Float About #55... © Copyright Wed/Feb 28, 2007
a bi-monthly newsletter dedicated to Eskesen floaty pen collectors

Hello my floaty friends... It's winter around the world, but weather-wise, the experience varies. How's it going for you? Here in NE Ohio we survived a long cold snap. It was bad enough I suspended shipping float pens for over a week. So far we have only had two days that we were truly snowed-in. Considering February is all but over, Ohio is doing just fine. When I find myself whining about the weather I have to stop and think about those crazy people that reside way up North. Their weather is truly brutal. Speaking on behalf of those crazy people, Debbie Carriere (in Winnipeg) had a little bit of weather trivia. “As I was just telling Craig Wilson, the other day it was -40C. The interesting thing about -40C is that, when converted, it equals the same number at -40F.” Either way, YIKES.

Punxatawney Phil, the Pennsylvania groundhog that predicts the length of our winters, has promised an early spring for the Midwest. My hero! I love that rodent, but only when he has good news to share. Every now and again Mother Nature reminds us that we are at her mercy. There is an up-side to all of this. When it's bad outside it's the perfect time to snuggle-in and enjoy a stack of good books and/or organize a floaty collection.

Phil's celebrity photo was borrowed from his official website, www.groundhog.org.

Follow-up to Issue #54...
I continue to rebuild the email list... for Float About subscribers. The list was accidentally deleted just before the last issue was published. If you did not receive email notification to announce this issue, your email was likely lost. This is easily remedied. Just send an email my way with email recovery in the subject line. No explanation needed. At least half of the list is still MIA.

Kim Rasmussen, at the Eskesen factory... has submitted a correction. “You wrote that parts of the floating design are now printed on paper. This is not correct. All elements of the floating design are still printed on transparent film.” Good to know! The idea of paper in oil seemed odd, but I didn't question my source.

Pens Out and About....
While browsing through old emails... I found this gem from Christian Glick. He told me about this pen way back in November. Sorry Christian. I lost sight of the email and forgot all about the pen until Beverly Broadstone jogged my memory. Christian reported... “Speaking of cool, I went to the newly renovated and now re-opened Griffith Observatory last night (great planetarium show). As soon as we got up there I made a bee-line straight to the gift shop... lo and behold they actually had classic and round-top pens in a new digital design!” He provided this scan. Thank you Christian.

Kim Dougherty contacted the Griffith Observatory... to get the scoop on shipping and handling. “The gal who answered the phone was very nice - she actually used to collect floaty pens herself. She checked with the gift shop and they do have lots of pens available in purple or black, but they will not ship. It's a make a trip to the Observatory or ask someone to pick them up for you situation. Unless someone is planning to visit soon - we are out of luck.” If you want to give it a try, the general info line at the Griffith Observatory is 213/473-0800. Ask for the gift shop. Kim adds, “If they tell you to call 323/661-7827, that is the security office. Save your dime.”

Media Sightings...
I didn't receive any... new sightings for this issue, but thanks to Miranda Wittebol, we have an update. In issue #54, Doug Yeo shared a news clipping that he received from a friend in Germany. (You will have to use your enlarge button to actually read it!) Miranda graciously volunteered to translate the German text into English. Now her pen buddies, even those that do not read German, can appreciate the article too. Click here to read the English version of A Souvenir That Moves the World.

Miranda did a fabulous job. I then attempted to fine-tune the text. The author is obviously colorful and a master of expression. Flavor is difficult to translate. There were a few lines that had to be deleted because between us, we just couldn't make any sense out of them. Even though it's a little bumpy, we think you will enjoy the ride.

Something Special....
Look at these fabulous letter openers... made by Eskesen long ago. The Something Special feature is a showcase for extraordinary, unique and rare designs like these. The openers are not for sale.

In fact, these vintage floaty openers are treasured members of my personal collection.
I received them as a gift from Miranda W.

Note the unusual mounting. Miranda and I are convinced these are ancient.
Have you ever seen anything like them?

A Collector's Plea...
Every collector hungers... for the ultimate piece to top-off their collection. There is a sense of longing and sometimes a hint of unrest until this particular item is found and acquired. This may seem crazy by some standards, but it's typical of a serious collector. For instance, for Marisa Barna it's the Peeps pen that was released a few years back. Her collection will not be complete without it. Whether it's expressed on paper, or a list retained in our memory bank, every floaty collector has one or more pens they dream of owning. What special pen is in the top position on your wish list? And about that Peeps pen. Marisa isn't kidding. It's a must-have for her collection. So, if you happen to have one for sale or trade, please contact Marisa directly at morningstar@hotmail.com.

