Jump to content


Photo

Pen Philosophy


  • Please log in to reply
52 replies to this topic

#1 Inflection

Inflection

    Near Mint

  • Member - Silver

  • PipPipPip
  • 28 posts

Posted 07 June 2014 - 20:20

I think this is an under-explored topic, but strangely critical if we're talking about collecting. To put it concisely,
 
Where is the soul of your pen?
 
We all know (well, most of us know) that pens don't have actual souls. But the question is extremely important because it always shows up in our buying habits, and has an extreme influence over the price of a particular pen. So, with no further ado, let's explore this question...

 

When is a pen no longer the same pen?

 

People speak fondly of the pen that they've had their whole lives. There was that one time they dropped it on the nib in college, but they got the nib replaced by graduation. Then their fiancé cracked the finish, so the barrel got swapped for an identical one before the honeymoon. Then they replaced the ink sac after one of their kids broke it while playing with the pen, and they got a new collector along with it that works much better than the old one.

 

When did the pen stop being the same pen? When the first part was replaced, when the last part went, or somewhere around the body being swapped? Yes, people are inclined to wax philosophical and say that the pen was in their hearts, but that's not how act when you've got your wallet out and are looking to buy pens. Originality is an important thing to collectors, one of those vague abstracts like "nationality" (where the pen was made) that often has no bearing on the pen itself but rather on how you think of the pen. What if you found out your prized vintage 1921 Parker Duofold was actually made in China in 2013? Are you going to argue that it doesn't matter to you, the pen is in your heart? (Where that fat wad of cash you paid also resides?)

 

The same thing goes for "first year" pens, or a pen that was owned by a famous person, etc. Do you never harbor that secret doubt, that your pen is not what you think it is? Or, even if it is what it is, do you ponder why things like "this pen signed the WWI armistice" translates to a certain monetary value? When you get the pen in the mail, is it not just another pen? If you had no-one to impress with it (except Frank the mannequin, from I Am Legend), would it even have any value beyond its immediate practical use? Or do we, in a sense, pay extra for social gravity?

 

$(KGrHqFHJEIFIBW6N32QBSC4ZGwTC!~~60_57.J

100% Original 1910 Montblanc Simplo #0 Baby, on eBay

Price: $29,999.99 as of this Saturday

 

 

My thoughts...

 

I'm not trying to convince anyone of anything, I just merely want to stimulate discussion on a topic I find fascinating. Switch the cap on a vintage pen, is it the same pen or not? Or is it exactly 31% less the same pen? Are we concerned with preserving the "original" molecules, or is the design itself what is valued (as when vintage pens end up with parts from practically every year in the 20th century, or even modern replacements made in someone's garage). What if your pen never was presented in the Empire State Building, like you thought it was, and paid for accordingly? Why are perfect (indeed, even improved) replicas often sold for a fraction of the "older" pen's value? We obviously care about these things (shattering a pen from 1899 can devastate our soul), but we never investigate what's really at the root of our collecting. Let's really break it down... Since we treat our pens like children, and there is an obvious emotional component to collecting, what do we actually value? Function, Form, Fame, or History?



#2 orfew

orfew

    Antique

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,988 posts
  • Flag:

Posted 07 June 2014 - 20:42

Sometimes a pen is just a pen and sometimes...


" Gladly would he learn and gladly teach" G. Chaucer

#3 Mr5x5

Mr5x5

    Mint

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPip
  • 93 posts
  • Location:Kentucky
  • Flag:

Posted 07 June 2014 - 20:45

Interesting question?  Kind of like my grandfather's axe that I replaced the head on once and the handle twice.  Afraid I having nothing to add to the discussion though because I don't collect them, just use them to put ink on paper more comfortably than with a skinny ballpoint.



