FLOAT ABOUT... © February 1997 Issue #8

Greetings Fellow Collectors... The concrete geese, so prominently displayed on porches throughout my neighborhood, have shed their Christmas costumes for bunny duds! This is a sure sign that Easter and spring are on the way.

Collectors across the country report float pen sources are tapped out. This makes the coming of spring even more exciting. Crocuses, daffodils, and FLOAT PENS will soon be in bloom. A new breed of flower has been planted in Bright Idea's garden... a Babar series! I am unsure of the expected harvest date, but it will be announced.

New Web Site... the Ideal Motion Promotion now has a page up. This company designs float pens for major and minor business and industry. They do not sell pens retail. I promise you! Their page is still under construction, but you will find the site both interesting and surprising. There are several Eskesen products displayed there you may or may not be familiar with.

It will likely be your first introduction to the NEW Eskesen pen. The window is larger than the classic photoramic style. It is also topless, so to speak... no tip on top. You'll find no band around it's belly either. The clip is fashioned from black wire. Twist the barrel and the pen point clicks into position. Non-traditional barrel colors were used. The sample that I saw was slate blue.

I will have examples of this new pen for sale by the end of March. Let me know if you are interested. Exact cost has not been determined, but I do know they will be exceed the $3 mark. They should appear in souvenir shops as early as May. Please remember, the Ideal Motion Promotion company is there to service your custom design needs. They are not prepared to cater to the individual collector.

Visit the site, but be polite... http://www.floatpens.com

New Displays!... I resigned from pen hunting for this issue and instead concentrated on a simple, but attractive, display unit. The design work is done. With a little luck and a lot of perseverance, I should have some for sale soon. Updates/photos to follow ASAP. Look closely, you will find some new pens!

By the way ... Shirley Glaettli tells me FLAX is not the TYPE or manufacturer of the gridwork she uses to display her pens. Flax is the name of the Los Angeles art supply store where she purchased it. The unit was designed to hold artists' brushes. It measures about 8" square and holds 96 pens in an upright position. The Great Crate comes in black and sells for about $6. Check your local art supply stores.

Vacation Plans... We are scheduled to arrive in Seattle on Tuesday, May 6. Saturday the 10th has been set aside to meet with collectors. Can you suggest a time or place for us to get together? We will be staying in the University District. For us, transportation should not be a problem.

Sunday the 11th we will fly into San Francisco and stay for five days. Once again, we need to establish a meeting place. At this time, my schedule in SF is almost wide open. Maybe North Beach area?

Friday, May 16 we land in San Diego. Saturday we will attend the Kobey Market. Afternoon and evening hours will be reserved for a meeting. It seems unfair to ask LA area collectors to make the trek all the way down to San Diego. Shirley G suggested Palm Springs. She is going to scout for the perfect place for float pen collectors to gather.

The 18 & 19, Bill and I will be in Hemet visiting my brother and his new wife. Elizabeth Spatz is unable to meet before Tuesday. I hope to have lunch or dinner with her on the 20th. We say goodbye to San Diego early on the 21st. The April Float About will provide specific details about scheduled meetings.

Speaking of Airlines... on a flight home for Christmas, archaeologist Kristen Langness discovered an interesting ad in Southwest airlines magazine. It featured a float pen... a giant float pen! Kristen solicited the aid of her fellow passengers in removing the ad from several magazines.

The minute I received the copy I began my investigation. My first thought was... 'Could this be the NEW Eskesen pen??!!' The pen is in fact an Eskesen, but modified via the aid of computer graphics. Such a pen does not really exist, but it's a neat effect. The window consumes nearly the entire length of the pen. It depicts places that Southwest Airlines services. An airplane floats over them. The ad reads 'Our Meeting Program Offers Low Fares To 49 Cities. We Just Couldn't Fit Them All In The Pen.' When the traditional Eskesen pen wasn't large enough to accommodate all of their stops, they just opened the window to make more room! Clever little devils.

