This a friendly shout-out... to floaty fans everywhere. I have truly missed our communications and float pen biz. We wrapped up our craft show season mid-September. It was intense, but amazingly successful. We are the fortunate ones. With shows behind us I can turn my attention to all-that-floats. I am anxious to hear what kind of summer you had and how autumn is treating you, but right now I feel compelled to spread the news.
The October issue of ... Pen World is hot off the presses and present at newsstands across the USA and Canada. October 1st I received hardcopy from Laura Chandler, the editor of the magazine. Bill, Josh and I immediately sat down to pore through the pages. What a gorgeous publication. Pen World is an international bi-monthly magazine devoted to the finest writing instruments found around the globe. The October 2010 issue also features their 18th annual Fall Preview. The preview introduces the newest designs from twenty six manufacturers of the finest pens available. Pen World is the premiere magazine for collectors of rare, vintage, and new writing instruments. Articles revolve around the history and care of fine pens and offers tips, advice and inspiration.
I am sure subscribers are going to be surprised to find a three-page spread dedicated to Eskesen floating action pens. The article, Float Trip begins on page 97. Wendy Seadia, the author, gave our humble pens the respect we know they deserve. Working with Wendy was a joy. She was both inquisitive and very patient with me. I was thrilled to be interviewed for the article. I am confident readers will recognize float pen collecting can be serious, but more importantly, it's fun and affordable. After all, it's really a sense of humor that bonds float pen collectors.
I know from experience how difficult it is to scan or photograph float pens. Professional photographer, Tina Dammeyer, managed to do a fine job. The pens included in the article are: Saval Mustard (clicker style), Chili's Bar and Grill (t&c) and five classics.... Chicago Windy City, Hawaii Hula Dancers, The Beatles Abbey Road, President Obama and the First Lady, Michelle Obama. The last page features a traditional tip n strip.
How exciting to see float pens represented in such a prestigious publication. To obtain your personal copy of Pen World, call your local newsstands and bookstores. The magazine retails for $6.95 in the USA; $7.95 in Canada.
Soon after the magazine appeared in book stores, I received an update from the editor of Pen World. The Float Trip article, from the October 2010 issue of Pen World, is available in pdf format. Be aware, depending on your Internet connection and computer speed, this could be a slow load. It took me 30 seconds to access the file and another 30 seconds to load. It's worth it. Article with photos here Float Trip.
September 24th Beverly Broadstone reported... a media sighting from the Primetime TV line-up. “Did anyone catch the shot of a floaty pen in the new NBC sitcom, Outsourced? It certainly looks like a true floaty to me. If you're not familiar with the premise of the show, it's about a call center in India that takes customers' orders for American novelties. Asha, one of the customer service reps, uses about 3 or 4 different novelty pens throughout the show. Here is the link to all episodes: (Sorry, program canceled. Link removed June 2015. Episodes may/may not be available online or on DVD?!) Look for the pilot. The floaty makes the best appearance at about 13:55 through 14:00.” Beverly and I both think that Asha's pen was an Eskesen. Did you see it too? So far, no sign of floaty pens in subsequent episodes.
In September I received this special request... from Kim Rasmussen at Eskesen. “We are optimizing our web site at the moment and are among other things adding two additional languages so the website will be in English, German and French. At the same time we are also optimizing Google services, and one of the parameters for being found on Google is how many external sites are linking to www.eskesen.com. Therefore I ask your assistance in asking all the collectors to please make a link from their own web site to ours.”
I can do that! Kim created a page on E's website with animated banners that you can use to make your link to E more appealing. Download a link from this page today.... http://www.eskesen.com/Download/Linking.aspx. While you are at it, please include a link to http://www.FloatAbout.com as well. I will do the same for you. By posting each others links, we build a stronger floaty community.
Pens Out and About...
Have you been to the... Trailer Park Lounge and Grill in NYC? Katy Bennett has. July 14th she reported... “Last night I was at a kitsch-themed restaurant in NYC. While in the restroom I saw a poster advertising their souvenir pens. I knew they'd have to be floaty pens. The waitress said they were click and strip or twist and strip pens, the kind where the clothes fall off. She mentioned they weren't made anymore.” The waitress was correct. Eskesen no longer makes clicker style pens. They discontinued the style about the same time they switched to digital imagery. However, tip n strips are alive and well. Today they are wrapped in the classic or twist n click style.