#4 The Journeyman

The Journeyman

    Mint

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPip
  • 52 posts
  • Flag:

Posted 07 June 2014 - 21:33

So often with a musical tune its a particular riff that sticks with us, a memory that is like a hook other things hang upon. I suspect its something similar with our pens. Apart from the pleasure of the writing experience which itself creates memories for us and which I have written about elsewhere, more often than not a favourite pen has memories associated with it: it belonged to a loved one or was a gift from someone special or commemorates a certain occurrence in our mind. They say our soul is composed of our mind, our will and our emotions so when you talk about the soul of a pen its surely something that is fixed in our emotions. Its soul and ours united in memories and in association. That being the case the replacement of some, even many, of its component parts will not alter its association for us. Its soul and ours are still united.

#5 jar

jar

    A Vintage Pen has to be older than me.

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 16,521 posts
  • Location:From Deep South Texas
  • Flag:

Posted 07 June 2014 - 22:06

Huh?


How pierceful grows the hazy yon! How myrtle petaled thou! For spring hath sprung the cyclotron - How high browse thou, brown cow? -- Churchy LaFemme, 1950

Anyone so limited that they can only spell a word one way suffers a severe handicap. -- jar

The last pen I bought will be the next to last pen I ever buy! --jar


#6 Runnin_Ute

Runnin_Ute

    Donor Pen

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,438 posts
  • Location:Sandy, Utah
  • Flag:

Posted 07 June 2014 - 22:47

It's easy to say "it's just a pen", but because of an emotional (if irrational sometimes) attachment we have with it, it isn't "just a pen" anymore. 

 

Maybe it is that first fountain pen, or one that came to you as an heirloom from a family member now deceased. Or the first from that particular maker. One I lost back in January, I still miss. It wasn't expensive, (~$50) and it wasn't my first pen.(#2) But it was a favorite. Problem is, to replace with a used one would cost 3-4 times what I paid for it new in the late 1990's. And I am not willing to do that. If I am going to spend up to $200 for a pen, it will be something else.


Edited by Runnin_Ute, 07 June 2014 - 22:47.

Brad "Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind" - Rudyard Kipling

"None of us can have as many virtues as the fountain-pen, or half its cussedness; but we can try." - Mark Twain

LetterExchange_sm.png


#7 Inflection

Inflection

    Near Mint

  • Member - Silver

  • PipPipPip
  • 28 posts

Posted 07 June 2014 - 23:24

It's easy to say "it's just a pen", but because of an emotional (if irrational sometimes) attachment we have with it, it isn't "just a pen" anymore. 

 

Maybe it is that first fountain pen, or one that came to you as an heirloom from a family member now deceased. Or the first from that particular maker. One I lost back in January, I still miss. It wasn't expensive, (~$50) and it wasn't my first pen.(#2) But it was a favorite. Problem is, to replace with a used one would cost 3-4 times what I paid for it new in the late 1990's. And I am not willing to do that. If I am going to spend up to $200 for a pen, it will be something else.

 

No, I'm not just saying "it's just a pen." I have the feeling people aren't reading my original post, serves me right for rambling on for that long.

 

I'm asking collectors what part of the pen is important to collect, for example, if the nib and inner body are there but the outer body, inc sac and feed have been replaced, is it the same pen? Or is a pen with a replacement nib, replacement inner body but the same outer "shell" considered the same pen?

I'm just curious as to what we are collecting when we get right down to it. When does that "family heirloom" pen you mention stop being that pen? Like, if you slowly replace one part at a time, until none of that pen was ever touched by your family member... I'm just exploring the nature of our hobby.



#8 jar

jar

    A Vintage Pen has to be older than me.

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 16,521 posts
  • Location:From Deep South Texas
  • Flag:

Posted 07 June 2014 - 23:40

 

No, I'm not just saying "it's just a pen." I have the feeling people aren't reading my original post, serves me right for rambling on for that long.

 

I'm asking collectors what part of the pen is important to collect, for example, if the nib and inner body are there but the outer body, inc sac and feed have been replaced, is it the same pen? Or is a pen with a replacement nib, replacement inner body but the same outer "shell" considered the same pen?

I'm just curious as to what we are collecting when we get right down to it. When does that "family heirloom" pen you mention stop being that pen? Like, if you slowly replace one part at a time, until none of that pen was ever touched by your family member... I'm just exploring the nature of our hobby.

