On October 27, 2009, Richard and our assistant Jim Baer appeared in a segment of New Hampshire Chronicle on WMUR, Channel 9 in Manchester, New Hampshire. Click the screen shot below to visit the Nashua Pen Spa with Tiffany Eddy!
Come on back for another visit to the Nashua Pen Spa, this time with CBS News Sunday Morning, on October 24, 2010. Click the screen shot below to visit the Spa with Rita Braver!
Richard was also featured March 6, 2012, on No Joe Schmo, by Megan Hess
RichardsPens.com lives in an 1846 Italianate house located in picturesque Nashua, New Hampshire. We got our start through Richard’s discovery that repairing and restoring pens was really fun. When Richard took a buy-out from his computer engineering job, he relaunched RichardsPens.com as his full-time business. (It was that or retire, and at 55 he wasn’t even close to retirement age!) The business grew, sucking in Barbara (whose experience as a tax preparer and fascination with numbers were the perfect training for the position of Managing Partner), and we were off and running.
As a family business, we’re necessarily a small business, and we like it that way. We don’t want to grow so big that you’re just another customer; we prefer to think of you as a client: someone with whom we can enjoy a long and pleasurable relationship. We hope you will come to think of us the same way.
In the interest of helping you to know who we are, here is a little about us.Clients’ Comments and Art Gallery
Among the nicest things we receive from our clients are notes of thanks. On our Clients’ Comments page you will find some of the email messages we’ve received about our work. Sometimes these notes are accompanied by, or are themselves, lovely works of art. You will find some of our clients’ artwork on our Art Gallery page.
Photo © 2007 Daniel Falgerho
Used with permission
Daniel Falgerho took this snapshot of Barbara at the Philadelphia Pen Show in January 2007.
I grew up in central Indiana, the eldest child of a career National Guard officer and his homemaker wife. I learned to write with a fountain pen in Catholic elementary school. (We were not allowed to use ballpoints.) In public high school I continued to use a fountain pen, and when I went to college I took my pen with me. Somewhere along the way it fell out of use, and I lost it. I didn’t become a fountain pen user again until I started working with Richard at pen shows in 2002. At about the same time, I began developing a little osteoarthritis, and I find that fountain pens are more comfortable than ballpoints.
I’m not a pen collector, but I do have (and use) about half a dozen fountain pens. I’m a left-handed overwriter, and it’s funny sometimes to see the misconceptions people have about being left handed. At one show, I was busily writing something with a Bexley Submariner SE that Richard had stubbed for me, when a man came up to our table and said to me that he couldn’t use fountain pens because he was left handed.
I spent more than 10 years as a professional tax preparer, and I’ve always enjoyed working with numbers that have dollar signs attached to them. This means that I’m the “front office” half of our business. I handle tasks that don’t require Richard’s immediate personal attention — this leaves him free to concentrate on the things that only he can do. We joke that I’m the Managing Partner and Richard is the Revenue Producing Unit, but it’s actually an arrangement that works very well.
Photo © 2009 Sean Gosse
Used with permission
I grew up in the Rocky Mountains of western Montana, the third son of a college professor and a medical technician. To them, insofar as I can remember, a pen was a thing to write with. Period. And the elementary school into whose care I was consigned had an ironclad rule forbidding the use of fountain pens, perhaps to avoid scenes reminiscent of that between Penrod Schofield and the hair of Victorine Riordan, the little octoroon girl who sat in front of him in school (Penrod, © 1914 Booth Tarkington). But my mother’s father, the well-known pictorial photographer and writer Paul L. Anderson, knew what writing was all about. When he used a pen (at least from the late 1920s until his death in 1956), it was a red rippled hard rubber Waterman’s Ideal Nº 7 with a Blue nib, a pen that I now own and cherish:
My handwriting in school was rather poor, and so it remained as I grew into adulthood. By the mid-1980s it had deteriorated from semi-legible script into an execrable scrawl. So I took it upon myself to reinvent my style, the idea being that if I had to concentrate on making different letter shapes, I’d have to be careful enough to produce legible results. Since then, as a result of having discovered the joys of fountain pens, I’ve gone through a couple of iterations. I’m currently working to develop a legible but still characterful sloped script.
I dabbled with fountain pens more than once over the years, including a period during my retraining effort, until 1998, when I meandered too close to the Maelstrom and was finally irretrievably sucked in. I came to the hobby through a succession of pens that began with a Cross “Solo” and culminated with a Bexley Fifth Anniversary. As I gained experience, I gradually became a firm adherent of vintage American pens. But ignoring pens from other countries, vintage or modern, would be like cutting off my nose to spite my face, and as of this writing, my pen collection comprises about 400 pens. My favorite, my “desert island” pen, is this sterling-capped Blue Cedar Parker “51”:
Once having come to love vintage fountain pens, I soon found that the next obvious step was learning to work on them as well as with them. As a result of that discovery, I have the pleasure of being paid to play with fountain pens. I then branched out into nib adjustment and customization — if the nib is no good, it doesn’t matter how fancy the rest of it is, it’s not a good pen. I find this latter skill very rewarding; to send a nib to a client and get a “wow!” in return is a great kick.
In the summer of 2002, I bailed out of the computer industry to become a full-time pen person, and from that point on my wife Barbara has become an ever more important part of the business. These days, it's “we,” not “I.”