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I started selling pens as I worked in a Hallmark store in the late 1970's A passion for pens soon developed and I was in charge of the pen counter. The Parker sale rep at the time said that I should open a pen store> So in 1985 I did.

Palomino Blackwing Pencil And Sketchbook

One of my favorite pastimes is sketching.  I haven’t been able to sketch things from my imagination yet, but I am sometimes able to sketch objects in front of me.  It’s so fun to mimic the image I see in real life as I draw it on paper.  It’s like I’m sharing my perspective of something with the world.  I haven’t been able to sketch in a long time.

Then Bert got in these amazing, new (to me) Palomino Blackwing pencils at the store.  I’ve always enjoyed using pencils of all types, and am always curious to try more.  So, I immediately bought a box of the Blackwing pencils along with a box of the Blackwing Pearl pencils, and a special Palomino sketch book.  I was instantly inspired.  You could even say I was “drawn” to draw something in this new sketchbook!

Palomino Blackwing
Palomino Blackwing

I had spent some time sharpening the pencil with the special Palomino 2-stage Pencil Sharpener to get the perfect, sharpened point on the graphite.  Then I tested both, the Blackwing and the Blackwing Pearl to get a feel for what it would be like to draw with them.  The Blackwing (as pictured above) is versatile.  It’s great for a comfortably smooth everyday writing, yet its softness, similar to a 2B hardness, is great for drawing and shading accordingly.  The Pearl is a slightly harder lead, but that doesn’t detract from its usefulness.  Both are great writers and glide along the paper effortlessly.

blackwing sketch2

The eraser took more getting used to.  It’s a thinner, more flat eraser that adorns the top of the pencil.  There are two things that are most exciting about this eraser:  the first being how easy it is to replace the eraser once it’s worn.  Normally on pencils, both mechanical and wooden, you have to really dig for the remnants of the eraser that once was.  On the Blackwing, there’s a ledge on both sides that serves as a holder of the eraser that you can easily pull out to replace with a fresh new one.  As you can see in the pictures, the second great advantage of having this flat eraser is that you can easily erase details in a drawing without worrying about messing up the overall image.  I’ve found my new “go-to” pencil, and I hope you all enjoy it as well!


You can pick up yours here:

Conklin Word Gauge, Sleeve Filler, and Conklinetta Senior

I’ve got news about 3 amazing new pens from Conklin! I got in these special pens at a great deal, and now I’m passing on the savings to you! Check out the details:

Conklin Heritage Word Gauge Fountain Pen

Conklin Word Gauge


Ink capacity at it’s MAX! Is the best way to describe this pen. Conklin’s Word Gauge was an industry leader back in the day because as with all Conklin inventions this one was loved for holding more ink then any other brand at the time. So much that Conklin put a word count on the side of the barrel so the writer would know approximately how many more words he/she could write before running out of ink.

Conklin Word Gauge

Jet Black Resin with yellow word gauge ink view. Conklin pen was an innovator in the day introducing the likes of the Crescent filler and this word gauge.

Get your Conklin Word Gauge here.


Conklin Heritage Sleeve Filler Fountain Pen

Conklin Sleeve Filler

An amazing pen rich in history! Take the pen apart at the nib section and you’ll see a press bar over the rubber sack. A few gentle squeezes and your pen is filled.

Conklin Sleeve Filler

Enjoy the convenience of filling your pen directly from a bottle with almost limitless ink choices. The material is jet black resin with a Vintage Style Sleeve Filling System. Conklin pen was an innovator in the day, introducing the likes of the Crescent filler and this Sleeve Filler.

Get your Conklin Sleeve Filler here.


Conklin Conklinetta Senior Fountain Pen

Conklin Conklinetta Senior

This is an amazing fountain pen that has brought back a filling system that was long ago abandoned by the Parker’s and Sheaffer’s of the pen world. The button filler depressed a rubber sack inside the pen which fills with ink.


Conklin Conklinetta Senior

Medium, Fine and Stub two tone steel nib Jet Black Resin with Vintage Style Button Filling system Conklin pen was an innovator in the day introducing the likes of the Crescent filler and this Button Filler.

Get your Conklin Conklinetta Senior here.


