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Carrying a pen when you have no shirt pocket


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#1 beaker606

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Posted 30 July 2005 - 17:01

I have had one New Year's resolution that I have been able to keep over many years. That is to simply always have a pen with me. I started this habit long before I started using FP on a more full-time basis. I usually had some nice BP just barely above the level of the BIC round sticks. But I could stick them in my pants pockets when ever I wore a shirt without a breast pocket. Now that I try to carry FPs I find I wear a lot more casual button down shirts mainly for this purpose. But every now and again I find myself with an outfit that does not let me clip a pen to a pocket. Like last night. For example, my library has an exhibit at the local county fair and the Official Uniform was jeans and a t-shirt. Where to carry my Parker 51? I hate carrying FPs in pants pocket for two reasons, one being the cap popping off and the pen leaking. The other is scratches from keys, change and anything else I might stick in there. So, anyone have an obvious solution that I will most certainly say to myself "why didn't I think of that?" My thoughts run to a kind of lanyard around the neck, but I don't know where I could find one that is befitting my pens or doesn't look incredibly cheesy. There are few stereotypes of male librarians, but the most prominent are that we are just plain dorky. I try to avoid that one.

Your thoughts please.

Oh, I should just mention that pocket t-shirts are just not an option. Ever.

Thanks!

Beaker

*edited for clarification
**edited again for more clarification (added the word doesn't before the phrase 'look incredibly dheesy')

Edited by beaker606, 30 July 2005 - 20:14.

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#2 Mescof1

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Posted 30 July 2005 - 17:32

I'm a musician and I travel a lot, especially to Colorado. Sometimes in the summer I would go for a walk and T-shirts and jeans were the order of the day. Also would go to resturaunts to eat breakfast and lunch---fountain pens and travelers checks were always along.

My solution--I found a small camera bag with shoulder strap. I would carry all kinds of odds and ends in it including my fountain pens secured in a four slot leather case. If traveling, and no shirt pocket, I would sometimes even wrap the leather case in a heavy sock for extra protection.

I've carried this bag on airplanes and even threw in a couple of bottles of ink. When traveling I'm always on the lookout for vintage pens and you'd be surprised where I've found them. My standard ink that I always carry on the road is Waterman Blue--I use it for testing any pens I might buy.

I may carry two bottles of ink--but if only one, it's always the Waterman Blue in my small shoulder camera bag.

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#3 Keith with a capital K

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Posted 30 July 2005 - 17:36

It has been freakishly hot here of late and my usual attire has been t-shirts and cargo shorts.

The outside side pocket in the shorts is as good as any shirt pocket and one just has to pick a pen that clips well and is solidly made. The pen du jour for many weeks has been a Sheaffer NN with a fine italic nib.

Besides that, there is always the man purse if I need to have more pens with me.
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#4 Daniel Shih

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Posted 30 July 2005 - 17:47

I always wear an undershirt, so I just clip FPs to my undershirt collar. Some pens are better for this than others. The Parker 51 you mentioned works perfectly for this--it has a good clip and isn't too large.

The alternative is to get a Kaweco Sport. I have one in my front jeans pocket at all times, and despite my active lifestyle (for a complete description--and a thread addressing your exact same problem--please refer to the following ACPP Discussion), it never leaks.

#5 Compulsion

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Posted 30 July 2005 - 17:56

I carry a man purse... or, if I must refer to it while in mixed company, a courier bag :lol:

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#6 KCat

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Posted 30 July 2005 - 18:09

how's about something like a clip-on (to belt) cell phone case or knife sheath?

being a female this isn't a big concern for me, just a thought.

also, clip on eyeglasses cases are readily available.

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#7 southpaw

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Posted 30 July 2005 - 19:20

How about a KawecoSport eyedropper - either from Swisher or your own conversion.

Also, a user pen that's got a heavy-duty clip will work in a jean pocket - just put the keys and your change in the other pocket - Lamy Safari, Lamy AL-Star, Rotring Initial, etc.
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#8 georgem

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Posted 30 July 2005 - 20:39

I seldom wear *just* a tee shirt, but if I do, a pen is usually clipped to the collar.

