Tuesday, November 29, 2016

The iPenstore Gift List 2016

Retro 51 Tornado Popper Limited Edition Ballpoint Pen - only a few left!

❆iPenstore Holiday Gift Guide❆

With the gift giving season upon us, iPenstore is full of ideas to help you bring creativity in the form of pens, paper, and inks to the people you love!  These gifts are sure to bring joy long after they are opened. Pens, paper and ink ignite the spark of writing, journaling, and creating - we think that is one of the best gifts you can give! 

Retro 51 Dog Paws Fountain Pen  ❆ Acid Etched Dog Paws Barrel in Stone washed Pewter, with a custom-designed clip in the shape of  a dog bone. To complete the design, a paw print has been added to the top of the cap! Perfect for any dog lover in your life.

Retro 51 Cat Paws Rollerball Pen ❆ Acid-etched Cat Paws Barrel in Antique Copper- the custom-designed clip is in the shape of a cat with a long tail. To complete the design, a paw print has been added to the top of the cap!

Retro 51 Tornado Popper Twinkle ❆ Limited Production POP Series twist action pen, "Twinkle." The diamond cut aluminum barrel has been designed to reveal stars that reflect the light in a most elegant way. As you write, the light refracts off the engraved stars giving the barrel a sparkling appearance. Finished with rose gold accents that have been numbered on the top ring and packaged in a matching gift tube.

Parker Jotter 2016 Ballpoint Pen ❆ The Parker Jotter, first introduced in 1954, is one of the best selling pens in history. over 750 million have been sold worldwide.  New 2016 models have been upgraded to all metal construction. Each pen comes in a Parker gift box.

iPenBox ❆ iPenBox is a curated subscription box for the pen, paper, and ink enthusiast, delivering a montly box of products to your door. Each month we hand pick 5- 10 items around a monthly theme. Each box typically includes a fountain pen, notebook, ink sample, and other pen, paper, and ink items.  

Lamy Gift Set ❆ Lamy AL-Star or Lamy Safari Gift Sets include a fountain pen, converter for bottled ink, and 7 colors of Lamy ink cartridges- all in one special gift box! For the past few years, Lamy has packaged their best selling fountain pens into holiday gift sets. The Safari colors are Red, White, or Blue and the Al-Star sets are available in Ocean Blue or Purple.

2017 Standard Memorandum Word. Notebook ❆ A great pocket-sized journal that will chronicle a year of your life.  Simply jot down a line or two every day for a year, and you'll be left with a memento you can save or pass down.  

Fabriano Bouquet Notebooks ❆ Bouquet is a set of 7 note pads by Fabriano. Each notepad has different premium paper types and different colored covers (like a bouquet of flowers). The 7 notebooks inner papers are: felt marked, embossed, parchment, vellum, laid, ecological, and natural. The weights vary from 85 50 100 gsm and all have plain pages. Each pad has 40 sheets and the notebooks measure 4" x 5.5". 

Aston American Cowhide Leather ❆ American cowhide leather pen cases, pouches and slips. Premium quality full- grain hides which are then finished with natural vegetal oils to result in a leather with a soft hand and visible grain patters. These cases become more beautiful with age. 

Platinum Cool Fountain Pen ❆ Transparent resin body and cap with chrome plated trims. Even the feed is transparent!The stainless steel nib is moderately flexible. Innovative "slip seal" cap keeps the pen from drying out.  

Diamine Shimmering Fountain Pen Ink ❆ Brand new from the UK-  Diamine just released 12 new colors of shimmering fountain pen ink! All Diamine inks are water based, fast drying, non-toxic, pH neutral, light fast, and flow smoothly. Diamine uses all natural dyes and has been produced in the UK since 1864.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Retro 51 Jingle Bell Popper and Retro 51 Refills

Jingle Bells Limited Edition Popper

Retro 51's newest limited edition popper design is a festive rollerball that is sure to make your spirits bright.  The Retro 51 Jingle Bells musical score over an ivory lacquer and antique brass trims. Each pen is numbered on the top ring and packaged in a matching gift tube. Retro 51 only made 850- a special number to commemorate the year Jingle Bells was written- in 1850!

More fun facts about Jingle Bells:

  • One of the best known and commonly sung American songs in the world
  • Written by by James Pierpont for a Thanksgiving program.
  • It was the first song to be broadcast from out in space on Dec 16, 1965 when Tom Stafford and Wally Schirra, two astronauts from the Gemini 6 space program sent the following message to mission control: "We have an object, looks like a satellite going from north to south, probably in polar orbit... I see a command module and eight smaller modules in front. The pilot of the command module is wearing a red suit..." The two astronauts then started to play a harmonica and a set of sleigh bells that they had managed to smuggle on board to the tune of Jingle bells!

