Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Initial Impressions of the Cross Affinity Fountain Pen

A few weeks ago, The Pear Tree Pen Company received its first shipment of Cross Affinity pens. I've been playing with one of the fountain pens ever since and I'm not merely impressed with its quality - I'm blown away. In my line of work, I find that a fine or extra-fine nib is most suitable, since I tend to take a lot of notes and write marginalia. One of the biggest problems with most "european" style fine nibs, is that they're actually pretty wide. That's one of the reasons I really like Sailor pens and other Japanese makes - their nibs run pretty true to size. With the Affinity, Cross seems to have taken a page from its Asian counterparts because the the fine nib writes a much finer line than I thought it would. It is NICE! Fairly smooth, with enough feedback to know you're using a pen and not an ice cube. Excellent ink flow, with no false starts, skips, streaks, or any glitches whatsoever. I filled my Cobalt blue Affinity with one of my favorite inks, Diamine Sapphire Blue, which also compliments the pen's resin finish beautifully. So far, I've written on a variety of different papers to test the nib, including Rhodia, cheap Office Depot legal pads, Post-it Notes, and 20# copy paper. So far, the Cross has performed excellently on all of them.

Cross Affinity Fountain Pen
The pen is nicely weighted - like the Waterman Phileas, it has a resin base with a metal insert for some heft. The Affinity t looks and feels much more solid than the Phileas, however. It is a much more elegant pen and would be at home in a purse, in school and even in a corporate boardroom. In retrospect, the nib doesn't look as small as I thought, but it's not going to leap out at you as being big, either. In length, the Affinity is equal to the Full Size Sailor 1911, but it's girth is more akin to that of the 1911M; a nice balance, in my opinion. The fit and finish really is first rate. It's a bummer that a pen at this price point doesn't include a converter, and comes with two dinky-sized ink cartridges, but at $80, it's still a very good value. But since the Pear Tree Pen Company includes a free converter with every Affinity fountain pen, that should not be an issue for most buyers.

Cross Affinity Selectip Rollerball Pen
The Cross Affinity is available both as a fountain pen and as a Selectip rollerball. The fountain pen has an MSRP of $100, and the Selectip rollerball has an MSRP of $85. They are on sale at the Pear Tree Pen Company for $80 and $65, respectively.

Thanks for reading.


Saturday, December 12, 2009

New Design for the Pear Tree Pen Co. Ink Sampler Bottle

Recently, the Pear Tree Pen Company decided to re-think the ink sampler bottles we've used for the past few years. Although they were very attractive and we receive many compliments for their style, they had some critical limitations. The most notable of those was the inability to fit all but the skinniest pens into the bottle to withdraw the ink. Many of you wrote to us about this issue, and we worked to try to come up with a variety of creative solutions, like filling the converter rather than through the nib and introducing the eye-dropper cap. But still, it wasn't quite right. And you let us know.

After a lengthy search for a suitable replacement, we finally found something that seems to work well. These new bottles are taller than their predecessor, with a slightly wider mouth. While not every pen's section will fit inside the bottle, I've been able to fill a Sailor Naginata and other pens of similar girth with absolutely no problem. These bottles are considerably more expensive than the ones they replace, but we've made a decision not to raise prices on the ink sampler at this time. Let's face it - fountain pen ink samples are not a huge profit center for us at the Pear Tree Pen Company (in fact, the opposite tends to be true). But we offer the service because we think it's a valuable service to the community of fountain pen and ink enthusiasts of which we are a part.

Before I started the Pear Tree Pen Company, I was a huge ink-hound. I bought bottle after bottle of ink, hoping for the right color, the right shading, the right drying time. But all I had to work with were color swatches or photographs on a computer screen. As I'm sure most of you know by now, neither method is even close to adequate.

A color swatch, even if you're staring at an actual sample of ink on a page, can only tell you so much. But important information is missing - how long did it take to dry? Did the ink flow well? Will it appear the same coming out of my pen, on my paper?

A computer-based image is even worse. Computer monitors need to be calibrated to display color correctly, and not every monitor displays color the same way.

