It is my most sincere wish that each and every one of you have the best holiday ever! Without a doubt, this has been the most interesting and exciting year that I have experienced in a long time. I owe it all to you. Collecting and sharing pens has been a great deal of fun. Let's do it all over again in 1997.
Sunday, November 17, 1996 LA Times... presented an exciting two page spread, titled 'Inks for the Memories, written by Mary Melton, and dedicated to the Eskesen float pen. A fine job indeed. In addition to her wonderful article, Mary also featured pictures of seven pens. If you have not seen the article, your local library may have copies on file. I have made several photo copies if you need one.
If you are looking for the pens that were pictured with the article, I offer this advise:
1) CA/Kings Canyon National Park/Bear family. I do not know if this pen is currently available, but I know that Kings Canyon is in the Fresno area. Are tourist shops would be my first stop.
2) CA/Anaheim/Disneyland - I have the Mickey at Tomorrowland pen in my collection and assume it is still available directly from the park.
3) CA/Seismic Activity Scale - I found mine in a tourist shop in San Francisco in the North Beach area.
4) CA/Long Beach/Queen Mary - I called the gift shop at the Queen Mary and was told that they do not have any pens in stock, but they hope to have them back in stock this spring.
5) CA/Los Angeles Police Academy/Cruiser - Couldn't bring myself to bother the LAPD for a souvenir but I wonder if some of our collectors closer to the scene could check this one out? If you have any luck please let me know.
6) Religious/Last Supper - Karen Richter found this pen and 9 other religious themes at a Columbus, Ohio Christian Supply Store. My local store didn't carry any float pens. I would expect such stores in larger cities to carry them.
7) Tip n Strip - notice the metal twist mechanism and the pointed plastic tip on top? The pen also sports a contoured clip. I can't be absolutely sure, but my guess is any one of those three features are indicative of an older piece.
Factory Update... No, the book isn't finished and won't be for awhile. The company expects 1997 to be a big year for Eskesen. The moment I receive word on what's up... you will too!
Is it a Foat Pen if?.... it has moving objects in it, but no oil or liquid? I would have to say 'NO'. I think the word float insinuates a floating motion. We clearly associate this motion with water or liquid. Have you seen the lottery pens with a clear globe on top and numbered balls inside? It is designed to help you choose your lotto numbers. I could hardly apply the term float pen to this item or similar pieces. Do you agree?
Our Trip to the Smokies.... When last we met, Bill and I had decided to indulge in a mini-vacation. There are several galleries in Berea, KY that carry our woodturnings. We rarely have the opportunity to visit them, so Berea was our first stop. Afterwards we made our way to Gatlinburg, TN, where we registered in a very nice, but affordable hotel and proceeded to melt.
Friends had warned me that Gatlinburg was not the sleepy little town I might expect to find at the base of the Smokey Mountains. It was true. If you enjoy laser/video entertainment, this is the place to be. Even the lobby at the bottom of the Space Needle was a video arcade. We found ourselves saying over and over... 'SO glad it isn't tourist season!' While it was very quiet and relaxing, visiting off-season had one major flaw. Most shops were sold out of float pens.
On our return route we stopped at Pigeon Forge. What a trip! If you can, visualize Las Vegas meets the Beverly Hillbillies and you will have a clear vision of Pigeon Forge. Miles of motels, hotels, theme museums, entertainment establishments, souvenir shops, trading posts and yes.... even Dollywood. Bill took me to Dolly's gift shop, which was incredibly nice, only to find her butterfly float pens were SOLD OUT long ago. Our time was limited so we were able to hit just a few souvenir shops afterwards. Lesson learned... don't be lookin' for float pens when it's deer season.
Go West Diana! Go West!.... We still intend to visit the West Coast this spring. We have narrowed it down to May. I am going to wait until we enter the new year before I shop for flights. Details will follow in the next issue of Float About. If all goes well, the trip should include Seattle, San Francisco, and San Diego, not necessarily in that order.
There is an inexpensive motel in Old Town San Diego that we frequent. We are toying with the idea of scheduling a casual meeting there on a Saturday evening. The biggest day at San Diego's Kobey Flea Market is Saturday. It is feasible collectors could take in the market during the day and still have time to come together in the late afternoon or evening hours. There are many places to dine in Old Town just a short walk away. Haven't thought about SF and Seattle yet. Any suggestions?
Disney News.... You can stop searching for the 25th DisneyWorld Anniversary pens. There is no such animal. For whatever reason, Disney didn't make one. We can still hope for a 30th.
Guiness World Book.... In the last issue I mentioned Andre' Perrin, a serious Eskesen float pen collector. Andre's son persuaded him to approach Guinness with the details of his collection. I am pleased to announce Andre' has been accepted into the 1997 edition. Unfortunately, Guinness is celebrating their 40th Anniversary. Instead of publishing their routine reference style list, they produced a coffee table style compilation that highlights their last 40 years. If Andre' is mentioned, I can't find him in the US version. I have hopes that the paperback, due for release early summer, will be the traditional paperback reference book.