Send $2 and SASE for a color copy of the ad to: Kristen Langness, 3666 Flad Avenue APT. G, St. Louis, Missouri 63110. Kristen's email:Langness@smtp.lms.usace.army.mil (Kristen Langness)

Collectors Pen.... It was suggested that as collectors we pool our resources and have a collectors pen made. People that responded to the idea were contacted and asked to participate in the project. To include collector's names, we had to set a limit of 21 people. They are listed below.

Shirley G's design was the most popular choice. She suggested the pen depict collectors chasing a float pen across the globe. Each participant pays $50. Their name will appear on the caption panel AND they receive 40 pens! I am starting a waiting list in case we have drop-outs!

I have agreed to purchase the first 200 pens and handle the production arrangements. Also,names and addresses of anyone that would contact me directly, via the information on the pen, will be shared with all pen project participants. (I dare you to say that ten times Daffy Duck!)

As a group, we are already fine tuning the design details. The moving component will be a giant float pen. Nancy Nerenberg would like to see the image large enough to include an airplane within the mini pen. In the foreground, to the left, two or three collectors will appear to be running, with arms outstretched. Libby Spatz was the first to suggest we use an orange peel map of the globe in the background. A caption will read across the top of the globe. The caption has not been chosen, but nearly 50 have been suggested. The back caption panel will look something like this:

Float Pen Collectors Unite! penfloat@aol.com
Michele Adler, Diana Andra, Beverly Broadstone, Shirley Glaettli,
Suzanne Goss, Bob Knechtel, Nancy Knechtel, Kristen Langness, Ron Lanyi,
Marcia Lerner, Nancy Nerenberg, Tey Nunn, Andre' Perrin, Karen Richter,
Klaus Schmitz, Elizabeth Spatz, Nancy Thomas, Cheryl Vincent,
Andrea Williams, Miranda Wittebol

To provide a separation of text, the names will appear in alternating colors. If we should run outof room, first names will have to be abbreviated, but only as a last resort. Don't feel too badly if you missed out on this opportunity. I suspect we will be doing this again fairly soon, maybe annually.

Psychology of the Float Collector .... Are we a fickle lot? Snowdomes yesterday... float pens today. Who knows what tomorrow? How many different collections have you nurtured over the years? Many factors contribute to the length of time collecting any single item will sustain our attention.

Loss of interest often coincides with a market over-load. A decrease in the quality of a product accompanied by an increase in price is a combination destined to dampen our desires. Space limitations play a major role in the volume we can collect. How considerate of float pens to be small.

Our financial situation is probably the foremost governor of our ability to collect anything. To avoid over spending we often have to set limits. Darn it! Do you subscribe to any self-imposed restrictions? Perhaps you only collect pens that reflect a particular theme, such as: advertising, cartoon characters, transportation, etc? How exactly do you suppress your pen appetite?

It is my guess that in 10 years, maybe one out of every three of us, will still be collecting float pens. Will it be you? Me? Only time will tell.

Our collective experience:
THE HUNT... the never ending quest for float pens
SUCCESS... the joy of finding a pen that isn't already in our collection
BARTER... the amazement (you mean for just $3 I can take this home with me!?)
and the excitement of trading duplicates with other collectors
DISPLAY... The fascination of organizing and displaying our trophies
HUNGER... The seemingly insatiable desire to own even more pens
Which leads us back to the HUNT and we relive the loop over and over again!
Life is good.

Is it a Float Pen if? I have been given a multi-colored ink pen with a ball on top. The ball is a about an inch across the middle. It has a clear plastic outer shell. Inside there is a second ball with an image of a frog on it. This ball is a little smaller than it's captor and surrounded by an oily substance. This allows the inner ball a buoyant motion. No matter how the pen is positioned, the frog always finds his way back to his position at the top of the ball. Is this a float pen?

Cataloging... Nancy Knechtel and Miranda Wittebol recently shared their personal float pen lists with me. They both have spectacular collections. It is amazing the many ways we categorize and organize our pens. These are the 31 categories that I use and a copy of my database structure.