Factory News...
We have come to accept.... that winter is not the floaty pen season. The damn usually breaks by late spring and then the float pen trade begins to flourish. In the meanwhile, we wait. Eskesen on the other hand, is quite busy. There are trade show schedules to keep and the marketing push is on. Even so, they managed to squeeze in some early spring cleaning. While doing some housekeeping, staff uncovered a surplus of sales kits in the basement. Rather than sell them in a secondary market, 'E' has decided to offer them to collectors first. Before I get into pricing and terms, allow me to tell you all about this special item.

When a member of Eskesen's sales staff visits a perspective or established client, they are armed with an official company sample case. The salesperson relies on this case and it's contents to dazzle the client. To make a good impression, this tool kit must be neatly organized and stocked with product samples and brochures. It is all that and more! In the past, these kits have been issued to Eskesen's sales reps and distributors. Now you have an opportunity to own an official Eskesen sample case.

Eskesen Sample Case

Material: Black fabric printed 'Home of the original floating action pen' + www and pen graphic
Measurements: Approximately 13" x 17" or 33 x 45 centimeters (briefcase size)
Weight: Approximately 9 pounds or 4 kilos
Contents: Two sales displays and a catalog
Six tubes that contain floating action products (4-7 items per tube) 25-27 pens
Four tubes that contain approx. 12 acrylic products: toothbrushes, key tags, etc. (4-7 items per tube)
There are also a few cigar tubes with samples and Eskesen's history in small print
Photoramic floaty pens (not digital) are included in the case. Designs from case to case are likely the same.
Accessories: The case comes complete with a lock and shoulder strap.
Languages: The catalog and displays are available in English, German, French or Danish. Reserve now.
Requests for a particular language will be handled on a first-come first-served basis.

I have agreed to take orders and accept payment on behalf of Eskesen. Payment must be received by the end of March. Cases will be shipped in April. Cases going to addresses in the USA and Canada will be shipped from Float About. Eskesen will ship directly to buyers in all other countries.

Pricing is a little tricky. Shipping expenses from Eskesen to me are built into the price of the cases that I forward. For collectors in the USA and Canada, the case will sell for $65, plus actual shipping charges from me to you. That price is based on 'E' sending ten units my way. The shipping rate will improve if more than ten units are sent. In other words, the more orders I take, the better the shipping rate. If we are able to save $$ on the Denmark to Float About shipment, those savings will be passed on to you.

Before you place your order, please contact me to explore your shipping options. I did a quick calculation for a nine pound package sent from Ohio to California with USPS and UPS. The rates range from $15-$19 for ground service. That is the worst case scenario. The closer your address is to mine, the lower the rate. Orders to Canada range from $19 for Parcel Post (slow boat) and $22.30 for Air Mail. The total cost will not exceed $87 and I will do what I can to find the most cost effective shipping rate. Shipping multiple units to one address could save some bucks too.

The cases Eskesen sends direct to collectors in Europe and beyond will start at $45, plus shipping charges.
Sample shipping rates from Denmark:
$10.90 to Denmark - $20.17 to Germany - $31.02 to Holland or Luxembourg - $35.81 to France and the UK
$36.31 to Norway - $45.14 to Switzerland - $118.75 to Japan

If you wish to reserve a case(s) please contact me ASAP. Be sure to specify your first and second language choice. I will provide a shipping quote. Payment must be received before your order is shipped, but you may wait until late March to pay. I would like to thank Eskesen for thinking of collectors first. This is a wonderful offer. Collectors... don't miss your chance.

Collector's News....
This is a travel advisory... of a floaty nature. Collector, Audrey Young-Tartar is truly a world-traveler. She logged 46,000 fly miles in 2006 and she will not be slowing down any time soon. However, Audrey is forced to re-think how her float pens are going to make their way home. Be aware. Airline rules and regulations regarding fluid restrictions are extremely arbitrary. While some airlines are strict about adhering to the three ounce fluid limit, others are more relaxed. Stashing a large quantity of floaty pens in your carry-on luggage could present travel problems.

Audrey shares a recent experience. “On my last flight from Florida to California, as always, I had a shoe box full of floaty pens in my carry-on bag. At the security check-point for Continental Airlines, they wanted to confiscate my pens. They claimed, ‘I had too much fluid to take on the plane’. They sited the three ounce fluid limit, or in this case, as many floaty pens as would fit in a quart size zip lock bag.” Despite Audrey's explanation that the pens were filled with mineral oil and sealed at the time of production, she was unable to appease security staff.

So why didn't Audrey put them in the luggage that she checked-on to the flight? When pens travel in the belly of a plane they are subjected to abrupt and often extreme changes in temperature and air pressure. This can cause bubbles. It was too late to move Audrey's pens into the luggage she had checked-on. Even if there was time, she didn't have anything to provide insulation. Lucky for Audrey there was enough time to solicit the help of a friend. A girlfriend met Audrey at the airport and took the pens home with her. Later she mailed them to Audrey in California. This time the story had a happy ending.

