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Boston pen store report



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I'm in Boston's Back Bay right now and am making the Tour de Pen Shops here. And there are abundant. In addition to seeing pens everywhere, I have learned a few things. Hopefully, this "report" may be of use to someone.

 

The following stores that carry fountain pens are so close to the hotel that I can get to them without going outside. I walk by them daily in conjunction with my work obligations.

Levenger

Mont Blanc

Penfield's

Crane's

Papyrus

 

These are the ones that I know about so far. There are a number of upscale shops here, Cartier for example, that may have pens but would not be of particular interest to me.

 

And what about the well-known Bromfield Pen Shop, you say? Go one block to the subway, get off at the third stop, and walk two short blocks. About 10 minutes.

 

Just down from Bromfield's is London Harness, but I haven't made it there yet, nor to Cambridge.

 

At Levenger I got Cocoa and Cobalt Blue inks, I tried them both and declare them keepers. I dipped a True Writer Kyoto. The salesperson noticed the yellow Pelikan Citroenpers in my pocket and said she had never seen one like it. I handed it to her to inspect. I did buy a Kyoto; however, the converter didn't fit and I went back today. It turned out to be a problem with the section. Because I liked the amount of blue radiating through on the old one, they were nice enough to just swap out the section. This evening I realized I now had a medium nib instead of the original fine. I guess I'm going back tomorrow. I'll walk right past it in the morning. The store has a decent selection of most of the pen brands that FPNers like, something I didn't expect from looking at their catalog. Mont Blanc and other "luxury" brands had their own displays, while all the "others" were groups by brand in waist-high cases.

 

I made another discovery a few doors down at the Papyrus store. I bought a couple of Safaris from one of their stores before, but here they had a display of generic FP in Papyrus boxes. The two-tone nibs are marked "iridium Point, Germany." I selected an "Opaque Yellow", chrome-plated with short cartridge. I'm not expecting much, but at $28 it was cheaper than the typical dinner entree around here. ;-) Sorry, no photos nor testing yet.

 

A few doors from the Papyrus is Crane's. In walking past it, I see a large Waterman display. I'll explore it tomorrow. Maybe, I can find the color of stationery I want.

 

Bromfield is having a sale this month. As reported on the web before, they have very few vintage pens, about 30 or so today. I did catch them at quitting time so time was limited. I will return in a couple of days. I was very pleased with their ink selection. They carry Noodlers, Private Reserve, Mont Blanc, Visconti, J. Herbin, Omas, Sheaffer, Pelikan, and probably some I forgot. I did buy a few bottles in colors I didn't have and took one of their catalogs.

 

The Bromfield news is that they will have a new website up in about two weeks.

 

I hope this info is of some interest to all, except maybe the veteran Bostonians.

 

Bill

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Thanks for a very nice and in-depth report, Bill :) I am not about to be in Boston anytime soon, but it's nice to know there are plenty of fountain pen shops in the area.

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That's pretty funny, I was at the Pru today, checking out the pens at Levenger, and stopped by Crane to see their selection of Visconti pens, especially the Van Gogh Vanilla. I work close to the Broomfield pen shop, so I stop there all the time. :D

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That's quite the coincidence. I took my first trip to Bronfields today, too. I got there a little late and stayed 'til closing. I picked up a bottle of Noodler's Red/Black after thumbing through their copy of G.Clark's Ink sampler.

"Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination."

Oscar Wilde

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...my first trip to Bronfields today...stayed 'til closing...

 

...thumbing through their copy of G.Clark's Ink sampler.

We must have been there at the same time. Unknowingly, I stayed until after closing and was the last one to be let out the door. Once I realized it, I apologized but they were nice about it.

 

I wish other stores had a comparative ink sampler like that. I used it to save myself from buying an ink I that interested me until I saw the sample.

 

Bill

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  • 2 years later...