Foreign Trade... Due to language barriers, foreign trades are obviously more difficult than domestic. I am very lucky. Two weeks ago my neighbors introduced me to a new translator. Linda is fluent in French, so translation will be an easy task for her. Language is only the first hurtle. Distance presents it's own trial of patience. It isn't unusual to witness the passage of six weeks before a trade is finalized. Yes, Andre' and I were able to negotiate a trade. The details have not been ironed out, but many pens have exchanged hands. I think we will both be pleased in the end.
Andre' had a practical method to present his trade pens. Instead of providing me with a long list in French text, he made a xerox of the caption panels. When the copies arrived I conducted a database search for a unique word included in the caption. If I found such a word I pulled that pen from my collection for a visual comparison. No match means I do not have this pen in my collection.
There is one disadvantage. While a topic or theme may be suggested by the caption, there is no way of knowing what the photo portion looks like. Once I got used to the idea, I actually enjoyed the mystery. If Andre' had two identical pens he did copy both sides for me. His photo copies simplified the task for me.
Psychology of the Float Collector... Ron Lanyi has likened float pens to worry stones. He's not suggesting we RUB our pens! If I understand him correctly, he means pens also provide us with an activity, distraction, interaction if you will. Playing with a float pens can rescue us from a boring period in a routine day. It can open a window and allow us to escape. OH OH flashback! Sister Irmina, and 5th grade in Catholic school. Anything that induced daydreaming would be immediately confiscated. School's out and I am all grown up now. Isn't it great to be an adult!?
I wonder what happened to all of the float pens that were removed from the hands of innocent children and locked in the teacher's desk drawer. Where are they now? As I look for likenesses among us, I have noticed that in the occupation department, several of our fellow collectors are TEACHERS. They wouldn't ... would they? I know our Professor Nancy Knechtel doesn't. In fact, she often rewards her students with float pens. Because her students travel all over the world they often bring pens back for their favorite professor. What a great relationship.
In an interview for the local newspaper I was asked, 'Why float pens?' I would guess that many of you share my background. Are you also a child of the 50-60's era? I shook a plastic baby rattle in my crib and later teethed on chrome table legs. I have an appreciation for fine antiques, but neither the desire, space or finances to make them mine. Leave those musty dusty antiques to mom and grandmother. I'm a baby boomer and proud of it. You too?
Tips & Tidbits from Fellow Collectors... was able to barter with Cheryl Vincent for an Old Tucson pen. In addition to the pen she sent a brochure from Old Tucson Studios. What a great idea. Not only did I get a sense of the pens' history but after reading the brochure, I felt like I had been there myself. The brochure will be on file for future reference. Thanks Cheryl, you are one smart cookie.
Cheryl's sister is also a collector. She carries barrel switching a step further by mixing and matching pen parts. You know, yellow barrel with a blue tip on top, or whatever such combination. I have actually received a couple of foreign pens that had mixed color parts. I have not seen such pens offered for sale in America.
Miranda Wittebol suggests we all pool our resources and thoughts to create a Float Pen Collectors pen! Miranda envisions a design with a float pen as the moving component and many float pens as a back drop. How do you see it?
Nancy Thomas is in the process of taking her school finals. The minute school is out she will pack her bags and move to another city. There she will have to get settled and find new employment. She asks that we be patient and give her time to nest. You can still reach her at her old address.
New & Exciting Pens.... I promised to look for an outstanding clicker style pen for this issue. I found it! It is an advertising pen which features the all American HEINZ company. A tipped bottle of ketchup dispenses a red line over a pile of french fries. Yummy. Tip the pen back and the ketchup mysteriously disappears. For your convenience I made photocopies of the pen and fastened it to the latest list.
A White Sands National Monument pen from New Mexico has a unique twist. The white lizard remains stationery as real white sand washes over him. From the description, I assumed the pen was without oil, not so! What a nice effect the combination of sand and oil creates. Contact Cheryl Vincent. I know she has extras.
Mind Travel... At first I thought I would only collect pens from places that I have visited. Well, that proved to be very frustrating. Aren't you constantly amazed by how many sites do not stock float pens? Secondly, I frequent the same cities over and over. So, my original plan was abandoned. Pens from places that I have never been are now considered pens from places that I want to visit! It immediately opened doors to a world of interesting possibilities. And what a geography lesson. We have since invested in Microsoft's World Atlas to assist in site location. Where will we go first?
December List... There is just enough time to get orders in and out before Christmas if you act now. The next Float About and list will be released late in February. Be sure to stay in touch. Enjoy a safe and happy holiday season with family and friends.
Web Sites: Yahoo now has a category for floaty pens Go to Yahoo. Conduct a search on 'floaty'
See 'Top:Recreation:Hobbies and Crafts:Collecting:Floaty pens'
The temperature has dropped and the waters are a might stiff, but I'm still afloat. Looking forward to the spring thaw when I can once again Float About freely.