Tornado Big Shots, Pencil Leads, Snapper Refills and erasers

Retro 51 Pens are very popular. They are much loved pens and well known for their heavy brass bodies,  the knurled twist mechanism and the bright colors and special editions that you can choose from.  Each pen comes gift packaged in a cardboard tube with a foam insert and vintage graphics. Retro 51 refills are made for Retro 51 by Schmidt. The Tornado ships with a Retro 51 branded Schmidt 8127 roller ball refill, which has an 0.7 mm tip (medium). If you are looking for a finer point, the Schmidt P8126 has a 0.6 mm tip (fine) and is our recommended fine tip replacement.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

iPenstore.com Paper Guide

Here at iPenstore, we have over 300 different paper and notebook options to choose from. This may seem overwhelming at first, but it becomes simple when the options are broken down. There are several main factors to consider when purchasing a new notebook:

  • Size
  • Weight and Grade
  • Sheet styles
  • Binding

Some other factors include the cover material, perforated sheets, and number of sheets. Keep reading below to learn more about each main factor in detail.

Paper Size:

In the US and Canada, the "Letter" is the most common paper size. However, almost every other country uses the international standard paper size, where the A series is the most common and the A4 size is most popular. An A4 size is 8.27" x 11.7", which is very similar to the standard "Letter" size of 8.5" x 11". Most of the paper at iPenstore.com is international sized paper, based on the A Series. The A Series starts with A0, which has an area of 1 square meter (841 x 1189 mm). As you can see from the image below, each successive paper size (from A1 down to A10), is half the size of the previous size. Here at iPenstore.com, we stock paper from the A4 size and smaller.

Check the description of each item on our site for the specific size.

Other international paper sizes include the B and C series. Each series follows the same successive paper size pattern as A (each lower size is half the previous size). The B series was designed to provide a wider range of paper sizes, and is slightly larger than A. The C series was designed specifically for envelopes (the C series provides enough space for an A series sheet).

Rhodia and Clairefontaine:

Our two most popular paper brands are Rhodia and Clairefontaine.  Our Clairefontaine notepads are typically size A4 and A5 (or near the A5 size). Rhodia offers a wider variety of sizes. At iPenstore.com, we stock all of Rhodia's standard notepads (Rhodia sizes #8 - #18), as well as wire bound meeting books and note pads, weekly planners, pencils, and more.

Click Here to view our selection of Clairefontaine products

Click Here to view our selection of Rhodia products

Pocket Notebooks:

Pocket notebooks are small enough to fit in a purse, bag or pocket. They are great to have around when you need to jot something down, make a list, or take some quick notes. We have a wide variety of pocket notebooks available at ipenstore.com. Our two most popular brands of pocket notebooks are Field Notes, and Word. Both are sized at 3.5" x 5.5", and both are made in the USA. The two brands feature a wide variety of cover styles, and different themes.

Paper Weight and Grade :

Paper weight is most commonly measured by grams per square meter. One of our most popular notepads, the Rhodia Dot Pad, is made from 80g/mpaper. Rhodia, Clairefontaine, and a few other brands of paper are considered to be "Fountain Pen Friendly" (which makes up most of what we stock). This means the paper is a higher quality, smooth, and is designed to allow fountain pens to glide more easily over it. This paper is also better for fountain pen ink, as it will limit bleed through and feathering. The weight of "Fountain Pen Friendly" paper will generally fall in the 80 to 90 gram per square meter range, however heavier or thicker paper does not always mean higher quality. Rhodia 80g paper is considered to be great for fountain pen use, but some consider Tomoe River (52 g/m2) to be even better. Tomoe River paper is extremely thin, but is exceptionally smooth and has the same "Fountain Pen Friendly" qualities of thicker paper. This is because of the other factor, grade.

Paper grade is determined based on surface treatment, color, the raw materials used to manufacture it, and the finish. Most of what we stock is High Grade Vellum paper (the Rhodia Dot Pad, for example). Vellum historically refers to parchment made from calf skin, however modern paper vellum is manufactured using synthetic material (plasticized cotton). Other material types include wood fibers, agricultural residue (straw, grass, or other plant fibers), and recycled products.

When writing with a fountain pen, we always recommend using paper specifically manufactured for fountain pens ("Fountain Pen Friendly" paper). Standard or other specialty paper can have treated surfaces which can cause ink or other debris to back up and clog or damage your nib. For example, some copy paper can be "dusted" or treated with powdery substance to enhance feeding through a printer or copy machine.

 Fabriano Bouquet Note Pad Set
Fabriano Bouquet Note Pad Set
Interested in trying out different paper types? Check out the Fabriano Bouquet Note Pad Assortment. The Bouquet is a set of 7 different note pads, all with different premium paper types and colored covers.

