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Stylus Pens and Digital Pens

Troika Construction Pen

A quick look at the different types of digital pens and stylus pens - for when you want a nice pen, but you don't want to get ink all over your screen! Learn about the different types of stylus pens, and the types of devices they can be used on, from the super-simple finger replacements to styluses for art, with pressure and angle sensitivity.

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Some of the Best EDC Fountain Pens

Sailor Pro Gear Slim Mini pens, held in a handEDC, or EveryDay Carry, is all about the things we all carry with us every day, and choosing the very best things for us. It doesn't have to be about luxury, it's more often about things that can stand up to plenty of use, and still work well and look good. Here, we look at some of the best fountain pens you can make part of your everyday carry.
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Cult Pens Top Ten Gifts 2023

It's very hard to pick a Top 10 when you have as many products as us. But we did it. No doubt there'll be disagreements. You can't please everybody. But we've given it our best shot. So... from the top...

  1. Cult Pens Exclusive Sport Silver by Kaweco - subtle, silvery, semi-translucent
  2. Cult Pens Christmas Crackers - bangin'!
  3. SUCK UK Skull Desk Tidy - the best use for a skull we've found
  4. BENU Santa Hand-Painted fountain pen - coming soon and very limited!
  5. Sailor Dipton Hocoro Dip Pen Set - a fude nib to show off glitzy inks
  6. Pilot 60th anniversary Capless - as innovative now as it ever was - now sold out! See the rest of the Pilot Capless range.
  7. Derwent Inktense new colours - you can never have too many coloured pencils
  8. POSCA set of 54 - versatile, mark-almost-anything markers
  9. Caran d'Ache Keith Haring - subway art-inspired pens and pencils
  10. Cult Pens Ink Subscription - get a monthly ink fix!

If those didn't seem to be quite what you're looking for, we have plenty more ideas in our full Gift Guide.

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The Best Inks for Calligraphy

Cult Pens, written in Copperplate calligraphyYes, you can use pretty much any ink for calligraphy, just as you can use any pen. And if you just want to get started and try some calligraphy, that's the best thing to do - use whatever you have. But for the best results, it's worth getting the right ink for the job - some will be better than others for certain styles and certain pens. Here, Louise will help guide you through the world of inks for calligraphy.
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How to Clear a Mechanical Pencil Lead Jam

Not the tastiest type of jam, to be honest. This little guide is taken from our more complete and detailed Guide to Mechanical Pencils, as a quicker answer to this common question, without so much to scroll through!

If you use mechanical pencils, at some point you're likely to have a lead jam. It happens. A tiny bit of lead gets stuck somewhere in the mechanism, and stops it from working. Lead might not click forward, or it might click forward but slide back in when you try to use the pencil.

Most mechanical pencils can be dismantled to some extent to clear a jam. Usually, the part near the tip unscrews, which lets you see the mechanism. If you then push the button down against your desk, the clutch mechanism pushes up. There's a brass ring around the clutch jaws, holding them shut - push it down, and it will release the jaws. Once they've sprung open a bit of sideways tapping should dislodge any tiny bits of lead.

If the mechanism can't be opened up, blockages can usually be cleared by holding the pencil tip-up, with the button held down against your desk, and feeding a cleaning pin in through the tip to push any little bits of lead out from where they're stuck. Some pencils include a cleaning pin, usually attached to the eraser, but many don't. If you don't have one to hand, another piece of thin wire or a pin may fit, but don't force anything too wide into the tip. At a push, a spare piece of lead can do the job, but it takes a steady hand to feed it in without snapping it!

With all that done, you should be up and running again. If you're having trouble with leads snapping or jamming your pencil, and you're using cheap lead, you might find better quality lead is worth it for the extra strength then can bring. See our full range here. We'd especially recommend Pentel Ain Stein leads as being very strong and smooth.

