The Ohio Pen Show... In The
in the late 1970's, three collectors gathered at the Meeker, Ohio
Sportsman Club. Dick Johnson, George Brown, and Ron Niles had on
that day, started a new tradition in Ohio. Dick, who had been
collecting and accumulating pens since 1958 says that about one
dozen tables were covered with pens. "We just sort of stood around,
not quite sure what we should do," Dick says.
In late 1983, just months after buying and selling our first
fountain pens, Michael Fultz, the organizer of the Chicago Pen Show,
and pen maker extraordinaire, organized a pen gathering in Columbus,
Ohio. Terry, Personnel Director at Bethesda Hospital at the time,
was busy running the Bethesda Employees Family Picnic in Zanesville,
so of course, I attended the show. I remember thinking that first
experience, with fewer than two dozen exhibitors was "Overwhelming".
After all, the Mawhorter's were new to the pen world and had not
really caught the collecting bug. The Mawhorter exhibit at that show
consisted of about thirty pens and pencils, and it paled miserably
in the shadow of collections from Abe Schwartz, Dick Johnson, Steve
Overbury, and of course Mike Fultz. Others attending were, Stu
Schneider, Harry Bouras, Jack Price, George Brown, and Glen Bowen.
Sometime in 1984, Howard Edelstein organized a gathering of pen
collectors in his hometown, Cleveland. Jack Price, Dick Johnson, and
Harry Bouras attended that third event.
Mike's first attempt at a regional show in the Ohio Valley, spawned
a fever among the closet and not so closet collectors in the
tri-state area, and soon pen clubs were forming in Indianapolis,
Columbus, and Michigan. To meet the need of these collectors, Bob
Johnson organized a show in the Cincinnati area in 1991, called "The
Ohio Fountain Pen Show". The show was actually held in Florence,
Kentucky and for the next two years, pen collectors from Ohio,
Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, and beyond, gathered to satisfy their
needs for pens, information and networking. The last year of the
show, 1993, the name had change to "The Cincinnati Tri-State Show".
Inch by Inch
next two years, every time Terry and I ran into someone from the
Columbus Pen Club, or one of our many Indiana pen collector friends,
they would say something like "Why don't you guys start a show in
Columbus?" I guess we appeared to be the most likely candidates.
Actually, we had given the idea some thought. We had attended our
first pen show in New Jersey in 1988 and we were impressed by the
quality of the individuals who gathered there from around the world
with some of the most interesting pens we had ever seen. We had
accumulated several pen reference books by then, but, as any
collector will tell you, actually seeing and touching quality pens
is a genuinely rewarding experience. Whether they are intricate
sterling and gold fill overlays, or jewel tone oranges, reds, blues,
and greens, it's always a thrill.
We knew that our show would not be a big show like New Jersey or
Washington, or Chicago or L.A., but we thought we could put our own
mark of mid-western hospitality on it, and with enough hard work,
make it a quality show for the exhibitors and buyers.
So, in November of 1995, at the Holiday Inn East, with the trust and
support of our 48 table holders, we began our first show. We called
it the "Capital City Pen Show", because Columbus is the Capital of
The following year, we changed hotels, moved to the Clarion and grew
to 72 tables. As the show grew, so did our commitment to make it an
enjoyable experience for the exhibitors and collectors who supported
the show, by travelling from all over the United States, and then
the world. In 1997, because the show had grown substantially, we
moved to the Columbus Marriott North. The Marriott was one of the
few hotels in Columbus that could accommodate the growth to 102
the name of the show was changed to the "Ohio Pen Show". When Terry
and I travel around the country and talk with pen collectors, they
always refer to the show as "The Ohio Pen Show", so the name was
changed to accommodate the public's perception.
In the beginning, we knew that we wanted the show to be fun, and we
wanted the exhibitors and collectors to feel like they were visiting
good friends in a comfortable atmosphere. Afterall, the people who
attend the show, not the organizers, make the show successful. We
have added hospitality parties, morning coffee for exhibitors, and
are constantly looking for other ways to make the time they spend in
Ohio enjoyable and valuable.
We have also added a pen auction.
Pen collecting has grown steadily throughout our geographical area,
as it has throughout the world. Our "little show" has grown
substantially as well. We are always searching for ways to make the
show better, and with the help of our pen collecting friends and
exhibitors from around the country and the world, it will happen.