Posted in Collection, Pens, Restoration, Reviews, Stories

The 1950’s Parker Parkette

The Parkette

A family of pens manufactured by Parker, but generally considered a third-tier pen. Evolving from the Parco, Parkette produced began in 1932 and ran through 1941. The pen was Parker’s answer to inexpensive competition while providing the Parker name and mystique. The Parkette generally lacked the quality of flagship Parker pens of the time (Duofold, and Vacumatic).

The Parkette was Parker’s first pen to make use of a lever-filling mechanism. A common option amongst other manufacturers but not one Parker pens ever would regularly embrace. Eventually, the lever-fill mechanism would find its way into other “third-tier” Parker pens, including the Duo-Tone (not to be confused with Duofold) and the Writefine.

The 1950s Parkette

It is a common practice for pen companies to reintroduce former names as a means of adding nostalgia. Parker introduced one last model to the Parkette family in 1950. The new pen included a lever-filling system and contemporary styling (a metal cap and a hooded nib). The newest Parkette did not fare well against period Parker’s.

My Pen

I have a grey 1951 Parkette. It is in very good shape, without any bite marks, or scratches, but it leaks. I know grey is boring but I like it with the shiny metal cap. It appears to have the same “defect” other hooded Parker’s shared – a gap between the hood and the nib. While researching the Parkette, it seems this pen is not favored amongst collectors and is considered cheap and not worthy of the time and effort to repair it – got my attention now.

This seemed odd to me, when I removed the ink sac I found the pen had a breather tube (more on these another day). A breather tube is used in better pens when the filling system fails to completely fill the reservoir with one cycle of compression and vacuum. This is a feature commonly not found in cheap pens and I would know, I have 3 Arnolds.

Refurbishment

I replaced the too-short ink sac, being careful not to remove the breather tube. I tried to remove the hood but found it is held firm by glue. I made a valent effort to remove it but when all options failed and applying solvents was the only choice, I stopped. The cap retention ring thingy was a little tarnished, nothing a Sunshine cloth could not remedy. The only real damage is a minute amount of brassing on the cap clip.

Not wanting to leave the feed, nib and breather tube as is, I used a bulb syringe to flush them out. I was surprised to see flakes of dried ink accumulate in the sink. My concern appeared warranted.

All done and ready to ink up and give it a go.

Welp, I’m happy to say it writes well. It is a fine point nib which is not one of my faves but this one does very well. The nib is a little wet but that may be excess ink from the filling fixing in the hood.

Vital Statistics

  • Capped length. 132mm
  • Uncapped length. 121mm
  • Barrel diameter 11mm
  • Cap diameter 12mm
  • Weighs in at 16g

For a “cheap” pen not worthy of my time, the only complaint is a manufacturing defect (in my opinion). The cap is secured is pressure the cap retention ring thingy. The pen lacks a clutch ring as found in a 51, thus the cap is not adequately secured. I picked it up one day by the cap and the pen went flying. Luckily I made a good catch.

Posted in Pens, Reviews, Stories

Esterbrook M2 Aerometric Pen

Company Back Story

Esterbrook introduced their first aerometric filler in the late 1950’s calling it the M2. The pen sported a metallic cap and plastic barrel in a period favorite color. The plastic used is soft compared to other pens, or but typical of late Esterbrook manufacture. M2’s are easily recognizable by their indented cap and plastic threads.

Esterbrook marketed for a limited time, a contemporary version of the M2. The new M2 Series incorporated the design of the original model with subtle modern details. The contemporary M2 Series is made from a special resin material developed to authenticate the feel and colors of the 1950’s. Each pen features a brushed metal cap and a specially design clip. The barrel has been etched and colored with an updated Esterbrook logo. Photo Credit: Fahrney’s Pens

My Pen

This M2 is in great shape, no scratches, no teeth marks. I even like the color of blue, seems very 1950’s to me. The pen has an aerometric filler. Admittedly, this is my first pen with an aerometric filler.

M2 Aerometric Filler

The plastic of the barrel and section “feels” odd to me if that makes sense. It’s doesn’t have a hard feeling like celluloid or acrylic, nor is it soft, it simply feels like plastic. The section is made of the same plastic as are the cap threads. The plastic threads are a concern. I imagine with some less meticulously maintain pens the cap threads are stripped.

The metallic cap has horizontal etched rings. Esterbrook is engraved on the cap band, M2 models are easy to spot because of the unique top of the cap – it dips in.

