Pen World v32.6


Pen World

The Journal of Writing Culture

David Oscarson,

Carl Milles, and the

Marriage of the Waters

Montblanc’s flexibility

Hervé Obligí’s mastery

Visconti’s golden age

plus: a feast for the eyes

Fall Preview

of Pens 2019


$6.95US $7.95CAN


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Volume 32, Number 6

ON OUR COVER: David Oscarson Carl Milles

limited edition fountain pen.









from St. Louis to Sweden

and back

David Oscarson celebrates 20 years of his

artisanal fountain pens and a new marriage in a

writing instrument series that honors Swedish

sculptor Carl Milles.

who? MYU, that’s who!

Richard Binder’s continuing series on Japanese

pocket pens enters the “Karat War” era.

nibs in 3D

Pjotr by Rein van der Mast shows what the

future of 3D-printed fountain pens will look like.

Master of Art

French artisan Hervé Obligí bridges the divide

between writing instrument and sculpture.

the thin/broad line

Germany’s Montblanc enters the flexible nib

market and pays homage to the art of calligraphy.

Tim Cullen’s next chapter

The artisan behind Hooligan Georgia finds new

purpose by pushing the boundaries of his brand.

a feast for the eyes

Get your fill of fountain pens in the 27th

annual Fall Preview of Pens.

bound in goodness

Musubi journals feature luxurious, traditional

fabrics with fair-trade practices in mind.






















second chapters


our readers, noted


mark your calendars


pens, inks, and cases


D.C. and San Francisco


Atelier Lusso, Atlas, Visconti


NYC neighborhoods

good news

Pen Boutique

RCA roundup

PW’s award presentations





Second Chapters


When I was studying fiction, my professor taught me

that every piece of literature needs a thematic arc.

Even short story collections, he stressed, need an

overarching shape—a thematic movement from front cover to

back. You can’t just throw a bunch of short stories together

and call it a day. You need to shape your collection so that one

story leads into another somehow.

I try to bear that lesson in mind when shaping each issue

of PW because what applies to literary fiction also applies to

journalism, and vice versa. Each issue of PW has an overt or a

covert theme, and this issue is no different. As so often happens,

that theme arose organically. As I see it, the theme of this

issue is “second chapters.”

It starts with our cover brand, David Oscarson, who celebrates

20 years of pen making this year. Still making waves

with his hot enamel and guilloche creations, Oscarson tells his

own story on the bodies of his writing instruments, honoring

his children and his Swedish heritage.

In the new Carl Milles collection, our cover pen, Oscarson celebrates his one-year marriage anniversary and the union of his

and his wife’s families. He also celebrates the two places he’s called home: St. Louis, Missouri and Stockholm, Sweden. Finally, the

pen honors another fellow Swede who also called St. Louis home: the sculptor Carl Milles.

In other words, David Oscarson has entered another chapter in his life—one that greatly resembles the first chapter, but

with more experience, more wisdom, and more mastery. (Read more about Oscarson’s life and work on page 60.)

The same is true of Tim Cullen, the artisan behind the Hooligan moniker. I believe that Cullen’s recent move from his lifelong

home in southern California to northern Georgia and his new marriage have empowered this maker to reach new levels

of creativity both in subject matter and style. See if you agree by turning to page 56 and reading all about it.

Meantime, two venerated pen brands return to their roots. Legendary German maker Montblanc presents new “Calligraphic

Flex” nibs, reminiscent of some of the brand’s iconic italic and calligraphic nibs of the past (p. 52). Visconti, for its part, is

returning to 18 karat gold nibs and is relaunching its beloved Voyager series in honor of the company’s 30th anniversary (p. 28).

Then we have two more artisans on opposite sides of the spectrum: French Master of Art Hervé Obligí has made a career of

creating pens that are singular art objects (p. 48), while Dutch artist/industrial engineer Rein van der Mast uses cutting edge 3D

printing to create writing instruments in a new way—up to and including fully 3D-printed titanium nibs (p. 44).

There are second chapters all over the place, including this year’s Fall Preview of Pens (p. 65). This most special of sections

has entered its 27th year, meaning that it is reaching an entirely new generation of readers. Think about that for a second:

during a time when the viability of print magazines is being called into question, the Fall Preview this year features a slew of

brands who are making their section premiere. GW Pens, Atelier Lusso, Eagle Pens, and Benu Pens have joined such regulars as

Pilot, Franklin-Christoph, S.T. Dupont, Visconti, and Sailor in this year’s Fall Preview, “A Feast for the Eyes.”

And what a feast it is! Seeing small, artisan brands next to the towering monoliths of the pen industry is a gratifying thing

for this editor. After all, most global accessories corporations began as a kernel of an idea in a small workshop. Who is to say

which of these brands will become a large multi-national? Who knows what the Fall Preview will look like five years from now, let

alone 50?

Ruth Korch


Where Waters Meet


David Oscarson celebrates home, family, and another

of his Swedish heroes: the sculptor Carl Milles.

From left—David Oscarson Carl Milles Marriage of the Waters

fountain pen in sapphire and teal blended enamel with gold vermeil

accents; the cap features a solid silver, gold-vermeil replica of the

Marriage of the Waters fountain in St. Louis, Missouri (above, with

David and Veronica Oscarson in foreground).

