Friday, February 24, 2012

Ink Penmanship

In fifth grade I had very nice penmanship and for about 5 months was the sole member of the Handwriting Club in Mrs. Katz's class.
My best friend, Andrea, was the next to pass muster and enjoy the benefits of membership.
We had the privelage of writing our assignments (excluding math) in PEN.
Everyone else had to use pencil.
But Andrea and I did not use ball point pens.
No, this was a special club.
We wrote with a cartridge pen.
The pen was $2- $3 and then the refill ink cartridges cost about a dollar for a package of 6.
It was 1973-74 when I was in 5th grade.
The pens and refills were no longer available about 5 years later.
But I kept my pen for sentimental reasons.
And occasionally would find the ink cartridges at a garage sale.
I also had a pen with interchangeable nibs so I could write in a thick/ thin calligraphy style.
(I haven't looked for those nibs recently- I might still have them somewhere!)

In any event, I rediscovered some of the cartridges in my stash this morning and decided that althought the ink was mostly dry (seams liquid can evaporate even in a sealed plastic tube!),
I would give it a go.
When you drop the cartridge into the body of the pen and screw the nib back on, a peg in the bottom of the nib pops a hole in the cartridge.
I did this first.
Then I removed the cartridge and added tap water (probably should have used distilled, but I was eager to see if my experiment would work and we don't have distilled water laying about the house!) to the cartridge by squeezing it with my fingers and then releasing it in a bowl of water until it drew in some water. I did this several times until the cartidge was just above 3/4 full.
I dropped the cartridge back into the pen, replaced the nib, shook the pen to mix the water and ink and voila!
It was ALIVE!
I practiced some scribbles on a scrap piece of paper and felt like I was a kid again with special privelages!
Giddiness at its best!

And that's how it came to be that Hoardica wrote from Cuba with what looks like a fountain pen.
Go see!
This week her postcard is made from cigar box graghics-
authentic scraps I did not have the heart to throw out
and now finally they have a use.
Pack rats unite!


Linda said...

Penmanship is such a dying art... we must save it!!! Sounds like you've had a great day!

Ann said...

Im with Linda!!!
i've always said you can't tie a ribbon around a bundle of texts!!!
no one writes's sad.
i remember using those pens... used to go to the stationary store to get refills!..remember stationary stores?.. those too are a thing of the past..and i am still mourning the loss!!!

Mary Helen-Art Saves Lives said...

I love the art of writing with a ink pen...permanence and a ballet of fluidity. Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

kimmie said...

I love the look of the nib tip ...

I remember using a rapidiograph cartridge pen at around the same time .... Now I just use a micron pen which is pretty easy to find.

craftattack said...

Great idea! I still have cartridge pens here, and still use them a lot! Valerie

Jill said...

I'm a fellow pack rat...and I love that you experimented with getting your ink to flow again. Bravo! You do have lovely penmanship. :)

Limner said...

Those were my first fountain pens! I still several. They were $1.99 the last time I bought one about 5 years ago, from Michaels and Hobby Lobby. The nibs last forever, and take abuse, unlike some of my more expensive pens. They are work horses, too. Mine have clear plastic barrels or they're tinted. Only drawback is they eventually leak but I liked stained fingers. :)

BadPenny said...

How lovely. I remember moving up from pencil to cartridge pen & being so excited ! The school supplied ours they were blue like the ink & I loved mine. Glad yours is alive & writing !