Float About #70... Dedicated to Eskesen Float Pen Collectors
© CopyrightMon/Nov 14, 2011

Follow-Up to Issue #69
We had a crazy busy summer and fall.... but it's all over now. Winter approaches and we find ourselves retreating indoors. Unlike collectors in the Northeast, we haven't even had our first snow. That was not a complaint. While folks from Maryland to Maine were without power and buried in white, Ohioans were just cold and wet. The perfect conditions to snuggle inside and scan pens. That's exactly what I have been doing for over seven weeks. 322 pens have been readied for the November Duplicates Lottery. Details will follow. We have been so busy I didn't even notice Float About turned sweet 16 in October. My how time flies and since issue #70 is beyond fashionably late, enough stalling... read on.

Sept 16th the release... of the Sept-October issue of Mental Floss was announced in Float Along. Under the heading of Classic Fluff, on page 15, you will find “65 Years of Float Pens: A Buoyant History”. It's a short, but concise float pen time line. Five float pens were featured. The first, an early Esso floaty pencil from my personal collection. Dollywood, the Titanic, a tip n strip and Nixon's meeting with Elvis in the Oval Office were also pictured. The magazine is available in hard copy (Online copy no longer posted.) Visit www.MentalFloss.com/magazine for more info.

A floaty lingo update.... Kim Newell decided, “I'm going to use the adjective ‘farby’ with ‘neskie’ to call the Non-Eskesen pens ‘farby neskies’. I think that's awesome.” It's official. I have added our new words to Anatomy & Definitions page. Personally, I think if non-Eskesen pens have been coined 'Neskies', Eskesen pens should be nicknamed 'Eskies'. Am I right?

Pens Out and About...
Beverly Broadstone actively searches for.... online floaty treasure and her efforts are often rewarded. Shortly after issue 69 posted, Beverly directed my attention to a Boy Scouts of America pen on eBay. I purchased 50+ pens. When they arrived I was delighted to see they were photoramics. Beverly's son, Rob, is working at the prestigious Getty in Los Angeles. Rob procured twenty Getty Villa pens for me. Rob is not a collector, but his mother trained him well. Thanks Rob! The Getty Villa design and the Boy Scouts of America pen are both available on my new arrivals list.

Way back in July... Bev uncovered a source for a digital float pen design from the Louisa May Alcott's Orchard House. She reported, “The website doesn't show the caption side, but I emailed them and they said it has their logo plus the word ‘Alcott’ surrounded by apple blossoms and followed by the Museum's address.” Contact the Museum: http://www.louisamayalcott.org/shop/. The price is $3.50/pen.

Mid-October Beverly mentioned... son Rob and his wife Shaina had celebrated their 1st wedding anniversary. Solvang, CA was the chosen destination for the occasion. “They found time amidst their romantic excursion to discover a new floaty pen design. It's called Christmas in Solvang. It's about time Solvang came out with an updated design!”

“It was decently priced at just $2.50. Contact info: Jule Hus Inc., 1580 Mission Drive, Solvang, CA 93463 (805) 688-6601 or SolvangChristmasHouse.com.” Beverly isn't sure if they offer mail order service. If you think it looks like a photoramic, I believe you are right.

The floater is Santa hauling a bag of toys. Danish architecture decorated with strings of Christmas lights in the backdrop.

Beverly intended to see the... Warriors, Tombs and Temples exhibit at the Bowers Museum with her two sisters, bro-in-law, and Mother. Unfortunately she had to cancel. “My sister Ruby phoned me from the Bowers with the good news of their floaty finds. Her husband described the details of the pens to me via cell phone. It was my sister Edna that actually purchased the pens for me. A true team effort on my behalf. I only wish I could have attended the exhibit.”

A big 'Thank You' to Beverly... for all the leads. That was a tremendous
trail of information. I want you to know that she has a few Louise Alcott and Bower Museum pens for trade.

Contact her via email to barter floatypenguin@earthlink.net. If you are a fan of Facebook you should know that Beverly has initiated a Float Pen Group. Eskesen fans around the world are welcome to join. Beverly is a fine floaty ambassador.

Late in September, Irene Skrybailo.... posted a floaty find on her Facebook page. She booked a Hudson River Cruise in Kingston, New York. “It was great for leaf peeping and they had a float pen in the gift shop onboard. The cruise boat is the floater. There's a building in the background that looks a lot like a structure on our tour. It was a monastery, I think it's part of Mercy College now. There was so much info on the tour.”