Pilot 2016 Limited Edition Vanishing Point Guilloche Fountain Pen



The collection above was provided by my friend, Richard.

The current pen:


Since 2003 Pilot has made an annual limited edition Vanishing Point. Various colors and patterns have adorned these pens which have become quite collectible. With the inception in 2003 with a bright yellow pen came a list price well below $200.00.  Today if you can find one expect to pay upwards of over $450.00 for the same pen (be careful because there are other yellow Vanishing Point’s out there which are not as valuable). What Pilot has done which is truly unique in the pen industry is that they only issue the number of pens matching the year it was produced.  In 2003 Pilot made 2003 pens and so on. As a hot commodity in the world markets, one can imagine how quickly so few pens can disperse. The United States for example got 850 pens this year and it’s a struggle to get more, or maintain the same amount year after year. John Lane, the sales rep. and national sales manager for Pilot USA, has for years had the grueling task of diving these pens to the dealers who continually ask for more each year.


2016 is no exception to try to get as many pens as possible. And with a truly new design, this pen has done very well from its initial launch just a week or so ago. 2016 is the first time Pilot has used an old technique called guilloche to create an annual that goes beyond just another cool color, but is a detailed pattern engraved into the cap and barrel of the pen. The precise guilloche engraved  details are distinguished by intricate, paired lines flowing in precise, interwoven curves. This creates a super-smooth, textured and luxurious feel to the Vanishing Point’s premium black barrel.  As with all limited Vanishing Point pens this one comes in a premium gift box, and included are a converter and blue ink cartridge. 


Pilot Vanishing Point Ltd. 2016
Pilot Vanishing Point Ltd. 2016


Here, you can see how incredible the Pilot Vanishing Point 2016 Limited Edition looks on its special limited edition box. The nib is out, and ready for you to write with it.

Get yours here:  Pilot Guilloche Vanishing Point

Pilot Vanishing Point Ltd. 2016

Organics Studio Returns

Congratulations Tyler Thompson for completing graduate School in NYC and on your upcoming marriage to the lovely Tessa. Now that I got that out of the way lets talk ink.

When Tyler was a student of the University of Maryland in early 2010 he would stop by the store when his busy schedule allowed him  to peruse Bertram’s Inkwell   Cool guy we thought to ourselves knowledgeable, loved pens, knew pens, and even had pens! Who is this kid. Well as time went on and friendships developed Tyler was working for Bertram’s Inkwell part-time which should have been full time since most of his pay checks were not deposited into his accounts but cashed in the drawer ever other Friday as he picked up his latest pen/pens from the store. So it goes for many folks who have a love of pens and end up working in their favorite shop.

Not only was Tyler interested in fountain  pens but also in what went in them. And so  in 2012  Organics Studio was launched.

Originally there was the Chemistry Series, with the  take on a collection of the essential colors of any writing ink collection.  These inks makeup a set of ‘simple’ colors, tasked with coloring the basic spectrum of pure colors.  These chemistry-themed inks were the first foray into the ink world, and have stuck with The company ever since. The first four colors ever made included Carbon Black, Mercury Red, Cobalt Blue, and Manganese Blue/Black.  Then expanded to include Uranium Green, Vanadium Violet, Arsenic Gray, Copper Turquoise, Sulfur Yellow, Nitrogen Vibrant Blue, and Lithium Violet.  In 2016 the  resurgence of the company will include a selection of these previously available inks, along with some new members.

Organic Studio Inks


Next in the line up are The Masters of Writing Series

This collection inks attempt to merge a famous writer from previous centuries with a color that brings them to mind.  These inks have more unique hues that we made to fill gaps in the available ink world.  This series pays homage with inks such as Jane Austen Violet, Jules Verne Nautilus Blue, Edgar Allan Poe Raven Red, L. Frank Baum Emerald Green, and many others. In  this line also included is the renown Sepia Series, which included Foggy Bottom Red Sepia and Join or Die Green Sepia, two inks made to commemorate the DC and Philadelphia Pen show, respectively.

Organic Studios Ink


And the next is true to Tyler’s heart.

The Masters of Science Series

These inks are all forays into unique ink properties.  Offering the Darwin Ink Series that were all fast-drying inks, the Accident Blue pigmented ink, the Isaac Newton pigmented black ink, and the Gregor Mendel Chlorophyll-based ink.

