October 27, 2018 Meeting
A visit with John Greco at his pen shop, GW Pens, 4 S. Main Street, Woodstown, NJ
John will talk about his pen making process. He encourages any questions and is really looking forward to some great conversations.
John has arranged to have Bob Demartino of History Salvaged on site. Bob and his company are responsible for finding the incredible wooden relics John turns into pens.
Recently the Philadelphia Inquirer ran an article about some of his work, along with the work he does for Bob. You can learn more at: http://www2.philly.com/philly/news/fountain-pens-artisan-new-jersey-independence-hall-analog-bullet-journal-20180919.html
Sixteen PPCG members met at GW Pens in Woodstown, New Jersey for lunch and presentations by pen maker and owner John Greco and Bob DiMartino, owner of History Salvaged. We heartily thank John and Bob for engaging and interesting presentations, and John for providing a very satisfying lunch. (continued below)
John began as a toymaker. Over time, he gravitated toward pen making because he loved the materials and processes involved. The business grew from a garage-based activity to setting up shop in Woodstown, where visitors to the retail shop can see pens being made through a glass partition to the manufacturing area.
John’s pens are cartridge/converter or eyedropper fillers and carry Jowo nibs, his preference though he’s used steel, gold and gold flex nibs. He likes using his pens with Robert Oster inks and Samoya River paper, both of which he sells in the shop.
John will happily make custom pens on order. One of his designs is a snake pen that is as unusual to see as it is to hold. There is an attractive curve to the barrel and the joint between the cap and barrel is invisible, making for a very elegant overall appearance.
Wood, metals and stone are some of the varied materials with which John likes working. He uses marble from the same quarry in Colorado that supplied the marble for the Lincoln Memorial and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Washington, D.C. From nearby Millville Army Airfield, John gets 50mm machine gun shells used in training exercises to make pens and donates part of the sale proceeds to the airfield museum. He enjoys experimenting with pen design and finishing, including experimenting with chemically created patinas for metal pens and fittings.
John often makes pens using woods from historic sources so an added treat for this meeting was a presentation by his friend, Bob DeMartino, owner of History Salvaged, who rescues wood and other artifacts from renovations of historic buildings and sites. Bob considers the artifacts he rescues from historic renovations as witnesses to history. Where someone might just toss out a pile of wood from a renovation project, he gathers the best pieces and preserves them for future use. Bob’s presentation detailed his startup following his discovery that historic elements from the Ellis Island buildings were being tossed into dumpsters. He was able to rescue some of those and thus began his new business.
Bob has in his collection wood from the railings and floor beams of Independence Hall and from the restoration of the USS Constitution. His first love is history and through his interest in pen making he found John’s superb craftsmanship a special way to marry history and writing instruments. They have been working together ever since.
March 24, 2018 Meeting
Handwriting and Writing Letters by Hand (by Richard Kunin)
About eighteen members and guests met at Fergie’s Pub, 1214 Sansom Street, Philadelphia. Our presenters were Richard Kunin, a PPCG member and Michael McGettigan, a PPCG member and also sponsor and originator of Publetters, a weekly get-together at Philadelphia taverns of people who like to write letters. You can find more about Publetters and the next meeting at publetters.com.
Although fountain pen history, technology and collecting are the Club’s major focus, all enjoyed a change-of-pace meeting. At this meeting, we actually used our pens. Richard discussed handwriting history and offered pointers for improving our handwriting. He stressed that when we write for communication we are not doing calligraphy; others must actually read what we write so legibility is the goal. We spent an hour on handwriting practice with plenty of opportunity to try one another’s favorite pens.
Mike introduced Publetters noting that letters by Roman Legionnaires in England included the very kinds of things we write today such as requests for personal clothing items and inquiries about family members. They wrote in a form that influencied how we compose letters today, including a salutation and the use of the “P.S.” Mike suggested using unconventional objects for use as postcards, such as a panel from a cardboard food box, using the unprinted side for the message. He also provided more conventional stationery for our letter writing, including vintage letterhead paper and envelopes intended for airmail. Everyone wrote letters with real pens on real paper, put them into real envelopes with real stamps and left an really enjoyable get-together to mail their letters.
May 6, 2017 Meeting
Dr. Joshua Danley’s presentation on All Things Pelikan drew one of the Club’s largest turnouts at Michael’s Restaurant & Jewish Delicatessen in King of Prussia with about 20 members showing up to hear his talk and see his extensive collection of Pelikan Classic and Souveran models. His talk included:
- How to identify and distinguish one Pelikan from another
- How to date Pelikan pens
- Some of the history behind a few rare limited edition pieces,
Personally I found out that my own Souveran 800 is one of more desirable models, identifiable by the “W Germany” marking and the gold disk on the filling knob.
Frank from Federalist Pens gave out samples of Pelikan Edelstein’s ink of the year.
February 25, 2017 event by Lamy/Filofax and Federalist Pens and Paper
Lamy/Filofax and Federalist Pens & Paper hosted a very nice event at Dave & Busters in Northeast Philadelphia, and generously provided food and beverages and D&B game cards. The regional Lamy/Filofax representative, Jennifer, was in attendance with what appeared to be the entire Lamy line of pens and many Filofax products that were available to order or purchase from Federalist, some at special event prices. It was a great time, and a great introduction to both Lamy/Filofax and Federalist for those of us who haven’t met them before.