After being frustrated by these problems in my own search for the perfect ink (which I still haven't found, by the way), I devised the ink sampler to help others avoid the same pitfalls I encountered along the road. From the overwhelming response we've gotten since I introduced the ink sampler, I can only surmise you've all found it as valuable as I do.

Anyway - back to the new bottles. Above is a photo I took with my iPhone to give you all an idea of what they look like. What do you think of them? We're always looking for feedback, positive or negative.

FYI, one of the bottles is filled with De Atramentis Steel blue (stihlblau) by Jansen. The other contains Noodler's invisible ink (;-))

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Cyber Monday is so Last Year

Howdy, folks!

Sale time at The Pear Tree Pen Company! Starting today, we're offering a week-long sale-a-bration - Get 15% off of your entire order if you use the promo code "holidays1209" (no quotation marks necessary when you enter it in the code box)! It's a one-time use code for every customer (and it won't work with other promo codes), so when you're shopping for that pen person on your list (or for yourself...), make sure you check your list (and then check it twice)! The offer is valid until December 7, 2009, and is valid on all items in our store, including a wide selection of Lum-Tec watches.

We're still fairly well-stocked with Webbies, 2010 Rhodia planners, other notebooks and journals, lots of inks (still a few bottles of De Atramentis left, too!), and some great pens...and more stuff is arriving by the day!

Come 'n get it! :)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

De Atramentis Inks Now Available at the Pear Tree Pen Company

You know there must be something special going on if there are 3 posts in a month on this blog - but it must be extraordinary if there are 2 posts in two days. And it is. I am very excited to announce that the Pear Tree Pen Company now carries De Atramentis fountain pen inks. I was first introduced to this wonderful range of bottled ink a few years ago, and was instantly impressed. Finding them in the U.S., however, proved to be a Herculean task. Recently that all changed and I'm thrilled that De Atramentis Fountain Pen Inks are, at long last, available in the United States - and at the Pear Tree Pen Company.

If you haven't heard of this brand of hand made inks from Germany, you are in for a real treat. Extraordinarily popular in Europe and known for their excellent flow, as well as their broad range of colors and scents (how about an ink that smells like patchouli?), De Atramentis Fountain Pen Ink is hand-made by Dr. Franz-Josef Jansen in Hardert, Germany. Dr. Jansen runs a gallery there for Asian art and everything else to make a calligrapher's heart jump. In addition to traditional handmade fountain pen ink, Dr. Jansen's De Atramentis brand offers a smorgasbord of special and scented inks, made using recipes from bygone eras. De Atramentis also produces many specialty inks, which he labels "teacher and pupil", "cities", "holidays" and even mythical themes like "witches, sorcerers and demons". One of my favorites is the scented Christmas Ink, "Ink for Well-Behaved Kids," a green ink that smells just like a Fir Christmas tree. Of course, it's safe for all of your favorite fountain pens.

The new US distributor had a very limited supply of De Atramentis, and he told me that his next shipment of this exceptional fountain pen ink will not arrive in the U.S. until after the New Year. So the Pear Tree Pen Co. bought virtually everything he had in stock - which, sadly, wasn't much. We put the ink on the site last night,and the response has been tremendous. It's going very quickly, so if you are interested in inks, don't delay, or you may just have to wait even longer to see what the fuss is about.

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Big Ink-Bottle Yard Sale

Y'know, it's a funny thing about ink samplers . . . as time goes on, they tend to create two things; happy customers (we hope!) and lots of empty ink bottles. Rather than throw them out or recycle them through conventional methods, we decided to start our own "green initiative" here at The Pear Tree Pen Company and offer them to our customers! Empty ink bottles are really pretty useful; you can use them in craft projects, in the garage for storing bits 'n pieces of stuff that were left over from the last time you took the dryer apart (huh??) ,herb gardens (Private Reserve & Sailor bottles work really well for this!), and lots of other things aside from just storing your favorite inks (although that's perfectly acceptable, too).

