Field Trip: Daly’s Pen Shop in Milwaukee


Daly's Pen Shop Milwaukee

While on the road this week, we got to make another stop. This time, we got to visit the legendary Daly’s Pen Shop in Milwaukee, WI. Daly’s has been in business since 1924. The location has changed but its one of the oldest pen shops in the US. Its a lovely shop filled with all the lots of great stuff including a wide variety of pens, inks and paper. The owner Brad Bodart was friendly, helpful and patient with all my questions.

Daly's Pen Shop Sheaffer's vintage pen display

The first thing I gravitated toward was this vintage Sheaffer case. The bottom row are mostly vintage Esterbrooks. The beautiful Parker Duofold on the right on the middle shelf is actually a reproduction with a ballpoint from the 70s. It explained the $35 price!

Daly's Pen Shop Clock

Across the back wall of the shop was a fabulous vintage Parker Duofold clock with 1920s-style tortoiseshell celluloid frame and framed original trolley car advertisements.

Daly's Pen Shop Sheaffer's Case

Daly's Pen Shop Sheaffer's Case open

Sheaffer custom-built this glass and aluminum display case for Daly’s with grooves to hold pens and a secret cubby to store inks (Skrip, of course!). When the shop relocated over the years, this is one of the items that they always made sure was moved to the new location. They also moved a wooden case that runs the length of one wall full or narrow drawers to hold pens, ink and accessories.

Daly's Pen Shop Calendar

The Daly’s advertising calendar behind the cash register is fabulous and I was tickled that it hadn’t been changed since my birthday. Brad said that he always knocked it off the wall while trying to change out the date cards so he had stopped chainging it. He promised to leave it my birthday for awhile so if you go in, check and see if its still up.

Daly's Pen Shop vintage ink bottles Daly's Pen Shop Quink V Mail ink

In the front corner of the store was a case full of vintage ink bottles. I love the labels! I particularly like the box of vintage Quink “reproduces best for V-Mail” box. Amazing.

Daly's Pen Shop Billboard

The billboard was actually a framed photo but I like to pretend that we passed it on our way in to Milwaukee. Of course, now most of Daly’s business in online. I got a peek in the backroom with shelves of pens and accessories for their massive online shop.

If you didn’t see it, there was an audio interview with Daly’s Pens on NPR in November 2013. Its worth a listen.

Daly's Pen Shop Front Window

Thanks, Daly’s Pen Shop! We’ll be back to visit soon!

New Sponsor: Pen Chalet

Pen Chalet

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!

Handled Stamps are NOW available

handled stamps

Since I posted the new stamp designs, lots of people have asked when and if handled versions would be available. Well, they are here! Most of the new designs are available in classic art block and handled versions. If there’s one you’d like but is not available in the format you prefer, send me an email and I can arrange for a custom order.

I haven’t had a chance to photograph the handled versions for the shop yet but these photos show what they look like — good quality wood handled stamps with deep cut stamps with thick cushion.

stamp order

There are lots of designs to choose from and more on the way!

Rubber Stamp Organization

Organizing Rubber Stamps

I had been piling my stamps into a large drawer and then I will fish around looking for the one I’m looking for. It was not efficient at all. Then I pulled open my Alex drawer unit and realized I was storing notebooks in a flat file. What?!?! I know, craziness. So, I pulled all the notebooks out and put them on a bookshelf and lined up all my woodblock stamps, graphic side up, in the top drawer. All of a sudden, I am using them more often and can find exactly the one I want, when I want it. Even handle stamps stand up when the drawer is closed so those sit along the edges.

Alex Drawer Unit from Ikea

Feeling the need for some of your own stamps, visit The Shop. I’ve been restocking!

Eyecandy from San Francisco

Happy Heart Mailbox

While I could not get Flickr to upload my travel photos, at least it saved my goodies, so I shall share those with you today. I did not buy a lot of goodies knowing so many things could be purchased later via Jet Pens and other vendors’  online shops so I limited myself to must-haves and small items that would fit in my carry-on bag.

Above, Melissa of Craftgasm and the Smithsonian Postal Museum shared the postal love with a little pink mail box filled with paper treats.

Red & Blue Goodies

If you put red-and-blue airmail stripes on anything, I’m likely to buy it. Maybe that’s why I love red/blue pencils so much? The pencil pictured above came from the epic Patrick & Co. stationery shop for a mere $0.39. Patrick’s is a classic stationery shop that’s been in business for over 100 years with an endless array of legal pads in every color imaginable, pens and pencils in jars to be purchased individually and so much more. There are two locations in downtown San Francisco, both near Union Square and should not be missed. The Dennison Airmail seals and the gummed labels came from Saturday Morning Vintage who had a stellar booth at the vendor market at Ex Postal Facto. The G. Lalo Verge de France stationery pad came from Patrick & Co. while the Air Mail stationery and envelopes came from Maido.

Red and Kraft is good

I purchased a few Pilot Hi-Tec C refills and a Hi-Uni HB pencil in the Maido shop in the Westfield Mall in Union Square. I also visited the Maido shop in Japantown and picked up a few more goodies. The postcard set tied with twine came from the 826 Collective Pirate Shop in the Mission. What fun! The Ohto Dude pen was compliments on Jet Pens along with a couple Morning Glory Mach 3 pens.