November 5, 2016 Meeting
Twelve members met at Panera Bread in Cherry Hill, a new venue for the club. Frank Limper, proprietor of Federalist Pens and Paper, hosted and graciously provided snacks from the Panera menu. He displayed a variety of goodies including the latest Lamy pens and the attractive, reasonably priced Regal pens. He also brought Filofax planners and calendar books, Rhodia papers and plenty of ink in a variety of colors. Frank talked about his business and demonstrated his array of pens.
Other members brought pens to show including a flock of Pelikans by Joshua Danley. The meeting room was semiprivate and we were delighted to have some nonmember Panera customers come in to see Frank’s display.
May 23, 2015 Meeting
Seven members attended the meeting at Michael’s Delicatessen in King of Prussia. Being Memorial Day Weekend attendance was lighter than most meetings, but still a very pleasant event.
July 16, 2011 Meeting
We are finally having a meeting. July 16th, 2011, 11am to 1pm. There will be a charge of $7.00 per person. This charge goes entirely to the diner for their services and will take care of all the coffee, tea and danish you eat. The location is the Harvest Diner, 2602 Route 130 in Cinnaminson, NJ.
Review of the April 17, 2010 Meeting
We had to cancel our February meeting due to inclement weather but finally met at Bob Mand’s offices at the Cira Center on April 17th, a bright and sunny day, but without a speaker. Stephanie Smith, a.k.a. “biffybeans”, was scheduled to speak but was for the second time unable to keep her commitment. She is the author of the blog, “Spiritual Evolution of the Bean”, where she reviews pens, inks, and papers. Regardless, we had a very successful meeting with a general round-table discussion of pens, pen repair sources, and penmanship. Among the many contributors, Milton Ross spoke about his experiences as owner of Font-O-Ink, a company that produced nibs and ink from the mid 1950’s to 1985. Following the general discussion, we had the opportunity to try samples of Rhodia and other papers and four bottles of J. Herbin inks in each of four colors that Stephanie kindly sent us.
Review of the October 24, 2009 Meeting
For those of us sufficiently enlightened to the joys of collecting and using fountain pens and real, liquid ink, a meeting of the Philadelphia Pen Collectors Group is always a delight. Our October meeting was especially so, being graced as it was by the presence of two representatives of the Montblanc Boutique located in the Plaza at King of Prussia, King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. Abigail Moldanado and Renee Mackey.
With Abigail’s assistance, Renee spoke at length and in detail about the development of Montblanc from its origins as Rouge et Noir to the present. Together, they covered a variety of topics ranging fronm the histroy of writing to Montblanc’s latest line of pens and accessories ready for immediate purchase at their shop. Attending members left with gift packets of Montblanc literature. Altogether, with the pen show-and-tell preceeding Abby and Renee’s presentation, the meeting made for a very fine day.
Review of the May 16, 2009 Meeting
The spring 2009 meeting was held at the Paradise Pen Company store in the King of Prussia Mall.
The store had plenty of room for those in attendance and the Charmaine, Elizabeth and Lauren from Paradise Pen were wonderful hostesses. Beth, the representative from Faber-Castell, spoke with great passion about the Faber-Castell and Porsche Design pens.
The members who attended were treated to hours of looking at pens, modern of course, but interesting even to the vintage collectors. Manager Charmaine Carvahlo, Elizabeth and Lauren attended to our every question and request. Charmaine was able to secure a visit from Beth, representative of Faber-Castell, who brought with her a number of new Faber Castells, including their Pen of the Year, made of all things, horsehair. Beth spoke with great passion about the Faber-Castell and Porsche Design lines.
We had plenty of time for conversation and shopping, with several taking great advantage of the special discount Paradise Pens offered us.
Review of the February 7, 2009 Meeting
Held a few weeks after the 2009 Philadelphia Pen Show, in lieu of a speaker our topic was a show and tell to show off our recent acquisitions.
Attendance was strong, as it has been at all of our meetings, and while still very comfortable, again we had more people than chairs at the table. Thanks again to Bob for hosting at his office and for providing the donuts and coffee.
There was plenty of eye-candy, and a some very active trading and selling.
Review of the October 18, 2008 Meeting
Rick Krantz spoke on Chilton Pens and covered:
- Chilton – the Boston years…
- Chilton company timeline and locations
- The Long Island years, covering the Long Island numbering system
- Wingflows, with attention to the inlay patterns and variations
- The demise of the Chilton Pen company
- Ads, from the Boston ads to the Wingflow ads.
There was also an “Ink Swap”. Members brought their old, tired, and weird color ink which was put out for others to take and enjoy.
The meeting was well attended again, and Rick’s presentation was great, enhanced by contributions by other advanced collectors in attendance (including John Roede, our speaker from the previous meeting). It was way cool to see Rick contribute to their knowledge and for them to offer a couple of items that expanded his knowledge as well. The ink swap was also well received with active exchanges occurring.
Review of the May 10, 2008 Meeting
John Roede, collector (with family ties to the development of Parker’s aerometric 51 and original 61) and published author on fountain pen history, spoke on the history of Philadelphia’s Franklin Pen Co and the families that turned it into a minor institution.
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.
Click here for a link to John’s full bio.
Turnout was great. Although there were more people than fit at the conference table the room was plenty big enough to hold everyone.
People brought plenty of pens, both modern and vintage, for each other to ogle.
March 8, 2008
Alan Shaw, owner/artisan of Shaw Pens on the steps he takes to construct the pens he sells
November 3, 2007
February 17, 2007
June 3, 2006
February 25, 2006