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Is It Just Me?

celluloid odor packaging

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22 replies to this topic

#1 chandelle

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Posted 06 May 2013 - 15:08

Hi everyone,

I'm new hereabouts and if these have been beaten to the death in the past here, apologies in advance for bringing them up again :)

1. I find elaborate packaging for pens almost wasteful. My 149, FC Model 29 and Bexley Owners Club have come in boxes that I've not seen again after getting out the pen (and in case of the 149 the ink bottle as well). Is it just me who wishes that the manufacturers stick to the minimalistic and pass us customers a price reduction instead? In the long run, it might for an FP aficionado mean a pen more rather than have a bunch of fancy-looking if thoroughly useless boxes sitting around. And unlike jewelry, most people store their FPs not in their original boxes but in pen cases/pouches/boses anyway.

2. I have two celluloid pens, the Jinhao Century and Wancher Celluloid Classical Edition. Both have an unpleasant odor, definitely NOT camphor (which to me smells pleasant enough) that I've heard of in the past. More worryingly, I've not failed to notice that on the days I use these pens, I sense a mild irritation of my cornea and nostrils. Do the pens emit some mild fumes, I wonder? Does anyone have a solution for ridding the odor with a permanence? And would doing so make the irritation go away?

I'd greatly appreciate your time if you chose to comment and help me, thanks :)
 

 


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#2 Scrawler

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Posted 06 May 2013 - 15:20

When pens come in fancy packaging I am loath th throw it away, so have a shelf of boxes and packaging that I will probably never use again, but are too nice to throw out. The only box that I have that is genuinely useful after the pen has been taken out is a Visconti box that is highly lacquered wood and serves as a rather pretty desktop pen holder box. Even some Chinese pens now come in packaging that is too nice to just discard. And yes almost all of us transfer pens to display or collectors cases, or curio display cabinets. 



#3 Doug1426

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Posted 06 May 2013 - 15:53

Wow, does this hit home for someone like me who is genetically pre-disposed to collect!  I hate to throw away my pen boxes, but they are taking up a lot of storage space and seem to be multiplying on their own.  Surely I'm not  acquiring more pens than I need, right?

 

Along this line of thought, one of my most favorite pens is the Cleo Skribent Platinum.  It's a wonderful pen in every aspect from craftsmanship to ergonomics to the ever-so-great nib.  And yet it came in a relatively plain cardboard box.  I re-used that box for numerous purposes until one day it finally deserved to be recycled.

 

Jim Mamoulides wrote a wonderful article about Cleo Skribent (http://www.penhero.c...SkribentPen.htm) .  Kudos to Cleo Skribent for their consciousness on all levels.

 

 


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#4 Uncle Red

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Posted 06 May 2013 - 15:58

Doug, I just got a Cleo Skribent Classic and I agree the minimal packaging is nice. Keep in mind that a lot of the higher priced pens have fancy packaging so they can be given as gifts.



#5 Silvermink

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Posted 06 May 2013 - 16:18

I used to like cool pen boxes, but yeah, ultimately they just end up taking up space. I don't want to throw them away, either, because they're good to have if I want to sell something.


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#6 vondauster

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Posted 06 May 2013 - 19:23

These days I only keep higher end, usually wood or real leather, pen boxes. Your typical Lamy or Bexley box goes right out.

 

As for the unpleasant smell of inexpensive "celluloid" fountain pens, this tends to dissipate after a few months left out in the open. Maybe use incense to mask the smell in your home.  :huh:  

 

Seriously, real, higher end celluloid pens smell rather nice to me, but there are relatively few being made today: a few in Italy and Japan is about it as far as I know.

 

Will


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#7 mirosc

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Posted 06 May 2013 - 19:24

I'm with you all the way. Usually I find it annoying to get all that clutter along with the pen and I have often told the salesman in the shop that he should keep the boxes. It's just a waste of resources and quite often not really good for the environment. I even have disposed of the wooden Nakaya boxes and other nice ones - no need for them anymore: The space in my house needs to be used for more valuable items than empty pen boxes. Books for example (or Scotch, err, well,...)

 

But I can't comment on the smell of your pens. Maybe it will pass over time (like it is with the Ahab)


Edited by mirosc, 06 May 2013 - 19:26.

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#8 ShallowJam

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Posted 06 May 2013 - 20:23

I'm not bothered by the smell of pens, but I do have a few words on packaging.

 

A more minimalist design to pen packaging really wouldn't provide much of a discount. Manufacturers are concerned about getting their product to an acceptable price and profit margins, and so really arent putting a lot of their pen budget toward the packaging. Yes, the boxes look fancy, but plastic is cheap. The boxes on most pens don't cost more than a couple bucks. To many people, I'm sure the experience of opening a pen in a nice looking box is worth about 1% of the purchase cost of the pen. There really aren't any savings to be had here. Packaging is cheap, despite what it may look like.


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#9 georges zaslavsky

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Posted 06 May 2013 - 20:43

I always try to keep the packaging in case of resale. But I buy a pen for writing first


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#10 recluse

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Posted 06 May 2013 - 21:01

The packaging deal is very personal. There is the whole philosophy that if a pen costs more than X dollars it should come in a nice package. Moreover, most of reviews pay attention to packaging and I've seen not once something like "wish there was a better box".