So, for the past week or so, we've been running loads of bottles through the dishwasher, cleaning out the caps, and removing the labels. We're not quite done yet, and we're always finding more bottles that we're finishing, but we've got the first batch of them ready. We've got lots of Diamine, Private Reserve, Noodler's, Caran d'Ache (these are FANTASTIC bottles for those of you who want an elegant inkwell for your office), a few Visconti plastic travel bottles for you road warrior types, Waterman, J. Herbin bottles with the great little pen-rest, a couple of Omas bottles (these are also pretty darn elegant), a handful of Aurora bottles, and a few of the Sailor ink bottles, too!

Prices vary between $3 and $6 per bottle, and we've got 'em ready to ship!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Brassing Adds Character to the Pear Tree Pen Company

The Pear Tree Pen Company is pleased to announce that Ryan Roossinck has assumed management of the day-to-day operations of the successful online retailer. Roossinck is known among fountain pen and ink enthusiasts for his popular internet blog, Brassing Adds Character, where he reviews writing instruments and accessories such as pens, pads, and inks. He is also known for his role as a moderator on the Fountain Pen Network, the largest online community of fountain pen and ink lovers on the internet.
Pen collector James Partridge founded the Pear Tree Pen Company in 2006 as a part-time home-based business. Following the introduction of the Fountain Pen Ink Sampler later that year, business began to boom leading the fledgling operation to seek larger quarters. Pear Tree Pens moved, literally, from the kitchen table to the basement, and shortly thereafter opened a larger retail and order-processing facility just north of downtown Ann Arbor. Despite the tough economic times, the Pear Tree Pen Company continued to prosper, and even hired several staff members to help ship packages to thousands of customers around the world.
Unfortunately, splitting his time between his full-time career as a corporate attorney and managing the burgeoning online establishment began to take its toll on Partridge. "I realized that it’s impossible for me to do it all. I can’t excel in my legal career, grow the Pear Tree Pen Company, and spend as much time with my family as they deserve." Partridge began to explore selling the business, and even considered simply shutting its doors.

Partridge soon had a few offers on the table, but ultimately found the best option lay closer at hand - in Roossinck, a friend and fellow pen collector. "One of his best attributes may well be his talent for ‘reading the minds’ of our customers." Partridge said. "Several times already, Ryan has helped me choose new products that soon became extraordinarily popular. He possesses tremendous knowledge and expertise, and his enthusiasm for the pens, inks and papers we offer is second to none. Add to that his dedication to outstanding customer service and it became clear to me that Ryan would be an asset to the Pear Tree Pen Company – and the pen community."
"James and I hit it off right away," Ryan said. "One of the things I really enjoy most about James is his creativity, and his ability to trendspot. We’ve had a lot of great conversations over the past several years that will undoubtedly lead to some really cool new products that we think that our customers will love."

The future for The Pear Tree Pen Company looks very bright, and includes a lot of great new products and ideas that customers are sure to love, and both Ryan and James are really excited for what comes next! "We’ve got some cool things up our sleeves," says Ryan, "stuff you won’t be able to find anywhere else! The addition of Lum-Tec’s fantastic line of watches is just the start!"

In anticipation of the future, both James and Ryan have their shades ready. Get yours out.

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Monday, October 19, 2009

The Pear Tree Pen Company Branches Out

I am proud to announce that the Pear Tree Pen Company has become the newest authorized retailer of Lum-Tec watches.

Why watches and why Lum-Tec? I’ve been a watch enthusiast for a little while now, and I recently discovered the Lum-Tec brand. It’s one of the few watches I own that I think is actually a better value than what I paid for it. In fact, I was so impressed with the quality and the value of my Combat B3, that I called the company to let them know. I was on the phone with Chris Wiegand, Lum-Tec’s president, and we soon realized we had a lot in common. For one, Chris is a fountain pen enthusiast. One thing led to another and – BAM! – I’m in the watch business, too!

Here’s a photo of my very own Lum-Tec Combat B3, on a Di-Modell Jumbo strap.

Lum-Tec is family run, USA-based company devoted to bringing you the best quality watches on the market. Its parent company, Wiegand Custom Watch, LLC. has built watches for thousands of customers around the world.