Organic Studios Ink

And the,

Vintage Ink Series

These inks are intended to be left in the pen for extended periods of time without the worry of damaging such pens.  These inks have become some of our customers favorite inks for their unique colors and desired properties.

Thanks for looking!

Snake Fountain Pen and Ballpoint

The Black Snake Collection

Snake Fountain Pen and BallpointYou never know what might come in the store on any given day, but last Thursday was truly the exception. A dealer I do a fair amount of business with (let’s call him Mongo) came to the store with a zip case full of pens. This is quite normal for him since he will scavenge for pens in all the places you and I might do the same (i.e. flea markets, antique shops, and even pawn shops). But his case wasn’t full of the usual assortment of new and vintage stuff, both good and not so good. This time his zip case was filled with 36 Black Snake fountain pens and matching ballpoints. My initial thought was that they look like something else, but upon looking at the collection it was clear these pens were just black pens with a really cool snake for a clip.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe fountain pen comes comes with a standard steel nib. Embossed on top is the letter P.

Take a closer look at the threading at the nib section base and you might think this is an eyedropper filled pen. While that would be clever, the pen does have a simple filling system where one will remove the blind cap on the end of the pen and fill using the piston.

Snake Fountain PenOverall, the Black Snake fountain pen is small by comparison to other fountain pens. Dimensions are below.

Length Closed: 13cm

Body Length:  12.1cm

Cap Size: 5.6 cm

With Cap Posted: 17.1 cm

Barrel Girth: 1.2 cm

Cap Girth: 1.4 com

Ink  Capacity: 1.5 standard cartridges.

Comes in a standard black box with pen sleeve to protect your pen.

Snake Ballpoint PenWhile the fountain pen is truly beautiful, or one might say simplicity refined. The ballpoint (yes, ballpoint) is as equally stunning an instrument. I don’t know for certain, but I’m sure these pens were made in Asia, the land known for making some really cheap pens, as well as well-known brands like Cross, Parker, and Sheaffer. The ballpoint has a wonderfully balanced feel to it, thick in size but not fat.  I would compare the size to one of my favorite ballpoints, the Pelikan K600 (and is half the price). But I’ll go one further. The Snake is a skoach bigger which makes it perfect in size for this writer. The pen has a smooth and responsive twist action mechanism delivering a pleasant quarter turn for advance and retraction. Equipped with a Schmidt EZ Flow refill. Bertram’s Inkwell will always recommend the Monteverde Super Broad Blue/Black refills. The ballpoint comes with the same box and protective sleeve as the fountain pen.

Snake Fountain Pen ClipDimensions

Length 13.5 cm   (Pelikan K600 13.1cm)

Cap Girth 1.4 cm  (Pelikan K600 1.2cm)

Lower barrel girth 1.0 cm (Pelikan K600  8.5mm)

Snake Ballpoint Pen RefillIn summary, these two pens really are something special. They’re truly a great value in a world of pens that can be outside of many people’s pen budget. I feel the quality is high, and longtime writing enjoyment is certain.

Thanks for reading. Share it if ya like it.



The Best Desk Pad Ever! Exacompta FAF

  • Sturdy metal construction with non-slip backing
  • 200 micro-perforated sheets for clean and easy removal
  • 60 g smooth white paper
  • Refillable with blank or graph sheets


The shape and size is perfect for the desk, Comes with blank paper but you can purchase grid paper as well. The base of the holder has little gripper pads so when you tear off a sheet the whole pad doesn’t go with it.

I enjoy using this pad on my desk here at the store as well as at home, problem at home is the whole family likes it so I do go through a lot of refills.


Take a look at the brass bolts used to hold metal cover on, nice solid brass bolts have a nice heft and a true feeling of quality. Note the cut out to the far left of the pad, this little half moon punch ensures the paper will tear where it is supposed to, following the perforated top edge along the metal top plate. As simple as this thing is the Folks at Exacompta really thought this through.


It’s simple to change the pads when you run out too. The unit comes with blank paper but we now also offer the same size pad in grid pattern. I you like using quality fountain pens and a properly sharpened pencil you’ve got to try this pad.

Coming soon in different sizes.