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60 Years of the Pilot Capless

Pilot Capless

A fountain pen that doesn't have a cap? A retractable fountain pen? It's unusual now, so back in the 1960s when the Capless was launched, it must have seemed really outlandish; either a case of 'it'll never catch on' (just as TV was thought to be a flash in the pan) or perhaps an assault on tradition, a bit like the newly-coined words 'selfie' and 'defo' could be seen as detrimental to the English language.

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Ferris Wheel Press - Pens too, not just inks!

Ferris Wheel Press Pen in BlueWhen they arrived on the scene, their attention to design details made Ferris Wheel Press fountain pen inks an immediate hit. The beautifully round bottles, the intricate designs on the packaging, the inspiration from a combination of fairground rides and printing presses. People loved it all.

But what many have missed since then is that Ferris Wheel Press have turned that same eye for good design details to pens. They now make a small range of fountain pens and ink rollers, with the same quirkiness that so many people love in their inks.

Ferris Wheel Press pen in orangeTake the grip sections, for example. For most pens, the grip section is either plain, or maybe has some simple lines engraved into it to add some grip. Ferris Wheel Press have taken a different approach, reasoning that if there needs to be some sort of engraving done to improve the grip on that section, why not use grab the chance to make it look good too? Why just add some lines or a simple pattern when they can add a fancy and intricate custom pattern, inspired by vintage Underwood typewriters?

The fancy engraving doesn’t extend to the more basic plastic pens, but in pricing, these are competing with some of the most popular entry level pens from the big names like Lamy and Kaweco. And they make a very nice alternative for those who just want something a little more unusual.

As with most people, we mainly knew of Ferris Wheel Press for their inks, so we asked them what made them start making pens too. They told us:

Here at FWP, we are stationery lovers and we are constantly using writing instruments in our day to day. From project planning to creative ideation, the pen is at the forefront of what we do. In a world where digital technology often takes the spotlight, we are here on a boundless mission to create the most enchanting stationery imaginable. Through the magic of storytelling, we seek to inspire a newfound appreciation for stationery culture.

Ferris Wheel Press's first product was actually a fountain pen. The first version of the Brush Fountain Pen was created out of a passion to help the world fall in love with writing again. Our design philosophy is about creating beautiful objects that beg to be picked up and utilized, everyday.

At the heart of stationery culture rests the fountain pen. It is the most enjoyable tactile experience that helps us connect our hand, heart, and mind. In our mission to inspire an appreciation for stationery culture, we endeavour to create gorgeous writing instruments that inspire people to write, create, take action, starting with a pen that yearns to be picked up.

The story of the Ferris Wheel Press universe is continuing to be told with new adventures, experiences, and endearing characters that come to life through our products. From the intricate details on our writing instruments, to the hidden Easter eggs on our packages, our aim is to bring our customers on a joyful expedition and further their appreciation for stationery.

We believe a good fountain pen is one that is put to use. Our goal is to create stunning instruments that resonate with those who value life's finer details. Beyond using high-quality materials and careful crafting processes, our designs aim to bring joy through hidden details, making the act of writing a delightful experience that excites both new and experienced writers.

As we expand our product offerings, we're developing new styles, colors, and finishes. We're also introducing new nib options and enhanced functionality. Our objective is to provide accessible products that stand out in their price range, inspiring the next generation of stationery enthusiasts.

Join us on this journey, where we celebrate the beauty of writing, one pen at a time, with Ferris Wheel Press.

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140 Years of Kaweco

While the name ‘Kaweco’ didn’t exist until later, the story of Kaweco goes back to 1883, with the founding of the Heidelberger Federhalterfabrik, or Heidelberg fountain pen factory. A few years later, in 1889, the company was taken over by Heinrich Koch and Rudolph Weber, who used a modified version of their own initials to create the Kaweco name. The Perkeo name was also used at this time.

Jumping forward to 1911, they designed a handy pocketable fountain pen, which was the birth of the Kaweco Sport, one of their most popular pens to this day.

In 1930, the name, machinery, stock and patents were all bought by a smaller pen maker, which gave us another part of the Kaweco story - the current circular logo with KA/WE/CO divided into thirds. This company was still going strong until the 1970s, but the brand faded after that.