Katy provided a link www.trailerparklounge.com. I began my virtual tour with a click on Souvenirs, but it didn't take me anywhere. I did see cutie nudie pens on their souvenir menu so I assume they are selling the new digital tip n strips. I asked Katy about the food. “Pretty good. I had a sloppy joe and sweet potato fries! I loved the decor, but drinks were overpriced.”
Victoria B received this pen... from a friend that visited Hawaii last May. She explains, “It's from the USS Bowfin. My friend said the tour was very interesting, and the website details a fascinating amount of history. The pen is nice, too. The Bowfin fish wearing bowties and firing torpedoes represent the submarine's battle flag logo. I couldn't quite figure it out by looking at the pen, but it makes sense after visiting the Bowfin.org website.”
Do you remember the earlier version? It was plain by comparison. The addition of the fish definitely spices it up. Thank you Victoria for the link and photo. Beverly Broadstone attempted to purchase this design while in Hawaii. Sadly, it was sold-out. Hopefully they will restock.
Irene Skrybailo discovered a new design... while on vacation.
“Wanted to give you a heads-up. My husband and I were in NH....
...for vacation and I spotted a M/S Mount Washington floaty pen setting right on the counter! The sales lady said they had just come in and mentioned that people had been asking for floaty pens earlier in the summer. I always get so excited when I spot a new one!” We are all excited Irene, especially when you find something from one of those hard-to-get states like New Hampshire. “They were on sale at the ticket office for the ferry, it's on the boardwalk at Weirs Beach where you board the tour boat. They were reasonable, $4. Weirs Beach is on Lake Winnipesaukee.” According to their webpage... they are open late May through October. I assume arrangements could be made for mail order. Contact: Mt Washington Cruises, 211 Lakeside Ave., Weirs Beach, NH Phone (603) 366-5531. When #67 posted, Irene still had one pen left to trade. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
October 26th Irene had more good news to share. “I DID want to tell you I spotted the PHILADELPHIA pen ('We The People' floating between the PA capitol building and the famous LOVE statute) and the Ben Franklin floaty in the Philadelphia airport. I hadn't seen floaties there for a while, it was a nice surprise! Something for stranded fliers to look out for in Pennsylvania.”
Tari Meredith and hubby made their October... trip to Vienna as planned. Tari reported via email... “Vienna is fascinating, a real blend of old and new but the old is dominant. I wish we had more time to enjoy it. You will be pleased to know that Wien has a veritable plethora of floaty pens! Authentic Eskesen pens abound with each souvenir shop I hit. I do not recall ever seeing so many in such great variety in any city we have previously visited. Prices are comparable, ranging from about €2.90 to about €4.90, or about $3.50 to $5.50. My carry-on bag will be heavy with floaty pens!” Glad you had such a wonderful adventure Tari. Thank you for sharing the positive floaty news.
Alicia Delahunty returned from her UK vacation... with two custom floaty pens. The first, from a popular model railroad attraction, called Pecorama. “I did not see the pens listed on their website www.pecorama.info/, but their contact info is posted. You can contact them directly to make a purchase.”
The second pen was found at the Imperial War Museum and created to promote their Horrible Histories Terrible Trenches Exhibit. The gray trench rat is the floater.
This link will take you directly to the page where the floaty pen is offered... (Sorry, pen has sold out. Link removed June 2015.) Even though a photo of the pen is not provided on their website, Alicia and I are convinced the liquid pen is the same pen displayed above.
I asked Alicia why she chose to vacation in the UK and when she was there. She responded... “We were in the UK in August 2010. I try and visit the UK every other year...sounds exotic but it's quite rural and quaint. My parents met during World War II. My father became a career Army officer and my mother became a U.S. citizen and we kids trailed after them. If we were stationed overseas, my mother would wangle a stopover in London and always point out the Admiralty-Arch, where she had worked, while we waited for the 4:50 train from Paddington. Like Agatha Christie, her family is from the West Country (Devon and Cornwall), hence my visit to Pecorama, Beer, and Devon with my train buff cousins of all ages. My mother was only in London for the war effort so sometimes my husband and I skip London and go straight from Heathrow to Devon. There is an extended-family camping trip Labor Day weekend each year and the location is always somewhere there are trains or trams. We rode the Seaton tram too. So Pecorama would not be for most American tourists, unless they were RR nuts.”