More often, in warm weather, I'll choose a golf shirt and clip a pen into the space between the buttonholes.

If fact, my Rotring Cores do not fit well into shirt pockets with a cell phone and digital recorder so I often just clip them inside my shirt using a space between the buttonholes.
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#9 Woody

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Posted 31 July 2005 - 01:13

Ummmm, maybe this might sound like I'm being a wise guy or something, but.....why not wear a t-shirt with a pocket?

I've got one on now, and after reading this post I decided to see what it could hold. I have managed to clip all of these pens into the pocket, and they all held just fine. The only problem I could see with holding that many pens in the pocket all at once, is that they will bump up against each other.

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#10 Bryan

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Posted 31 July 2005 - 01:27

I too always have an undershirt on. So when wearing a t-shirt, I clip a pen to the inside undershirt. My undershirt in always tucked in, so if the pen should come unclipped/uncapped, it won't be falling to the ground. My t-shirts on the other hand are never tucked in.

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#11 Psyktek

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Posted 31 July 2005 - 03:21

And there are belt holsters for pens. I've seen 'em, but I can't think where at the moment. I'll be one of the big dealers (Fahrney's, FPH, etc.) have some ideas.
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#12 Apollo

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Posted 31 July 2005 - 03:53

I suppose it depends on how many pens you want to carry with you at any given time, but if you're considering wearing a pen around your neck, you can always take a leather pen case and cut a couple of small slits in the back to accept a leather or nylon cord or perhaps a break-away chain. Those who are creative enough can make their own pen sheaths out of any material to wear around the neck. You can even get Kydex rigs made for pens, similar to the ones used for modern neck knives, although I don't recommend them for fine or expensive pens as the stiff Kydex material tends to scuff the objects it comes into contact with. Still, it would work great for those "beater" pens.

Edited by Apollo, 31 July 2005 - 03:58.

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#13 beaker606

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Posted 31 July 2005 - 21:33

Thanks for all the ideas! I've tried the "clipping on the collar" thing and find it quite uncomfortable. The idea I like best is purchasing a pen sturdy enough to place in the jeans poket but inexpensive enough that I won't worry too much about it getting roughed up for two reasons: I get to buy another pen and I get to buy more ink! Someone mentioned the Sport, what else can you reccomend?

Kevin
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#14 jsparks

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Posted 01 August 2005 - 01:11

The Rotring 600 is the most indestructable looking pen I've ever handled. I don't own one and I haven't used one, but the pen seller where I held it said one of her customers had drive over one with a truck and it barely had a scratch. I believed her, the pen really did look indestructable.

I think the Rotring Core is perfect for carrying in pants pockets. Unlike some people, I don't find the Core particularly comfortable to write with for extended periods, but it is great for quick notes. It does seem pretty indestructable.

I also sometimes carry my Pelikano Junior in my pants pocket. It is really heavy duty plastic, and for $10 can easily be replaced if something happened to it. I do find this pen to be comfortable for extended writing.

I also have a Kaweco Sport. It is a tiny pen. I normally don't post caps on any pen I write with, but I find this pen almost impossible to use without posting. It's just too short. With the cap posted, it's pretty comfortable.

Except for the Rotring 600, all these pens are very inexpensive.

John

#15 southpaw

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Posted 01 August 2005 - 03:03

Lamy Safaris and AL-Stars have wonderful clips for hooking onto large pockets, are relatively inexpensive and quite rugged. Rotring Initials also have great spring loaded clips and are tough, but not cheap (unless you find one on a great sale :D ). Don't discount the KawecoSport because of its size - posted it is certainly usable, and it's size capped makes it a great toss in the pocket who cares what happens. Nibs are wonderfully smooth, and the price is great.
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#16 KendallJ

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Posted 01 August 2005 - 11:45

I use a 3 pen leather case from Lizell. Very nice, and I can usually stuff it into whatever else I'm carrying (fanny pack, backpack, briefcase, etc).