Lum-Tec makes high-quality quartz, mechanical and automatic watches in a wide-range of sizes and styles. Lum-Tec watches are in high-demand, yet are made in very limited numbers, and typically no more than 150 of each style is produced. Review their current offerings at their web-site: www.Lum-Tec.com. I am sure you’ll be impressed.

Chris Wiegand takes extreme pride in every watch his company produces. Each Lum-Tec watch features:
  • MDV technology® Extreme luminous hands and dials.
  • Cases made from 316L surgical grade Stainless steel or tungsten carbide.
  • Thick top grade Sapphire crystals.
  • Double sided anti-reflective crystal coating.
  • Top grade straps or bracelets.
  • Hard PVD bead blasted coatings on some models.
  • Large case designs. 38mm-50mm sizes.
  • Exclusivity. All watches are numbered limited editions.
  • 100 meters/330 ft. minimum water resistance.
  • Full feature heavy duty movements.
  • Lifetime battery replacement on quartz models.
  • One year limited warranty.
  • Highest grade packaging and display box set.
  • Designed and tested in the USA.

Lum-Tec also prides itself on its service. With service points around the globe, you can be assured that any repair you need will have an unheard-of-fast turnaround time, so you can get your watch back on your wrist fast and enjoy it.

LUM-TEC® takes watch manufacturing and design to a personal level. Like the Pear Tree Pen Company, Lum-Tec freely communicate with its customers through email, phone, and on web forums daily.

The offerings from Lum-Tec will be added to the Pear Tree Pen Company website in the coming days and weeks. In the meanwhile, feel free to contact me by email at sales at peartreepens dot com if you’d like to order one or of you have any questions.

Thanks for looking!


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Bastille Day Sale Extended Until a Frenchman Wins a Stage at the 2009 Tour de France

. . . Or until the Tour ends, whichever comes first. Take 10% off any French-item in our inventory, including J. Herbin, Exaclair, Exacompta, Waterman and Rhodia! Use Coupon Code "Bonjour" at checkout! Visit The Pear Tree Pen Company now!

And, because there's an Italian currently wearing the Maillot Jaune (yellow jersey, for the non cyclistas among us), I've added a special interest sale: Take 10% off the price of any in-stock Visconti Van Gogh fountain pen (maxi or midi). This sale will continue until Rinaldo Nocentini no longer leads the General Classification in Le Tour. There's no coupon code needed to get your Van Gogh discount - just add it to your cart and the discounted price should be reflected in the cart at check out.

Vive le Tour!


Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Custom-Embroidered Cycling Caps Now Available

Here at the Pear Tree Pen Company, my passion for fine writing instruments is surpassed, perhaps, only by my passion for cycling. In fact, the Pear Tree Pen Company is a proud sponsor of Team Kenda Tire, an elite professional women's bicycle racing team.

Although I don't get on the bike nearly as much as I used to these days, I still ride and tour as often as I can. I'll have another opportunity in just a few weeks. My family is soon to embark on yet another week-long bicycle tour across the great state of Michigan - The Pedal Across Lower Michigan - And we can't wait. This time, I'm taking both boys (8 and 5) 250 miles in 6 days Lake-to-Lake across the center of the state. I'm sure it'll be quite the sight, as we'll be riding our sturdy Cannondale tandem, pulling a Burley Piccolo "tag-a-long" bike.

To commemorate the occasion, I had some custom-embroidered cycling caps made up by these folks at Walz Caps. Very old school. The Pear Tree Pen Company's web address is subtly and tastefully embroidered on the cap's lower right side. I figured there were a few like-minded folks who appreciate a good cycling cap like I do, so I bought a few extras to share.

Walz traditional style cycling caps are made from durable, comfortable, medium-weight fabrics and are both stylish and functional. Their unique four panel design offers clean lines for a snug cap that fits nicely under a cycling helmet. This custom-embroidered Walz Racing Stripe cycling caps are handmade from durable, stylish cotton blend fabric. The soft bill liner is flexible and can be worn either up or down. The streamlined two panel design with a bold racing stripe is sleek and comfortable. All caps are individually sewn in the United States.