Irene purchased her pen for $2.50! She admitted, “It's not a super WOW design, but it's a nice little pen.”

Irene wasn't sure if they would be willing to ship, but she provided contact information. Visit their website for more information: Hudson River Cruises.

Floridian and floaty fan, Tracy Uzzel.... encountered this design on a summer visit to the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse. I recognized the art work right away. The design is dated 1997, but it has been revised from a photoramic to a digital format. It has excellent image quality for a digital! I purchased 20 pens. When Issue #70 posted there were still 8 available. Check the new arrivals list. As the family ascends/descends the tower you will catch a glimpse of them in each window. I neglected to capture them in my scan. Thanks for the tip Tracy. I would not have found them without your help.

Craig and Terri Wilson.... submitted a report soon after their July Hawaiian vacation. “We went in lots and lots of gift shops, but as I expected, turned up very little in the way of float pens. ABC stores continue to carry the multi-packs of Tip n Strips. I found some of the digital remakes of the five pen sets they used to carry at K Mart, but I didn't deem them worthy of purchase. Also discovered two or three extremely sun-damaged floaties at an antique shop within walking distance of our hotel in Waikiki. The owner wanted $12 each. Since we could barely make-out any of the images, I told her she was welcome to keep them. The best news was that the pen Beverly was looking for at the USS Bowfin Museum in Pearl Harbor was back in stock. I figured collectors might appreciate knowing the museum does have them again.” Thanks for the quick and detailed update Craig. Welcome home.

Debbie Carriere, a fellow collector in Winnipeg.... faced many challenges in 2011. Their beloved family property on Lake Manitoba flooded this past spring. Luty Cottage, featured in her float pen, was spared, but it is still endangered. The water is regulated and flooding is likely to repeat. In the meantime they are concerned about freeze-up over winter. For Debbie's family and neighbors it's a heartbreaking situation. I wouldn't be surprised if the stress contributed to Debbie's husband's heart attack. Pete's attack was followed by a 4 way by-pass. He is recovering nicely and they have both enrolled in an exercise program to insure better health. Best regards to both.

Despite all of the negative drama, once in awhile good things happen. Mid-October, Debbie added two new pens to her collection.

“The Edmonton pen was a collaborative effort to obtain. Biggy (in Germany) found it online and asked Nobi (in Vancouver) to investigate a purchase. Nobi phoned all over and found out the design was available in one store downtown and they would not under any circumstance mail-order. So she contacted me hoping I knew somebody in Edmonton. I contacted my cousin and his wife who live close by in Spruce Grove. They said they would be happy to get them for us the next time they made it into the city, and they did.”

“My husband's friend who lives in St. John, New Brunswick, got the second one for me! His son is in The Royal Winnipeg Ballet and his wife, Jane is in Winnipeg. She delivered it. I tried calling Hawthorne Cottage to see if the pens could be mail-ordered, but they are closed for the season.” Nice try Debbie, this one might have to wait until next spring. Debbie confirmed the Hawthorne Cottage is a photoramic.

Victoria B went mining online.... and excavated a prehistoric dino design from the Field Museum in Chicago.

She provided a link to the catalog page, (Link Defunct; Removed June 2015). “The pen features their T-Rex, Sue. The T-Rex disappears behind a ‘SUE’ billboard and emerges as a skeleton. It's an early digital from 2007, so you may be familiar.”

Victoria did want everyone to know she encountered a problem with shipping. ”The first two I ordered arrived bouncing around in a couple of pieces of tissue paper in a semi-crushed box. One of them had a floater that would not move. I ordered a couple more, and asked that they make sure the floaters moved before sending them. I should have mentioned the packaging. The second set arrived slightly better-wrapped in tissue paper, but still not secured, and one cap had unscrewed completely. However, all the pieces were there and all of the floaters moved. If you decide to order, be sure to include shipping instructions. ” Victoria kindly contributed the information and photos. Very much appreciated!

You probably noticed... a lot of shops may or may not be willing to mail order. Sometimes it is difficult to persuade a gift shop to bother with shipping pens. That's when I offer to send a pre-paid padded envelope for the return of the pen(s). Just be sure you know the complete address to get your package to the right person at the gift shop. Over the years I have had success with this approach.

