just a short while ago pen folk were discussing the finer
points of available inks with manufacturer's singular names
like blue, blue-black, green and red among others. Not very
exciting, somewhat boring and pretty much the same as used
in Mesopotamia eons ago.
Well, something was missing.
were tweaking the finer points of the exotic inks that arrived
from France and Italy such as Herbin's Encre Rose Cyclamen
and Violette Pensee. Along came Campo Marzio Roma, Rosa Ciclamino
and Violetto. The colors sounded and looked delicious. Penmakers
finally got the message and soon realized the market for a
variety of appealing ink colors.
The demand for appealing inks grew and suddenly many European
ink brands were becoming very popular.
Parker Pen Co. introduced a range of Penman inks which proved
very popular, especially Sapphire Blue. Unfortunately, clogging
of ink feeds proved to be a problem with the ingredients of
Sapphire, and was soon discontinued. The pangs of deprivation
rippled through the pen community, for there was no substitute.
Creative mixing and experimentation among novices had begun.
The time was coming for something exciting in the world of
tell you some pre-history of Terry, owner of Avalon Pens and
creator of Private Reserve Inks. In the 1980's Terry was a
gem stone dealer, attracted to the beautiful colors of lapis
lazuli, sapphires, rubies and emeralds. Terry traveled to
Brazil and other South American countries building his trade
in gemstones, always having a strong attraction to the beauty
of nature and the gift of brilliant colors. These colors have
made such a strong impression that they are in large part
responsible for his motivation to produce inks with this same
I've really enjoyed these inks for some time and wanted to
meet this mysterious alchemist.
planning my drive to the Ohio Pen Show recently, I realized
Avalon Pens was only a few miles off my main route. I love
getting lost down back roads and peeking back into days-past
America. I was not disappointed.
Just north of Indianapolis, IN and soon off the Interstate
highway, farm fields yielded to modern sub-divisions and manicured
landscapes, yielding again to stately older homes along the
main road closer to town. Here and there 1930's bungalows
and the familiar box-like pioneer architecture of early 1900's.
Dignified Oak trees lined the streets that have witnessed
two hundred or more years of progress and parades at their
feet. Victorian fretwork lined the white verandas with cushioned
rocking chairs and potted plants. Speed limit: 25 mph. I just
wanted to park the Volvo and walk the rest of the way.
is a cobblestone street village only a few blocks long and
as much wide. Main street has a curious zig and a zag, probably
a good idea many years ago to slow a runaway team of horses
spooked by one of those new horseless carraiges. Population
I saw one gas station, one set of traffic lights and a lot
of antique stores. Nothing comes closer to middle-America
than this. Boy, did I wish I had more time to linger here,
so I made a mental note that I will be back again, and soon.
So here you see, folks, this is where some Indy Yankee concocted
a potion of inks that really caught our attention. By the
way, anyone 'noth of southern Indiana is still considered
a Yankee. The closer I got to Avalon, the more my image of
a high tech lab faded and the sooner I expected someone mixing
a bubbling cauldron in a back shed on the farm.
Pens is on this cobblestone Main Street, nestled among some
of the oldest buildings in town. No parking meters, didn't
see the horse hitching posts, but I almost expected to hear
the clop of hooves and the jingle of harness.
Terry is still a dealer in jewelry, and has enjoyed collecting
vintage pens for the last eight years. Travelling to surrounding
states he accumulated a large collection and started his own
repairs. These were the days when pen collectors were mostly
self-taught. No pen shows, no books or manuals. Pen Fancier
was still a few years away, so Terry started tinkering with
his own repairs.
Not unlike many vintage collectors, he finally reached a point
where he would have to start selling off some of his pens
to upgrade and build his collection. This is when he also
started to represent certain new pen lines to local customers.
Soon Terry became an authorized dealer for Sheaffer, Bexley,
Namiki, Visconti, Pelikan, and many others. Naturally, inks
were a popular sales item as well.
and his partner Susan Schube, who today does much of the repairs
also, have divided his new and vintage pens business, with
his jewelry and antique merchandise. This is the kind of shop
one walks into and suddenly you don't know which way to turn
first. I guess pens would win out, but his vintage jewelry
and antiques are magnetic as well.
also is manufacturing vintage pen parts which are excellent
quality. He is producing Parker Vacumatic tassies for Maximas,
oversizes, and "51"s. Parts for Chilton, LeBoeuf,
Wahl-Eversharp, Duofolds, Waterman, Conklin and other pen
parts such as clips and levers, pocket clips.
is well guarded by one of his many cats, one was fast asleep
on top of a bright lamp-heated display case. I noticed a line
up of guitars and mandolins hanging along one wall, Terry
smiled and admitted he used to play keyboard back in the 70's.
Ok, think back
1970's, is it flooding back? The sounds,
the colors, the Yellow Submarine, and the Spandex? I won't
go there right now, but this too, eventually was to influence
the creation of Private Reserve Inks. Suddenly I'm getting
a whole lot curiouser of this quiet and greying long-haired
guitar man and I feel he has story that needs prodding a bit.
Where did these brilliant inks come from?
1960's and 70's Terry's fortunes turned to selling musical
instruments. He was especially attracted to the brilliant
gemstone colors of Fender and Gibson guitars. Now just think
of who was using these guitars in those electric days of new
awareness. Gibson and Fender were considered to be some of
the very best and were used by the most famous in the business.
the answer was right there. The brilliant colored paints used
for these high quality guitars were made by Duco Paints, and
one guess as to the names of these colors?
The guitar names and colors were Lake Placid Blue, Fiesta
Red, Copperburst, Candy Apple Red, Naples Blue, and Sherwood
Suddenly my favorite music from the 70's has a whole new meaning.
The next time I hear Jimmie Hendrix, Janis Joplin and and
the wailing tunes of the time
I'll have to look closely
to those guitar colors, and scan the backstage crowds for
maybe a glimpse of that guitar man Terry.
Private Reserve Inks are very popular and sold though out
the U.S., Canada, and even Hawaii. Part of this success has
been due to his creation of one of his first inks, Lake Placid
Blue which suddenly became very popular due to it's close
color to the discontinued Penman Sapphire.
has just introduced Midnight Blues and Grey Flannel. Shades
of John Mayall and the Bluebreakers. What a Boogie Woogie