You have all been incredibly, insanely helpful. Some of this stuff I couldn't look up myself because I just didn't have the right words to make Google come up with what I needed; you have given me the right words (say your right words!). The passionate responses over the pens have delighted me--I should've anticipated that. The character in question who is buying the pens is the sort who gives people soul-corrupting gifts, just to see if they'll work. He has not, however, had time to have a pen crafted, and he would want something the character he's giving it to to immediately recognize as high-quality, rather than 'so high quality it's obscure', so I think you've given me the pens I need. :) *laugh* I've now got not only enough information to place my London Fire character, but a handful of books recommended that sound like awesome reading. More than one person pointed me at little_details, which I can see has the vast potential to waste hours and hours and hours of time on.
The funny thing is that nearly all of this information is throw-away stuff. Detail work around the edges of the world, considerably less focused on the driving plot than on daily tidbits that can't be escaped. You have all rocked my world, quite literally, with your help. Thank you *so* much.
matociquala, I'll buy you a drink at WFC, if you're going, in thanks for sending people this way. ursulav, I'll buy ... a ... bunch of your ... prints and paintings and sketches ... *looks at my artwork* ... nevermind. I'll think of something. :)