 

HUH?


How pierceful grows the hazy yon! How myrtle petaled thou! For spring hath sprung the cyclotron - How high browse thou, brown cow? -- Churchy LaFemme, 1950

Anyone so limited that they can only spell a word one way suffers a severe handicap. -- jar

The last pen I bought will be the next to last pen I ever buy! --jar


#9 Mardi13

Mardi13

    DancingPiglet

  • Premium - Ruby

  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 354 posts
  • Location:California and New York
  • Flag:

Posted 08 June 2014 - 00:14

I find the fact that anyone brought this up just fascinating.

As a musician (violist) who has a very physically intimate relationship with instruments, I can relate to this concept. As musicians we bond very closely to our chosen instruments, because they feel right, sound the way we imagine they should, and enable us to translate our most intimate emotions through them into something understandable (we hope) to others. As players we literally embrace them every day. Often the ones we end up partnered with are not the ones we expect. This bow doesn't feel as wonderful in my hand as the other, but it makes my viola sing. This viola isn't as beautiful cosmetically as many others that made me lust after them, but it connects to my inner voice and speaks for me. Sometimes instruments are not all original, and that might detract from their monetary value, but not from their sound or, as the OP would have it, their souls.
I am not at all sure whether or not I believe that instruments have souls, but they enable us to find and express our own. Many have enabled hundreds of people through their (the instrument's) lives to communicate without words, and perhaps have thus absorbed some of that soulfulness themselves. My bow was made in the time of Mozart - it could have played at a Mozart premiere. That is in its DNA now, or its "soul." Could not pens be thought of in the same way, original parts or not?

#10 Freddy

Freddy

    Antique

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,721 posts
  • Location:Gold Coast
  • Flag:

Posted 08 June 2014 - 00:56

Perplexafied.....Perhaps{?} fountain pens are 'just plain fun'....

Even when we 'write stuff that didn't end up making much sense'..

sorta like 'just signing your name over and over'....

 

For your consideration two short es-say from Doc Eye....

First up one on Collecting....

http://www.vacumania...ucationuser.htm

 

And on Grading....

http://www.vacumania...radingessay.htm

 

At the moment writin'..obstropolous..obstreperous....

 

 

Fred

It's keen..No...it's greater than keen...it's cougat....

~ D. Keaton ~



#11 Inflection

Inflection

    Near Mint

  • Member - Silver

  • PipPipPip
  • 28 posts

Posted 08 June 2014 - 01:16

 

HUH?

 

If people find this concept hard to understand, by all means, let this thread fade away, but I can't believe it's that hard to understand. If you break your pen, and get the nib, body, and feed of the pen replaced, is it the same pen to you? Or is "your pen" still on an asphalt road in Kentucky, shattered and in pieces, and the thing you are calling "the pen that's been with me my whole life" has really not, because you mostly rebuilt it from scratch after your "actual" pen was run over by a semi truck.

 

To put it simply, what part of the pen makes the pen THAT pen? If you replace everything but the body, is it the same pen? If you replace the body but the nib and innards are the same, is it the same pen? This obviously has a lot of implications for collectors who buy things on the basis of these principles.

 

If you disregard this, then funky stuff happens. If you subscribe to the idea "as long as it's 50% original parts, it's still a vintage pen to me," that means you can remove half of a Vacumatic, put that half in a replacement body, and now you "technically" have two vintage Vacumatics where before there was one. So I would assume that most people agree that if a pen doesn't have its original body, it is not itself anymore, but this again raises the question, if you buy a Vacumatic body on eBay and fill that pen with modern replica parts, is it a "Vintage Vacumatic?"

 

 

Perplexafied.....Perhaps{?} fountain pens are 'just plain fun'....

Even when we 'write stuff that didn't end up making much sense'..

sorta like 'just signing your name over and over'....

 

For your consideration two short es-say from Doc Eye....

First up one on Collecting....

http://www.vacumania...ucationuser.htm

 

And on Grading....

http://www.vacumania...radingessay.htm

 

At the moment writin'..obstropolous..obstreperous....

