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I spent a lovely afternoon with my sister yesterday. She is culling her library so I went book shopping! Came home with three bags of books and fresh scones and a whole box of tea. My sister, clearly, is very good to me, for I also came home with a beautiful souvenir of her recent trip to Iceland as well as something very special from a family friend (Susan I hope you are reading this – thank you EVER so much!)

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Firstly, a little story about Icelandic school children. My sister wanted to buy me a fountain pen, but not just any pen; something connected with Iceland, something with a story to tell. A wonderful sales assistant showed her the Herlitz Montana pen, a fountain pen that each child receives upon entering school (or shortly thereafter) for learning how to write cursive. It gives them control over their hand. So my sister bought one for me, along with a box of Pelikan cartridges to fill it.


I love it!!! It’s very sturdy; you can just imagine it in little hands. The nib is medium and says GERMANY on it. It posts very snugly and the cap fits on the barrel with a good snap. It feels like it was designed to be thrown into backpacks and school bags. The section is textured so gives a very good grip. I inked it up with the Pelikan cartridges (Brilliant Black) and it wrote after a few shakes, with no skipping or faltering. Very smooth writer.


Below is a writing sample on my Rhodia pad.


Here’s a close up of that nib. Practical and smart.


As if that wasn’t enough, she then presented me with this glorious glass creation.


It’s an inkwell!! And it is an antique – it is either 103 or 102 years old. I say either because of the curious markings on the bottom:


You can just make out the writing. It says:

May 30, 1911
Gem Pat. Nov 5, 1912
Made in the USA

I don’t know anything about manufacturing, but if the patent was established in 1912, as the second line suggests, how could it have been manufactured the year before? I found two listings on ebay for similar items: one is a double inkwell which lists the company as the Gem C & D Mfg. Co. N.Y. USA, and the other is an exact replica of mine (sorry Susan you could have made some money!) The double inkwell is interesting because it suggests there were two Bakelite covers on the ink portion. I think it is fabulous and I’m very blessed to have such a generous sister and friend who are willing to part with it! Thank you!


I don’t have a bottle of ink that fits exactly but the Visconti bottle looks pretty good, and my pens look amazing in it! It now sits in pride of place on the right hand side of my desk. I’m absolutely thrilled with it! Thank you, thank you!! 🙂