Chester Elton's Blog

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Perfect Penmanship

February 08, 2009

I love beautiful writing instruments. I’ve been a collector for years. I believe in hand-written notes and letters and enjoy writing them that much more with a fluid, beautiful fountain pen. It just means something more, don’t you think? My dear friend Glen Nelson wrote an article about the incredible beauty and craftmanship of David Oscarson pens.

Excerpt of article by Glen Nelson

I held in my hands last week an object so exquisite and beautiful that I said to myself, “This is the most perfect thing I’ve ever touched.“ I handled it carefully (its owner was standing behind me). The more closely I inspected it, the more marvelous it seemed to me. How could this thing be made, I wondered, so full of detail, beauty, texture, symbolism, and mystery; it was like a Fabergé egg from an imperial tsar.

The creator of the object is David Oscarson, a Mormon artist whose fountain pens have been called “the best pens in the world” by CNBC television, featured on the cover of the Robb Report Best of the Best issue two years in a row, and profiled in numerous magazines and newspapers around the globe. They are the Rolls-Royce of pens (that is, if a car could be made of etched gold and silver and then covered in glass).

The owner of the pen I held is Chester Elton, a New York Times best-selling author of business books and, as I discovered, a passionate diarist and collector of Mormon art.

“The pens are for my children to inherit,” says Elton, a father of four. “Each one is a reflection of them. I hope it will remind them of my journal, my books, and the notes and letters I wrote to them over the years. I hope that it will encourage them to do the same.”

Elton keeps a daily journal and has done so for years. I’ve seen them. They are stuffed with airline tickets, pictures of his family and travels, clippings and drawings, as well as a lively description of his life. Despite a frenzied daily schedule, Elton believes in old-fashioned handwriting. In the age of email, he loves notes and cards written by hand. This respect for a personal touch led him to beautiful fountain pens, and eventually to Oscarson, who has created eleven limited-edition collections of pens and related objects to date.

“A colleague at work told me about these pens and said that Oscarson was LDS and from St. Louis. I reached out to him, and we discovered we have mutual friends where I live in New Jersey.”

Oscarson is a rock star to the collectors of artisanal pens who gushingly respond to the extraordinary workmanship and the originality of his designs. But even so, I suspect that his admirers don’t know the half of it. In addition to making breathtaking objects, Oscarson is also covering them in LDS symbolism.

This element of storytelling is one of the attractions for Elton. “I collect his pens because they are beautiful and functional. They tell a story and are very symbolic—all things I value.”

Beyond their workmanship, these pens tell a story. And that inspires me. Find what it takes to inspire you to collect and archive your life’s memories and experiences. You won’t regret it. 

Photograph of Chester Elton (with Oscarson pen and cufflinks) by Heidi Elton.

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