 

 

Fred

It's keen..No...it's greater than keen...it's cougat....

~ D. Keaton ~

 

Did you read my original post at all?


Edited by Inflection, 08 June 2014 - 01:18.


#12 Bigeddie

Bigeddie

    Must not purchase more ink.

  • Member - Gold & Supporter

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,054 posts
  • Location:Leicester, UK
  • Flag:

Posted 08 June 2014 - 01:27

I am not at all sure whether or not I believe that instruments have souls, but they enable us to find and express our own. Many have enabled hundreds of people through their (the instrument's) lives to communicate without words, and perhaps have thus absorbed some of that soulfulness themselves. My bow was made in the time of Mozart - it could have played at a Mozart premiere. That is in its DNA now, or its "soul." Could not pens be thought of in the same way, original parts or not?

 

I think this is close to my thinking (thanks Mardi13). For me it's about connections, the sentimental object is more than it's parts, it's an idea of connections that it has made over it's lifetime. this might not go for every object or for every person, but I think most of us have things that we are attached to. 

 

I have a lot of quite modern pens, those that are handmade already seem to have more of a connection to the world than those that have rolled off a production line. Those that have more history accumulate significance beyond their cap, nib, barrel and feed. They are beings in their own right. If someone had a hip replacement they wouldn't be any less the person. People carry photographs of the people that they love to remember them, or for whatever reason... when they have the person back with them they still keep the photograph because it has an identity of the connections that it has made in it's own right, the places that it has been, the people that have seen it, the writing that might be on the reverse. I think pens develop a similar connections - people who have used them, things they have written or signed, the moments that it was present in.


Edited by Bigeddie, 08 June 2014 - 01:34.

For small creatures such as we the vastness is bearable only through love. -Carl Sagan

#13 inkstainedruth

inkstainedruth

    Donor Pen

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,808 posts
  • Flag:

Posted 08 June 2014 - 01:27

Interesting topic.  Most of my pens are vintage, and I have no idea if they've had work done on them before I got them.  And there are some that I've had work done on (replacing sacs and diaphragms).  But those are "just pens" to me.  Nice, I like them, but I don't have the emotional attachment that I think the OP is talking about.  

But there *are* a couple of pens I have that I do have a sort of emotional resonance with.  

One is the Parker Vector that was my first "good" pen.  Yeah.  A $9 pen fits that category.  And I didn't even like it that much at first, because it has an F nib, and the pens that came before had M nibs, and I wasn't sure I'd get used to that.  Until I realized just how much further a cartridge went.  And then when I thought I'd lost it I realized how much I'd come to depend on it, even when all I was using it for was writing in my journal.  I've since gotten other Vectors, and liked them, but I don't have the same connection with them as I did with my original one.  That pen has some sort of "soul" to it.  Even if it's just a c/c pen that I now have a converter for (it didn't originally).

Another is the Plum 51 Demi I got on Ebay last year.  It's kind of a beater pen, with lots of corrosion on the sac cover, and just a Lustraloy cap.  I've considered swapping out the gold filled cap from my other 51 Aero, because I think it would look really nice -- the plum with the gold.  But I don't because somehow it wouldn't be the same pen.  

So yeah, it's a weird concept, but I think I understand completely where the OP is coming from....

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth


"It's very nice, but frankly, when I signed that list for a P-51, what I had in mind was a fountain pen."

#14 Freddy

Freddy

    Antique

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,721 posts
  • Location:Gold Coast
  • Flag:

Posted 08 June 2014 - 01:28

 

I said at 20:56................................

.........................................................

...............................................................................

 

 

Did you read my original post at all?

 

   Thanks for asking..I did read every word.....

 

   Good nite every one....

 

   Redactin': something must be true because it cannot be 

   disproven..or false because it cannot be proven....

   Impeaching a witness: reasons/truth..reasons/belief....

 

   Fred

   We want to connect the dots between the two wind projects and show the need for offshore wind energy....

   ~  Matt Kearns  ~


Edited by Freddy, 08 June 2014 - 01:38.


