… I am in the process of moving The Well-Appointed Desk to its own servers. It will probably be a little quiet around here through the weekend but hopefully by Monday everything will be back to normal. Make sure you update your bookmarks to http://www.wellappointeddesk.com. If you read the site via Tumblr, RSS or other service, please come back to the blog and make sure the links are properly updated.
Sorry for the inconvenience but hopefully this transition will make for a better experience in the future.
(illustration from Envisioning The American Dream)
Finally, the cover for the long-awaited The Typewriter: a Graphic History of the Beloved Machine has been revealed. This book will feature over 200 pages of history, photos and timelines of the glorious typewriter. If you’re familiar with Uppercase magazine, you know this book will be beautifully designed by editor-in-chief Janine Vangool and printed with the highest quality standards.
Pre-orders are still being accepted at $45 per book. I pre-ordered mine ages ago so I can’t wait for the fall to get. That’s when the book will start shipping.
I’d like to welcome Pen Chalet as a new sponsor on The Well-Appointed Desk. Pen Chalet stocks fine pens from some of our favorite brands like Lamy, Kaweco, Pelikan, Namiki, Pilot and many more. Pen Chalet stocks inks, refills, notebooks, pen cases and more as well.
And to help sweeten the deal, Pen Chalet is offering an extra 10% off for Well-Appointed Desk readers. Enter the code wellappointeddesk at checkout will get 10% off their already reduced prices. Don’t forget to check out the sales page for super low prices. The special offers are available for a limited time only so if you see something you love, order it quick. And let Pen Chalet know you heard about them from the Well-Appointed Desk.
Thanks to Pen Chalet for the great deals and sponsoring The Desk!
The recent article on the New York Times entitled What’s Lost As Handwriting Fades is too good to wait until the end of the week for a Link Love so I decided to go ahead an post the link today. Once again, scientists are coming up with studies proving that there’s some tricky cognitive stuff that goes on when we write things by hand and there is even some data that different parts of the brain are triggered depending on whether its printing or script (cursive) writing.
But we all knew this already, right?
I got wordy today on The Cramped with a Fountain Pen Guide for Lefties. Big thanks to Patrick Rhone for letting me contribute.
If you have any other questions, leave them in the comments here or shoot me an email or holler on Twitter.
There’s lots of exciting things coming your way next week (and in the weeks to follow). I’ve got a review of the Lamy Logo F fountain pen , a sneak peek of a new project from Nock Co, a review of the Neatography subscription service, a hands-ion with the new Kaweco Sports Skyline in Mint, ink reviews and more. Then there will be some guest appearances in other places.
A Busy Desk in not a bored Desk.
Do you go “dark” when you’re busy?
The last couple days have left my Instagram feed in awash in photos from the Stationery Show in New York. This annual event is THE place where all our favorite stationery and card companies unveil their latest goods and buyers from shops, big and small, place orders for the coming year.
I thought I’d share a few photos but if you want to see the over 6000 images on Instagram, just search for #NSS2014. Click on images to see the original photo or post.
Frank at Fontoplumo was so impressed with the enthusiasm Desk readers had about the new Kaweco Skyline Mint fountain pen. He wanted to thank everyone for checking out his site and say thanks for all the orders. So, he’s offering a special discount code for Well-Appointed Desk readers. If you enter the code WAD2014 you get a 10% discount on anything you order. And this offer is good for the whole year.
Frank also let me know my Kaweco Skyline Mint is on the way so reviews and lots of photos will be posted soon!
The Desk is spending this week cavorting with nature, staring at the crab apple blossoms and skipping through fields of clover (… as soon as the snow stops. Stupid weather!).
Hope you are enjoying a little spring break and communing with nature yourself.
I’ll be back next Monday with lots of reviews, products and stories. Happy Easter!
