Just read a brilliant story about a man named George Fox who collects vintage ink pens from the 60s and 70s and loans items from his collection to the TV show 'Mad Men' to use a period props.
(If you haven't seen Mad Men on AMC, it's about the people at a New York ad agency in the 1960s.)
Fox lives in Killeen, Texas and told the local newspaper that he grew up enjoying trips to buy school supplies – and just never stopped. Now retired from the military, he has accumulated a collection of more than 2,000 pens and pencils, most of them common brands such as Bic and Scripto.
From the Killeen Daily Herald:
Fox has so many pens at his disposal that he has a pen rotation — one pen in the morning and one in the afternoon.
But the gem of Fox's collection is a near-complete set of eight Papermate Ops N Pops pens released in 1968. The pens reflect the time period, with groovy designs on colorful backgrounds.
They retailed at $1.50 each and are now worth about $150 each, said Fox. The swirly designs were prone to rub off with extended use, so finding one in near perfect condition is rare. As a result, Fox won't use those pens, but many of his vintage finds still work.
Apparently, the prop master from Mad Men was looking for the kind of pen a secretary would use in the 60s — not an easy thing to do — and found Fox online. Now, he allows the show to use pens from his collection to help maintain its historical authenticity.
Fox has a great blog about his vintage and new pens called My Supply Room.
This is his list of Top Five Pens from the 60s and 70s:
Also check out these old Paper Mate Contours from the 1970s. They came with astrological signs on them...so groovy, man!
Next time you're watching Mad Men and see someone using a cool old pen, think of George. It probably belongs to him.