“As to London, the Imperial War Museum is a must-see for history buffs or citizens of any country at war. It is not a my country right or wrong celebration... very even-handed kind of place see: Life in WWII. I went once with my parents in the 1960s and August was my first time since then. The Horrible Histories WWI exhibit was designed for children K-Grade 8, but my teen son found it interesting. We went to the Children's War Exhibit next and decided to leave after that. The exhibit was good, but very grim. It was refreshing to step outside into the sunshine. We actually sat on a park bench outside to clear our heads. So we never visited the main gift shop. There may have been more floaty pen designs there! My background is museums, so I visit as many historic sites as I can. The National Trust owns a couple hundred historic homes but I have had no luck finding pens at their locations. My husband loves industrial archaeology so we visit steam and beam engines exhibits too. Cornwall is full of mines so he was happy to visit this one too: KingEdwardMine.
If you are considering a trip to the UK, Alicia could provide a semi-insider's guide to London. Thank you for all of the links and background information Alicia. I am certain many collectors will find your insight helpful.
Norwegian collector, Tone Helen Hanken... had a grand summer and so far a fantastic fall. In June she traveled to Sweden, then journeyed by boat to Iceland with her boyfriend, Steinar. Later on to Oslo for a business meeting.
Tone used her cell phone to take the photo left from the London Eye. In October the couple enjoyed a boat trip with Steinar's parents. Along the way they encountered this beautiful scenery.
Remember Tone's pen room? I would say her display cases are filling up nicely. During a summer car trip Tone found a lot of new Norwegian themed float pens by Eskesen.
This link home.online.no/~spejamt/ will take you to Tone's home page, then click on trading list. Her latest offerings are clearly marked with a flashing ‘New’. Happy trades to all!
Finn Sørensen brought the newest collectors pen... to my attention way back in July. Finn forwarded an update, “Turns out collectors are quickly finding out about our new pen - and they like it! I am personally proud of my achievement with the design. So to have each country in the background - combing the country with the flag - works well. That Eskesen gave us special permission to use their logo and their mascot Eskie really makes the pen unique. So - I sit back - very content with this fantastic outcome!”
I assume all of the collectors involved in the project have pens for trade, maybe even for sale. It's a classy, digital C-clip design. The actual pen is very nice, as nice as the picture above. Thanks to Finn for the announcement and a sincere thank you to Eldor Gilje. Eldor dazzled me by sending one of the pens my way. The group should be very proud of their organization and their latest pen design.
California floaty fan, Shelley Y.... visited Denver in early June. She found 2 pens at the airport and 3 more downtown. She also found the Red Rock Amphitheater pen at the Buffalo Bill's gravesite gift shop. Shelley was one happy camper!
If and when Doug Yeo and wife, Pat... decide to retire, Phoenix, AZ looks like an option. They feel the location is ideal and the area has a great deal to offer. It doesn't hurt that Phoenix opened a Musical Instrument Museum this summer. After Doug's first visit to the MIM he proclaimed... “It is a wonderful new museum with a creative layout that displays instruments by country, in a vast space.”
Doug continued... “The instruments are not behind glass, they are installed behind low railings so visitors can get up close and personal with the instruments. There is also a room of instruments that you can touch and play. I was delighted when the MIM asked if they could stock my CD of music played on the serpent, the ancient wind instrument that has such a captivating sight and sound. I delivered some discs to the gift shop and imagine my excitement when I saw they had a MIM floaty pen! A classic Eskesen design. Score one for the Phoenix MIM!”
“The MIM pen features the outside of the Museum entryway/courtyard. The item on the left is an African drum, on the right is a guitar of some sort. Floating by is a grand piano. ” You can tour the MIM from the comfort of your home. The pens sell for $4.99 each.
And Doug discovered an added bonus, “At Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport, there were no floaty pens before going through security. “After security, at a shop called, Valley of the Sun I found three E designs - one classic and two C tops. It's nice to see an airport that is still stocking E pens instead of the hideous Chinese knockoffs that have infiltrated places like Chicago's O'Hare Airport. This has been a wonderful trip on every level and coming home with a few pens is a happy bonus.”
Victoria B has been... on-the-hunt among the Redwoods and Yosemite. “When I was driving through the Coastal Redwoods, I randomly stopped at the One-Log House.
“They had a lot of redwood items, and one floaty pen. It's the same digital clear-window design with black bears that you have on your pen list. This one had ‘California Redwoods’ imprinted on the barrel. It was Yosemite where I really struck floaty gold. My mother and I stayed at the Yosemite Lodge at the Falls. I went into their gift shop (not the Nature Shop) just before closing and grabbed floaty pens.”
Victoria found four different twist n click C-Top digital designs. “They had a rock climber scaling El Capitan, and a bicyclist passing Yosemite Falls. The other two designs have the same background, known as the Valley View, but different floaters and foreground objects. I bought a few of each, and didn't look at them closely until I got back to my room. One individual pen was completely missing a floater. I kept it as a novelty and purchased a complete pen the following morning. I don't know if any of these are redesigns of older pens. I know they would have looked great in photoramic versions.”
