May 26, 2020

Anthony Newman is currently producing interesting and challenging writing on his UK Fountain Pens website. Two recent posts that made me reflect on the fountain pens I use; one on narrowing pens down to a top three and a later post about categorising pens against two orthogonal scales — love and usage.

Go read them both then come back…

The first article made me realise there was no way I could narrow my choice down to just three pens without a lot of heartache. The second article got me thinking how I would review my pens against this model and what would be my tourists, tools, trophies and treasures.

This model appeals to me because it’s simple to do (especially compared with rejecting pens) as it only needs an assessment against two scales:

  1. How much do I love this pen?
  2. How often do I use this pen?

And then drop the results into a quadrant where they become tourists, tools, trophies or treasures. In reverse order…

Anthony used a binary’ classification where all pens in a category are the same. I was conscious that I feel I have a few pens that are edge cases’, for example pens that are treasures’ but are close to becoming trophies’ because I don’t use them as often as they warrant. Similarly, I have pens that get used regularly but aren’t loved as much as others so sit close to that border between tools and treasures.

I have 21 pens I use regularly (21 pens = 1 Dudek Block’ in the SI system by the way) and three pens that are part of my collection but rarely used — are they trophies or tourists?

So here are my pens.

The pens

And here’s how I scored them.

Four Ts

This proved to be an interesting exercise although there were no great surprises. It identified the pens I keep coming back to, the ones I like but don’t find practical and the those pens I hesitate before packing into my pen case. The results next week might be different but the pen that spark joy” will stay in that top right corner!

Design Pens

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