Miscellany

Daniel Webster College

I used to teach evenings (Continuing Ed) at Daniel Webster College here in Nashua, NH, and was an adjunct instructor from 1999 to 2011. The course descriptions and some curricula for the courses I taught are here, and some course materials may appear here as well. (A note to my past students: the exam answers were elsewhere!)

Fountain Pens

Many years ago, I published the “officially unofficial” alt.collecting.pens-pencils FAQ, which contained a lot of information about how to start using fountain pens: questions about the pens themselves, what kinds of inks to use, how to clean and take care of them, etc. The material is still valid although the FAQ has not been updated in years.

The links in the FAQ were correct when the FAQ was last updated, and many are still valid. There are a lot of other goodies throughout the FAQ, including a section on how to perform your own nib adjustments.

Mechanical Watches

So, why do I wear only mechanical watches?

Simple. Name another mechanical device made by man which is powered by motion (not fuel or electrical energy), can withstand shock and temperature extremes, and runs continuously with little/no maintenance over long (decades) of time. And, why should I open a perfectly good watch just to throw a silver-iodide (poisonous) or lithium (also poisonous) battery into a landfill?

And, no, you don’t have to be rich to buy a reasonably well-made mechanical watch. The Seiko 5 series of watches uses a Miyota movement that shows day/date, is reasonably accurate (within 10 seconds/day), has a viewback window (so you can watch the balance go tick-tick-tick), and can be had for about $30 (including shipping).

There’s something about the tick-tick-tic of a mechanical watch that makes it seem “alive”. It’s a reminder of a different age, when we valued manual skills and well-crafted devices and were amazed at the construction of such tiny machines. I still find them fascinating.

And, as an amateur watchmaker, I sometimes build my own watches or work on watches for friends.

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