#15 jar

jar

    A Vintage Pen has to be older than me.

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 16,521 posts
  • Location:From Deep South Texas
  • Flag:

Posted 08 June 2014 - 01:31

 

If people find this concept hard to understand, by all means, let this thread fade away, but I can't believe it's that hard to understand. If you break your pen, and get the nib, body, and feed of the pen replaced, is it the same pen to you? Or is "your pen" still on an asphalt road in Kentucky, shattered and in pieces, and the thing you are calling "the pen that's been with me my whole life" has really not, because you mostly rebuilt it from scratch after your "actual" pen was run over by a semi truck.

 

To put it simply, what part of the pen makes the pen THAT pen? If you replace everything but the body, is it the same pen? If you replace the body but the nib and innards are the same, is it the same pen? This obviously has a lot of implications for collectors who buy things on the basis of these principles.

 

If you disregard this, then funky stuff happens. If you subscribe to the idea "as long as it's 50% original parts, it's still a vintage pen to me," that means you can remove half of a Vacumatic, put that half in a replacement body, and now you "technically" have two vintage Vacumatics where before there was one. So I would assume that most people agree that if a pen doesn't have its original body, it is not itself anymore, but this again raises the question, if you buy a Vacumatic body on eBay and fill that pen with modern parts, is it a "Vintage Vacumatic?"

 

 

 

Did you read my original post at all?

 

You're probably a really nice kid and I remember sitting on the dorm steps debating stuff like that when I was in the 8th or 9th grade.  But then I realized that humans are constantly replacing pieces parts.  My skin today is not the same skin I had yesterday. Yet I am still me.

 

Your question may be a fun exercise but is pretty much pointless; as silly as asking if I am the same person I was yesterday.  I am what I am at this moment.  The pen is the pen it is at each moment.

 

So then turn to emotion. The emotional attachment to some object (call it a fountain pen) depends on the individual, not really on the object.  Two individuals will react differently at the emotional level and may vary from object to object, moment to moment, be reasonable or unreasonable, rational or irrational, consistent or not consistent.

 

The answer though is about as valid as what you get from a 'cootie catcher'.


Edited by jar, 08 June 2014 - 01:31.

How pierceful grows the hazy yon! How myrtle petaled thou! For spring hath sprung the cyclotron - How high browse thou, brown cow? -- Churchy LaFemme, 1950

Anyone so limited that they can only spell a word one way suffers a severe handicap. -- jar

The last pen I bought will be the next to last pen I ever buy! --jar


#16 Runnin_Ute

Runnin_Ute

    Donor Pen

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,438 posts
  • Location:Sandy, Utah
  • Flag:

Posted 08 June 2014 - 01:31

 

No, I'm not just saying "it's just a pen." I have the feeling people aren't reading my original post, serves me right for rambling on for that long.

 

I'm asking collectors what part of the pen is important to collect, for example, if the nib and inner body are there but the outer body, inc sac and feed have been replaced, is it the same pen? Or is a pen with a replacement nib, replacement inner body but the same outer "shell" considered the same pen?

I'm just curious as to what we are collecting when we get right down to it. When does that "family heirloom" pen you mention stop being that pen? Like, if you slowly replace one part at a time, until none of that pen was ever touched by your family member... I'm just exploring the nature of our hobby.

I realized that. And I started from the premise that some people say "it's just a pen".. You wanted your first post to be a jump starter for dialog. Which it was. I just started from what came out of my head.  Is it the same pen? Some people will say no if major pieces have been replaced, but others will say otherwise. Me?  Not sure how I feel about it.

 

That pen I mentioned in my first post? A Waterman Phileas. I think the way I feel about it has a lot to do with the way it disappeared.


Edited by Runnin_Ute, 08 June 2014 - 01:52.

Brad "Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind" - Rudyard Kipling

"None of us can have as many virtues as the fountain-pen, or half its cussedness; but we can try." - Mark Twain

LetterExchange_sm.png


#17 LOGAN

LOGAN

    Inky Preacher

  • Moderators

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 866 posts
  • Location:in the mountains.
  • Flag:

Posted 08 June 2014 - 01:33

I like pens.