Category and Sub-Category are separated by a dash

  1. Advertise-ABC Stores
  2. Advertise/Foreign-Frisian Flag Milk
  3. Amusement-Six Flags/AstroWorld
  4. Amusement/Foreign/Legoland/Billund
  5. Animals/Bear (Grizzly)
  6. Auto-1935 Lincoln Town
  7. Blooper/Advertise-Quality Suites
  8. Cartoon/Comic-Looney Tunes/Sylv & Tweetie
  9. Celebrity-Elvis Presley
  10. Celebrity/Foreign-England/Beatles
  11. Disney-Pocahontas
  12. Disney/Foreign-Disneyland set/Paris/France
  13. Event-Titanic
  14. Event/Foreign-Invasion of Normandy
  15. Flight-P-40 Warhawk
  16. Gambling-Poker
  17. History-America (set of 6)
  18. Location-CA/San Francisco/Alcatraz
  19. Location/Foreign-Canada/Alberta/Calgary
  20. Misc-Circus
  21. Misc/Foreign-Beefeater
  22. Music-Piano
  23. OldTimer/Location-Indiana Toll Road
  24. Olympics-1996/Georgia/Soccer
  25. Religion-Last Supper
  26. Seasonal-Christmas/Rudolph
  27. Seasonal/Foreign-Christmas
  28. Space-Space Shuttle Landing
  29. Sports-Football/All Star Club
  30. Tip n Strip-Woman
  31. Trains-DeWitt Clinton 1831

My Dbase Structure
File name: MYPENS.DBF
Number of records: 1627

Field & Name Explanation of field

  1. LOC...(Location of pen)
  2. CODE...(Float)
  3. NUMBER...(code number)
  4. CATEGORY...(Category)
  5. SUBCAT...(Subcategory)
  6. BARREL...(Color/Size of barrel)
  7. TYPE...(Photoramic, conceal/reveal)
  8. CLIP...(Markings on clip)
  9. MANF...(Eskesen or China or Italy)
  10. MOVES...(direction item moves r/l = right-left)
  11. IMAGE...(Size of image)
  12. DESC...(Very detailed description)
  13. FRONT...(Foreground images)
  14. BACKGR...(Background images)
  15. CAPTION...(Exact caption)
  16. STORE...(Where pen was purchased/traded)
  17. DATE...(Date acquired)
  18. AMT...(Cost)

Cataloging continued... How do I mark my pens? Trial and error has led me to a 5/16" x 1/2" self adhesive label. It is fastened to the pen, immediately above the retractable tip, with an over-lapping piece of 1/2" magic transparent tape. I use a fine line, permanent Sanford felt tip pen for numbering. The ink doesn't bleed or fade under the tape.

I once naively thought I had found the perfect label. It didn't require a tape overlay. It was a happy day. I stored 200 newly cataloged pens in a cigar box. When I opened the box, less than a week later, all of the labels had popped off! (I won't tell you what I screamed out loud.)

Consider how you are going to display your pens before you choose the position of the label. I tried tagging the clips. It is then difficult to clip your pen to anything without damaging the label. The opaque barrel area remains the easiest portion to tag and clean.

APRIL ISSUE... of Float About will hopefully offer new displays. It will definitely list new pens. Be sure to clear your calendar for May. Details about the various West Coast Float Pen Conferences will follow. Why not float on by and meet your fellow collectors? Until then... Happy hunting!

Floatfully devoted to you .... Diana

Float Friends
by Cheryl A. Vincent
copyright 1996
Looking for that float pen
around the world I go.

I've made some friends along the way
Many good ones I can truly say.

Diana, Beverly, Miranda , Klaus,
Libby, Michele, and that's just for starts.

There is Ron, and Karen
and the three Nancys too.
Kelly, Andrea and Bill who's fairly new.

And don't forget Lori,
my newest float connection.

They all are such wonderful friends
looking for floaty perfection.

Take me to Issue #9 of Float About please
Time to go shopping... Pens for Sale
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