The aft end of the barrel is an air hole but honestly I spent a week looking at other examples under the assumption there was a jewel from the end, but noooooo.

The pen writes nicely, here I was using an Esterbrook 2668 Firm Medium nib. In my hand, the weight and size of the pen are most agreeable. I don’t post the cap. The ink is De Atramentis Black Red.

Bottom Line

I enjoyed using the pen. It feels comfortable when in hand. The Aerometric filler works well. The feel of the plastic is not something I’m familiar with and the air hole in the end is well ugly and cheap looking.

Overall, I am happy with the pen. It makes a nice vintage everyday pen with a 1950’s nostalgic look.

Vital Statistics

  • Capped length. 134mm
  • Uncapped length. 124mm
  • Barrel diameter 11mm
  • Cap diameter 12mm
  • Weighs in at 18g
  • Esterbrook.Net; M2
Posted in Pens, Reviews

Pilot Prera

Pilot is the largest pen manufacturer in Japan. Manufacturing the majority of their pens in Japan, France, and the US. In 1963, Pilot entered the fountain pen market with the introduction of the Capless. Unlike other fountain pens, the Pilot Capless featured a fully retractable nib. The Capless was reintroduced as the Vanishing Point in 1972.

Unlike other fountain pens, the Pilot Capless featured a fully retractable nib. The Capless was reintroduced as the Vanishing Point in 1972.

Pilot Namiki Capless

Sorry, I took you down this rabbit hole. I had to include a couple pictures of a Pilot Namiki Capless. I’m totally into this design and the color. Now back to the Prera.

My Pen

I picked up a Pilot Prera Clear, also known as the Prera Iro-Ai with a medium calligraphy nib. It has a beautifully clean look that reminds me of a TWSBI. Oh and this is my first Japanese pen.

Pilot Prera Iro-Ai

The pen ships in a box with a clear hinged top. The pen is a demonstrator style (another first), providing visibility to the inner workings of the pen. The acrylic body is accented with tasteful pops of transparent color at each end (I choose amber, but you can get other colors). It is lightweight thus easy on the hand. The workmanship is impressive down to the smallest detail. When reseating the cap, there is a cushioned click as the cap finds home.

All the metalwork is chrome. The clip is attached to a blind cap, there are chrome rings at each end of the pen and a cap band. Another chrome band where the section and barrel meet and where the nib meets the section. The cap has a semi-translucent white liner and white printed design with the Prera logo above the cap band.

The pen came with a black ink cartridge and a pre-installed CON-40 converter. The converter has 4 tiny steel balls in it – I guess to keep the ink shaken not stirred. The barrel separates from the section after 4 complete turns. The transparent body lets you admire the ink and monitor the remaining ink levels. Personally, I thought it was cool admiring the ink within the section supplying the feed.

The nib is a steel medium calligraphy point. It is plain compared to some nibs – I think it looks like a Lamy. “Pilot” is laser etched on the nib, along with the type (CM in this case) and “Japan.” It is a straight tip nib, it is not oblique, measuring 1mm across.

Overall, the pen feels very well made, it is ergonomic, lightweight and the steel nib is thin enough that you can use the pen for everyday writing. And my favorite feature, the price. This pen is available for $30-$40 depending on the seller and nib.

Just Doodling

Vital Statistics

  • Capped length 120mm
  • Uncapped length 107mm
  • Barrel diameter 12mm
  • Cap diameter 13mm
  • Weighs in at 16g

Other Reviews

Posted in Pens, Reviews, Stories

White-Dot Lifetime Flattop

Just in case you don’t know, welp I have a thing for black pens and a thing for flattop pens. Cigar or torpedo shape pens just don’t do it for me. Sheaffer introduced Lifetime pens in 1920. A couple years later came flattop pens but only in jade green. Eventually, black! Now they have my attention.

In 1924, Sheaffer introduced a flattop pen made of celluloid but the only color is Jade Green. They called this celluloid Jadite (makes sense). About the same time, they added the signature white dot to the center of Lifetime pen caps. By 1925, Sheaffer expanded the use of celluloid to include Jet Black, Coral Red, and Cherry Red and rebranded the Jadite to Radite.

The imprint on the clip changed in 1922 to compliment the company logo and it was mounted slightly lower on the cap. The clip is straight, ending in a round ball. Another clip design mounted even lower on the cap and with a slight bend or hump was introduced in late 1928. The ball at the end of the clip is flattened. This design did not replace the prior straight clip, both designs coexisted.