Fortunately, along came Michael Gutberlet. He ran a successful business mainly producing cosmetics for big brands, but he had a passion for pens, and especially loved Kaweco’s designs. When the brand name became available, he snapped it up, and worked with Diplomat to produce a range of new pens under the Kaweco name, using his pen expertise and manufacturing experience to make quality products that people loved, echoing the classic Sport design.

These were very popular, leading the new Kaweco to success in its own right, with the range expanding ever since.

As an aside, it may sound odd to most people that a cosmetics company would also make pens, but it’s surprisingly common - quite a few big names in the pen and pencil world also make cosmetics, often for other brands or under a different name. Many cosmetics are made in the form of pencils, and there’s some crossover of techniques between making cosmetics and making inks, pencil lead and pigments. They often start as high quality pigments, usually in powder form.

One of Michael’s favourite things to do is scouring his own collection of vintage Kaweco pens, and old catalogues, looking for inspiration. This process has given us some of the most popular modern pens, including the handy pocketable Sport range. The same sources led to the tiny Liliput, and the comfortable and fashionable Perkeo. For the latter, their ties to the cosmetics industry has helped too, letting them make pens in up-and-coming colour combinations, bringing a touch of modern fashion to a classically-styled pen.

But even after all these years, that 1911 design, the Sport, remains one of the most popular pens around, especially as a pocketable fountain pen - some things never change.

140th Anniversary of Kaweco

If you’ve managed to reach the age of 140, you have something to celebrate, so Kaweco aren’t letting the anniversary pass by. And of course, they’re celebrating the best way they know how - with a special edition pen that brings back their own history.

Kaweco's 140th anniversary 'Ebonit' Sport pen

It’s made from Ebonite - a form of hardened rubber that was commonly used for pens back in the early days of the Kaweco brand, but is now usually considered too difficult to work with, not fitting in with modern manufacturing techniques. But it’s a special material, named for its similarity to ebony, often showing a lovely marbling or striped patterning, reminiscent of exotic wood. The hardening process leaves a characteristic sulphurous smell, and the material ages nicely, picking up a patina that can be polished away if desired. Care instructions are included.

It's supplied in card gift packaging, with a set of all ten colours of Kaweco ink cartridges, and a pocket clip. At the time of writing, it's available to pre-order, due out in October - the Kaweco Ebonit Sport Fountain Pen Set 140th Anniversary Edition.

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What's Inside the Cult Pens Advent Calendar 2023? Spoilers!

Cult Pens Avent Calendar 2023Yes, we're doing it again. Our very own advent calendar, full of top quality and useful stationery items! As with previous years, the contents will be great value, worth way more than the price of the advent calendar, and most people will probably want to just trust us on that, and keep each day as a fun little surprise.

But maybe that isn't you. Maybe you want to know all the details. If so, keep reading, but be warned! Spoilers ahead! Your advent calendar may be considerably less fun to open if you already know what's in it.

If you'd rather the contents be a surprise, as intended, stop reading now, and go and order your advent calendar!

 


 

Still with us? You're sure you want to know? OK, well, here goes...

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Guide To Derwent Inktense XL Colour Blocks

Derwent Inktense Colour Blocks are sticks of vibrant watercolour ink which are incredibly versatile. Use them dry if you like - they're great for covering large areas - but add water and they really come to life! Once dry the colours are fixed (unlike normal watercolour paint), so you can safely work over the top of them. This permanency also makes them ideal for using on fabric such as silk, cotton and canvas, and you can also use them for printing and stamping. Here are 10 top tips for using them:
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Britton Scotland - an Environmentally Conscious Enterprise

Harris Tweed® is a bit like Stilton. A woollen cloth can only be called Harris Tweed® if it's been hand-woven in the Outer Hebrides, just as a pungent blue cheese can only be called Stilton if it's been made in either Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire or Derbyshire (yes, a bit more widespread than the cloth). Our new pencil cases and pouches are a bit Stiltony too, because they are made exclusively in Scotland from Harris Tweed® (but not Stilton) by the amazing Amy and her team at Britton Scotland.