 

If that wasn't enough, there are threads here on FPN where people express their dissatisfaction with sellers because of poor (while genuine, i.e. of the manufacture!) presentation. So, some people, indeed, appreciate a lower price due to down to earth packaging (it appears, with "middle-class" pens distributors have to buy boxes, as they are not necessarily supplied with pens) while some complain about it.



#11 ethernautrix

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Posted 06 May 2013 - 21:57

I prefer minimal packaging also, particularly if it lowers the price, as I typically have no use for the boxes, fancy or otherwise.


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#12 msolok

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Posted 06 May 2013 - 22:28

My primary hate with packaging is how wasteful it is. A Lamy 2000 comes in a nice cardboard box which I think presents the pen well. There is very little waste with it, does not add a hunk of plastic to the landfill and I think it looks quite nice and not over the top. I think this is the way most pen makers should go. Make a nice looking cardboard box to display the pen, not some plastic.

 

My most hated packaging so far is the TWSBI packaging. It is unbelievably wasteful. There is probably more plastic in the packaging than in the pen itself. Sure the entire thing looks very Apple, but after you take a few seconds looking at it, you open it, take out the pen and then the packaging is either thrown away or relegated to the back of a cupboard somewhere. I see no point to such packaging and it's simply a huge waste.

 

My most loved packaging comes from Kaweco. Some of their pens come with either a plastic box or a little tin. These are fairly small and sturdy and are designed to carry 2 pens (or 1 pen and a bunch of spare carts) and look great (very retro looking). They continue to get use after the initial opening as they are designed to be continued to be used. They are the PERFECT packaging.


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#13 wallylynn

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Posted 06 May 2013 - 22:37

Yeah, getting rid of boxes would reduce my ability to hoard. Good thing those noodler boxes collapse well.

#14 Waski_the_Squirrel

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Posted 06 May 2013 - 22:56

The celluloid smell will go away. I don't even notice my family of celluloid Noodler's pens any more.

 

As for the box: the companies are trying to create a luxury experience. From the opening the box they want you to think, "Wow, classy!" If you're like me, the box will be thrown away. I particularly detest the TWSBI boxes because they're plastic. A lot of the other boxes I have gotten are at least cardboard.

 

My favorite presentation is Noodler's simple cardboard: enough to protect it on the shelf and during shipping, and not something that takes up much space when throwing it away.

 

Don't look to packaging to make an appreciable dent in the cost of a pen. On a $20 pen, like a Noodler's, it would, but to a $800 Montblanc, it doesn't matter much. Also, buyers at the higher end would not be so impressed by the savings. They wouldn't be buying these pens in the first place if they were.


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#15 fmon56

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Posted 06 May 2013 - 23:31

I always find it helpful when you want to sell a pen when it has everything that it came with.  Personally, when I buy a pen from someone I like to have everything it came with.



#16 Eugen-of-Savoy

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Posted 07 May 2013 - 00:20

While I think my pens will outlive me, I keep the boxes, so they won't be mint but they'll sure be boxed afterwards. The only box I really find superb is the Omas Cohiba, which is now used as humidor for my cigars. This said, I don't like the most recent Viscontis like Dragon, Salvator Dali, ... One should be able to choose between the pen and the pen with the special holder.

#17 chandelle

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Posted 07 May 2013 - 01:38

These days I only keep higher end, usually wood or real leather, pen boxes. Your typical Lamy or Bexley box goes right out.

 

As for the unpleasant smell of inexpensive "celluloid" fountain pens, this tends to dissipate after a few months left out in the open. Maybe use incense to mask the smell in your home.  :huh:  

 

Seriously, real, higher end celluloid pens smell rather nice to me, but there are relatively few being made today: a few in Italy and Japan is about it as far as I know.

 

Will

 

Thanks, mate. Of my two pens, one is Japanese (the other Chink). Both of them write well and the Wancher is well-constructed. When I contacted the Wancher dealer, he was most responsive and apologetic, and suggested a couple of fixes (a thorough soap water rinse and letting it dry in the shade but in the open). The Jinhao writes well and consistently but as I said the problem with both these pens is that after about a couple of hours of use, my eyes irritate. And I'm quite sure that it's the pen that's causing it! I hope I don't end up having eyes that can't see what I write :)

 

To the others who've responded on this thread - thanks a lot. I hadn't thought much about fancy boxes being useful when you've to gift someone a pen. The only ones I gift (well, they take them from me without permission) pens to are my sons ;)


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#18 Elizabeth in NJ

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Posted 07 May 2013 - 01:45

The new pens from Nussbaum (isellpens.com) come with a leather pen slip instead of a box.  Brilliant idea, IMHO.



#19 chandelle

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Posted 07 May 2013 - 01:52

The new pens from Nussbaum (isellpens.com) come with a leather pen slip instead of a box.  Brilliant idea, IMHO.

 

It also should've been the most obvious idea IMO. If I was the manufacturer and the marketing blokes had somehow convinced me of the utility of fancy boxes, I still would've left in a Koskin slip inside (Koskin because I don't use leather products but that's not germane to the thread) with the brand insignia on it... what better way to ensure continued visibility?


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#20 StarFireLiz

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Posted 07 May 2013 - 02:03

For you guys that have pen boxes have you tried selling them?  I see really nice pen boxes when I go to the flea market and some of antique stores around here.  I'm not sure about the antique stores but there does seem to be some sort of a market for the box alone.

 

I don't really know what people are doing with them but I know that some of the people at the flea market seem sell and get new ones all the time.







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