The Central Ohio Pen Club met Sunday and we were joined by our special guest, renowned collector, dealer, and author Howard Edelstein, who travelled all the way from Cleveland to share his knowledge and collections with more than 20 attendees. Howard is a well known author who has written numerous articles for Pen World, Stylus, and Pennant magazines
Howard began his presentation by relating many stories from the early days of pen collecting, long before the internet and Ebay. I think it was after Gutenberg’s time, but I was an engineer, not a history major, so I may be wrong.
Here’s Howard, holding his audience spellbound.
When Howard spoke, we listened! As you can see, our group includes quite a number of younger collectors and the stories left everyone wide eyed.
Howard, who at one time lived in Toledo, is a major collector of Conklin pens, which was one of several brands originally made in Toledo. The company began operations there in the very late 1800’s and lasted until 1938, when assets of the by then troubled company were sold to a Chicago investor group who transferred manufacturing to Chicago where it limped along for another 10 years before finally ceasing altogether.
One of Howard’s stories was how he had been contacted by the widow of a man who had been the last remaining design engineer at Conklin in Toledo. Howard acquired a large group of the man’s concept drawings, two of which are shown below. Note the date at lower right on the first drawing.
I believe Howard could have gone on for hours without repeating a story, and we would have gladly listened, but it was time for him to bring out some hardware.
The first of his collections he shared with us was a group of “Items that Look Like Pens but Aren’t”
These included pen-like bodies containing knives, bottle openers, a makeup brush, a saccharin tablet dispenser, and even a straight razor.
The pen in the middle of the next picture is actually a scale. Back in the day it was apparently a postal scale. I suspect such an item today might more likely be used for weighing uhhhh…. medicinal herbs. In such a case, the pen hiding a knife or the one that is actually a gun might be a handy pocket companion.
Or perhaps, the next “pen”, which actually fires tear gas. Howard claims the canister had been inactivated. We didn’t ask for proof.
More collections followed, both large and small. Here are a group of Omas pens made from a celluloid they called “Wild”. I believe one was a Gallileo, one the much more rare Urbano (in honor of the Pope), and one a 360.
A group of beautiful silver and gold overlays which I believe Howard said were done by Paul Rossi.
Next were modern conversions of vintage pens, I believe created by Carl Seidl. I hope Howard will correct me if I wrote down the wrong name.
And finally Howard produced a large collection of demonstrator pens.
Central Ohio Pen Club is so very grateful to Howard Edelstein for making the long trip to share his day with us! I hope you enjoyed this very abbreviated coverage of the meeting.
Sound like fun? Central Ohio Pen Club meets monthly on the second Sunday of each month from 2 to 4 pm at Columbus Metro Library Northern Lights Branch, 4093 Cleveland Ave. in Columbus.
January’s meeting will feature a “Mystery Ink Swap”. Attendees are asked to bring a bottle (at least half full) of ink they want to contribute to the swap. These will all be put into a box, hat, or other container and for each bottle contributed, the attendee will be able to draw blind a similar item from the contents of the container. No peeking allowed, so nobody knows what they will get! Bring your empty sample vials, as afterwards we hope all will share their new inks with each other! Christmas in January!
Hope to see you all there!
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