 

I can't say I have a 'Pen Philosophy" though.

 

I buy what I like. I use what I like. I sell the rest. 

 

:closedeyes:

 

 

 

 

You're probably a really nice kid and I remember sitting on the dorm steps debating stuff like that when I was in the 8th or 9th grade.  But then I realized that humans are constantly replacing pieces parts.  My skin today is not the same skin I had yesterday. Yet I am still me.

 

Your question may be a fun exercise but is pretty much pointless; as silly as asking if I am the same person I was yesterday.  I am what I am at this moment.  The pen is the pen it is at each moment.

 

So then turn to emotion. The emotional attachment to some object (call it a fountain pen) depends on the individual, not really on the object.  Two individuals will react differently at the emotional level and may vary from object to object, moment to moment, be reasonable or unreasonable, rational or irrational, consistent or not consistent.

 

The answer though is about as valid as what you get from a 'cootie catcher'.

+1

Edited by logantrky, 08 June 2014 - 01:35.


#18 LOGAN

LOGAN

    Inky Preacher

  • Moderators

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 866 posts
  • Location:in the mountains.
  • Flag:

Posted 08 June 2014 - 01:34

Edit: Double post. Sorry. 


Edited by logantrky, 08 June 2014 - 01:34.


#19 AndrewThomas

AndrewThomas

    Rare

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 115 posts
  • Flag:

Posted 08 June 2014 - 01:37

I think it's a really interesting question, one that can be asked about all sorts of things that we collect and invest time and care in. I can answer the question a little more simply because I've never bought a pen for any reason but to write with it (no offense, of course, to investors or collectors who don't write with their pens). So if I have a pen, that I use over many years, and in those years at different times the nib, body, filling system, and cap are replaced, I'd say it's the same pen by virtue of the continuity of my use. What defines the pen--its "soul" as you put it--is not the object itself or its material, but my relationship with it as an object. 



#20 Inflection

Inflection

    Near Mint

  • Member - Silver

  • PipPipPip
  • 28 posts

Posted 08 June 2014 - 01:48

 

You're probably a really nice kid and I remember sitting on the dorm steps debating stuff like that when I was in the 8th or 9th grade.  But then I realized that humans are constantly replacing pieces parts.  My skin today is not the same skin I had yesterday. Yet I am still me.

 

Your question may be a fun exercise but is pretty much pointless; as silly as asking if I am the same person I was yesterday.  I am what I am at this moment.  The pen is the pen it is at each moment.

 

So then turn to emotion. The emotional attachment to some object (call it a fountain pen) depends on the individual, not really on the object.  Two individuals will react differently at the emotional level and may vary from object to object, moment to moment, be reasonable or unreasonable, rational or irrational, consistent or not consistent.

 

The answer though is about as valid as what you get from a 'cootie catcher'.

 

I mostly agree, I meant no offense in my post, I'm sure you're a really nice kid too.



#21 sotto2

sotto2

    Collectors Item

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,013 posts

Posted 08 June 2014 - 01:55

I'm very Zen-ish about this whole issue. To me, the meaning of pens is the meaning of spinach. I'm gonna go get some ice cream.

ekfh5f.jpg


#22 wallylynn

wallylynn

    Antique

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,553 posts

Posted 08 June 2014 - 01:58

You mean the pen version of https://en.wikipedia...Ship_of_Theseus



#23 mwpannell

mwpannell

    Who? What?

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 228 posts
  • Location:Middle Georgia--Like Middle Earth but, um, not..
  • Flag:

Posted 08 June 2014 - 03:01

To specifically answer the OP's question: I don’t know. But that doesn’t mean I won’t ramble on as well. As with Mardi13, my immediate thoughts went to musical instruments, for me, guitars. Guitars and pens don't have souls, but that doesn't stop them from having--or not having--something that gives them a particular value or character beyond the tangible specifics of materials of construction, design elements for parts, a particular nib, barrel or whatever. I think anything you might call the soul of a pen, an intangible essence that makes it "it", has to do with the connection  a person has with it. All the better if lots and lots of people tend to have that connection. I imagine we've all written with superior pens that left us cold and have a cheapie we liked using more. I know I have.

