... Beverly Broadstone! Tripod, her Internet server, elected Beverly's web page as the 'Best' of their 'Collectibles Pod'. Beverly's 'Go with the Flo-at!' website is an industrious endeavor dedicated to float pens. In Tripod's introduction to her site, they deem float pens a 'very hot collectible'. Thank you Beverly for spreading the word.

Beverly and I are both Felix the Cat collectors. In fact, it was that darn mischievous Felix the Cat that launched both of our float pen collections. Bev has included some pics of her fave Felix items on her site. Visit... http://members.tripod.com/~floatypens/index.html it's lots of fun.

Beverly is an active pen trader and has some new offerings on her duplicate list. Are you familiar with the newer Star Trek series? Four of the characters from the series are featured in their own twist 'n click pen. Each character stands in the transporter chamber, ready to be 'beamed-up'. Beverly also has some new Coca Cola pens. Dig through your doubles and see what you have to trade. Reach Beverly at her website, or send an email to floatypenguin@earthlink.net

Collector Elisabeth (Lisa) Carl ... is one of many lucky individuals that has actually visited the Eskesen factory in Store Merlose, Denmark. Her article entitled Collecting is Fun, appeared in the 'I Have a Dream' Foundation of Tuscon's newsletter. The 'IHAD' program began in 1981 when Eugene Lang promised graduating sixth graders at his alma mater in East Harlem, NY that he would pay for every one of them to go to college. Currently the program is working across the country with approximately 13,000 economically disadvantaged children. The program provides tutoring, mentoring, summer school, and special extracurricular activities.

Lisa's interest in float pens and love of her work inspired her and friend Emily Meschter to design a very special pen. The caption panel reads: logo + 'I Have A Dream' + Arizona flag + '2003' (graduation year). The floater is a dream catcher, an item made by Navajo women to hang over babies' beds. This charm is believed to filter out bad dreams, allowing only good dreams to enter. Finger Rock of the Santa Catalina mountains is prominently featured in the background. A cactus and roadrunner appear in the foreground. Lisa has pens to trade ... (4/19/2010 NOTE: the email I had is no longer active).

Translations for free... through Alta Vista. In the last issue of FA, I asked if anyone was able and willing to translate letters that I receive from French collectors. I was amazed how many volunteers stepped forward. I thank you all. In lieu of volunteers, Vikki Obuhanych, referred me to a website that provides free translations. She thought it might be a good reference site for collectors to bookmark. Thanks Vikki O. http://babelfish.altavista.digital.com/cgi-bin/translate

To beat the heat ... La Nea Conner carries an inexpensive styrofoam cooler in the trunk of her car at all times. The cooler serves to protect float pens from extreme temperatures until she can get them home. Great idea. This time of year below zero temperatures are of equal concern. Have you got any ideas how to protect pens in freezing conditions?

Lavendar barrels... are now in stock. They are made from the new plastic. Each lavendar kit sells for $.75 and includes a barrel, matching tip, metal band/clip, and refill.

Scripto lighters... in five brand new designs! The very popular Chicago, Windy City design is included. Lighters appear after Related Products and before the pen list begins.

Advertise column... You don't want to miss the Saval Mustard pen.

Animals category ... now has Frogs. You asked for them!
A waterfall and colorful foliage make for an excellent background.

Event column ... holds the Happy New Year's pen. In time I may have to add a special category just for holidays. Father Time enters clouds... Baby emerges. A Happy New Year classic!

The Humor/Messages category... has several new designs from Floaty Industries. Harriett Christmas sprouts a decorated Evergreen from her head. A Chihuahua in high heels tips 'n strips in the Yo (heart) Chihuahua pen. Faces flow from sad-neutral-happy in the conceal/reveal Smile pen. Don't overlook the Cat & Mouse Chase pen that was pictured earlier. It's purrfect for the cat lovers in your life.

Florida glitter... is new to the list and sports a graphic font.

US Location pens ... includes the Museum of Science & Industry pen from Chicago. A submarine floats in a delightfully colorful underwater scene. Trust me, this is a very attractive pen. It's more difficult to scan twist 'n clicks.

It's not easy to find a pen from Iowa, but I have two! The first one has a black & white dairy cow sharing a pasture with more cows. The second is a pig pen. (hee hee) It features a pink piglet with black markings.

The Boston Museum of Art pen features Phillippe in Monet's Garden. Yes, it is true to the art style of Monet. Happy 'Phillippe' (frog) floats on lilly pad in Monet's Garden. Quite nice.

A variety of Name pens... are still available. Some that were in reserve have been released. These are older ballpoints, probably 20 years old or more. The ink in the refills dried up long ago. I introduced them in issue #17 of Float About. The pens sell for $3 each. I am asking collectors to limit their order to a maximum of four pens so that everyone may have some. Orders will be filled on a first come-first served basis.
(RUTH is pictured, but this pen has been sold)

DISPLAYS.... La Nea Conner was also telling me about a greeting card rack that she recently acquired. With husband Rusty's assistance she is cutting cardboard and making location labels to display her many float pens by category. I hope she will send a photo.

In the meantime... a local hardware store went out of business in Mansfield last May. I was able to purchase a card rack about 6 feet tall, on a swivel base for $25. My son Josh and I spent a full evening reworking the unit to serve as a pen display. The rack has a white top and bottom that holds four corner posts in position. Clear plastic shelves were bolted to the uprights. When void of inventory, it was possible to see through the rack.

We turned most of the clear shelves to the inside of the display and used them as supports for square wooden shelves. This created invisible storage space that would otherwise be wasted. Eight of the shelves were covered with fabric and positioned to cup the tops and bottoms of the outside panels. Three panels are attached to the frame. The fourth panel simply rests in the shelf cups. It lifts up and out to gain access to the storage area inside.

The four outside luan panels are covered with a specialty fabric called Linda. It's a manmade fiber frequently used on displays at commercial trade shows. Hooked Velcro sticks to it better than a magnet to metal. The Disney pen sets (on cards) are held in place by self-adhesive Velcro dots. Similar materials are sold at better fabric stores. Many looped fabrics and carpets are Velcro-friendly. Take a piece of hooked Velcro with you to test a variety of materials for stick ability.

Someday I will clip pens to pieces of matboard and arrange them on the display. For now, I am content to have the unit finished. I am always amazed at the number of wonderful display units that are discarded by commercial stores. Just about any display can be refurbished. I promise!

Andre Perrin... of France, created this display by combining layers of colorful paper images. The pens appear to be taking a ride in the back seat of a pink Cadillac. Very nice effect.

You can borrow images from postcards, posters, book covers, paper portfolios, greeting cards, photos... to create your own displays.

A new pen category ... has been added. The Humor/Messages category will include the pens that were previously stuck under Advertise or Events simply because I didn't know what else to do with them. The 'XOXOXOX' pen is a good example of a message pen. By the way... it is back in stock, just in time for Valentine's Day.

The pen price increase... is now a reality. With the release of this issue, all $3 pens have increased to $3.25 each. I'm terribly sorry, but it is a must. Some of the shipping and handling rates were bumped-up too.

About issue #19 ... I will make every effort to publish by the end of March. We still plan to visit Seattle in early May, but we are uncertain of the details and other cities that may be involved. I will keep you posted.

Wouldn't it be great to visit every location that is represented in your float pen collection?
Better get busy... we've got a lot of ground to cover.

I would like to continue with Issue #19 of the newsletter.
Time to go shopping... Pens for Sale
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