Victoria, thank you for the strong leads. I believe the first two designs are digital remakes, but the caption panels have been updated. The other two designs are new to me. You have impressive hunting skills.
Dutch collector, Miranda Wittebol... and her boyfriend, Dik, recently spent a week in Belgium. Miranda has created photo albums dedicated exclusively to butterflies, step-by-step construction of their new garage and her vacations. Miranda would be pleased to share the links... just ask! email@example.com.
Congratulations to the... Broadstone family. October 7th Beverly's son, Rob, married Shaina Williams in Hawaii. It was a relaxed ceremony held on Angels Bay. The weather was perfect and the service was lovely. Soon after, the newlyweds retreated to Maui for their honeymoon.
The rest of the family took in some sites. They made two trips to the Aloha Stadium Swap Meet. Friday they took a train ride covering a few acres of the Dole Plantation. Saturday they noticed scenes for the new Hawaii 5-0 TV series were being filmed across from their hotel. That sparked a tour of locations from the past and present series. Beverly must have returned with a bucket of smashed pennies. She encountered machines throughout their trip. Beverly didn't get so lucky with float pens. She was certain she could purchase a few Bowfin pens, but as mentioned earlier, they were sold-out.
The entire Broadstone clan has returned to the USA. Now the celebration continues with a traditional Chinese banquet arranged by Beverly and George. That happens tomorrow! Best wishes to all.
October 21st I received photos from... Finn Sørensen in Denmark. His daughter, Lisbeth, chose London as the city she most wanted to celebrate her birthday. Of course they set aside time in their itinerary to meet with London float pen collectors, Susan and Russell Eisen.
“Susan picked us up at the airport and we spent a full day together. We had a great meal at a lovely french restaurant. Then we went to a sweet shop where Lisbeth really enjoyed herself.” From Finn's account I gather the float pen trading, back at the Eisen homestead, was fast and furious. Finn mentioned Susan would have over a hundred new pens to sort now. I remembered that Finn and Susan met before. They both attended the final Eskesen Open House in 2005. Susan and Finn share the same brand of humor. So across the board everyone was pleased with their trades and had a lot of floaty fun.
The rest of the trip was all about Lisbeth. The London Eye was a big hit. Then off to the famous Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum where Lisbeth spent the afternoon in the company of Britney Spears, President Obama, Shrek... in wax form, of course. Her father treated her to the Michael Jackson musical, Thriller, but there's more. This father-daughter team also attended a Sir Cliff Richard concert at the Royal Albert Hall. Happy belated birthday Lisbeth.
Follow-up to Issue #66...
Soon after the last newsletter posted... Kim Svendsen spotted a discrepancy in the Bettie Page pens. The sneak preview featured Bettie in Eskesen's classic style. In reality, they are Eskesen twist n clicks! Craig Wilson pointed out the artwork on the display card and the pen differ a little too. Perhaps the these changes were responsible for the delayed release. It was way back in May the pens were announced. When they arrived on July 6th I was so excited I didn't notice either change. Sorry for my oversights.
Moments later Joseph Schwartz emailed to... tell me that while it is getting hard to find good floaty pens, the LA area remains rich with Eskesen pens. He listed the following locations, which all carry float pens: The Griffith Observatory, Hollywood Bowl, Getty Center, Petersen Automobile Museum, George C Page Museum, the La Brea Tar Pits and the Ronald Reagan Museum in Simi Valley. He did note there are still a few landmark sites, like the Farmers Market and the Music Center that do not carry float pens. “Maybe I'll take a day off and hit Hollywood to find out if there is enough to connect a LA Floaty Pen Tour”. Great idea Joseph. Sign me up for the tour! What a fabulous way to float through LA!
Pens past, present and future...
A few minor changes have been made to the pen list... since issue #66 posted. I need another full week to scan 100 duplicates. That will bring the total up to 300. Generating the online list and counting inventory will consume one of those days. Now that the newsletter has posted, I can devote all of my attention to scanning. The minute the list is ready you will be notified via email. And in the present...
Ned West, at HDS in Pittsburgh... often sends pictures of his current floaty projects. For example, this Museum of Jurassic Technology pen that is in-the-works.
Ned is also proud of the Purina Dash n Dive promo pens that were delivered to the Purina Visitor Center in St. Louis this summer.
