Where to buy fountain pen stuff, and Moleskines
A comment to my post about the Lamy Studio fountain pen asked whether you can buy fountain pens in regular stores. The answer is pretty much “no,” it’s mostly an internet thing.
There used to be a huge fountain pen store in midtown Manhattan, Art Brown, but they closed down three years ago. Very sad.
I walked into Staples today. Despite a massive collection of writing instruments (mostly disposable), there was no bottled fountain pen ink to be found. I was surprised to see that they sold refill cartridges for Waterman and Cross fountain pens, but these only help you if you happen to own those brands of pen, and they are also a rip-off compared to bottled ink. You can get four times as much bottled ink for the same price.
Staples also has a very big collection of Moleskine notebooks. One of my favorite posts from the Stuff White People Like blog was the post about Moleskines:
But the the growing popularity of these little journals, is not without its own set of problems. One of the strangest side effects has been the puzzling situation whereby a white person will sit in an independent coffee shop with a Moleskine notebook resting on top of a Apple laptop. You might wonder why they need so many devices to write down thoughts? Well, if a white person has a great idea, they write it by hand, if they have a good idea, it goes into the computer.
Not only does this help them keep their thoughts organized, but it serves as a signal to the other white people in the shop that the owner of both instruments is truly creative. It screams: “I’m not using my computer to check email and read celebrity gossip, I’m using it to create art. Please ask me about it.”
So when you see a white person with one of these notebooks, you should always ask them about what sort of projects they are working on their free time. But you should never ask to actually see the notebook lest you ask the question “how are you going to make a novel out of five phone numbers and a grocery list?”
I wanted to buy one, but then saw the $20 price tag and had second thoughts.
Then I walked into Lee’s Art Shop, and confirmed that they have a decent selection of bottled ink as well as fountain pens. All at list price, of course.
You may think that Lee’s Art Shop is an art supply store, but actually it’s more of a furniture and lighting fixtures and gifts with a few art supplies in the back. I think that the art supplies (sold at list price) are actually just a ploy to get SWPLy wives of rich investment bankers to buy their expensive furniture and lighting fixtures. The art supplies create a patina of creativity around everything else they sell.
Once when I needed new lamp, I went in there and when I saw the $600 price tag, I went back home and ordered a lamp online for $100.
Lee’s Art Shop, of course, carries Moleskine notebooks (although a smaller selection than Staples), but they also have Clairefontaine and Rhodia pads and notebooks which are much harder to find. They have lots of SWPLy stuff.
I wound up buying a bottle of Shaeffer Skrip red ink because I don’t have any red ink and Skrip is recommended online as an excellent choice in bright red inks. (Most of my other ink is Waterman, which I recommend.) Skrip ink is manufactured in the Slovak Republic. I’m glad to see that it’s not made in China.