Bromfield's is a great shop. Their hours aren't the easiest, but retailers need and deserve family too. If you make it out to Cambridge, you might want to check out Bob's Stationer (there's one up Mass. Ave. a few blocks from Harvard Station and a smaller one a few blocks away). Across from the smaller store is a watch shop that has a few pens -- vintage, I think.

- Evan

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  • 2 years later...

I'm in Boston for several days. Is there any vintage pen shop, or even an antiques market vendor selling vintage pens in this city? I've done Bromfield and the Harvard Square stationers.

 

I'm spoiled by Washington D.C.

 

Fred

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  • 2 years later...

I'm trying to reopen this topic...I will be in Boston in a couple of weeks, and am planning one day (at least) to look at pens. The reviews of Bromfield are quite interesting. Sounds like they have a great selection of pens, but lousy customer service. Has anything changed? Just curious. Any other shops to try while I'm there? I know about Levenger. Thanks!

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Gloucesterman

Not sure what you mean by "lousy customer service". The staff is knowledgeable and courteous. They have responded to any questions I have had and have an excellent range of pens as well as other related items - paper, ink (as noted above).

 

Are they aggressive or pushy or always looking to make a deal - no, not at all. They wil often price match with places like FPH.

 

I have had very positive experiences at Bromfield and make it a "point" to visit whenever I am in Boston with some free time - at least 3-5 times per year.

 

I am looking forward to their new web site as the old one left a lot to be desired.

 

Oh yes, and they do pen repairs as well. Have heard good things from friends who have sued that service of theirs.

 

BTW, thanks for the list of pen stores. I may have to take a day and just go penning around the Boston/Cambridge area.

“Don't put off till tomorrow what you can do today, because if you do it today and like it, you can do again tomorrow!”

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I am a regular customer at Bromfield and their customer service has always been good. The staff is friendly and helpful. They'll answer your questions and will let you test pens. Also, they have a good selection of pens, inks and paper. If you are in Boston and want to go pen shopping this should be your first stop.

Jeff

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I know you can't find a parking space and it isn't next to anything but small stores, but if you are walking around Harvard Square and tried the Coop and didn't find it, then go to 30 Brattle Street (upstairs) to Bob Slate Stationers. It is an interesting walk back in time. They have a site, but it is like a courtesy to show you what is in their brick-and-morter.

 

http://www.bobslatestationer.com/services.html

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I've been a regular customer for a little over a year now and I have gotten to know some of the workers. They can appear abrasive at first, but they are helpful and will let you test the pens. I have purchased a Sheaffer 100 and Namiki Falcon with them. They let me test drive the Falcon for quite a long time. Ink selection is good, and variety of Noodler's bottles is good, but the quantity of each color is usually low. Love Bromfield.

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I went back for a visit earlier this year, and I was happy to see that Bob Slate is still around. I bought all my notebooks there in college, and they briefly went out of business. While you're at Harvard, also be sure to stop by Black Ink for an amazing letterpress selection.

 

Bromfield always treated me well, too. They always put up with me coming in and playing with pens and asking a million questions, but not buying anything besides paper and ink for a few years (and they sold me on my beloved Lamy 2000 as a birthday gift to myself).

 

I've actually never set foot in the Prudential mall save for a bathroom run, but as far as I know, the MB, Levengers, and Crane stores are all there.

10 years on PFN! I feel old, but not as old as my pens.

 

Inked up: Wing Sung 618 - BSB / PFM III - Kiri-same / Namiki Falcon - Storia Fire / Lamy 2000 - Fuyu-gaki / Sheaffer Triumph - Eclat de Saphir

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I think Bromfield Pen has the largest collection of pens and inks in greater Boston area, and a helpful and knowledgable staff.

 

Bob Slate in Harvard Sq. has a smaller collection of FPs, but has many more notebooks, papers, etc. than Bromfield.

 

Harvard 'Coop' and BU Bookstore are Barnes and Noble. I haven't seen anything interesting there.