(image via Bytes Daily)
Papermate, a division of Sanford and Rubbermaid, has announced that they are planning to purchase the German brand Kaweco in an effort to introduce the American market to upscale, fountain pens, mechanical pencils and refillable pens.
While not being described as a hostile takeover, the purchase is not without its controversy. Kaweco’s current owners, Herlitz, could not be reached for comment.
NPR recently did a report about the value of cursive in child’s brain development. By their best calculations, all fine motor skill activities are valuable to brain development, be it printing, cursive or keyboarding. But the best option is for kids to be doing all sorts of fine motor activities.
This story, however, does not address the issue of legibility, speed of writing or not writing like a 6-year-old when you’re forty.
If your goal today is to avoid being pinched, make sure you carry a green pen or pencil. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
In this month’s issue of Wired magazine, there is a brief little article about the Alvin Brass Bullet pencil sharpener ($6.17 from our local art supply store, Creative Coldsnow). This dandy little brass, knurled sharpener features the all-important KUM blade. Simple, classic and 100% effective. Glad to see even the tech geeks see the value in a classic manual tool.
Penelope Cruz and Robert De Niro present at the 86th Academy Awards in Hollywood, California March 2, 2014. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson (UNITED STATES TAGS: ENTERTAINMENT) (OSCARS-SHOW)
I’ve been scouring the internet trying to get some information about the typewriters used as a backdrop in last night’s Oscars broadcast during the Best Writing categories. Did you see them? I haven’t been able to find any information about the typewriters, who owns them or where they came from (the Museum The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences, maybe?). If anyone finds any information, please leave a note in the comments.
Somehow, in my searching, I found this photo instead:
( New York Public Library )
Nine women pose on a really big typewriter on display at the Underwood Elliott Fisher Exhibit at the New York World’s Fair, 1939-40.
Thank you, internet non sequitur.
I’m going to be traveling for the next couple days, attending Ex Postal Facto in San Francisco, finding all sorts of pens, office supplies and postal wonder to share with you when I return.
If you live in SF, come by any of the Ex Postal Facto events and say hello. I’d love to meet you!
Planner Camp is an online class, forum and resources to help you create your own planner to organize and plan your perfect year. Planner Camp starts on Monday and costs $49US. Some of the topics and features of the project include:
- Three weeks of private posts, tips and video tutorials
- Access to a private student Facebook Group
- Pre-designed planner templates for you to customize into your perfect planner, fast!
- Weekly video based lessons on customizing the planner templates using Adobe InDesign ®.
Don’t have it? Don’t worry! Check the FAQ for details on the affordable month to month access option & 30 Day Free Trial.
- Pre-designed templates that are customized to work with two tried & true binding systems: Filofax ® (A5 size) & M by Staples™ Arc Customizable Notebooks (Junior size).
- Advice for printing at home or working with a professional printer, including strategies to minimize costs.
- Unique design ideas to help you create a year built around your values & passions! From taking great care of yourself to accomplishing your goals, feeling fabulous, and having as much fun as you can dream up.
- Weekly open office hours for one-on-one student questions, design support and troubleshooting.
(via Freckled Nest)
Here’s a round-up up the most popular posts from 2013 that appeared here on The Desk.
- The Great Beginner Fountain Pen Debate
- Customizing a Midori Traveler Notebook
- Pilot Metropolitan Review
- TWSBI Mini Review
- Bullet Journal
- Piccadilly Essential Notebook
- Pipe Desk Building Plans
- Midori Traveler Star Edition
- Classroom Friendly Sharpener
- Kaweco Student Fountain Pen
I’m surprised to see the Bullet Journal and the Pipe Desk in the top ten but they are both great things to know. Thanks to all of you for continuing to read my reviews, leaving great comments and feedback and inspiring me with your own adventures in paper, ink and writing tools.
Happy New Year to all and happy writing!
I stumbled upon this video from the inflammatory article published earlier this year about how much the presidential calligraphers earn each year. While they may make more money than most of us, the skills they have are unquestionable.