In 1926, Sheaffer began imprinting serial numbers on the dorsal and ventral sides of their nibs. This was to stop dealers (Katz Drug) from selling their pens below the retail price.

Early Flattops have a barrel imprint that includes patent dates. The patent date format went through a couple changes (this format is the latter). After 1927, the text style changed slightly and the patent dates were removed.

This original Lifetime pen sported a solid spear feed. The feed changed to a comb style sometime prior to 1926. In 1938, Sheaffer changed the feeds on the flattops giving them a more refined comb shape.

My Pen

Is a black Lifetime Radite Flattop lever filled, manufactured in 1926 or 1927. It has a couple minor tooth marks, scratches, and the cap doesn’t screw on as tightly as I’d prefer but otherwise, it is nice for a 95-year-old pen. The section is ebonite, there was some discoloration attributable to sun/water damage. The discoloration was minor and removed quickly with a Sunshine cloth.

Time to inked it up and gave it a go.

Vital Statistics

  • Capped length 116mm,
  • Uncapped length 104mm,
  • Barrel diameter 11.5mm,
  • Cap diameter 13.5mm,
  • Pen weighs in at 17g.
Posted in Pens, Reviews, Stories

Osmiroid

Osmiroid roots run deep, all the way back to the early part of the nineteenth Century. James Perry an educationalist promoted an idea based on a revolutionary idea, peak a student’s interest and they will enthusiastic pursue their studies. Students of the time wrote with a quill pen and quills required constant attention. While in class, they would sit idol waiting for the usher to pass by and mend their quill.

In response to the wasted time, James inventing a metal pen with a slit to provide flexibility and controlled ink flow in 1819, patenting his design in 1830. Soon after, James and his brother started a pen (nib) company, manufacturing pens in Manchester, Birmingham and London. By 1876, their success rivaled Esterbrook, making them the second largest manufacturer of pen nibs in the world.

Post World War II, the company changed direction after a century plus of manufacturing nibs for dip pens and bet their future on fountain pens. Keeping in touch with their roots, the company focused on the needs of school children, introducing the “Osmiroid 65” fountain pen. They also produced a large range of nibs suited for left handed users. In 1971, the Company began marketing a range of teaching aids, having great success in the U.K., Australia, America and the Far East.

Osmiroid Squeeze Converter

Osmiroid’s new design with improved ink flow was introduced around 1980. Marketed as “The Pilot”, “The Sonic” and “the Easy Change” . This model didn’t use the screw in nib unit common to the models 65 and 75 but combined the nib, the section and the feed into a single replaceable unit. The nibs are the same used in the previous assemblies and available in a wider range of sizes aimed at the calligraphy market. These pens accept ink cartridges or a “Squeeze fill converter.” The pens were plagued by an issue with the plastic of the cap – it is too thin and prone to cracking.

Osmiroid New Design pen

The beginning of the end….in 1989, Berol acquired Osmiroid. Manufacturing and general operations consolidated into Berol by 1991. Newell acquired Berol in 1995, discontinuing the Osmiroid line of products in 1999. Thus ends the story of a 170 year-old company.

My Pen

Is a new design Easy Change model I believe. It sports a B3 nib – “medium width lettering nib for general illuminating.” The ink reservoir is a squeeze fill converter. The pen is black plastic with a wide stainless cap band and clip terminating with a round metal jewel – reminiscent of a the Esterbrook Dollar pen.

Yet the pen has several characteristics associated with their Viscount model, including a clip with the boxed “O”, a wide cap band and a metal ring around the base of the section to better secure the cap. The new design Easy Change typically has “Osmiroid” imprinted on the clip, with multiple thin cap bands and does not include the metal ring around the section.

The nib is worth noting, as I’ve never written with a calligraphy nib. I wasn’t sure what to expect, it is 2mm wide with 2 slits. I soaked the nib for 2 days removing the old ink. As you can see, some ink remains in the feed.

I inked up the squeeze converter, which was probably a mistake. I should have filled the reservoir through the nib. It took an effort getting the ink flowing but as you can see it works.

Obviously, the lettering is large compared to a normal medium nib. I like the way the letters form, must be the calligraphy aspect of the nib.

The next day I could not get the ink flowing, what a bummer, though the pen may have been out of ink as I didn’t add much for the demo and well it uses a lot of ink.

