21 May 2014

Guest Post: And Now…A Word From the Deskfax Appreciation Society: The Fraternal Order of Nine Rings

When one thinks about the variety of sizes Filofax produce for planners, the quick responders all yell out “A5”. This is correct. However, Filofax used to produce a wider variety of sizes including personal planners that made good use of the B5 paper size (mid-range of the B formats in terms of size; dimensions are 250 x176 millimeters or 9.84 x6.93 inches. These planners, ‘Deskfax’ models, were abruptly discontinued (I don’t know when exactly, Steve if you know I would appreciate data input here).

Today, Filofax still produce a meager variety of B5 inserts in an official capacity while various sources including eBay have a wider variety of much older, shall we say “antiquated” inserts, which despite their yellowed first few pages are quite usable. But to what end?

There is an underground movement afoot. Deep beneath the subculture of the planner obsessed, exists a group of people completely devoted to the showcasing, using and calling for the reinstatement of the Deskfax Filofax personal planners. So far, the “Fraternal Order of Nine Rings” or ‘brotherhood’ as they like to be called, (with every member being referenced as ‘brother’), collaborate with 35 brothers.

One of the biggest issues with Deskfax [models] is the lack of availability both for the planners themselves and 9-hole punchers. Through international collaboration however, the brotherhood has been able to obtain access to global stationers who still produce and can provide 9-hole punchers. The minimum order for these (as they are being sold wholesale) is 100 units. The brotherhood is making an official appeal through the printing of this story to support and join the Order.

The official link is: https://www.facebook.com/groups/TheFraternalOrderofNineRings/

Karine Tovmassian heads the brotherhood, established 2014 and would like to encourage all those who appreciate quality, vintage Filofax personal planners to join and support the brotherhood. Karine was inspired by a Red Deskfax sold to her by friend Alan Marshall. Aptly named, ‘Alan Marshall’s Red Deskfax,’ it serves as a testament to the beauty and Bauhaus functionality of this planner

So far, the brotherhood have sorted out 5 of their members with Deskfax planners obtained through international sources. The goal is to ensure that each member has at least one Deskfax. Through collaboration, sourcing, research and dedication, this goal is slowly becoming a reality.

Many users of A5 size are pleasantly surprised at the usability of the Deskfax and are switching over, completely abandoning their A5 sized planners. The only thing holding more people back is the inability to hole-punch B5 paper with homemade inserts, after all, 9 holes per page is quite the effort!

Most recently, LordDodo of DodoPad industries  (also a Brother) was pleasantly surprised to find a stationer in the UK who had 3 spare 9-hole punchers laying about. Two of these were immediately requisitioned for their B5 DodoPads, while a third made its way to another brother in San Diego, California, United States of America.

This Brotherhood, stands firm in the knowledge that larger real estate in planners means more thinking capacity, greater planning ability and a more comprehensive outlook for business-minded individuals who keep track of clients, run their own companies and despite all the odds, want Filofax to reconsider bringing back the Deskfax.

The Brotherhood have established a logo (though temporary at the moment) with the efforts of Brother Greer Dickson. The wreath symbolizes a peaceful, fraternal organization. The cross arrows, pointing upward symbolize the various members across the globe, intersecting at the very point where D (for ‘Deskfax’ and F for “Fraternal” meet.

The number 9 symbolizes the nine rings and together they make up the Fraternal Order of Nine Rings. Eventually, this logo (or a similar one once it is finalized) will be produced into a lapel pin, which can be worn during meetings and brothers will be assigned a membership card and sequence number. All Brothers work together to help other brothers obtain their Deskfax planners and assist with insert creation, printing and distribution.

Finding the 9-hole punchers has been a tremendous effort and now they just need your membership numbers to help place an order of 100 units to:

1. Help The Fraternal Order of Nine Rings become self-sustaining in their pursuit of owning and operating an analogue Deskfax.
2. Provide concrete numbers to Filofax for a demonstrative motive to reinstate the Deskfax.



  1. Deskfax looks awesome :) i found some deskfax supplies here in Lisbon at an El Corte Ingles store. I will look next time to really see what they still have there

  2. I agree - I have 2 x Kent Deskfax's (1 is a spare) but would love that one instead! What model is it?
    I do find that the page/diary designs that Filofax sell (inc other sizes) are not as good as they could be in my opinion. I have made up my own simple ones for various size binders - Franklin Covey, Daytimer & Filofax.
    I now tend to cut down Daytimer Folio size lined sheets to Deskfax size and re-punch them. The spaces between the lines are narrower than Filofax standard note pages which means I get 40 lines per page rather than 29-31 from others. Mind you standard A4 pads from WH Smith cut to size do the same!!

  3. Deskfax in this form started around 1989.
    It was still going strong in 1996/7, but I don't know when the binders were discontinued.

  4. I wonder if there is a more fundamental, breakaway faction of the order espousing the older, short-lived 6 ring version of Deskfax?
    If you could find one, punching holes would be no problem because the leaves were double width personal.

    1. I would love to find one of these, but it sounds like they are even more rare than the later 9 ring version.

    2. Yes that's certainly true Bree. They were only sold for about 3 years from 1986.

  5. I had a purple Winchester Deskfax, which I gave to a friend. Loved the size but hated to cut and punch the pages... I still miss it... Wish I had known about the 9-hole punches.

  6. They are really nice looking binders, but isn't 9 rings a bit much? Wouldn't 6 or 7 work as well, or is there something about that design I'm missing?

    1. The rings were made like this to be compatible with personal and the old, four ring mini leaves. The interchangeability between formats was a nice feature.

    2. That should have read "four ring pocket leaves".

  7. I used the Deskfax format for several years. The model shown is the Sandhurst in Italian Calf leather - a wonderfully well-made binder.

  8. I have a well-used black leather "Professional Organizer" deskfax from Filofax (gold foil stamp) about $100 US way back when (the beginner's price point, and my first Filofax). A trip to a leather worker would not go awry. I would really like to purchase a stunner like ‘Alan Marshall’s Red Deskfax’ but have not found any for sale. I do have a Filofax 9-hole punch (don't hurt me). But, if I could find a wonderful deskfax to buy, I would support The Brotherhood and purchase a second 9-hole punch (one for each Deskfax). I adore the deskfax size ❤️ Deskfax forever!

  9. For those wanting to see the Red Deskfax that inspired Karine, scroll to the bottom of this Filowiki page:


  10. Thank you! Now I know what model my 'new' Deskfax is -> the same as Alan's except it's a beautiful burgundy calf.
    Off to register it ;)

  11. The Brotherhood is all powerful! Hail the Brotherhood!
    However and evens, I am about to sell my 9 ring 'professional organiser' deskfax! It is in near new condition (only very gentle use in beautiful black leather with inserts and paper. Have a look at the adds on Philofaxy very soon. I may also swap for a zip A5 in a nice nutty brown leather of
    some description.

  12. Hello! Just bought a Deskfax from a charity shop (what we in England call a Thrift Store). It cost me £2 ($3). Didn't know it was a "Deskfax" as the binder itself only says "Filofax Professional Real Leather" but a quick search brought me here. It's a black leather one but looking at some of the models I really do like the brown leather ones more. Might have to get another! Next stop: paper. Looks like some pre-punched B5 pads are 9 hole and will fit . . . .