“So, if you fly a lot like we do, and you intend to pick up floaty pens on your travels, make sure that you carry something to insulate your pens while they travel in your suitcase stored in a cold baggage compartment for the duration of your flight. Or, mail them in a thermally protected box from one warm place to another. I was so mad at myself for not thinking ahead. Fluids had been an issue at airports all year. On an earlier flight, Air France was just as picky about fluids, gels & oils, but they did not question my bunch of pens.”

You should know that if your belongings are confiscated at the airport, you can not get them back. They don't care if it's the vintage pocket knife you inherited from your grandfather, or in Audrey's case, the floaty pens gathered on your journey. Items taken from passengers will eventually make their way to the auction block.

Audrey is interested in hearing about your recent airline experiences, or suggestions on how to insulate pens from the cold while in stowed-away luggage. Her email is thelovefloat@yahoo.com.

Personally... I carry a soft, but heavily insulated lunch bag. They come in very stylish colors and a wide variety of shapes and sizes. While such bags are well insulated, I always bring bubble wrap to provide extra protection.

A) You might be tempted to bundle the pens and then roll them with bubble wrap.
B) For more effective protection... put some space between each pen as you roll them.

On the same subject, a frustrated Harris Lindenfeld adds... “ I have flown almost as many miles as Audrey Young-Tartar this year. Since September I have been in airports in Syracuse, Detroit, Minneapolis, Seattle, Ketchikan, Juneau, Chicago, Hong Kong, Ho Chi Minh City, Hue, Da Nang, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and Raleigh, North Carolina. Two of those airports had Eskesen floaty pens. Only two! Unfortunately for me, I had plenty of time to shop between flights. The airline regulations seem to be doing some pretty bad things.” Sadly, it's a sign-of-the-times. Airports used to be reliable source for float pens. Today, not so. Tomorrow, who knows. Let's hope something breaks the cycle and things turn around soon.

Pens Past, Present and Future....
Currently I do not have any pens.... posted on eBay. I wanted to concentrate on the newsletter, so I didn't get any new listings up last week. I won't run out of pens any time soon. As time allows, I will continue to list on eBay and post duplicates.

Sorry I do not have more... entries for New Arrivals. Collectors report just how difficult it is to find pens. I share your pain. It's getting harder for me too. If not for FloatArt, this issue would have been built on duplicates alone. There are three designs that I expect to arrive by the end of the week. I have scans for the AZ/Kokopelli and the Endangered Manatee below.

All three are digital designs. Price will be $3.75 each. You may add them to your current order. I should be able to ship no later than next Monday.

A group of military... pen designs are in-the-works. The pens will be offered in spring issue #56. Branches represented include: Air Force, Army, Navy and Marines. When scans are available they will make an appearance in the Sneak Preview section at the bottom of New Arrivals. You can see a disected Marines pen there now. A newly revised Baseball pen will also be introduced in April.

On the Homefront....
For years Bill has been thinking about... investing in a geothermal heating system. In October he stopped thinking and put the plan in motion. When the well-drilling crew didn't show up in November, December or January, we figured they were waiting for the spring thaw. Not so. They began drilling on one of the coldest days of the year. Two full work days yielded two wells, each 300 feet deep. Talk about great timing. The very next day the blizzard hit. A second crew is scheduled to come, in a week or two, to install the duct work, new furnace and water heater. This summer, when record-breaking temps combine with 98% humidity, we will have affordable air conditioning!

Issue #56 would post... around April 20th, but I can tell you right now, that is not going to happen. Bill, Josh and I have booked that week in Portland, OR. If there are big things happening in the land-of-float, I will try to post before we go. Otherwise, issue #56 will have to wait until I get back. Who knows, maybe I will find spectacular float pens along the way. You can bet we will all be on-the-hunt.

So, we will be unavailable Wed/April 18th through Mon/April 30th. That gives us a few days on each side of the trip to prepare/recover before going back to work. The last time we took a vacation together, that didn't revolve around work, was in 1994. We are way overdue for a family excursion. Portland will be new territory for us all. Surely we will be able to find Internet access. In the meantime, time sensitive news will post in Float Along. Be sure to check there once a week or so to keep up-to-date.

Do you remember Seattle collector La Nea Conner? She is also a player in the Cabbage Patch scene. La Nea was inspired by Rosie the Riveter to create a CPK Rosie. I just received this photo. Rosie the Riveter has also been commemorated in a floaty pen, featured in the last issue of Float About. So, I decided to let
this respected lady-of-labor drive home my salutation....
Spring forward and float!
Yours truly, Diana

That's all for now, but check Float Along frequently for news!
Continue on to Issue #56 posted Wed/May 9, 2007
Back up and read Issue #54 from Dec 11, 2006

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FLOAT ABOUT... Diana Andra, 1676 Millsboro Road, Mansfield, OH 44906-3374
phone 419/529-8876 (11 am - midnight EST)
Copyright © Feb 2007 Diana Andra/Float About.com