Pen Pouch

These are right in so many ways. They are made with recycled parts and they're practical, sturdy and very handsome. Not only are they primarily made from a natural material that will NEVER go out of style and is incredibly resilient, the other bits and pieces - zips, linings, labels, even the thread - have evolved from something - plastic bottles, coffee cups - that would have otherwise gone to landfill or played a plasticky part in pollution. They're made to last, and they're the way they are because they've been made by a small team of enthusiasts led by a dedicated artist and designer whose goal is to create environmentally-conscious things of beauty that reflect the remarkable country that is Scotland.

Britton Scotland

At the root of her designs is wool, specifically Harris Tweed®. It's the ideal material to enjoy Scotland's unique weather because it's water-resistant, warm in winter and cool in summer, and it has anti-microbial properties. So it's not just perfect as a woolly jumper or an overcoat (or on a sheep), it's also spot on for keeping all your everyday bits and pieces safe and dry. And the fact that it's biodegradable and recyclable fits in perfectly with Amy's objectives.

She's a woman on a mission. Making use of a sustainably-produced, locally-sourced and woven woollen cloth is only part of the story. She is terrier-like in her dedication to ensure that every other material that goes into creating her products is sourced in a way that respects the planet. 'Getting it right', not just in terms of how it's made, but what it's made from, where and how those materials were sourced, and the conditions for workers along the supply chain, is paramount. She's ably assisted in her mission by a small team of 6 flexible workers, whom she's gathered as much for the people they are, as for what they can do for Britton Scotland. It includes Pauline, her 'right- and left-hand woman', whom she relies on when it comes to production; Alexander, a business and management student who is passionate about Net Zero and is helping with carbon accounts and ESG; and Olena, a Ukrainian who's learnt to sew under Amy's tutelage and wanted a 'creative job'.

There's no mass-production at Britton Scotland; it's small batches and 'on demand' manufacturing. Multiple prototypes are a thing of the past. 'Years ago,' says Amy, 'we used to make many prototypes, which was a waste of time and resources.' So now she thinks long and hard about how a product will be manufactured, makes a single prototype, and then proceeds straight to production. And it works. 'Apart from once,' she admits! Designs are conceived with minimal waste in mind, and any offcuts go towards the development of a zero waste range. They use locally-sourced materials as much as possible and work with local suppliers, who are constantly being re-assessed for their work ethos.

Britton Scotland

Their packaging is 100% recycled and 100% recyclable. All paper is FSC-certified and 100% recyclable, and only used when necessary. The only plastic in their products has been made from recycled material.

Amy and her team have put an extraordinary amount of time and effort into making sure their products are as easy on the environment as they are easy on the eye, but are they resting on their laurels? Absolutely not. There are some interesting forthcoming projects and exciting developments, and they are preparing to apply for B Corp certification, which measures a company's entire social and environmental impact. And in the midst of all this, we're extremely grateful that she's taken the time to design some bits and pieces especially for us!

We sell pens, so we have pen pouches and pencil cases. The outers are all 100% wool while the inners are 100% wax cotton which has been rescued from going to landfill, and even the zips are 100% recycled. There's something for everybody. The pen pouches are exclusive to us, thanks to Amy and her team's combined talent. They'll keep your favourite pen as snug as anything wrapped in Harris Tweed® is likely to get (which is very). There's a slim, space-saving pencil case for a small selection of writing instruments, the sort of things you like to carry with you everyday. Or trade up for a medium-sized case, perfect for work or college. And if you're the sort of person who doesn't like to leave anything behind, make yours a large one!

Of course, it's not just pens they're good for. Art materials, make-up, glasses (of the eye kind, not the sort you put in the dishwasher), first aid items or medical necessities, your phone, money and cards... Anything that's on the small side and likely to disappear into the recesses of a cavernous bag will benefit from a Harris Tweed® Cult Pens exclusive from Britton Scotland.

It's good stuff: good to look at, good for your peace of mind and good for the planet. Thank you, Amy!