In 1940, a magnificent installation was unveiled in St. Louis, Missouri. Commissioned by Mrs. Louis

Aloe to honor her late husband and created by distinguished Swedish artist Carl Milles, the piece was

named Meeting of the Waters and was meant to represent the coming together of a figuratively

female Missouri River with her male mate, the Mississippi River.

The landmark fountain that was revealed contains a basin filled with myriad sculptural figures.

Complementary but distinct companions, male and female, are surrounded by water sprites, fish, and

mermaids who all seem to dance in mist issuing from the carefully constructed jets and sprays. Each

creature is meant to symbolize the main tributaries from the two aforementioned major bodies of water,

of which there are 17. Triumphant and vivacious, Meeting of the Waters (or Marriage of the Waters, as

Milles intended for its name) was made to play just so with the combination of the sun and water, and

the result is a prismatic dance that sparkles in the wider atmosphere.

David Oscarson, with similar brilliance, has crafted a fountain pen whose profundity springs from its

intimacy. It is among the most personal pieces he has offered and operates as a paean to his life’s experience,

the lands he has known, and the completion that he feels now.


Above—Veronica and David pose at Millesgarden sculpture

garden outside Stockholm, Sweden. Right—Marriage of the

Waters fountain pen in mossy black and gray blended

enamel with sterling silver accents and bicolor 18 karat gold

nib with engraved David Oscarson logo.

Such completion is like a finished braid—a successful blend of distinct elements into a unified and pleasing

whole. Oscarson’s Carl Milles Marriage of the Waters writing instrument collection is just such a composition.

Integration and comingling, the circuitous and the fluid, are all prominent themes. For instance, Milles is

Swedish, and it’s where much of his canon resides. Oscarson was born in the United States but spent many of

his formative years in Stockholm. Oscarson’s other home is in St. Louis, Missouri, which is, of course, the location

of Milles’s Meeting of the Waters.

Oscarson recalls, “As a boy, I passed by many Milles figures as I wandered around the streets of

Stockholm after school. I would stare for a while, wondering what it was that made my feet stand still as I

gazed upward at some of his massive structures, like the Orpheus sculpture group at Konserhuset

Hotorget. My favorite prank and practical joke store, Buttericks, was just around the corner. I also benefitted

from my father and grandfather pointing many of Milles’s works out to me as a boy; both had spent

years in Stockholm, where Grandpa’s parents were born.”

Born Carl Wilhelm Andersson in 1875 near Uppsala, Carl Milles was the son of Lieutenant Emil “Mille”

Andersson and his wife, Walborg Tisell. On his way to Chile in 1897 to run a school for gymnastics, he

stopped in Paris, France and spontaneously decided to stay, wanting instruction in his own artistic pursuits.

As he labored in Auguste Rodin’s studio, his reputation as a prominent sculptor soared. In 1904, he

and his wife Olga relocated to Munich, Germany, but only briefly, for Sweden became their final home.

Near Stockholm, a large island seemingly perfect for their idyll was waiting. From 1906 to 1908, Milles

built Millesgarden on Lidingo, where the two lived and where he toiled, perfecting his work. Milles would

go on to be Sculptor-in-Residence at the Cranbrook Educational Institute in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan,

invited by U.S. publisher George Gough Booth, with the caveat that Milles would craft big commissions

outside of the particular educational setting. Thus, the American canon of Milles’s brilliant artwork was

born to the country’s benefit, bridging places and people that maps simply can’t engender.

Oscarson says, “Milles’s creations are captivating, and it doesn’t seem to matter where they are. The pieces

at the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis seem as natural to their environment as does the Hand of God in

Stockholm. Maybe it’s the size and grandeur of his pieces.”


Far left—Milles fountain pens in dark and light

blue enamel with gold vermeil accents and in

azure blue and white enamel with sterling

silver accents.

Left—the barrel end features engraving

representing the city flag of Stockholm.

Above—the cap doubles as its own standing

sculpture, with a cap crown depicting the St.

Louis city flag in white enamel.

Not unlike Oscarson, Milles’s fate was riddled with themes of coalescence and connection.

Among Sweden’s most famed and distinguished sculptors, his work nevertheless dots

the American landscape as well—a transcendence of place and yet an embrace of it. For

example, Milles’s the Hand of God was initially a tribute to Swedish innovator C.E.

Johansson, who engineered precise measurements for tools that made viable the assembly

line. While this initial sculpture resides in Eskilstuna, Sweden, Johansson’s original home,

funding from the United Auto Workers allowed for the work to be recast and given to

the city of Detroit, Michigan, where it is displayed outside the Frank Murphy Hall of

Justice. The Hand of God is equally meaningful in both cities; it is local and universal.

Another type of incorporation is, of course, marriage, and, as Oscarson’s first wedding

anniversary with Veronica approached, he wanted to commemorate the union, the

beauty of synthesis between the two family branches. Just as the Missouri and Mississippi

Rivers are joined where they intersect and their many tributaries become the product of

both, Oscarson’s children (and grandchild!) merge to become one, an exquisite unit.