Vital Statistics

  • Capped length 129.5mm,
  • Uncapped length 118mm,
  • Barrel diameter 12mm,
  • Cap diameter 12.5mm,
  • Pen weighs in at 11..
Posted in Pens, Reviews, Stories

fountain pens ARE for lefties

For transparency, I am not a lefty. If I misrepresent something or say something wrong, please call me out. There is no malicious intent, just ignorance.

It all began when I noticed that my future son-in-law is a lefty. I got to wondering how do or can lefties use fountain pens. Writing left in a right-handed world is a real challenge. For the lefty, as they commit words to paper – flowing left to right, their hand follow behind the words, and oops a real mess. Lefties have to push their hand across the paper instead of pulling it. Often resulting in the pen digging into the paper, but always ending with ink-covered hands.

Photo by The Heart Thrills

A popular belief is that fountain pens are not suitable for left-handed writers. Hogwash! Choosing the right pen, nib, ink, and paper make all the difference.

Left-handed people usually write with a peculiar angle referred to as“overwriter” or “underwriter.” Overwriters write with a sharper angle over the top of the writing line, while underwriters position their hand below the writing line. Underwriting reduces the pressure on the pen which will help reduce the ink flow and improve comfort.

Photo by Kelly Creates.Ca

Pens

Let’s dispel the notion that lefties must use specially designed fountain pens or nibs. There are special options available to assist the lefty, that will help reduce smudges and improving comfort.

Pelikan provides a number of left-handed pens or for the ambidextrous. For lefties, their ergonomic rubber grip promotes correct finger placement while the stainless steel nib has a little ball at its tip to better regulate the ink flow and keep the pen moving easily along.

Pelikan Pelikano

The Lamy Safari with its ergonomically shaped section and a slightly oblique left-handed nib make for a very satisfying left-handed pen.

Nibs

Waterman’s pens of the 1927 advertised a “Ballpoint tip,” on their fountain pens. Describing them as “suitable for left-hand writers”. Fast forward to now, as a general rule, avoid stub or flex nibs, they allow a larger flow of ink onto the page. Also, avoid fine tip nibs if an underwriter. Pushing the nib with a sharper angle can result in damage to the paper.

Lamy offers an LH Z50 nib, slightly oblique in favor of left-handed writers who tilt their hand.

Inks

Most fountain pen inks sit on top of the paper as they dry. This is great for everyone but a nightmare for the lefty. They need smooth (low viscosity) ink to help with the challenges of writing. These inks require less pressure for ink flow, thus more comfort and less exertion while writing.

The most popular fast-drying ink is Noodlers Bernanke. These are specially formulated to soak into the paper’s fibers. Worthy alternatives for consideration include Private Reserve (made by Yafa) line of Fast Dry inks, Birmingham Pen Company’s Crisp formula. DeAtramentis document inks, Platinum Carbon Ink, Rohrer & Klingner (iron gall inks), Pilot Iroshizuku and Pelikan 4001 inks.

Noodler’s Bernanke Ink

Paper

Most paper is coated to improve smoothness. A fully coated paper is slippery, making it difficult for the ink to absorb and dry. While the uncoated paper is often course, making it difficult for fountain pen nibs to glide across.

Given different ink formulations, drying time will vary by paper absorbency; however, a paper’s absorbency is inversely correlated with its smoothness. Simply said, paper that is more absorbent will be rougher to write on, thus increasing feedback through the nib making for a less comfortable experience for the lefty. The challenge is finding the balance between drying time and writing smoothness.

Paper favored for its “fountain pen friendliness” often takes longer for the ink to dry since the ink sits up on the paper and does not soak in. Paper by Rhodia or Tomoe River are renowned as great fountain pen paper as the ink does not bleed or feather but it can often increase dry time, some lasting as long as 40 seconds to dry. Also, consider Leuchtturm1917 paper as an alternative.

Review Pelikan Pelikano Jr.

LH Pelikan Pelikano Jr

I am pleased to provide the following review of a left-handed Pelikan by a lefty – my future son-in-law, Stephen. It is worth noting that this is his first time using a fountain pen.

“The occasional smudge happens but the way I have to hold the pen to get the ink to flow makes it less likely to smear. The ink flow is smooth but again, only if I am holding the pen at an angle basically coming from the southwest side if that makes sense. [he is an underwriter]

“I would say that there is occasional scratching on the downstroke but only when I am not holding the pen as mentioned. My biggest issue is with the grip, it is super low on the pen for the angle that works best so it has taken some time to adjust to that new grip.