Sheet styles:

At iPenstore.com, we stock 5 different types of sheet styles. These include blank, lined, grid (also called graph), dot, and French Ruled. Each style is ideal for different uses:

  • Blank is great for drawing and sketching, or pretty much anything else that does not require structured straight lines.
  • Lined is best for taking notes, starting a journal, and every day writing. Most of the lined notebooks we stock are spaced at 7 mm (college ruled paper).
  • Grid/Graph and Dot work well for making lists, sketching floor plans, designing in detail, and making mazes! The standard size for dot and graph is 5 x 5 mm.
  • French Ruled (also known as Seyes ruling) is perfect for practicing letters and for improving handwriting in general. French ruled paper is the standard school paper in France, but is growing in popularity around the world. It features main horizontal and vertical lines, spaced 8 mm apart, as well as fainter secondary horizontal lines, spaced 2 mm apart. The lines assist in creating correct letter height when writing in cursive.


Notebooks and notepads can be bound using a few different methods. The main binding methods are glue, staple, thread, wire (sometimes called spiral), and disc. To further enhance binding strength, methods can be combined (for example glue and thread, or glue reinforced with cloth). There can be pros and cons for each method. The type of binding can be a main factor in the price of a notebook. Some methods are more simple, and will cost less to manufacture than others. Cost, book size, and durability are all factors of the different types, but each can work well in different situations. For example, a wire bound notebook will have a stronger bind, and it will lay flat when open, but the wire can bend, and it can be bulky at times.

Choose what works best:

Struggling to come up with new ideas? Facing a major writing block? Then change your notebook! Sometimes the right paper can expand your creativity. Writing should not feel like a task. The right paper should make writing even more enjoyable, and just one notebook may not work for everything. Choose the option that works best for each project or situation. If you want to start exploring, click here to browse all the different Paper & Journals iPenstore.com has to offer.

Do you have a paper combination that works best for you? Is there an amazing type or brand of paper out there that you would love to see available on iPenstore.com? If so, let us know in the comments!

If you have any questions on paper (or anything else pen related), please contact us by phone at 888-747-7367, or by email at support@ipenstore.com.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Fountain Pen Day

Happy Fountain Pen Day!  Fountain Pen Day is celebrated on the first Friday in November of each year. It began in 2012 to help embrace, promote and share the use of fountain pens in day-to-day life, and to help revive handwriting as a whole. Over the past 5 years, Fountain Pen Day has grown tremendously, and is now celebrated by over 10,000 pen enthusiasts. iPenstore is proud to share in the celebration of fountain pens. 

In an effort to help promote and revive handwriting, iPenstore is giving away 4 fountain pens to one lucky winner! Winning this contest will let you share your love of fountain pens - you can keep 1 and give the others away to spread your love of fountain pens! The bundle of pens includes:

To enter:

1. Follow us on Instagram. Post a photo of your fountain pen on Instagram and tag us @ipenstore. Hashtag #iPenstoreFPD.


2. Follow us on Facebook. Post a photo of your fountain pen on Facebook and tag us @ipenstore. Hashtag #iPenstoreFPD

You can do one or both!  If you do both, you are entered twice!

Contest Ends on Friday November 4, 2016 at 1pm EST.

For more information on Fountain Pen Day, visit www.fountainpenday.org.

Do you have a great way to celebrate Fountain Pen Day? What would you like to see for future Celebrations? Let us know in the comments!

Friday, October 28, 2016

iPenstore History and the Chicago Cubs

I think it's safe to say that with the Chicago Cubs in the World Series for the first time in the lifetimes of everyone here at iPenstore, we're a bit distracted. So, I'm leading off this week's newsletter with a bit of Cubs (and iPenstore.com) history. 

CL Evers Sr.- the founder of our company
Our first store opened in 1932 and was located on Michigan Avenue in Chicago, Illinois. Since we originally hail from Chicago, our roots run deep there, and so does our love for the Chicago Cubs.  
Tinker to Evers to Chance

In 1908, when the Chicago Cubs won their last World Series, the infield double play combination of shortstop Joe Tinker, 2nd Baseman Johnny Evers and First Baseman Frank Chance dominated baseball at that time. In 1910, New York columnist Franklin Pierce wrote a poem lamenting the fact that the Cubs were consistently defeating his team, the New York Giants.

Shown above is a framed poem from an early Chicago Tribune magazine, and a baseball card of Johnny Evers sitting above my desk in my home office.

These are the saddest of possible words:
"Tinker to Evers to Chance"
Trio of bear cubs, and fleeter than birds,
Tinker and Evers and Chance
Ruthlessly pricking our gonfalon bubble,
Making a Giant hit into a double - 
Words that are heavy with nothing but trouble:
"Tinker to Evers to Chance"

In 1946, Tinker, Evers and Chance were all inducted into baseball's Hall of Fame.

Evers Office Supply 1950s Business Card

My grandfather was a huge Chicago Cubs baseball fan. He designed his company business cards around the Tinker to Evers to Chance theme. I remember billboards around the city of Chicago with his "Don't Tinker, Call Evers, You take no Chance" theme to advertise his office supply business and  typewriter repair services.

For over 75 years and spanning over four generations, our family has been in the office products industry. Before we were iPenstore, we were Evers Office Supply.