Dornoch Beach

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S.T. Dupont

S.T. Dupont Logo

Simon TissotIn 1872, innovator and photographer Simon Tissot Dupont founded S.T. Dupont, a Parisian maison dedicated to producing 'exceptional goods for exceptional people'. Initially offering leather briefcases to businessmen, he progressed to luxury travel trunks and cases coveted by the European elite, and he supplied no less than the likes of Napoleon III and Empress Eugenie. His sons Lucien and André took over in 1919, and continued the extraordinary success put in place by their father. The number of workers increased from 50 to 250, comprising craftsmen ranging from trunk- and casemakers, goldsmiths, locksmiths, engine-turners and enamellers. Simon Tissot Dupont died in 1922 and shortly afterwards his sons moved the atelier from Paris to the family's home town of Faverges at the foot of the Alps. This area, one of France's most beautiful natural environments, still influences the company's environmental and sustainability ethos today.

By the end of the 1920s, S.T. Dupont had gained a reputation as being the foremost manufacturer of the most luxurious of luxury travel goods. And then the Wall Street crash happened. Undaunted, Lucien Tissot's reaction was to cater only to the very wealthy, reasoning that they were the least likely to have been affected by the crash. ‘Make it more beautiful,' he said. 'Make it expensive. Make it innovative.’ His extraordinarily bold decision was justified, as over the next 20 years his clients came to include Coco Chanel, John D Rockefeller and Louis Renault.

The 1930s saw innovation in Lucien's invention of a tanning technique that used diamond powder. This lent the S.T. Dupont leather extraordinary durability whilst still remaining supple, and is still used today. With the advent of more widespread air travel luggage also had to be lighter, so the art of lacquerwork was introduced. This meant that the heavy cut-glass crystal flasks incorporated into certain travel cases could be replaced with lighter, lacquered containers which were - as a bonus - available in a multitude of colours.

In 1935 the Maharajah of Patiala ordered 100 Chinese lacquer clutch bags for the members of his harem, with each one containing a solid gold lighter. The order took S.T. Dupont three years to complete but inspired the introduction in 1941 of the world's first luxury petrol lighter. It was made of aluminium. Further research led to the creation of a gas lighter: the Ligne 1 became an instant success, coveted by the likes of Alfred Hitchcock, Pablo Picasso and Andy Warhol. Solid brass replaced the aluminium, and the designs became increasingly sophisticated.

Along with lighters, S.T. Dupont continued their innovations with luxury bags. They created the Bogie, a travel bag for Humphrey Bogart, and in 1953 André Dupont created his first ladies' handbag - the Riviera, with Audrey Hepburn being perhaps his most famous client.

Jackie Kennedy OnassisIn 1971 Jackie Kennedy Onassis casually mentioned to S.T. Dupont that she'd rather like a ballpoint pen to match her personalised Ligne 1 'J' lighter, and so the team got to work. Their efforts saw the production of the company's first luxury pen, the Classique. It was made of brass, with its design influenced by the ignition roller of the Ligne 1 lighter. The Museum of Modern Art in New York even selected it for one of its exhibitions.

And so the S.T. Dupont maison added luxury writing instruments to its ever-expanding portfolio. The Classique was followed in the new century by the Défi line - its unique design combines a metal-injected frame with a palladium finish and carbon fibre composite body. Then came the Liberté collection with a choice of palladium or natural lacquer finishes, closely followed by the traditionally elegant Elysée. Karl Lagerfeld collaborated with S.T. Dupont in 2011 with the launch of the Mon Dupont line.

Liberte pen

S.T. Dupont has spent over 150 years designing, innovating and recognising opportunities. They have catered to the famous, the wealthy, the influential and the controversial through speculation and without compromise. Clients have ranged from royalty - kings, maharajahs, queens and princesses, dukes and duchesses - through to entrepreneurs, designers and artists; icons, secret service agents and gangsters. In terms of luxury, they can provide it all, and will probably continue to do so well into the next century and beyond. They've weathered conflict, crashes, crises and changing fashions - in considerable style. Just like their products.

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