Monday, October 25, 2010
One of the more interesting stops at the NYC 2010 Pen Show was the Pens of Dist-INK-tion area, where Carl Seidl specializes in the retrofit pen--turning fountain pens into ballpoint pens. I was really taken with a green Parker Vacumatic that had once been a fountain pen but is now living the life of a ballpoint. The above picture shows off it's beautiful green bands and highly polished surface, along with a few additions that Mr. Seidl mentioned he used in the early versions of his retrofits.
The RetroFit Pens are the caps, barrels, and clips of non-working vintage fountain pens and mechanical pencils, which are then re-fashioned into using ballpoint refills. It happens that I had some Monteverde ceramic rollerball refills that are perfect for this pen, so my swivel RetroFit Parker Vacumatic Pen is now a rollerball.
The tables at Pens of Dist-INK-tion were filled with many well-known vintage pens retrofitted into ballpens. Some of my favorites were Montblanc pens, but there were many styles and price ranges. The above are among some of the more expensive pens available, but they are well worth it if you're looking for a particular pen but don't want it in a fountain pen design. Parker Vacumatics don't come in ballpoint styles, but I have one that's a joy to write with and usable in different situations where a fountain pen won't work (making out a deposit slip at the bank and not having a ballpoing was what made me consider stopping by this table and looking for a retrofitted fountain pen).
Above are eight Parker Vacumatics in various colors and designs (mine is similar in price and design to the third from the left). Carl Seidl mentioned to me that when he started he added parts to the pens, such as a black grip section, giving the pen a more ballpoint-y look to it. So my pen is a RetroFit with some extra work on it, and not just a Vacumatic. There were two styles of these available, a swivel pen and a push pen (the three to the far right are all push pens, the others swivel to bring the cartridge down and up.)
Looking for something different, not a fountain pen but like a fountain pen? This is a dealer to check out, do stop by his website for more information.