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I think Bromfield Pen has the largest collection of pens and inks in greater Boston area, and a helpful and knowledgable staff.

 

Bob Slate in Harvard Sq. has a smaller collection of FPs, but has many more notebooks, papers, etc. than Bromfield.

 

Harvard 'Coop' and BU Bookstore are Barnes and Noble. I haven't seen anything interesting there.

 

As far as BNs go, the Coop is pretty well stocked and has a lovely bar to read at on the upper floor. But if its books your after, the Harvard Bookstore (not affiliated with the school) and Raven Used Books are better finds within a few blocks.

10 years on PFN! I feel old, but not as old as my pens.

 

Inked up: Wing Sung 618 - BSB / PFM III - Kiri-same / Namiki Falcon - Storia Fire / Lamy 2000 - Fuyu-gaki / Sheaffer Triumph - Eclat de Saphir

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Bromfield and Bob Slate are both great. Bromfield can be hit or miss for me depending on who is helping me. Some are better with customers than others. Particularly when I was looking at Montblancs. The woman helping me was very helpful, saying it all depends on what I want in a pen, then another man came in and basically said they are the best and whoever disagrees does not know what they are talking about. Always like to support the B&M stores though.

Short Story Blog(using fountain pens of course!)- http://shortstorysurvival.blogspot.com/

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inkstainedruth

What is parking like at Bromfield and Bob Slate? I may be able to get to one or both at Christmastime. In fact, after the disaster that this Thanksgiving holiday has been so far, I may absolutely *insist* on it -- the phrase a friend of mine (who teaches science and health classes in one of the less good school districts in the Pgh area) uses is "I took a 'mental health' day".... As opposed to the one I used yesterday calling my husband while in a CVS near our hotel, while waiting for my sister-in-law and her husband to hear back from her doctor in NYC for authorization of an emergency refill of a prescription she needs to take regularly -- but forgot to pack: "Tomorrow morning I want to go screaming into the night!"

I had driven them from my mother-in-law's house to the store after we had gone there before going to the house earlier in the day, dropped them off and then went trailing around a bunch of stores trying to find cr*p *my* husband forgot to pack AND inexpensive picture frames in the right size for some old diplomas of my M-i-L's that have been rolled up, unframed, for more than half a century (on the basis of "I have a little chore for you -- because you do picture framing...."). Yeah, right. 17 YEARS ago. For which I actually got something vaguely resembling a paycheck (and which involved real equipment, like a real adjustable mat cutter...). So an hour + after I dropped my sister-in-law and her husband off, I went back to pick them up. And we were *still* in the store 20 minutes later....

And the *only* recompense I got was a half hour or so in a Barnes & Noble this morning while the two of them and my husband went grocery shopping (and the B&N didn't have either Ecosystem journals or Rhodia pads, the way one near me sometimes does). :angry:

And then it was lunch with my one brother-in-law (okay, that was good) but then it was back up to my M-i-L's for another five hours,

(and every now and then my sister-in-law's husband and I would look at each other and say "Shoot me. Shoot me now. PLEASE...." to each other). While hoping that the snow total predictions were overblown, and we could all get back to the hotel in one piece....

Sorry for the off topic rant, but it's been a really awful couple of days, and tomorrow we go back up there AGAIN. Then (maybe) to my brother-in-law's, and then (again maybe) to my OTHER brother-in-law's (whose wife is feuding with my sister-in-law) and THEN back to NYC. And then FRIDAY my husband and I drive to central PA for the weekend and deal with NORMAL people (not pen people, AFAIK, but still "normal" -- as in "not completely dysfunctional...." :wallbash:

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."

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My recommendation for going to Bob Slate (Harvard Square) would be to park in Kendall Square and take the Time (red line) to Harvard.

 

Brimfield is trickier as you would need to switch from red line to green line at Park Street

 

There may be public parking near Bromfield, but I can't promise that, as I usually take the train. In my experience, parking in Harvard square is almost nonexistent

 

French

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