BTW... I cheated a little in my scan. There is only ONE dog. The dog and frisbee float from the dock to the right side of the pen. I pictured both positions.
Ned's designs are usually destined for the corporate world, but not so with this nudie pen. The extraordinary design is available to the public.
The New York Academy of Art held their 19th Annual Take Home a Nude ® art auction and party on October 18th, at Sotheby's. This year American artist, Eric Fischl, was honored. To commemorate the NYAA's 19th annual Take Home a Nude ® event, an exclusive, limited edition Nudie Pen by Eric Fischl was created. A 1992 untitled oil-on-linen painting from Fischl's catalog was chosen for the project. Harry Michas, with Special Events at the NYAA, supplied the original image that was sampled for the pen. You probably noticed the woman in the original painting was absolutely nude. In the pen she is wearing a revealing swimsuit that melts away with the tip of the pen. The suit provides a dramatic effect. Yes, it is an Eskesen twist n click with a chrome barrel and matching clip. The pen is presented in a protective black sleeve. Only 500 pens were manufactured.
I'm so excited. Now you have an opportunity to own an Eric Fischl design! This pen will be officially introduced on my new arrivals list next week, but in the meantime, you may reserve as many as you like. The Float About price is $15 each. Or you can choose to support the New York Academy of Art and buy them directly for $30 each.
The Take Home a Nude ® auction generated $800,000 for the NYAA. Eric Fischl was the most popular artist bringing in $75,000 for his paintings. You may have missed the party, but you can still read all about it. ArtInfo.com, an online news publication, covered the event. (Sorry, link defunct; Removed June 2015.)
I want to thank Ned for keeping me posted. Even if I can not always obtain his designs, I am always anxious to catch a glimpse of his projects.
Topline Products, in Seattle... designed a Seattle Coffee Cup floaty. I have been trying to get my hands on it for months. It's here! They also had a handful of digital remakes for me. You will find them all on the upcoming list.
Before I forget... I know a number of collectors trying to find a Gama-Go Dandelion Owl pen. On 10/04/2010 I saw both the old and new owl pens on Gama-Go.com. Victoria B discovered another source for Gama-Go Chinese t&c float pens. NeatoShop.com. The owl in a tree was showing in stock there as well.
As for the future... technically the next Float About would post January 5th. Consequently this will be the last newsletter for 2010. It may seem a little premature, but in the USA, Thanksgiving kicks-off the holiday season. That is just three short weeks away. That means I need to say Happy Holidays to you now. Wishing you and yours the best ever.
On the Homefront...
If you read Float Along... you are aware of our current situation. Our son, Josh, was laid-off from his job in September of 2009. He assumed he would find employment in Pittsburgh and continue to reside there. He was clinging to that idea when his apartment burned on July 14th. He lost most of his belongings, but his cats were spared. There wasn't any loss of life and that's all that really matters. Two days later the apartment building was demolished so there's no turning back. Sadly the fire was not an accident. The tenant on the third floor set the fire in a suicide attempt. He is currently in jail on six counts of reckless endangerment. It's not likely he will get out any time soon.
We are providing sanctuary for Josh and his two tomcats until he can get back to work. He continues to apply for jobs in Pittsburgh but his seach has expanded to country-wide. Recently there have been a few nibbles. To date they have all fallen through. It's rough out there. So for nearly four months, we have had a full house. It was an easy adjustment. Having an extra pair of hands through our craft show season was wonderful. The felines are getting along well. They are crazy about the screened-in pergola we finished mid-June. The cats had access 24/7 through summer and fall, but autumn has faded and frigid temps have set-in. We had our first snow flurries this morning. The pergola door is closed. We are as disappointed as the felines. We have become accustomed to breakfast and coffee breaks outdoors. Spring seems so far away.
Despite a few bumps, our family is whole and doing fine. I like to believe that all of my collectors are in good health, happy and secure, but I know it isn't so. For those struggling with unemployment, divorce, illness or loss of a family member... these are difficult times. Stan Weber passed away in September 2009. I was shocked when I heard the news just a few months ago. Communication is key. Please stay in touch whether the news is good or bad.
Normally at this point I would send you off to the pen list, but it will have to wait. I have purchased three large pen collections since issue #66 posted. That provides tons of inventory for me to sort through and find duplicates. As soon as the pen list is ready, you will notified. It should take a full week. In the meantime you can fill me in on what you did all summer and what you have planned for the winter season.
Cold but afloat...
Go forward to read Issue #68 posted Thur/Feb 10, 2011.
Back up and read Issue #66 posted July 7, 2010
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