I didn't know where to stick... this little diddy, but right here feels good. Did you read the Yahoo article about nine worthless collectibles? Irene Skrybailo posted the link on the Facebook Float Pen Collector's Group. No way foat pens made the list! If you are curious about the items that did .... 9 Completely Worthless Collectible article. You might be surprised.

Collectors News...
Doug and Pat Yeo.... had a grand September adventure. “My wife, Pat, and I just returned from a week in Iceland, where I was playing trombone with the Iceland Symphony Orchestra. We had never been to this fascinating country before. We added a few days to our trip to explore some of the great natural beauty to be found there. Waterfalls, glaciers, volcanoes, fjords - you name it, it's in Iceland. Here's a photo that shows us at the beginning of our walk ON Sólheimajökull Glacier, not far from the famous Eyjafjallajökull volcano. What an experience. Iceland also has very nice people, great food, an active cultural community, and at least one floaty pen.”

Gullfoss - ‘Golden Waterfall’.
“It is breathtaking, and the country is full of similarly beautiful things.”

“We had such a great time. I would go back in a heartbeat, with more time to drive around the island. All of our trips were out and back from Reykjavik which limited us to how far we could drive in a few hours. So if we had more time and could stay in different places, we could see more wonders. But as it was, we saw amazing things.”

“When walking along Laugavegi Street, the main shopping street in Reykjavik, we came across a shop that had an Eskesen floaty pen. My friend, Oddur Björnsson, first trombone in the Iceland Symphony, told me that the text panel says Merry Christmas in Icelandic and you will see elves and glitter floating by. It was the only Eskesen floaty pen I saw in all of Iceland so I was happy to add it to my collection. For those interested, the shop is: Ísbjörninn, Laugavegi 38, 101 Reykjavik, Iceland. Those who have been there will recognize it as the shop with two huge stuffed (not real - fake fur!) polar bears out front. The pen seemed expensive - 645 Icelandic Kroner, came to about $5.75 US. We must remember Iceland suffered a 90% loss of it's stock market value and a huge currency devaluation in the crash of 2008.”

“The country It is still working to recover. Tough times for people there, but they are coping as well as possible and we were happy to be tourists and do what we could to infuse some needed cash into their struggling economy.”

A quick update regarding Doug's... so-called retirement. It's official! He announced he will leave the Boston Symphony Orchestra on August 27, 2012. He has already abandoned the idea of a traditional retirement. No shock there. Doug was offered a full time position as the Professor of Trombone at Arizona State University, effective Fall 2012. He accepted. “This is tremendously exciting for Pat and me as we transition from our life here in Boston to Arizona after next summer. Retirement is off the table as an operative word - new and exciting work is ahead!” Congratulations Doug. AZ awaits.

In the last issue, Biggy Kuhn shared a funny story.... and photos of her husband's unique B-day gift. Her sister and brother-in-law commissioned a life-sized stone statue in Bert's likeness. Well the same culprits decided to present Biggy with her very own clone. Of course Biggy has her laptop... surfing for float pens as always! And Bert will never be alone in the garden again.

Sept 16th Bill and I were in the .... Pittsburgh enjoying dinner with Marisa Barna. We met at Spaghetti Warehouse to catch-up and chow-down. Marisa brought an assortment of float pens for show-n-tell that she acquired while in Europe. She also had a bounty of pictures to share. My only regret is that we didn't have more time together. I am already looking forward to our next visit.

Brian Hollier was my first contact... at Eskesen. He has since retired, but we manage to keep casual contact. After issue #69 posted, Brian and I exchanged emails back and forth regarding his Eskesen escapades. I asked if I could share this one... “Yes, I have had so many great times travelling the world for Eskesen that I have loads and loads of stories. It's mainly because I like meeting people and see things from a humouristic viewpoint. I had a visit once from the Director of Walt Disney in Japan. He had an entourage of distributors flocking after him. I went to the most prestigious hotel in Copenhagen to pick him up to drive him to Eskesen. He apologized that I had to wait. He explained, ‘I called for the hotel engineer to repair my television. I flicked through all the channels but could only find three’ I replied ‘But we have only one TV channel in Denmark - the other two are from Sweden.’ He exclaimed, ‘In Japan we have 117 channels.’ But what a super meeting I had. We developed the special short barreled pen-with Disney characters and sold millions.” Too funny Brian. Not everyone remembers when we had three TV stations on the dial. We had a real life and spent less time glued to the tube!

Collector Karen Swanson, in Olympia, WA... watches the sunset over Mt. Rainier from her window. With a view like that, who needs TV? Karen, thank you for sharing a snapshot from your backyard. What a spectacular way to end a day.

