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September 2003: Born with a Silver, er, .925 Fine Pen in his Hand

Extra Fine Points Index  ]

BY DON FLUCKINGER • Word has gotten out: Richard has a new grandson. Patrick John Fluckinger (nicknamed Mack — that’s a long story) joined the ranks of the hobby at 11:53 p.m., on August 28. Twenty inches long, 6 lb. 12oz., and one healthy set of lungs.

Patrick John Fluckinger

Interestingly, information moves so fast on the Internet that I do believe a handful of people on the Pentrace bulletin board actually knew the kid was born before I did — and I was in the delivery room.

Congratulatory notes have poured in from around the globe. (An Australian business colleague said, “You must be chuffed!” Right-o, I replied, hoping that was at least somewhere close in the slang ballpark.) And we here in Nashua thank you all for thinking of us.

Information moves so fast on the Internet that I do believe a handful of people on Pentrace actually knew the kid was born before I did — and I was in the delivery room. Extra Fine Points

As you can imagine, we’ve gotten quite a few questions and comments from around the pen community about what the kid’s preferences might be. Two and a half days into his pen-collecting career, we already know a few things about his likes and dislikes. I’ll share with you the top 10:

  1. At first, Mack’s going to use Conway Stewart Dinkies. Then, when he hits 2-3 weeks old, we can move up to Thin Model Sheaffers or perhaps some of the slimmer vintage Conways. By his first birthday, I won’t expect him to be able to write with a Churchill, but he should be able to at least grip one, right?

  2. Furthermore, although he’s a boy, he’ll have to start out with a ring-top and carry it on a ribbon around his neck as his grandmother did her Sheaffer flat-top in the late 1920s. No pockets in his onesies.

  3. He’s not allowed to use any pen that will stain or otherwise sustain damage — inside or out — from strained beets.

  4. Duo-point nibs will be the order of the day for quite a while. Keep him away from Richard’s sharp-edged italics.

  5. For Mack, a good everyday carrying pen might be a “51”. Or a vintage Duofold. You figure anything that a) was used in fighter-jet nose cones or b) could take getting thrown off of tall buildings would probably sustain a short trip from the high chair to the floor, right?

  6. Of course, we’re going to have a vast array of ink colors from which to choose for him. Per his mother’s instructions, however, Mack will only be permitted to use an ink shade that exactly matches the color of the outfit he’s wearing at the moment.

  7. While I’d like to proclaim that he’ll eventually be an Italic Man or a Left-Foot Oblique Italic Man, Richard points out that we’d better determine first whether or not he’s left-handed like me. Another friend says that, in the crib, we might want to influence that outcome by putting a baseball in his left hand while he’s asleep.

  8. Speaking of which, we already know he’s going to be a huge football fan. Naturally, his filling mechanism of choice will be a Touchdown.

  9. I can’t be positive but I’m pretty sure, by the way, that the first word he gurgled was “Vacumatic.”

  10. Who needs Pampers? We’ve got blotters!

cover Further Reading: Hen’s Pens, by Phil Roxbee-Cox, illustrated by Stephen Cartwright, edited by Jenny Tyler

It’s only 16 pages — and the word count isn’t too high — but this book at least will get the little one enunciating the word “pens” (note it’s plural, which definitely is a good thing) from the get-go.

Freelance writer Don Fluckinger lives in Nashua, New Hampshire, and is the son-in-law of Richard Binder. His articles have been published in Antiques Roadshow Insider, The Boston Globe, and on the collectibles Web site. Please note: Any opinions stated in this column are Don’s alone and do not necessarily reflect those of Richard Binder or this Web site. Don Fluckinger
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