It will come as no surprise to anyone that I think this classic hand lettering skill should be preserved especially when its done for the President for State Dinners and other official events.I can’t imagine getting an invitation to dinner at the White House whipped out on someone’s ink jet printer, can you?
I spoke with a friend who works as a professional calligrapher (not at the White House) who said that the team that the team that work at the White House work under intense pressure, often having to letter 200+ place cards in a day or two for an official event. They also work with very strict expectations for the style of calligraphy they do. the whole office is staffed by one chief calligrapher and two deputy calligraphers — a total staff of three.
I think its worth whatever these folks are being paid. That being said, Politifact did their homework and the calligraphers salary is not so disproportionate to other staffers with uniquely specialized skills (the Social Secretary makes $118K).
In the video, you can see one of the calligraphers (a left-hander!) working on a certificate. He is a third generation White House employee. Watch the video for details.
Do you think the White House should continue to employ calligraphers?
While the title might seem cryptic, it will all make sense in a moment….
There are so many things to be thankful for this holiday. And one gift I wasn’t expecting… a new Kickstarter project from the fine folks at Karas Kustoms. This is just a peek of the new Ink fountain pen (rollerball option is also available). Go over to their Kickstarter page for a full reveal. I’ll follow it up with some hands-on details in the next day or so.
“It’s beginning to look a lot like Inkmas!” Or should I say “Penmas?”
Ben Kilb for The New York Times
The NY Times posted an article about Count Anton-Wolfgang von Faber-Castell. To call the Count the Crown Prince of Pencils would probably be accurate. Read on…
(via NY Times)
The new American educational curriculum called the Common Core State Standards Initiative is being discussed in the news in part because cursive writing is no longer going to be required instruction. Handwriting instruction has been waning and many states have already chosen not to require it. A national chance in teaching strategies in the US will pretty much guarantee that the few remaining states teaching it, will abandon it as well.
I’m at a loss what to say. So much more is gained in learning penmanship beyond merely the skill to read and write the characters: motor skills, brain pathways, patience and so much more…
I won’t rant here, but there’s plenty of other people who have said it:
Some links from the graphics (couldn’t find the Washington Post article):
(graphic via Montessorium)
As we all know here, “The reports of my (pen) death have been greatly exaggerated.” However, NPR decided to report on the demise of the pen market. The story featured Milwaukee’s Daly’s Pen Shop, in business since 1924. The story isn’t as gloom-and-doom as I thought it would be though it did startle some folks in the comments with the prices for a decent fountain pen (prices mentioned in the story included a $295 Visconti and talk of a Montblanc for $1000). Also mentioned is a $40 Cross pen and a $150 Pilot Vanishing Point.
I was not familiar with Daly’s Pen Shop prior to the story. The customers seem to make the trek to Daly’s because it has such a cool vintage vibe. I definitely have to take a trip up to Milwaukee to visit Daly’s Pen Shop. Sounds like my kind of place.
Have a listen to the story and then read all the comments that listeners have left. Would you rather have a great fountain pen or a new iPhone? I don’t think the two are mutually exclusive but right now, I’d rather have a new pen.
Thanks to former Hallmarker and lettering artist Chris Purcell for this lovely greeting for Fountain Pen Day. UK-based Pen Heaven has a lovely list of fountain pen facts to share today.
Show your fountain pen pride today! Or maybe use today as an excuse to buy that new pen you’ve been eyeballing.
Attention, Readers! I am had a major code fail. If you have sent me comments or questions via the ASK THE DESK comment form, they fell into the Internet abyss due to a stray letter in my form code.
It has be fixed!
Please resubmit your comments and questions and I humbly apologize if you feel I have been ignoring your urgent needs. This is particularly true of any giveaway winners who may have used the form to send me their address.
Thank you for your understanding.
Nock Co. Reviews and Previews:
Paper and Notebooks: