Thursday, January 24, 2008

Noodler's Baystate Blue - Should I or Shouldn't I?

Noodler's Ink has just announced the release of a brand new fountain pen ink: Baystate Blue. The ink is based upon a colonial style blue ink that was made at the end of Warld War II in Boston, Massachusetts. Similar to a cobalt blue, "Baystate Blue" is Noodler's conventional version of the classic colonial era blue. Nathan Tardiff, the creative mind behind Noodler's, based this ink upon how the original formulas behave on the page while taking into account the color intensity of the later 1940s version. At the same time, he managed to avoid the acidity of the earlier inks through the use of different/modern components.

Noodler's Baystate Blue is on its way and should arrive at the doors of the Pear Tree Pen Company in the next few days. Once it gets here, the ink sampler page of our webiste will be updated so you can try it yourself.

There's always a lot of excitement whenever a new ink hits the street, and rightfully so! In the past few months, not only has Noodler's introduced several new fountain pen inks, but Diamine recently introduced some new colors. J. Herbin has announced that it will release 4 new shades of ink in the near future. I love it when the available palate of fountain pen inks grows!! Inevitably, though, with every new release come the questions about whether any has tried the ink in their fountain pen - How fast does it dry? Does it feather? How does its color compare to that of my current favorite?

Sure, there are ink reviews on various websites, and color swatches are available on the internet; however, reviews are subjective and internet color swatches are notoriously inaccurate. I've found that there is no substitute for getting the ink myself, and writing with it in my pen and on my paper. But plunking down $10-$15 of hard-earned cash for an ink that may ultimately disappoint can be a deterrent for someone interested in discovering a new color, or exploring a never-before-tried brand.

With the launch of Noodler's new Baystate Blue, I wanted to take this opportunity to remind everyone that there is an inexpensive solution: The Pear Tree Pen Company Ink Sampler. For $4.00, you can try up to 4 different inks and use them at your leisure and in real-world conditions. If you like the ink you've sampled, - great! But if not - at least you've not laid out nearly 3 times the price of the sampler for something you'll never use.

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Luring a Marlen

One of the things I love most about owning the Pear Tree Pen Company is being in a position to discover interesting pens from innovative companies the world over. Of course, there are so many great pens out there, both modern and vintage, I'll probably have to use a different fountain pen every day for the rest of my life before I'm able to try them all. But that's a sacrifice I'm willing to make.

Several of the pens I've been hoping to add to the "tried that" list are from an Italian company called Marlen. While it is dangerous to generalize, Italian fountain pens have always been a favorite of mine, largely due to the the Italian's seemingly unmatched flair for design. Marlen is no exception, and they offer a plethora of interesting designs along with a range of filling systems sure to satisfy even the most discerning fountain pen afficianado.

Yet, it hasn't been easy to obtain a Marlen here in the U.S. market. While Aurora, Omas and Visconti have a solid foothold, other Italian brands like Ancora, Tibaldi, as well as Marlen, are often conspicuously absent from your local pen store.

Luckily, one of my distributors now imports Marlen pens. I therefore seized upon this opportunity to evaluate several of Marlen's fine writing instruments. I just placed an order for the Marlen E-Com, Basilea, HTF Geneve and the Odysseus. They haven't arrived yet, but I was so thrilled have the chance to write with these pens that I couldn't wait to blog about it. And, given the praises I've heard other fountain pen enthusiasts shower upon Marlen, I have very high expectations. But you can bet that when they do arrive, I will put them through the proverbial wringer myself. If I'm satisfied with the way they behave, I'll order more so you can experience them for yourself.

Thanks for stopping by.

Friday, January 18, 2008

A Convenient Truth

Esteemed blog reader(s?),

As I mentioned in earlier posts, I am in the process of migrating all of the Pear Tree Pen Company's shopping cart functions to a new host and new software. The process is slow and tedious, but we are making progress.

One of the new features of this cart is the ability to offer a "hidden" sale price. This is very useful as several of the pen companies whose products I sell (such as Visconti and Omas) do not permit their authorized retailers to advertise discounts on their products (with certain exceptions). I've currently handled this situation by asking shoppers to send me an email asking for a better price. While that has solved the immediate problem, I certainly was not the ideal solution.

The new "hidden price" feature allows the store owner (me) to select one of two options. The first would allow the shopper to request a price quote by email (which would be realtively instantaneous). The second option , simply displays the price once the shopper has placed the item into their cart.

My question to you pen buyers is: Would you prefer to receive an email price quote, or simply to be able to see the item's price once it has been added to the cart? What is the reason for your preference?

I would greatly appreciate any help you can give me to help make your shopping experience a more enjoyable one.

Thank you!
James Partridge

Friday, January 11, 2008

Hey, Have You Seen Sumgai Around Here?

I have recieved a couple of questions from some astute folks who have noticed there hasn't been a Sumgai Sundai these past few weeks and who wondered whether these popular sales will return. The answer is a most emphatic "Yes!" However, I'm taking a temporary break until I can resolve the website glitches that developed when my web company decided to "improve" the code in its shopping cart software.

I'm now in the process of migrating all of my cart functions to a new host and a new cart platform. Not being a computer techie, and wrestling with the demands of being a full-time attorney and father in addition to running the pen company, the transition is a slow one. With luck, I should be up and runnning again on a new system by the end of the month. The Sumgai Sundais will resume when I get everything worked out then. I'll keep you posted and, to those who wrote, thanks for noticing their absence.


Monday, January 07, 2008

Ahem. The Envelope Please . . .

Last month, I announced a contest for the creation of song lyrics to the tune of the "12 Days of Christmas" that incorporated references to the Pear Tree Pen Company in one way, shape or form. I received a flurry of entries and posted the 5 finalists to the Marketplace section of the Fountain Pen Network and here on my blog.

I then invited my readers and members of that illustrious forum to vote for their favorite. Today, the day after the traditional "12th Day of Christmas," I'm proud to announce the winner. But first, a word from our sponsor.

OK, just kidding.The winner of the first ever "12-Days-of-Christmas" Lyric Writing Contest goes to: Entry No. 4 and its author, the pseudonymous Blueiris!

Let's all give her our congratulations for an outstanding entry. For those who missed it, the winning entry is:

On the 12th line of my wish-list from Pear Tree Company:
- 12 Parkers Duofold-ing-
-11 Charlestons dancing....
- 10 Gatsbys THINKing....
- 9 Mega Ink Balls rolling....
- 8 Omases bling-ing....
- 7 blotters rocking....
- 6 kits for mixing....
- 5 Sailor Kings!....
- 4 Pelikan birds....
- 3 French-ruled pads.....
- 2 tortoise pens
and a cartridge from James P.!

And let's not forget to thank our contest finalists. Thanks for playing and I have some prizes for each of you waiting backstage. Seriously. So each contest finalist, please contact me with your name and contact information so I can pop something in the mail to you. I appreciate the wit and the sense of humor of each of you, and you deserve something for your effort and your creativity.

James P.