 

With musical instruments, it's more complicated and mysterious, I think, because we make vibrations with them to make sound waves which over time can have an effect on actual materials, the wood, and can change the very nature of the instrument at some level. With pens, I don’t think there's anything comparable with ink flowing out. What they do share is they’re physical, tangible objects we interact with to create some form of intangible, unique and variously appreciated art or beauty whether it's the line of a letter or a drawing or it's the ideas the lines and drawings project through words or pictures. And there's the beauty of simply creating, just using the instrument. That's incredibly valuable.

 

And all that's the stuff of soul and musing and philosophizing.

 

But when does the pen die? What original part broken or removed means end of "life"? In the case of pens, I think that question is more in the hands of coroners and scientists, curators and repairmen, and surely if there was an identifiable "soul" organ they would have agreed on it and we would have heard something from them by now. But I don’t think they will.

 

But I do think it’s fun sitting on the FPN dorm steps throwing ideas around when you have the time and enjoy the company and conversation of your classmates (fellow inmates?), no matter what grade they are. : )

 

Thanks for bringing it up, because after all is said and done, there is some sort of something there, isn’t there?

 

I mean really, against all reason, practicality and common sense, why do I want a Nakaya? I think it will give me the awesome, satisfying fine line I'm after, but there's more. Something having to do with them just being sleek and good looking. To me. Or is it ts hand-made magic? What part do you take away and, meh!, I don't really care for one, thank you, just costs too much?

 

Then again, maybe I'm just way more shallow than I like to think and it is just the hype. The FPN peer-think. And the fact ethernautrix is head over heels over them.

 

Hmmm … 


Did you know my FPN avatar is a portion of a handwritten note by J.R.R. Tolkien?

#24 ac12

ac12

    Donor Pen

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,702 posts
  • Location:San Francisco Bay Area, California, USA - SFO
  • Flag:

Posted 08 June 2014 - 03:49

For me the parts of the pen that are not considered consumable; nib, cap, section, barrel.

Change any of those and the pen has lost something.

Of these changing the nib is the most personal change, as that can change the entire experience of using the pen.

 

This is why a restoration can be a difficult thing to do.  Do you keep the original broken cap, or replace it with a nice unbroken cap?  There isn't a good answer.  If you are a real collector, I would think you want it as original as possible, or at least fitting with the era, so replace with the SAME type of cap.

 

For a sac pen, one expects to replace the sac.  If not after a bunch of years, you will have rubber powder or fragments in the pen.

Similarly for cartridge converter pens.  I don't care about the "original" cartridge that came with the pen.  As long as I have a cartridge or converter to make the pen functional.  For a collection pen, even that is not needed; desired yes, but not needed.

 

For a string instrument, you expect to have to replace the strings.  It is a consumable item.

 

This is why my college pens have gone into my collection.

I don't want to have to deal with this question.

I got a replacement Parker 180 off eBay to use as my writer, while my college pen is safe in my collection.



#25 Totoro

Totoro

    NOS (New Old Stock)

  • Member - Bronze

  • PipPip
  • 17 posts
  • Flag:

Posted 08 June 2014 - 04:08

I read your post before anyone replied and thought it was interesting, but also a bit longer than it might have been in order to get the point across well.  I've also thought a little about this topic in the past and believe that for some it is the shared experience with the pen and the transfer of human qualities or traits, which is something that some of us do toward the pen, which makes the pen special.


Thomas Bush Numismatics & Numismatic Photography

www.tbnumismatics.com


#26 erpe

erpe

    Extremely Rare

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 295 posts
  • Location:Netherlands
  • Flag:

Posted 08 June 2014 - 04:26

Interesting, let it not fade away. I will reply in length but time is limited at the moment so just first thoughts.

 

Where is the soul of the pen?