Each cap features:
  • Cotton-blend fabric
  • Racing Stripe
  • Elastic back creates comfortable fit
  • Soft, flexible bill liner adds comfort and versatility
  • Pear Tree Pen Co. URL (www.PearTreePens.com) embroidered on cap's lower right side
  • Embroidery stitching matches racing stripe
I only have a few of them, in both blue and red, each with a racing stripe. At only $22.99, they're sure to go quickly.

I hope you like them and find them as stylish and as comfortable to wear as I do.

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Unlimited Ink Samples Now at the Pear Tree Pen Company

The Pear Tree Pen Company is pleased to announce that it has lifted its restrictions on the number of ink samplers one can buy with a single order.

If you want to buy 2 samplers, go for it. 4 samplers? knock yourself out. Ten Samplers? You bet! The sky's the limit - No more 30-day waiting period, and no need to buy a bottle of ink before you can get a second, third or ??? dose, er, set of ink samples!


Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Pear Tree Pen Company is Giving Away $250.00!

The Pear Tree Pen Company has a few more Visconti Van Gogh fountain pens in stock than we probably should, so we want to move them out. So I came up with a crazy plan to entice you all into buying one of the nicest pens out there (as if you needed any enticement, right?)

Here's the deal: In addition to the already low prices on these very fine writing instruments (so low, in fact, we're not allowed to list the prices on our website!), I'm giving you money to buy them! Huh? Yes, you read right. Sort of. The first 10 customers who order a Visconti Van Gogh Maxi fountain pen will also receive a $25.00 gift certificate to Amazon.com absolutely free! No coupon code necessary.

Order now before they're gone! Ready, Set, Gogh!

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Huge Savings on all Lamy Products at the Pear Tree Pen Company

The Pear Tree Pen Company has just slashed its prices on all Lamy items. This sale applies to every Lamy item in our inventory - the Lamy Safari, Al-Star, Accent and even the Lamy 2000 is on sale. Save big on Lamy Scribble mechanical pencils, Lamy T-10 ink cartridges, LT-52 bottled inks, and even M40 and M41 pencil leads! Let's not forget all Lamy and rollerball and ballpoint pen refills, such as the Lamy M63, M16, M66, M21, and M32. Need a new converter? LZ24, LZ25 and LZ26 fountain pen ink converters are also on sale!

As an added bonus, I've also reduced prices on the entire line of Caran d'Ache "Colors of the Earth" inks.

These sale prices are so good, we're only able to offer them on in-stock merchandise. Sorry, no rain checks or special orders at this time.

While the savings are huge, our inventory isn't - so you'd better hurry if you don't want to miss out!

Visit The Pear Tree Pen Company to start saving now!

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Private Reserve and Noodler's Inks Back in Stock

The Pear Tree Pen Company is pleased to announce that we have recently replenished our stock of Private Reserve and Noodler's Ink. If you've been waiting for any of these outstanding bottled fountain pen inks, such as Private Reserve's DC Electric Blue, or Noodler's Heart of Darkness, now's your chance to hurry on over to the PTP Co. and stock up.

Head on over to The Pear Tree Pen Company to place your order before we run out again!

And if you've wondered where the heck I've been --- well, let's just say that my day job seems to be secure for the time being.

Thanks for stopping by!


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Pelikan M800 Demonstrator Fountain Pens Have Arrived

Apparently I was not quick enough get any of the Pelikan M800 demonstrator fountain pens when they were first released, since they sold out in, like, a millisecond. Luckily, life is about second chances, and I was contacted a couple of months ago to see whether I had any interest in ordering any if Pelikan could be convinced to make another limited production run, I immediately said, "Hell Yeah!" The folks at Chartpak, Pelikan's US distributor must possess extraordinary persuasive abilities because they succeeded and a shipment of the brand-spanking new clear-as-ice Pelikan M800 Demonstrators arrived the other day.

Visit the Pear Tree Pen Company at http://www.peartreepens.com/Pelikan-M800-Fountain-Pen-Clear-Demonstrator-p/964114.htm to order your very own at what I believe to be the lowest price going.

Thanks for stopping by!