My Thoughts page is something between a blog and a soliloquy. Vintage pen restoration is a passion that convenes my interests in pens, handwork, mechanics, and cultural history, so Thoughts helps me find a means of expressing the parts of this work that are not evident in the pens themselves.

March 2023

Parker and Sheaffer

When faced with multiple Parker 51s and Vacumatics, Sheaffer Balances and Triumphs, as I have these past two months, one cannot help noticing the significant differences in manufacturing methods, in addition to these two companies’ very different designs and filling methods. By the advent of World War II, Parker and Sheaffer dominated the American market for finer fountain pens. Sure,...

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November 2022

Ink for Vintage Pens

Is your favorite pen not writing as well as it used to? If a good pen is just not working well, before setting it aside or or having it restored unnecessarily, flush it out and try a fill with different ink — the right combination of pen and ink may well be within your grasp! The subject is actually complicated:...

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September 2022

Clips — Who Thinks About the Clips? 

I noted in my previous Thought that having retired from professional work, my pen shop was becoming my full-time/daytime activity. With the passage of a full summer, and my work now actually happening during the day, I’ve found that pen restoration has become far more deliberate, with my thoughts now focusing on the pen in front of me instead of...

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May 2022


As everyone on the Timsvintagepens email list knows, this end of May update is my last inventory batch produced during evenings and weekends. What happened? I recently retired from my professional position, so Timsvintagepens will be moving to the daytime! No, I’m not expecting to close up the shop and move somewhere warm…New York City is already warm enough and...

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March 2022

The Case for Pen Cases

“Please treat this pen to a case to protect its finish” are words I often use to end a pen’s listing, and since I’m often asked for a recommendation of a case, this Thought is a good opportunity to make the case for cases.  Using a case is a healthy practice to protect both your pens and your clothes. The...

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December 2021

Why Do You Collect Fountain Pens?

No, this is not the usual note about collecting versus not collecting. This Thought comes from a number of conversations in recent months about the specific reasons underlying fountain pen collecting. I’ve noted many times that my small collection is a motley crowd of pens that I find interesting and love to use, although I can no longer say with...

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August 2021

Ink Flow … the Feed

How fountain pens work has long fascinated me. The modern fountain pen is fundamentally a late 19th Century device with many upgrades but the same basic mechanism: a vessel that holds an ink supply, a means of transporting ink to the nib in a controlled manner and letting air supplant the ink that has flowed out, and a writing point....

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May 2021

Every pen has its time!

Among the many questions that come to me is why a company made a particular pen as they did, and the question is often written in the “what were they thinking” tone. Sure, pendom is full of strangeness and mistakes, but when viewed from when the decision was made, they usually make sense. With that in mind, I focused this...

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March 2021

Turning a Corner?

When the world changed, now almost a year ago, my life’s habits changed with it. After many years, because I wasn’t using my backpack or pen case, my pattern of filling a few pens, using them empty, flushing them out, and swapping in different pens, came to a grinding halt. My favorite pen case, empty except for the 4” steel...

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