FLOAT ABOUT... © April 1997 Issue #9

Fellow Float Pen Collectors,

It was a three boot winter in Mansfield. Every time the snow forces me to shed my socks and sandals for boots, that counts as a boot day. Sub zero temperatures made me cranky, but Bill had little snow to shovel. It is still very cold here. Vacation plans keep me going with the promise of sunshine and warmer weather ahead. I can hardly wait!

Float Pen Collectors Unite at... The Grand Central Bakery, 214 First Avenue South, in Seattle's Pioneer Square. Saturday, May 10 from 2pm-4pm. Pioneer Square is a great place to float about. Visit the many shops and of course, the infamous Ruby Montana's. Ruby has a couple of very unique float pens. Parking is plentiful and the Waterfront Trolley makes visiting Pikes Place Market and other attractions a breeze.

Sunday, May 11 from 4pm-6pm, we will gather at the Pegasus Cafe of San Francisco's Ghirardelli Square. (Yes, I'm sorry... that is Mother's Day). Our flight is scheduled to arrive at 1:00pm on Sunday. I can only hope it's on time. I suggest you come early and hit the many shops along the strip and in the Square. As a woodworker, the One of a Kind gallery is of special interest. It is just a few feet away from the Pegasus Cafe.

Saturday, May 17 from 4pm-6pm, we meet at the Padre Trail of Old Towne San Diego. I have rented a meeting room from the hours of 4-8 so we can stay later and get acquainted. Several restaurants are within walking distance of the Padre. Don't forget the Kobey Flea Market at the Sports Arena. A great place to spend the morning or afternoon hours. San Diego has plenty to offer in the way of museums and shopping. Have a great day, but plan to settle in with us at the Padre in the evening.

These will be casual, unstructured gatherings of people that collect float pens. We will take this opportunity to meet, ask questions, share ideas and conduct some serious pen trades. Bring your duplicates and pictures of your displays and collections. I will have some duplicates for sale/trade and pictures of my favorite pens from my personal collection to show you. Of course you will come! Please let me know if you hope to attend any one of the meetings. I would like to have an idea of how many people are expected. Can't wait to meet you.

Vacation... So you noticed the pen list is a little light. I have so few new pens to offer, I just couldn't justify repeating the entire list. I have included singles, a handful of new pens, and pens that were new to the February list (as many of you overlooked them). This is a promise ... I will come home from my vacation LOADED with pens. A list will be distributed ASAP upon my return. The new Eskesen pen, with the larger window, will be included.

Remember May 6-21 I will be on the road. My son is going to house sit a good deal of that time. In between my cat sitters will run in and out, but these people will not be able to assist you in any way. Orders that arrive in my absence will be held until I return. Pens will be reserved on a first come basis.

Media Alert... Who was it that told me a tip n strip pen made an appearance on a recent Third Rock from the Sun? I searched my email messages, but couldn't find the source. I didn't catch the entire episode, but at the end, young Tommy excuses himself from a board game to enjoy the pleasures of Dick's pen. Tommy's comments and reactions highly suggest it is a classic tip n strip. Did you catch it? Did the pen also appear earlier within the program?

The BABAR series by Bright Ideas, hasn't bloomed yet. Be patient.

Collectors' Pen... is coming along nicely. Artwork is on it's way to the designer. A sample will be created. Once the sample is approved it will be about 6 weeks for delivery. Hopefully, it will be in production by June and in our hands by the end of July, beginning of August. Workers at the factory were hard hit by a spring flu that has slowed some processes. Consequently, exact delivery time can not be determined.

It has been noticed that the color purple is rarely incorporated in float pen design or even on the caption panel. Because of it's rarity, when it does appear, it is most outstanding. Purple is so widely used in the US, it's become a standard. Wouldn't you love to see purple float pen barrels?

Displays... I experimented with three different materials: presswood, pine and Melamine. I chose the latter for many reasons. The most exciting factor being that it does not require paint. I made about a dozen to see what you think. The price is $14.50 postage paid. All US orders will be shipped 2-3 Day US Priority Mail. If you would like additional units, just add $12 per display. Orders outside the continental US will be advised of shipping charges.

Melamine is commonly used in functional, modern furniture. The display is available in black only and will accommodate 22 pens. They are in a staggered pattern and slightly tilted for maximum visibility. If you wish to see a picture of it, visit this site http://home.fuse.net/gestalt/PenFloat.htm The picture tells the story. I am pleased to announce these displays will also be offered through Floaty Industries.

Miranda chose the mantle to show-off her new display. She loaded it with her Disneyland Paris pens. Behind it she propped a large, colorful brochure from the park. Simple, but very attractive treatment. Kim Newell tells me she suspends her pens from fishing line. How do you display your pens?

Fellow Collectors Update... Miranda sent an Eskesen made Esso Oil mechanical pencil to me in trade. The barrel is short and white with the company logo in color. The Esso man floats inside a clear window. He is a white, 3-D plastic figure. 'ESSO RAFFINADERIJ' 'ROTTERDAM' is printed on the inside of the clear window. I have never seen this done before. The clip is shapely and 'MADE IN DENMARK' is stamped in tiny capital letters. The tip is rounded, almost bullet shaped. The lead tip is fashioned from chrome. A great addition to my collection. Thank you Miranda!