Oh, and I keep a few pens at work so that if I'm not wearing a pocketed shirt, I can just plan to use a pen that is already at work.

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#17 Kees

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Posted 01 August 2005 - 14:24

I have a feeling real men would stick their pen behind the ear, but it takes a lot of ear training to store your Aurora there safely. My personal solution is ALWAYS to wear a jacket: I need it not only for my pens, but also for my glasses, wallet, passport, calender, notebook, credit cards, pocket knife, cigars, LED light etc. etc.

My dearest pen I keep in a small box of my own design. It’s in a heavy bag I take to work every day.

There are pens on a leash that are meant to be carried around the neck. I guess any regular pen could be used that way if you fix its clip to a band or cord.

#18 Johnny Appleseed

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Posted 01 August 2005 - 14:44

My personal solution is ALWAYS to wear a jacket: I need it not only for my pens, but also for my glasses, wallet, passport, calender, notebook, credit cards, pocket knife, cigars, LED light etc. etc.


Didn't I read somewhere that in Europe, men are more likely to wear their pens clipped to a jacket, while in the states men prefer the shirt pocket?

I usually clip mine to the inside collar of a t-shirt when I need to, or have a few extra in a bag. However, the inside-the-t-shirt method requires a fairly smooth style of pen - anything with corners like a flat-top can get a little uncomfortable. I have a couple of Sheaffers (touchdown, snorkel or vac-fill) and a Parker 51 that usually do alright. A little hip-pack would work too - I used to carry one of those, but it can be a pain getting into and out of a car.

If you want to wear a pen on a chain or around your neck (which I know, beaker, you said was right out, but since the subject has been broached), there are a lot of vintage ring-top pens from the 20s-30s for just that purpose. They tend to sell for a lot less than clipped models, as well.

Ring tops were actually used in two ways - ladies would wear them around the neck, and men would wear them on a chain in a vest pocket, like a pocket watch.

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#19 scribble

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Posted 01 August 2005 - 15:08

I never carry a pen unless I am also carrying the necessary receptacles for its intended purpose so I've developed several systems:

Eagle Creek day pack. I think they discontinued this one but has book sized capacity yet smaller than the usual backpack, a pen slot, and straps that tuck into zippered storage and converts to a shoulder bag. This goes with me to work each day.

Swiss Army bag that can be a belt bag or a shoulder bag. More compact and slightly padded this overpriced wonder is just large enough to carry easily a few Moleskine and Komtrak notebooks, pen case, cell phone etc. This is the prefered item if I just want to go to a cafe.

Since I NEVER wear a button front shirt and have ZERO pocket type tees, these items serve me well.

Additionally, a Mountain Smith Trek bag with attached strappettes for bike use and a smaller padded computer case that served well for carrying various larger sketchbooks and notebooks along with etcetras should the occasion arise.

I like to travel light so I also have a small padded Eagle Creek shoulder bag just large enough for a Moleskine (or two) and a few pens.
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#20 beaker606

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Posted 01 August 2005 - 16:30

If you want to wear a pen on a chain or around your neck (which I know, beaker, you said was right out, but since the subject has been broached), there are a lot of vintage ring-top pens from the 20s-30s for just that purpose. They tend to sell for a lot less than clipped models, as well.

Actually, the only thing I ruled out for myself were pocket t-shirts and that is mainly due to some hideous things I was made to wear as a young child of the 70s. :lol:

I could go for a lanyard or neckchain, but wanted to find something befitting a nice FP as most lanyards I've seen were for cheap BPs or slightly nicer RB and Gel Pens. I like the idea of ring top pens, now that you mention it. Most of my interest in pens have been hovering around the late 40s into the early 60s, so I haven't spent much time thinking about these models. I'll have to check it out!

Beaker
"Your library is your paradise."
--Desiderius Erasmus c.1466-1536

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