Light the Candles
Although we have been celebrating our twenty-fifth anniversary all year, this particular issue is the one that actually marks the time when, a quarter-century ago, Glen Bowen sent out the first issue of Pen World magazine, a then-quarterly publication he launched with the help of some of his pen collector pals. They were all hoping for a successful run, but they knew the odds of a start-up magazine surviving are not just bad—they’re grim. Sixty percent fail within a year— 80 percent by the fourth year. Starting a magazine requires a lot of hope, faith and vision—making it successful requires so much more.
I’m convinced that long-term success has a lot to do with change; not just passively waiting for it to come and adapting to it, but actually being an agent of change. I have been lucky enough to be involved with PW for seventeen years (sheesh!) in varying capacities, to grow and change with it and even to put my own mark upon it.
Just as Pen World and, indeed, the publishing industry have changed, so have the pen industry and the hobby of pen collecting—dramatically so—and we’ve asked contributing editor Barry Gabay to survey some of those changes. Enjoy the walk down memory lane in his story “The Blink of an Eye.”
On the cover of this issue are two new Opera pens by Visconti, a brand that was founded in 1988, meaning that its own silver anniversary is coming in 2013. The Opera model has been part of the Visconti lineup for around eight years or so, but the Operas you see on the cover are equipped with a brand new tubular nib that Visconti designed and manufactures itself. Get the scoop in Jil McIntosh’s story “Positively Operatic.”
Like us, our friends at Kenro Industries are celebrating a mile-stone—their twentieth year in the pen industry. Kenro, headed by Joel Blumberg, started out in September 1992 with a single brand, Aurora. Marie A. Picon examines the secrets to their success (Kenro now distributes not only Aurora but Omas, Nettuno, Montegrappa and Sheaffer, and started up its own brand, Libelle) and also takes a special look at that important initial partnership. And there’s more on Aurora: our testers try out and report on the Aurora America.
Also in this issue, nib specialist John Mottishaw, who wrote about unique Sailor nibs in our February 2012 issue, writes of his recent visit to Sailor headquarters in Kure, near Hiroshima. Find out if he coaxed any trade secrets from Sailor’s tight-lipped nib designers in “Deep in the Heart of Sailor.”
There’s much, much more! Two popular series continue: Julian H. Kreeger’s on past and present nibs of various manufacturers (Parker in this issue) and Richard Binder’s on filling systems (this time: the syringe filler). Deborah Basel begins a series of articles about calligraphers with the intent of discovering, on our behalf, how they do what they do. Barry Robinson discusses the basics of pen hygiene, and we introduce you to Brian Kenny, a fascinating man whose work for Sheaffer illustrates just how global our industry has become.
And, of course, this issue contains our twentieth annual Fall Preview of Pens. We began this special section to celebrate our fifth anniversary in 1992, and the rest is history. The theme this year? Celebration, of course. And there is cause for celebration: look at the Fall Preview selections and you’ll know with certainty that it is a very good year for pens.
The issue you hold in your hands is the largest we’ve ever published. We’re at once thrilled and humbled that, when so many magazines and newspapers are in their death throes, we are not just hanging in there. We are vibrantly alive. We don’t take your support for granted, and we are grateful every single day.