maandag 18 mei 2015

Hey look! A new LONDINIUM! The L1-P

DHL delivery (pls do not crosspost this one photo, he does not what to be on "social media")

Ready for lift off

Jan & John came to help install it all

Taking the coat off

The brew group piston

Connecting the 230V plug

Greasing the inside with Loxeal #4

Also some on the group seals to rub around

carefully 'sinking' the piston in

boiler with red circle to take out from anti-vac

Circlip is off

Connected water in, water out

The manual fill valve closed

Closed still, pushing it open

Boiler filling (then closing again, see above)

Closed, then connect 230V and switch on

Few drops on anti-vac before it closes

We used a tiewrap to lead the braided hose in a nice curve 

Water level

Without the cover

First espresso pulled on the L1-P

John trying out the steam wand

John's cappuccino

maandag 11 mei 2015

Line pressure gauge, needle valve & flow regulator

Line in, pressure regulator & gauge, flow regulator, two connections for espresso machinery
John, a fellow coffee roaster living nearby, has built me a nice oak wood panel with some extensions to my (filtered) water line. It facilitates two output connectors for espresso machines, but more importantly, it has a combination of a needle valve to limit the line pressure, a pressure gauge to see the result and a flow regulator.

If I get a machine with a 'cold feed' heat exchanger which uses the line pressure for pre-infusion, I can now accurately regulate that pre-infusion pressure.

Must make sure an espresso machine will not be placed in front of it. That would ruin the view!

woensdag 6 mei 2015

L1-P is in the making

First image of the L1-P by Londinium
Reiss Gunson of LONDINIUM Espresso is about to launch L1-P, a new professional one group lever espresso machine. 7 Liter boiler, 2700W heating element. Plumbed in, no pump, silent operation. A new sleek design like the other Pro machines in the LONDINIUM line, made for the professional environment and the "no holds barred" home user.

I expect that pretty soon the first owners will be posting their experiences, pictures, videos.

The above is a first glamour picture by Gary Smith from London.

maandag 4 mei 2015

May 4 2015 -- The Jacques Blitz Fountain Pen

One of the things that made me stop collecting fountain pens and give most of them away was the realization that a pen joining a collection loses its individual story. It becomes part of a row, or many rows of similar pens and often the collector tries to 'complete' a series, for instance by adding one item from every collection produced in an certain year, or one of each color that was on the market at the time.

It all renders the vintage pens anonymous. At one time, they were the very personal object belonging to someone, rarely forgotten, never discarded, pocketed with care. It is a pen that accumulates the history of someone. Then it is lost, or given away after the owner dies, and a little later no one knows whom it belonged to anymore.

The daughter of a family doctor once gave me the fountain pen that her father used until he passed away. I can retrieve it because it bears his name, "Vervloet". Who knows how many prescriptions he wrote with it after listening to whatever complaints his patients told him, how much was confided in him. No one seems to care.

When my friend Johan with whom I collected pens passed away in may 1992 there was no one left for me to rejoice over yet another pen and I lost interest altogether.
Parker Duofold from the 1920's
Only recently I discovered that there is a name on the pen that I have used these past years to sign the letters that I print. It's a Parker Duofold from the 1920's. Over almost a century of use, the engravings of the barrel have been polished away but once you know it's there, a skimming light makes it legible.


24kt gold, iridium nibbed

The pen must have been valuable. At one day it lost its metal clip. My guess is it broke off after much use and the sharp edge remaining on the cap was hurting the owner when he took off the cap, so it was removed even though the edge sticking out prevented the pen from rolling off a table (which it often tries to do now).

The pen is completely intact otherwise and it writes beautifully. With the right ink, it has an unsurpassed fluency of flow and the nib is very flexible so it broadens the line on paper a bit when there is extra pressure. This makes a fountain pen so much more expressive than a modern ballpoint or a fineliner.

It is possible that the owner, Jacques Blitz was born in Amsterdam on 13 May of 1908. He would have maybe received the pen on his 18th birthday in 1926 when the Duofold was very popular. If this is him, than his history ended tragically.

On the historic site of the Community Joods Monument I found the dates I mention above.

Jacques Blitz: born 13 May 1908 in Amsterdam, died 30 september 1942 in Auschwitz.
His wife Evalina Sophia Blitz-Polak was born in Harlingen on 23 September 1911 and died in Auschwitz on the same day her husband was murdered, on 30 September 1942.

Their two children were into hiding in Groningen during the worst winter of WW2 but it is not certain if they have actually survived the war.