Tari Meredith's family suffered a.... devastating loss last spring. Their youngest feline, Stevie, passed at 7 years old. The shock and absence were overwhelming.

Phantom, the surviving cat, was so sad and lonely. Adoption was the perfect solution. Meet Clawde. If his markings seem unusual, it's because he is a Bengal. No, not a wild Bengal, the domestic variety. For Rob and Tari, it was love at first sight. Phantom seems to approve too. As of July, when Clawde arrived, the Meredith household is whole again.

Sorry, if you don't like cats... I had to share these pics with my fellow cat lovers. In the float pen community there are so many. Clawde weighs about 9 pounds now, half of his expected adult weight. That is one big baby! Phantom, Tari and Rob... very proud.

In September, Tari and Rob traveled to Lisbon, Portugal... accompanied by Ron's mother, Gert. For a week they were immersed in Portugal's architecture, cuisine and history.

Pens Past, Present and Future...
The June Lottery... was a huge success. The duplicates list included 312 float pens and 39 collectors participated. The few remaining designs were added to the Main List. I have since scanned 322 pens for the November lottery. I never intended for 5 months to elapse between newsletters, I will make sure it doesn't happen again.

It's time for the November Duplicates Lottery.
To participate, read the Lottery Details now.
I am accepting wish lists now through the deadline date.

DEADLINE is 11pm (EST) Thursday/Nov 17, 2011
Browse the Duplicates Category to see what's being offered.
There are 322 designs!

On the Homefront...
By the end of October... the fall colors in Mansfield were fabulous. Unfortunately, I took my pics prematurely. Not nearly as exciting as Karen's Mt. Rainier shot, but it's home. The red maple is in our side yard. Today it's a different scene, the trees are bare and the fields are brown.

Did you get a chance to see the colors change this year? Have you had snow? Flooding? Earthquakes? Extreme weather seems to be the norm. What's happening in your backyard?

Mid-Sept we completed our 40th... and final arts/craft show season. The reality won't set in until next spring when there isn't any need to dive into production. No, Bill has not retired from woodturning. Bill and Josh post the items they make online. We just won't be dragging a truckload of stuff from show to show any more. I will have to find a way to replace the income. I trust something will come along. There is an upside. Now there will be more time to devote to pen biz. I intend to participate in our local flea market, but since I don't have to make what I sell, it won't devour all of my time. The newsletters should post in a more timely manner. Imagine that!

Many of you know our son, Josh, has been with us since mid-July of 2010. In September he abandoned the idea of getting a job out of state. He has decided to stay in Mansfield and concentrate on finding work here. We were concerned that would take forever. Not so! He has been hired at our branch library and begins work tomorrow. Yahoo!

While some are seeking employment, others are ready to leave the work force in pursuit of happiness. Beverly Broadstone's husband retired late August. So far, so very good. They are enjoying their time together and finding creative ways to spend their days. La Nea and Rusty Conner will retire next month. They intend to take full advantage of everything Seattle has to offer. California collector, Ron Lanyi, will soon retire as well. After a long career as a college professor, he is ready to embrace a more leisurely lifestyle. Congratulations to all.

Have you looked at the calendar? It's chilling. The holidays are rapidly approaching. Things can get kind of crazy, but that's half the fun. Will you be staying home? Visiting family, friends? In the USA we will celebrate Thanksgiving on November 24th. My family is extremely fortunate, but on a personal note, I have plenty of 'thanks' to express on the big day too. Since we are here, 'Thank You' all for your friendship, support and generosity. It's a pleasure to be in your company and cater to your float pen needs. I sincerely wish you and yours the best holiday season ever and a fantastic 2012.

I will be here, if and when you need me.

PS... If I forgot to include something, I am sorry. Keeping track of news items for 5 months is tricky. Notify me right away so I can add the coverage to Float Along.

This little guy made an appearance at our bird feeder with a group of Sparrows. Since Bluebirds do not eat seed, we were a little puzzled. Sparrows and Bluebirds are natural enemies so that made us even more curious. We suspect the Bluebird was adopted by a Sparrow. He continues to hang out with them at the feeder and he is obviously accepted by the flock. A lesson for us all.
Peace and Love

That's all for now.

Go forward to Issue 71 posted Mon/Feb 27, 2012
Back up and read Issue #69 posted Thurs/June 16, 2011

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