Nancy Nerenberg purchased an older Eskesen mechanical pencil at an antique shop. From her description, I assume it is from the same era as my Esso. A clear barrel houses a topless 3 dimensional Mermaid. She holds a fish in one hand. Nancy was happy to pay $15 for her prize.

Damon Zilly also found an Eskesen mechanical pencil in a neighborhood shop for a mere $10 and left it on the shelf. The Seattle Space Needle is featured. This is very revealing. Since the Space Needle was built in 1962 for the International Expo, we learn two things. Eskesen was obviously still making mechanical pencils in 1962 and the pen can't be older than 35. I persuaded him to run, not walk, back to the shop and buy the pencil. This is my advice...if you find such a pencil for $10 or less... just BUY IT! Especially if it is in good condition.

Tom Clarkson has an itch to make a Spamorama pen. He envisions a pink pig jumping into a meat grinder and a can of Spam falling out of the bottom. I say ... go for it! I know I want one.

Psychology of the Float Collector... Miranda agreed with the points discussed in the last issue and adds ... one of the most rewarding facets of collecting has been getting acquainted with her fellow collectors. It is so very true. Personally I have met the most interesting people and many have become close, personal friends.

I remain forever curious about the likenesses between us. Age doesn't appear to be the common denominator. We span at least 5 decades. Occupations are equally crissed and crossed, but we do seem to have a number of teachers on board. We explored our astrological backgrounds and discovered some water sign influences. The basic interest or need to collect seems to be one of the strongest ties. We have a need to surround ourselves with STUFF.. apparently fun stuff!

Ok keeper of stuff'... are your pens displayed or hidden? Maybe you keep them handy so they can be pressed into service. I must confess, I do carry a Heinz Ketchup pen in my purse at all times.

My close friend, Kay, is not an avid collector. However, she does have an appreciation for the Disney and character pens. She keeps a few on her work table, others by the phone. Not unlike free range chickens running about the ranch, her pens are scattered all over the house! This would be far too stressful for me. I take satisfaction in knowing my pens have a safe place where I can find them. In my mind, an uncataloged pen is basically homeless. What is it that compels me to gather them in a group, count heads, and tuck them into their own little nests? Is this that old issue of CONTROL again?

Perhaps you get as much enjoyment from listing/cataloging your pens as you do from owning them? For me, cataloging provides a quiet time to get acquainted with each pen in detail. I then have a mental snapshot of each picture and back panel. When you have 1,700 pens those snapshots have a tendency to get a little fuzzy around the edges. Then my database comes to the rescue.

This brings to mind a question. I have often wished I were blessed with a photographic memory, but then had to ponder... what happens to a person with a photographic memory if he/she goes blind?

Pen Favorites... I would guess I have a TOP TEN list of favorite pens. The list would have to include my I Love Cats pen, the Foggy Day on the SF Bay, snowman in Buffalo NY, Heinz Ketchup, Esso Oil Man, Casa de Fruta coffee, and several foreign advertising pens. What does your TOP TEN look like?

Ron Lanyi asked about my funniest pen. 'Sylvester the desert Mummy' is rather odd, but the rat that chases the couple through the Underground Tour of Seattle is funny. Michele Adler once told me she has a foreign pen that shows an ambulance driving away without the patient. Doesn't say much for the ambulance service, but it makes for a humorous pen. Libby Spatz gets a kick out of the two large gray mice approaching a wedge of Swiss cheese in the Wisconsin pen. It's a hoot!

Future of Float About... Each issue of Float About costs about $100 to produce and mail. For each release, I also invest a minimum of $200 in pens. Believe me when I say, I can not continue publishing 6 times a year! Beyond the matter of $$ there is a serious amount of time involved. Someone might say, charge a subscription fee! I am not interested in collecting fees and keeping track of expired subscriptions, renewals etc. Then it becomes an obligation, too much like a REAL job!

Float About is simply a vehicle I use to share related news about float pens and get my list out to fellow collectors. So, to preserve my sanity and help regain control of my finances, Float Aboutwill be published at whim from here in. I will do my best to release four newsletters per year. If I should find a substantial number of pens between issues I will send a special pen bulletin.

My mailing list will also have to be trimmed. My policy has been to send three issues of FA to everyone on my mailing list. If a person does not respond or indicate an interest after three issues, I stop sending the newsletter. In truth, I just can't afford to send this out at my expense to people that are not interested in actively collecting and exchanging float pens.

This is an attempt to prevent burn-out, which is exactly where I was headed! Cutting back will allow me to continue publishing. It will also relieve the stress of trying to create six issues per year while producing for our craft shows. I truly appreciate your understanding.

New Hardware... Just three weeks ago, Bill purchased a scanner and color printer. Now I am never going to get any woodworking done! It's difficult to resist the urge to scan anything and everything. The tool will be invaluable for my web site construction. I am working on it.

See You... on the West Coast. Now I must prepare for our big trip. For those of you that can not attend, news will follow. Just the prospect of meeting so many of you has me excited.

All aflitter... and afloat,


Take me to Issue #10 of Float About please
Time to go shopping... Pens for Sale
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