Bio of John Roede, speaker at May 10, 2008 meeting
John Roede is tapering off, as a consultant. a 50 year career in industrial control and instrument engineering. Working at it no more than 2 days a week, opens up vistas of pen acquisition, trading, research, restoration, and repair that seem limitless.
With family ties to the development of Parker’s aerometric 51, and the original 61, flea market searches in 1995 expanded his interest to fountain pens generally. A genetic weakness, for history of any kind, led to verbal inquiries, and eventually hundreds of hours in numerous libraries and historical societies, not to mention ancstry.com. Because so much had been written about the large pen companies, he was drawn to researching the only major hometown Philadelphia manufacturer- Franklin Pen Co.
The results were published in the May 2000 issue of Pen World, thanks to Michael Fultz’ influence with the publisher. The search for additional Franklin tidbits continues at a very low level today. After the Franklin article the question was “what’s next?” When the belated discovery of existing Leboeuf history killed that subject, the attractive and unique Eclipse lever box, and the huge void of available information made Eclipse and its sub- brands the next target. After several years of digging, as far afield as San Francisco, the result was Pen World articles in the July and September 2006 issues. Additional information is still being sought, but not intensely.
Future history of Dunn (don’t believe the existing myths), Camel, Dewitt LaFrance, Post, or Postal Pen are the next job, depending on which yields sufficient material. Publication will probably be in The PENnant, since Pen World has apparently abandoned the vintage pen culture. There are also a couple of inside stories from Parker, relative to the 51. 61, and 75 models that may be published at some point.
The accumulation of roughly 1200 fountain pens, in need of restoration, seems likely to maintain a lifelong challenge.