A Pen Is A Pen, Is A Pen!

One of our sons gave his dad a pen for his birthday. He likes it so much that I casually said, “How about getting me one of those?” I always thought a pen was a pen, until it quit writing, but I was to find out differently. On our last trip to Staples guess what he bought me? It’s just

Quality or luxury?

Me with my new pen. Is it quality or luxury?

a roller ball, black ink pen and I wondered what made it different from the rest of today’s ball point pens. One look at the price and I knew what the difference was, the price. Actually, as I grow to like this pen, I’m finding out that it is different, perhaps it’s a quality pen. Then I remembered the price and I think a better description is a luxury pen.

It is a Cross pen. People used to take pride in buying this brand of pen because it was made in the United States. Now though the box says, you Pens 7 guessed it, “Made in China.” It seems these days, there are only a few things not made in China. Someone suggested if you are unable to find a good American-made pen, buy from a ally, such as Peilkan (Germany,) or Parker, (France).

Remember back in the 1950’s when we shunned items marked “Made In Japan.” We no longer do that and I suppose in fifty more years, “Made InPens 8 China,” will become a good thing. Besides by then, China, to whom we are deeply indebted, may own our dear United States of America. Sorry, I couldn’t resist straying from our subject somewhat.

Some people prefer fountain pens. I remember my parents having a fountain pen. As children we were encouraged not to touch it. And, I don’t remember using a pen to write with, until the

Today, there is talk of kids no longer needing to learn cursive writing. Will the need for writing instruments end?

Today, there is talk of kids no longer needing to learn cursive writing. Will the need for writing instruments end?

ballpoints came into existence. Before that, I was perfectly satisfied to use a pencil. In order to use a fountain pen, you needed ink. I watched as my mom would pull the tiny lever on the side of the pen and dip it into an ink bottle. Then, releasing the lever drew the ink up into the pen’s reservoir. You may still buy  fountain pens, and spend as much as a thousand dollars. I did notice that the Cross line-up of pens generally run from $20 to $500.

The Cross Townsend 10K is a favorite among male buyers. It sells for over one hundred dollars and is often used as a corporate gift.(Mine cost lots less). These pens 10gifts often find their way into  dresser drawers, and sometimes, are never used. Such was the case when a man gave his friend a pen with a emblem attached making it look as if it had been a special gift. After much scrutiny, the gift receiver decided it was a Cross Townsend 10K. What does the 10K stand for? Take a guess!! The giver told him to keep it, anyway.

I couldn’t find out who said, “Ink isn’t dead, it just smells funny!’ Some describe it as smelling like seawater, with a slight mustiness. Others say it smells like ammonia. Going way back, people mastered writing with a quill. This is a flight feather, usually from a goose. By the way, some

The nib of a fountain pen.

The nib of a fountain pen.

fountain pens need refilling with an eyedropper. I can’t see any of us, who are used to a throw-away ballpoint pen, doing that today. The roller pen, like my new one, was designed to combine the convenience of a ballpoint pen with the smooth “wet ink” effect of a fountain. I like my husband’s taste in pens. It’s a luxury we could both do without, but it looks like we’re going to enjoy it for awhile. 

How about you? What’s the luxury you could do without? There’s many, isn’t there? I’d love to hear from you, because you are the YOU in shirlandyou

8 thoughts on “A Pen Is A Pen, Is A Pen!

  1. I was born in 1940 so when I went to school, the desks had a hole in the upper right hand corner where prior students had had ink wells into which they’d dip their pens. Our class never did use the ink pens in grade or high school, but at home my parents desk drawer had many ink pen holders and a small box full of a variety of nibs.

    As a high schooler and in college, I used the type of ink pen that you described–the one with the internal bladder that was depressed with the side lever and that sucked up ink when the side lever was restored to the side of the pen.

    In art class in high school we used Speedball pens with various tips for artistic script and drawing.

    As a student in engineering, we used ink pens for mechanical drawing, also known as drafting. Those pens had a knurled knob so that by tightening or loosening the knob, the width of the line was narrowed or widened. We used India ink in those pens. One vague memory is the ink was made from squid ejecta; the other memory is it was made of lamp black. I haven’t done an Internet search to determine the truth of the matter.

    Thanks for the memories. It’s nice to have a pen pal even if I use a keyboard.

    Hugs to you and Burl.



    • Hi Wade: Loved your comments. It was fun sharing memories with you. I believe you’ve had more experience with pens then I have. I, also, remember the holes in the school desks. I’m afraid the keyboard is winning out over the pen. Look forward to seeing you during the winter months.


  2. I always prefered a pencil…if I made a mistake…which was the case much of the time…I could erase and try again. Today…mistakes happen and I have learned they are OK and I don’t have the need to be perfect. A pencils writting doesn’t hold up over time…so now I would much rather use a pen. I really like the pens at my bank…Univest…they are smooth writting and “FREE”. I share them with others especially my local library. It’s useful for the library and advertising for the bank. A win win situation all around. Shirl…you are good at picking up on my mood…last week was a very busy week and this week will be the same. My brother George had his Cyber Knife cancer treatment this morning(strong radiation). He will have tomorrow off and then ten more treatments…then hopefully that will finish his treatments and then he just has to get walking and back home. It’s been two months since his surgery…but a whole year since the onset. Thanks for your continued support.


    • I sensed that you were busy with something other than shirlandyou.:) I’m sorry to hear of your brother, George’s illness and hope he is soon doing much better. It sounds as if you have the pen situation in-hand, smooth writing and free, how can you beat that? Thanks for taking time out to write, Karen. .


  3. Hi Shirley, I must admit that I like a good pen. I haven’t used my nice pens in many years and your blog made me get them out to look st them. I have a set of cross pens that are 14kt gold plated. This set was given to my by my Aunt Wynne for my high school graduation.I had no idea that they were worth so much and I had actually forgotten about them. I have a silver set of cross pens and also a teak set, but the pen is missing from the teak set. My hand writing isn’t as good as it used to be, but that is probably because most letter writing is done in emails now and typed out on a computer. I wonder if others find that their handwriting isn’t what it used to be because they don’t use it as much?? I have used fountain style pens, but I have only used them for creating lineart drawings. I think that the art of fine handwriting is becoming a lost art, don’t you?


    • Since reading shirlandyou, I wonder how many others have resurrected their “good” pens, that have been stored away in a drawer somewhere. I’m glad you’re enjoying yours again. I think you are right about handwriting. Thanks for writing, Colleen, even though it was on the keyboard.


  4. A good tool makes a huge difference! There is nothing quite like a pen that fits perfectly in your hand and glides smoothly on the page without smudging. I love pens! I remember watching you doodle while on the phone. I’ll bet you can do some great doodles with your new pen! And I’m glad you are enjoying some nice things!


    • All your artistic pasttimes have taught your to enjoy good tools. I think you’d appreciate my new pen, Your right about doodling, I wonder if that’s hard on a “good” pen? Thanks for writing, Janine.


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