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August 2006: Odds and Sods

Extra Fine Points Index  ]

BY DON FLUCKINGER • Some little things have been piling up in my desk drawer, dear readers, and it’s time to clean it out.

Some little things have been piling up in my desk drawer, and it’s time to clean it out. Extra Fine Points

THANKS FOR THE IDEAS: First off, I’d like to say thanks to all the readers who suggest ideas for essays for this space. I’m a news writer at heart, but since I’m into vintage pens, not much new news happens — you know?

It’s not like Wearever’s going to rise from the dead and start cranking out vintage Pacemakers like they did in the 1940s … or Parker’s going to come out with Vacumatics sporting gold-fill furniture anytime soon.

So when someone writes in with an idea for a column, sometimes inspiration strikes. Like one Maja Furlong, who wrote me about the “Parker Penmanship” piece and said, oh by the way, it’s been a while since I did an installment in the “Joy of Junk” series, and would I please do another?

From that request came last month’s piece.

Combo pen

Arnold Combo from “The Joy of Junk III”

PENMANSHIP DEBATE: Speaking of my quest to find out more on “Parker Penmanship,” the consensus from all the emailers was that people’s memories are muddled and they’re confusing it for “Palmer Method” penmanship classes of the mid-20th century.


Most of the emails I received were along the lines of Don Jacobson’s:

I agree with Richard that people are mis-remembering "Palmer penmanship" as "Parker penmanship," probably because "Palmer" and "Parker" are near sound-alikes, and also because of the proliferation of Parker pens, especially during the era recalled.

I have a good-sized collection now of penmanship books and references, and I've never come across the term "Parker penmanship."

So, unless someone unearths a new discovery in their pen-seeking travels, we’ll close the book on that one. Thanks to all who wrote in.

TODD FARM UPDATE: Since I wrote May’s column on the potential closing of Todd Farm’s flea market in Rowley Mass., believe it or not, I’ve been in contact with the horse’s mouth, Starr Todd.

Todd Farm

He dropped me an email after I wrote a similar piece published about the same time in Antiques Roadshow Insider, updating me in the weeks since it appeared in print.

Earlier this month, I am happy to report, there have been some positive developments. For a time, Todd had been seeking replacement venues for the market — such as at the Topsfield Fairgrounds — in preparation of the sale of Todd Farm.

Last Tuesday (July 20) morning, he let me know that he and the other Todds had reached an agreement making that unnecessary:

The property has been split. I received the major part of the property … Todd Farm Flea Market is here to stay."

Amen to that. For those within driving distance in New England, I definitely recommend making the Sunday morning market a priority pen-hunting grounds — it’s definitely worth the time invested.

cover Further Reading: Instant Expert: Collecting Watches, by Cooksey Shugart

Guys (and gals), who doesn’t want a nice pocket watch to wear along with their pocket full of vintage fountain pens? Problem is, if pen collecting can be a minefield of buying potentially broken, unrestorable pens, watch collecting can even be a bigger money-wasting enterprise for the novice. For a little schooling on watch matters, check out this guide by a titan of the hobby.

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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