Veronica, in fact, plays a part in the design, as it is her line art on the body of the pen.

Even in its creation, the fountain pen was collaborative, a comingling, a coming together.

Indeed, as the 20th anniversary of Oscarson’s presence in the industry arrives, the distinction

of length seems both an arrival and a departure—an accomplishment, but not an end. It

is, in fact, a new beginning with the groundbreaking David Oscarson Carl Milles Marriage of

the Waters collection.


“I drive our craftsmen crazy in our workshop; each new creation is an attempt to

redefine our craft, and the Milles collection is no exception. As beautiful as the Henrik

Wigstrom, Winter, and Crystal collection pieces still are, I believe a transformation can

be seen from our earlier work to these newer concepts—not only in design, but in

the level of difficulty required to actually produce them,” Oscarson says.

The Milles fountain pen collection dissolves the delineation between form and

function. That is, the thematic associations found in the piece are not just metaphorically

but physically manifested in the creation, as this fountain pen is the first to blend

two colors of hot enamel over the total surface of the pen without separating them

with silver outlines. In this delicate and difficult procedure, Oscarson actively battles the

fact that, ordinarily, the metal oxides employed to achieve an array of colors each

require particular temperatures for firing.

Oscarson says, “In this instance, we are intentionally blending two colors together

to re-create the merging of the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers here in St. Louis, just as

it was interpreted in Milles’s fountain.”

Above—the David Oscarson Raoul Walleberg collection

premiered in 2018 and is limited to 100 editions with either a

blue barrel with silver cap (uncapped) or a blue barrel and cap;

the Sankta Lucia fountain pen commemorates St. Lucia and the

annual Christmas-time Sankta Lucia celebration in Sweden.

Left—Carl Linnaeus fountain pen with red enamel cap and gold

barrel; Alfred Nobel fountain pen with black enamel cap and

white barrel.


Colors on the body of the David Oscarson Carl Milles Marriage of the Waters collection include sapphire and

teal enamel with gold vermeil accents, azure blue and white enamel with sterling silver accents, light blue and

dark blue enamel with gold vermeil accents, and mossy black and gray enamel with sterling silver accents. The

cap of the fountain pen is overlaid with a man and woman on the verge of embrace, as in the original Milles

sculpture, in solid sterling silver. Seventeen tributaries are symbolized on the writing instrument with all manner

of sea creatures that dance around their sparkling human companions in high and low relief, meant to swim in

the guilloche double-wave water pattern beneath them.

“The lovely lady in white at the top of the barrel holding the fish in her hands, that’s Veronixa. The scary, demonic

fish muncher on the bottom—that’s me,” says Oscarson.

Further symbols abound: the engraved name “Carl Milles” wraps around the gripping section. The cap top features

an enamel depiction of the St. Louis city flag, while the barrel end is decorated with engraving of the Stockholm city

flag—the two homes of both Milles and Oscarson.

Left—Oscarson honored the

Norse god Odin with this

blue iteration of his Valhalla


Right—the Henrik Wigstrom

Trophy collection was

Oscarson’s first collection,

premiering in 2000 and

honoring the Swedish head

workmaster for Fabergé,

shown here in red.

In celebration of Carl Milles’s 80 years on Earth producing magnificent art, each distinct color

combination on the pen will be limited in production to 80 pieces as either a rollerball or cartridge/converter/eyedropper-filling

fountain pen with an 18 karat gold nib in fine, medium, or

broad engraved with the David Oscarson logo.

A plethora of Swedish-themed pens precede the Milles collection (pages 64 and 65),

thanks to Oscarson’s identification with the country as one of two formative nations in his

life, and each line features his signature blend of artistry, signifying both history’s magnificence

and his more personal stories. The deft combination, a merging of all that makes meaning,

seems not unlike the union of the couple as they ready to embrace, or the Mississippi and

Missouri Rivers that do likewise.

As Veronica and David Oscarson have blended in their first year of blissful matrimony,

they have also weaved their families into a beautiful tapestry. Just as rivers meet and connect

their many tributaries, places across the Earth from one another come together in art, a synthesis

memorialized not only by Milles but now also by Oscarson in a writing instrument that

itself is an amalgam of various hot enamels. If the Milles collection has a thesis, it is one of

marriage, of success in mergence, of working toward a wholeness beyond words.



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The Journal of Writing Culture

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RCA presentations

Top row—Graf von Faber Castell’s Rachel Lee, Sheila Hopkins, and Beth Epstein and Armando Simoni Club’s CEO Emmanuel Caltagirone received

their awards at the Washington D.C. Fountain Pen Supershow, Aug. 1 to 4. Middle row—Franklin-Christoph CEO Scott Franklin with the company’s

two awards; Ryan Krusac of Krusac Studios and John and Mark Hu of Laban Pen also accepted their respective awards at the D.C. show.

Bottom row—at the San Francisco International Pen Show (August 23 to 25), PW Editor-in-Chief Nicky Pessaroff presented RCAs to Sailor’s U.S.

distributor, Don Takemura, and to Karol and Hugh Scher of Kanilea Pen Co.


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