From Our Readers

Time for another look through the mailbag!

From BMT:

This might come under the “fell off the face of the Earth” dept.

In the early sixties, possibly 1960 or 1961 a loose leaf company (Mead?) marketed a failed loose leaf product named “Nifty.”
Instead of the conventional rings on the left side, it flipped up like a legal pad. There were two “pegs” that held the special two-hole (on the top) loose leaf paper as well as a convenient pencil compartment with a magnetic catch.

The TV commercial, in black & white of course showed a cartoon of kids on a school bus singing “…take Nifty to school with you…” with the bus sounding “honk-honk” on the horn. The verse was repeated two more times.

My mother bought me one, but the product flopped as fast as it came out, and I can’t find one word of the product anywhere on the net.

From Ayanna:

I purchased a fabulous sketchbook @ Blick Art Supplies in Pasadena,CA in June of this year. The notebook was a larger size than I usually use and I fell in love with it. The size is 9×12 and it is manufactured by Fabrica (Libretto Holdings in NYC) which seems to be a subsidiary of Benneton. It has a vinyl cover that you can slip business cards or photos into and 120 blank pages. This notebook is perfect for designing lines and collecting mood images etc. I have contacted Fabrica via email and no one has returned my calls. Have you ever seen this book before or do you have any information on where I can purchase another similiar style?


From Jordan:

My question lies with the movie “Shutter Island”. In the movie, Leo Dicaprio’s character uses a soft-cover notebook throughout to take notes, and I love it. The only problem is I am terrible at recognizing notebook brands, types etc. I was wondering if maybe you could help me, I would REALLY appreciate it.


Can anyone help find these notebooks?

Other readers have written just to say hello and share interesting links:

Check out Caribbean Princess’s blog for some great Filofax posts.

Katie introduces Gadanke, her line of creative writing journals with unique and inspiring prompts.

And Paul recommends this book: Tennessee Williams: Notebooks. It includes descriptions and photos of the notebooks themselves, something that often seems to be lacking in books about writers’ notebooks!

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5 Responses to “From Our Readers”

  1. Thanks for linking to my blog! :-)
    I LOVE notebook and planner blogs and I am having so much fun reading through yours.

  2. For Jordan,
    I’m not sure exactly what the brand is from the movie. Moleskine has a notebook much like that one. It’s called the Volant. They are available in different sizes. The ones I use are pocket and X-tra small. They hold up good to daily use, I beat mine up daily.

    http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=volant&x=0&y=0

    Then there are a few other companies that make this style, I just never used any.

  3. To BMT: There were TWO kinds of Nifty Notebooks, the one you described which flipped up like a a regular writing pad and one that had the 2 pegs on the left side with the magnetic catch. I think I had one of each when I was in grade school, a green side latch and a blue top latch. With both types, the cover could be folded under the whole unit giving you a convenient writing surface. I remember the promotion emphasized that you could write while walking or standing without the need for a table, etc.. They were quite handy but I’m pretty sure the idea didn’t catch on because of the unique two-hole paper which was probably cost more, plus if the refills weren’t available, you were out of luck…and three-hole paper has always been in abundance!

  4. I made the mistake of buying the first one with the top holes. I didn’t keep it for two long and besides the kids on the block would call out the song to me every time I walked by, thanks to one of the older kids who first started the nonsense, and whats more Nifty became my new nickname, “Hey Nifty” even after I got rid of it. A very sad time in my young teen years.

  5. I can’t believe there’s a notebook site but I was thinking of when I was using the Nifty notebook when they first came out – I’m 63 so it was in late ’59 or 60. I WAS SO HAPPY – WHY, YOU ASK? Because I’m left-handed and in those days you HAD to learn cursive writing going towards to right. Yeah, not easy with a left-handed brain and to boot, had to deal with spirals or whatnot right by the margin where we had to actually start on the line or be marked off. A challenge – turned the regular books sideways, almost upside down; then I decided to teach myself to write right-handed. Mind you, I was in 3d grade forward. So, Nifty will always be a great memory for me and I was very upset when they stopped making them. Thanks for this site. I love notebooks, love to write (obviously, right?)

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