A pen as an industrial object might not have a soul in the same way we are using and (think we) understand the word. It might have a 'protosoul' though that we develop while using and sharing experiences with it. I like to think of it as a broken camera that we don't throw away because it has been with us so many places. The body might be dead but it's siting there quietly on a shelf triggers and crystallizes the memories we share.

 

When is a pen no longer the same pen?

Is a human no longer the same human when we replace parts? Or, the other way, which parts do we need to replace in order to stop a human from being one? Or cars, much easier to understand for many people. Is a car still the same car after all the parts are replaced. I think the answer should be yes because, as above, we project its soul into it. It's gone after we stop doing so.

 

On anthropomorphizing man-made objects. My thoughts regarding pens are maybe somewhere between John Denver's "This old guitar" and Stephen King's "Christine".

 

More thought after sunrise   ;) 



#27 da vinci

da vinci

    Antique

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,935 posts

Posted 08 June 2014 - 07:17

Not sure I think the same way (no offence to the OP).

If I want a pen that works I will replace what I need too, to achieve that.

If I want an original, mint, collectors item to
"Collect " rather than to use, I may or may not replace parts depending on the impact upon the pen's collectability.

I don't think I form emotional attachments to pens as such , although I might be annoyed/sad/disappointed if I lost, broke or had stolen a particular pen I liked. I would not be emotionally devastated though.

#28 Waski_the_Squirrel

Waski_the_Squirrel

    Collectors Item

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,410 posts
  • Location:North Dakota
  • Flag:

Posted 08 June 2014 - 19:42

There are certain pens that I really like. But, in the end, they're just physical objects. I may feel affection toward them, just like I really loved my first car. I felt bad driving away from it when I bought my current car. But, I really liked the new car, and the repair costs exited my budget. I've now owned my second car three times as long as I owned the first. It's the same age as the first one when I got rid of it, but without the mechanical issues. It's a better car!

 

In the end, I'm more interested in what I produce with the pen and my relationships with people. If one of my favorites dies, I'll be a little upset, but that will be the end. It's just a pen.

 

I just don't get attached to things.


Proud resident of the least visited state in the nation!

#29 balson

balson

    Vintage

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 627 posts
  • Flag:

Posted 08 June 2014 - 21:22

i have a buddy with a type of synesthesia where objects have their own personalities.  she absolutely hates doing it, but i always have her touch a vintage pen when i get it to have her tell me more about the pen.  sometimes her readings are spot on.  i remember one in particular, it was a wearever i picked up in the lot, she was right there when the package came in so i handed it to her.  she touched the pen and made a really sad face and exclaimed, "ahhh, his head hurts!"  i took the pen back, uncapped it, and the nib was covered in thick mold.  

 

i have had her touch pens that have the wrong caps on them before.  sometimes they say something like "we dont go together" other times they know they don't go together but they are just grateful to be used or they like being together anyway.  

 

most vintage pens i have her touch are happy to be used and get sad if they are lost or unused for awhile.  some vintage pens liked their previous owners so much that they seem to resent any future owners.  most pens are really upset if they are damaged but she has run across a couple that seem to wear their cosmetic damage like a war vet.  in general the older something is the more personality it has.  



#30 dgturner

dgturner

    Vintage

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 529 posts
  • Location:Milwaukee, WI
  • Flag:

Posted 08 June 2014 - 21:53

I mostly agree, I meant no offense in my post, I'm sure you're a really nice kid too.

You response to Jar's post was far to kind.

While it is quite true that the emotional attachment invested in whatever makes a pen special neccessarily varies from person to person, to dismiss the impact of those attachments as irrelavent if foolish and arrogant. Look to the prices fetched by various pens on the market. Just because I do not consider a particular object worth the price does not mean that my opinion is correct.

Back to the original question: I have a pen given to me by a friend that does not see much use because of the size of the nib (a stubbish medium), I have considered replacing the nib for a fine (or havining the nib proffessionaly stubbed), but I have held off due to the emotional attachment. I always feel guilty when I take that pen out of rotation.

-- Avatar Courtesy of Brian Goulet of Goulet Pens (thank you for allowing people to use the logo Brian!) --