In 2010, everything in the "world of pens" is different now. Or is it?
I recently came across the November/December 1995 issue of Pen World and as I looked through the magazine I concluded that not that much has changed since 1995. New pens continue to be introduced to the market and there were consistent themes to the pens from 1995 to day in 2010.
Advertising is an area where I found a fair amount of consistency. Today, one of the themes of pen marketing to align owning a quality pen with high profile individuals or a particular lifestyle or event. Linking a lifestyle or event to a writing instrument helps to broaden overall market appeal. For example, the 2010 Montegrappa Muhammad Ali pen can appeal not only to those who would buy a writing instrument, but also to followers of Muhammad Ali or boxing.
Back in 1995 there were similar themes. Waterman, for example, ran a full page ad outlining how the writers of the very popular TV series, Friends, each use a different Waterman pen. Pens, the show Friends, writers all this linkages.
The themes of many of the advertisements where also not that different than that of pen advertisements of today.
Those are just a few of the advertisements that I could have inserted into a 2010 magazine and they would not have looked out of date.
The 1995 issue included an interview by Glen Bowen with Norman Brokaw, the Chairman and CEO of the world's largest talent agency, William Morris Agency. The article is chucked full of photos of Norman with various Hollywood actors and actresses. Very similar to the linkages with famous people today.
Sure enough, Norman Brokaw has a Waterman fountain pen in his shirt pocket. It was his father's pen and he told Glen Bowen it was the only thing he asked for from his mom at age 13 when his dad passed away.
And since most of us don't have only one pen, neither did Norman. He talked about a Waterman pen given to him by actor Bill Cosby and he references other pens such as those by Parker, OMAS, Montblanc and Cartier. One of the pens he acquired was the OMAS Cinema Pen commemorating the 100th Anniversary of film. Fitting for someone so involved in the film business.
The particular pens that are used by the the US President is topic being talked about in 1995 as well as today. News papers and pen discussions boards often identify brands of pens used for these important occassions.
The photo to the left, from a 2010 issue of Time shows an assistant setting out the 22 pens the US President used to sign the health act.
The 1995 issued included an article on the Parker pen that was used by President Bill Clinton for the signing of legislation.
President Clinton used a variety of ball point pens for signing documents. Despire the range of pens used, a Parker ball point in black lacquer became the Official William J. Clinton pen.
Washington lawyer Philip Ross wrote an interesting article in the 1995 issue of Pen World about the various pens used by the President and others.
We as have been on-line longer than we may think. The 1995 Pen World issue included references to posting about pens on CompuServe - some of you will remember CompuServe as one of the first on-line experiences to exchange information. Today, there is regular and ongong discussions taking place on web sites such as pentrace.com or fountainpennetwork.com.
It seems that some pens are immortal with interest about the particular pen remaining constant. The Parker Duofold is an example.
The 1995 issue of Pen World profiled the release of the new Parker Duofold Mandarin Yellow.
The 1995 advertisement notes: "The new Parker Duofold Mandarin Yellow has a classic look with modern technology. Vintage pen lovers appreicate it for its retro appeal. Contemporary pen lovers like its clean lines and technical perfection".
Immortal it is. The most recent issue of Pen World (October 2010) includes Part I of an article by Barry Gabay's about the Parker Duofold.
The article is very interesting and Barry writes about always wanting an Duofold and the experience of getting his first Duofold - the senior-size Big Red.
The October 1995 issue of Pen World included their annual feature, What's New For Fall.
My first thought was that this would be an area where I would see a big difference in terms of the number of new pens being profiled in 1995 compared to 2010.
I was surprised to see the number of pens profiled in the 1995 and 2010 Fall Preview features to be very similar.
Some of the companies have changed, but overall the production of new lines, as illustrated by the announcement of new lines, has not dropped as I had thought.
Not only the number of new pens lines, but also the similarity of style. Some of the pens profiles in 1995 could be part of a 2010 preview, and they looked as classic today as in 1995. For example, the Stipula Novecento, first issued in 1993, but the line introduced in the US in 1995, is still in production. A true classic.
The table below summarizes the new lines of the 1995 and 2010 Fall Preview.
|Aurora||Dante Alighieri||TU Collection|
|Bossert & Erhard||Sterling Boscolor|
|Caran d'Ache||La Modernista|
|Colibri||Michey & Minnie|
|Conway Stewart||Britannia, Brunel|
|Cross||150th Year Pen||Edge|
|Curtis Australia||Komo Collection|
|David Oscarson||2012 Limited Edition|
|Faber-Castell||pen & pencil set||
|Francois Yves Luthier||La Modigliani|
|Franklin -Christoph||Model 02 Intrinsic|
|L. Michael Fultz||Moorish Night|
|Le Boeuf||Great White Shark|
|Loiminchay||Riviera aves Maki-e|
|Michael Perchin||Blue & Gold (Faberge Egg)|
|Montegrappa||Romeo & Juliet|
|Namiki||Grance Collection (Pilot)|
|OMAS||UN Food & Agriculture|
|Opus 88||The Classic Series|
|Parker||General Douglas MacArthur, WWar II||Parker Premier Black|
|Pelikan||Souverän 800 Blue|
|Pilot||Custom 74 Smoke|
|Platinun||The Urushi, The Maki-E Rabbit, The Maki-E Plum Tree|
|Sensa||.925 Sterling Silver|
|Sheaffer||Crest, Targa, Fashion & Triumph Colours||Intensity|
|Taccia International||Celestial Pearl Collection|
|Urso Luxury||Venice Collection|
|Visconti||Michelangelo Limited Edition||Painted Homo Sapiens
|Waterman||Edson, Green||New Generation Hémisphère|
|William Henry Studio||F8-6 Fountain Pen
RB8-8 Roller ball
Royal RB6 Roller ball
The issue also included the results of its reader's survey in terms of the Best Pen of the Year. I wish Pen World would have retained similar categories so it was be easier to make comparisons between the Best Pens of 1995 and 2010. There is quite a variance in the catagories.
The 1995 designations were as follows:
As I closed the 1995 Pen World magazine and looked at the back cover I did see a change.
Sheaffer had for a long time "owned" the back cover. I looked at some of my oldest copies of Pen World, as far back as 1992, and Sheaffer was there running a full page back cover advertisement. That is sought after marketing real estate!
No longer is this true, as now other companies rotate their ads on the highly valued back cover.
As 2010 closes out and I look forward to 2011 and the pens that will be released, I can conclude there are numerous pens to be introduced into the market during the coming year.
Enjoy your pens.
Your pen, an expression of you.