Brian, at the factory, tells me 'The weather was perfect with a brilliant blue sky, the marquee was erected in the central parking area, and the guests turned up in droves. We even had a visit from the greatest Eskesen collector in France, Monsieur Zanat, who was in the Guinness Book of World Records.' Monsieur Zanat has over 6,000 pens in his personal collection. WOW!
Sandy, a friend and pen distributor, attended the reception with Beth, her co-worker. Sandy was very impressed and has gained a new appreciate for the pens. A single pen can have as many as 28 parts! She found the factory to be amazingly efficient, quiet and clean. The reception was wonderful. Guests were graciously greeted, wined and dined. A good time was had by all.
That evening the company treated their employees to a private party. Eskesen presented their employees with a very unique gift. 140 orange colored, metal, letter openers were created to commemorate their 50th. Hopefully we will see a picture of this item in the up coming book.
Karen Swanson, a collector, visited the factory with her family just a few weeks before the celebration. Her factory tour was quite extensive. She was thrilled to witness the production of Disney's latest, the Hunchback of Notre Dame pen. She tells me in addition to approximately 140 factory employees, Eskesen has a thriving cottage industry. Many of the assembly and packing tasks are handled by individuals that work in their own homes. Eskesen is also extremely ecology conscious.
If anyone else should visit the factory, please share the details of your trip with your fellow collectors. Those of us less traveled remain hungry for news.
Correction... In the last FA I told you about double tracking. German collector, Klaus Schmitz, conducted a follow-up nvestigation. He received word directly from the factory that there are never two tracks. This news prompted Bill and I to take another look. It's true. The film in the center of the pen moves on a track. The film that creates the foreground image is supposed to be attached and remain stationary! So, the double movement is not intentional, as previously reported. Personally I find double the movement, double the fun. Thank you Klaus for the correction.
Psychology of the Float Collector.... Some of us were a little anxious to think that floatcollecting might be a subconscious link to the safety of mothers' womb. Relax. It was just a thought! How would you explain our attraction to things that float? As a swimmer, Libby Spatz finds it a natural connection. I enjoy swimming. Are all of us swimmers? Do we share a love of water? Could it be that simple? Are there float collectors that fear water?
Water is a powerful resource. As a confessed control freak, I wonder if by capturing, thereby controlling water, I gain some small sense of satisfaction. You too?
There is no doubt that a single pen can trigger any number of emotions. Many are funny. Others pluck at our heart strings or strike a nostalgic chord. Upon examination, we may even marvel at the complexity of a design or the creative genius behind it. Even so, there will be a few pens that leave us absolutely FLAT. Is there one exceptional pen that really speaks to you? Tell us about it.
I adore San Francisco and treasure my visits there. Each SF pen I own is special, in it's own right. My favorite remains the Foggy Day on the Bay, where an almost transparent cloud floats over the Golden Gate bridge. Many others have conveyed an admiration for this same pen. It's clever, unique, and has a quite, serene aura. For me it IS San Francisco.
Promotional Pens... I am pleased and excited to offer two UPS collections. The first is the UPS domestic set of three pens: UPS package truck, airplane, and tractor trailer rig. The barrels are a delicious chocolate brown. The clips and bands are gold. The second collection is a boxed set of two pens. These pens were distributed exclusively in Europe two years ago. Both pens have black barrels and are beautifully packaged in a brown box. The $8/set price will expire soon. They will increase to $10 in the August issue of Float About and continue to increase as my stock is depleted.
Nancy Thomas informs me that cruise lines in her Florida neighborhood do not operate on-land gift shops. Shops are on-board and do not conduct business until the ship enters duty free waters. Is this true of cruise lines in your area? If you know someone planning a cruise, you could ask them to bring a pen back for you. Nancy and I have considered an alternative method. Each collector books a separate cruise, so we can buy pens to trade with one another. Are you ready to float?
Future Lists... In past issues I have offered pens that relate to a theme... Olympics, comics, locations, etc. Would you be interested in amusement park or casino pens as future themes? Can you think of any other topics I should address? Always anxious to hear from my fellow collectors.
Pen Exchange... Is there a particular pen you are looking for? Be sure to submit your requests and I will put the word out and see what bounces back.
Foreign Trade... BE KIND. When trading with foreign collectors you have to declare what is in the package at point of shipping. Be sure to declare your outgoing items as 'GIFTS' or the person receiving the package will be heavily taxed upon receipt.
Display Tip... Many of you collect old timers, mechanical pencils with cruise ships or other objects that float in the barrel. I do not like to utilize the clips on older pens or pencils for fear they will break. I have found two effective ways to safely display these antiques. Displays made to hold smoking pipes work very well. I just prop the pencil up as if it were a pipe. Many interesting styles of pipe stands are available. My fave is the lazy Susan version.
Have you seen the plastic toothbrush holders with peel and stick adhesive pads? They have a snap mechanism that wraps around the toothbrush handle and then it clips closed. The adhesive pad allows you to fasten this holder to just about any surface.
Storage... I have included a photo to share my preferred method of pen storage. I think you will find it most effective. Just bought yet another file box today called the Keep Box. It's made by Akro-Mills in Akron, OH and I purchased it at my local flea market for $3! It's perfect.
Life's a boat... so float!