Makers and manufacturers
What’s for sale this coming year?
In my Unilever years, ending in the 1990s, if I wanted to see the point of sale of our products I would simply go into a supermarket. When my second career began in the early 1990s, I would frequently go, with my mentor, Arthur Twydle, into pen shops and every January we would go to Paperworld in Frankfurt for two to three days. That gave us a a good idea of what was going to be on sale during the remainder of the year! Both of us would then maintain contact with agents and representatives in what was, for a while, a relatively stable business situation with large pen companies and plenty of pen shops scattered over the UK.
Ten years later there were fewer Pen shops, 20 years later there are even less;
Paperworld ceased to be significant by 2003; the internet boomed but pen business’ collapsed, closed or relocated, leaving the pen enthusiast of today with uncertainty, where to see, examine and try out pens.
So what is actually for sale in 2016 that might tempt us to purchase a new pen to use or to collect? Where can we find this out? Well, nowadays the starting point is Google and if you have the time the range of pens may surprise you. My recommendation is to first look at some catalogues on line such as those of Fahrney’s, Fountain Pen Hospital, Penshop or Penfriend and then go to the individual makers sites that interest you and have a look at Penworld.
Dr. Jim Marshall
WES Trade Officer
There are many sites selling new models so it will not take long to get the feel of what is available at the beginning of this year!
It will not help you to try and test but having selected, you can then find your nearest physical pen shop such as The Pen Shop, Write Here, Penfriend, Signatures, Pensesnse, The Writing Desk, The Write Stuff, Montblanc boutiques, FG Thomas and see if they have what you like in stock.
Cross and Lamy, in my opinion given are displayed more obviously in The Pen Shop, Debenhams and John Lewis retail outlets with the Botanica giving a refreshing colour to pens for a change. Although Cross now own Sheaffer there is little indication of their pens getting a high profile anymore.
Parker have a mediocre dull display in these outlets in the UK although the relaunch of the Centennial and Premier range may bolster their lack of impact.
The complete picture is much better on line on the Parker site (Parkercollector.com also gives an interesting diversion) or -
Onoto are exploring the Japanese market in more detail for limited edition enameled pens following those on displayat The London Pen Show;
Montblanc boutiques seem to have pens as secondary to their accessories-