Traveling Salesman is another edition of Field Notes Colors that I missed out at first but later got (as a gift!). The most unique thing about Traveling Salesman is that it is a ledger book with thick, green pages inside. According to Field Notes, it was created as a tribute to the American door-to-door salesmen of the last century. In fact, they made a little podcast with Ron Solberg, the author of The Whizbangs of Oohs and Aahs, who is an expert in the history of American salesmen and an ex-salesman himself. It's full of interesting tidbits, so you should give it a listen! For example, I didn't know Jewel (of the Jewel-Osco supermarkets in the Midwest) started as a door-to-door coffee and tea seller. Neat-o!
I really like the combination of the rich brown and the embossed gold on the covers. Quite appropriate as a fall edition. Surprisingly, Traveling Salesman was not the intended fall edition for 2012. Expedition was going to be the fall edition that year, in time with Ben Saunders’ expedition to the South Pole. But when the expedition got delayed, Field Notes had to make something different for the fall at the last minute, and Traveling Salesman is what they came up with. Pretty impressive for a last minute project, in my opinion. In fact, the slightly off-centered logotype on its cover may be the only indication that it was a hurried project.
Traveling Salesman is the first edition in the Colors series to feature ledger-style pages inside. Previous editions have all been either graph grid or dot grid, so this is the first to get some ruled pages. And the first to get the lines printed in two different colors! Red at the very top and green for the rest. Also, I believe it's the earliest Colors edition to get Mohawk paper as its innards and use Superior ink (as opposed to Toyo ink).
Northerly, the 2011 winter edition, beats Traveling Salesman in two aspects: embossed covers and non-white innards. But Traveling Salesman is the first to get the thicker innards, 70# instead of the usual 50#, that make the overall 3-pack bulkier. Apparently, the belly bands had to be remade because the original length of the belly band wasn't long enough to wrap around the books. Oops.
This is also the first time we see Stromberg Allen & Company as a printer for Field Notes Colors. Interestingly, Expedition is also printed by Stromberg Allen & Company. New printing partner means different machines for manufacturing: different saddle stitcher, printers, round-corner cutting machine, etc, which you can note yourself on the back inside cover. Detailing them here would be really geeking out. (Like this isn't already but… moving on).
Last but not least, Traveling Salesman is the first edition to come with its own matching button, made by Busy Beaver in Chicago, that says “Certified and Trained” as an “Authorized Representative” of Field Notes Brand. Subscribers certainly got one button, and I’m sure you got one if you bought Traveling Salesman directly from Field Notes but I'm not too sure if you bought it from other retailers. I got my button as a bonus with a later order directly from Field Notes. There were 5 different versions of the button, and depending on where you live, you got one of these: Southern, Eastern, Western, Midwestern, and International. I got the Western version but I'd love to get my hands on an International button!
I only recently used one book as a daily journal. I'd been saving it for a more math-related tasks or project-specific lists but I ended up just using it as one of my monthly journals (here). I really wanted to test it out, and I needed an autumn-ish book for October! In hindsight, I could've used both sides of the paper without any trouble (I use gel pens); I was able to fit only 10 days worth of writing because the ruling in this edition is bigger at 1/4", compared to the usual 3/16". But I enjoyed using it! Paper felt good and substantial, and I'm a fan of non-white pages in general. And French Paper covers! I'm definitely going to use more of it in the future, maybe not for journaling but more for lists.
Some fun (for me) details:
- Traveling Salesman (Fall 2012) is the 16th in the COLORS series.
- Item Number: FNC-16
- Edition size: 24,000 books printed in October 2012
- Cover: French Paper Pop-Tone 100#C in “Hot Fudge" with embossed logotype. Text printed with metallic soy-based Superior ink in “Fool's Gold”.
- Ledger rules inside: “Sawbuck Green” and “Ledger Red” soy-based Superior ink
- Paper inside: Mohawk Via 70#T in “Light Green”. FN also calls this “Eye-Ease” Green.
- Belly band: Matching light green with dark green text
- Extras:Matching button identifying the wearer as an official rep of FN! Made by Busy Beaver in Chicago.
- Staples color: silver
- No films but here's a Field Notes podcast: Door to Door
My Favorite “Practical Applications”:
- #14. I.O.U.s to Forget
- #22. Definitely-Not-Pyramid Schemes
- #23. Half-Ass Guarantees
- #30. Words of the Profits
What are your thoughts on Traveling Salesman? Have you used it as a ledger book? Which buttons do you have?