For the love of green

And of course, no trip would be complete without a little green. I got a word cards deck, some green gel pens, a “beans” cutter and itty bitty green staples from Maido. There will be more details about these purchases in the near future but I wanted to give a little taste of the stationery bounty available in San Francisco, should you find yourself there.

Shop: New Stamps!

The Desk Big Cartel Shop

It took awhile but I have new stamps in the shop, just in time for LetterMo/InCoWriMo.

I also have an awesome deal for folks headed to Ex Postal Facto in San Francisco this weekend(Feb. 14-16). You can order now and pick up your stamps in person to save the shipping and get them personally delivered. Stocks are limited and I will not be vending so this is your only option to acquire stamps from me at the event. Use the code FREEXPF to ditch those pesky shipping charges (only good for folks who will be at XPF and the deal is good through Feb. 14, 2014). Email me if you have any questions (click the ASK THE DESK button in the header).

Handle versions of the stamps will be available after XPF and more stock will be added then. Thanks for all the support!


Brevi Manu Stationery Shop


Marvin Kleinmeier (AKA Bob Sala Photographie) recently photographed products for a German stationery shop “Brevi Manu” for a future online store and catalog. I see familiar products like Hardmuth, Koh-i-Noor, and Kaweco — all excellent German products — along with Palomino Blackwings and other beautiful products. Brevi Manu creates the O-Check products which will also be featured. Lovely products and fabulous photography.


(via Rum Diary and Bob Sala Photographie. All photos by Marvin Kleinmeier.)

New Rubber Stamps Available in The Shop!

stamps on carousel

Finally! My new shipment of rubber stamps came in and they are all for you! Visit the shop over on Big Cartel to place your order. This time, I ordered a few on the classic wooden handle just to see if you like them and the pricing was similar so I thought, “Why not?” If you like these stamps but prefer the compact wood block mount, please let me know and I will get them re-ordered in that format. Or vice versa.

I also want to let you know if you are in the US and order several rubber stamps or other small items like airmail envelopes, you will only be charged $6 for shipping, and it will be shipped in a US Priority Mail flat rate box. If the order system charges more than that, I will refund the difference.

If you live outside the US and are interested in ordering any rubber stamps or any other products, please email me directly and I can build a custom order for you and send you a PayPal invoice instead of going directly through the site so I can customize the shipping rates. I don’t want to overcharge anyone for shipping.

Coming Soon: New Postal-themed Rubber Stamps

Just wanted to let you know that I’ve got new stamp designs coming to the shop in the next week or so. The designs are postally-themed like the ones shown here plus a couple other new designs. These are all original designs based on the looks of vintage air mail  envelopes and postage.

Some will be available with the classic wood handle and other in the smaller, more compact wood block style.  I like the handle-style because they fit on my vintage stamp carousel but I also like the wood blocks as they are more portable. Let me know if you’all have a preference.

Now Open: The Well-Appointed Desk Shop

The Shop Screenshot

Ever wanted to stock up on vintage office supplies or try out one of the products tested here on The Desk? Well, now is your chance. I am pleased to announce the opening  of The Well-Appointed Desk Shop featuring vintage office supplies like rubber stamp holders, staplers, assortments of pencils and airmail envelopes. More items will be added regularly to check back frequently.

Vintage Airmail Envelopes

Soon, I’ll add gently used fountain pens and other tools. These will be products purchased for review on the blog and, by selling them, it will help finance new purchases as well as the upkeep of this blog.

"Good Mail" Rubber Stamp

I am also offering some of my original rubber stamp designs available in the shop starting with the “Good Mail” stamp that I’ve gotten lots of requests to sell.

I am using Big Cartel for all the sales so every item is buy-it-now, no bidding, no haggle pricing. Please leave a comment below if you have questions or comments about the shop.

I hope you like it!

Link Love: Write it down now

This is what happens when I don’t do a Link Love for over two weeks: it becomes epic! Sorry its so long but I didn’t want anything to get overlooked or skipped.

Artwork by Donovan Beeson

Artwork by Donovan Beeson

Handwriting Month:

Pilot Petball (AKA B2P or BeGreen) pensin various colors coming out soon. Photo by Patrick Ng.

Pilot Petball (AKA B2P or BeGreen) pensin various colors coming out soon. Photo by Patrick Ng.


photo by Lamy 2000

photo by Lamy 2000

Sara Krulwich/The New York Times

Sara Krulwich/The New York Times






Oh, I think I’ve found my new paycheck-eating web site. Poppin creates clean, simple, brightly colored office supplies at reasonable prices. 12 pens for $6 in an array of colors, 10 legal pads for $16 and they are white with pale grey lines (no damned yellow pads, yippee!) They’ve got staplers, laptop sleeves, file folders and more. You can even shop by color if you want.

At this rate, you’ll find me at the highway on-ramp with a sign that says “Will work for office supplies”.

(via design work life)

Journaling Arts

Journaling Arts is a great resource for all sorts of journals and planners. Their shop is organized by type of book: writing, art, travel, planners and more. I especially like the category for Journals for Fountain Pens. You can also search by brand and Journaling Arts stocks a dizzying selection of Moleskine products. Journaling Arts also keeps a blog which is a good resource for detailed product information and techniques for creative journaling.

(tip via Jennifer — thanks!)