“As a new user with no previous fountain pen experience, I have very much enjoyed writing with it. I have noticed, my handwriting is becoming a little larger in order to accommodate for the difference between the fountain and the ballpoint pen. Also, I’ve seen an improvement in my handwriting when using the Pelikan.

A quick follow up, Stephen drank the Koolaid and now owns 3 fountain pens, 2 Pelikans and 1 Lamy.

Posted in Reviews, Stories

Eco Friendly Stuff, The Review

At the end of November on Cyber Monday, I highlighted some eco-friendly pen and journaling options. To be transparent, I do not have any vested financial interest in any of the products but I was intrigued and willing to try some out, thus I made some purchases.

For Christmas, my wife got me (she also got me a pen, imagine her surprise) eco-friendly pencils, a fountain pen, and a journal. Let’s see how well they did and what did they cost me.

Rainbow Recycled Paper Pencils, wood and plastic free.

The pencils write and act well… like pencils. I put one in an electric pencil sharpener, no issues there, it took a perfect sharp point. Some Amazon reviewers complained about this but I had no issues. I love the rainbow color. The pencil is made from recycled paper and is wood and plastic-free. The writing material is of premium #2 HB pencil lead, conform with EN71 and ISO9001. When I put the pencil to work, the point did not break (another popular complaint). I was sketching a plan for built-in bookcases, I feel I gave the pencils a good workout. At $1/pencil it’s not the cheapest alternative but I can find plenty of more expensive wood pencils.

Zenzoi bamboo fountain pen

The pen cost $24, is handmade, and is classified as a calligraphy pen! I’m not entirely sure why, as it came with a German medium iridium nib. In the Q&A section another purchaser described it as a medium-bold point pen nib, not flat like a calligraphy nib, it’s more like a Speedball B-6 nib. With a name like Zenzoi, yes it is made in China for Germany. The pen is considered eco-friendly because it is made from bamboo, which as we all know is grass.

Zenzoi, a bamboo pen in a bamboo case

The barrel has a smooth finish with just a slight textured feel. The two blind end caps are rough. I am fighting the desire to get out the Danish Oil and apply a finish to the pen.

The converter is the type that is just pushed into the section. At the end that operates the plunger-screw mechanism is easily detached allowing access for cleaning. In the spirit of being green, I inked it up with Bayou Nightfall by Papier Plume. The ink writes wet, no sheen, and minor feathering.

Bayou Nightfall by Papier Plume

Vital Statistics

  • Capped length 145mm,
  • Uncapped length 123mm,
  • Barrel diameter 11.5mm,
  • Cap diameter 13mm,
  • Pen weighs in at 13g.

Decomposition Notebook

The Decomposition Notebook turned out to be a fake. I know Caveat Emptor but I got it from Amazon and assumed (yes I know about ass-u-me). The good news, is it only cost me $6 and it is no longer available. I recommend going directly to Decomposition where the books are 50%-100% post-consumer waste and printed with soy-based inks. I noticed a couple pocket or field journals, maybe I’ll get one, compare it to the fake, and review it.

On a side note, we have started using cloth unpaper towels in place of paper towels for most clean-ups. They are attractive, highly absorbent, and come in a pack of 10. Alternatively, I guess I could have used hand towels or dishwashing clothes but really, they aren’t as attractive, and honestly, they are not as absorbent.

The Unpaper Towels
Posted in Pens, Restoration, Reviews

Handmade Mottle Ebonite Pen

“The mottled ebonite eyedropper fountain pen is resplendent of the magnificence of Indian craftsmanship for a reason … the hand turning of fountain pens is elevated to a form of fine art

Independent artisans working with a small lathe machine in a small apartment, produce high-quality handmade fountain pens that are sold all over the world. It takes between one to four days to make a single pen.

This brings us to my pen, unbranded, hand turned on a lathe from solid tan and brown mottled ebonite. The pen is in good shape, there is a small scratch on the barrel and ink stains on the cap around each air hole. The pen has a faint odor, this is common with ebonite, especially with indie pens from India. Hey, the pen is made from hard rubber and all rubber smells, it will fade with time. The feed is handmade from ebonite. There is a partial channel running along the ventral side of the feed, I’m not sure what function this serves.

The nib is a “Butterfly” brand medium nib, not a butterfly nib. Butterfly nibs are super cheap, they were popular in the early 20th century. They are missing tips at the end of the tines. Instead, each tine is bent under forming a writing surface. This nib has “Butterfly Medium” and the letters “PPM” in an oval engraved on it. The nib shoulders bet so that they form a tight fit around the feed much like a Lamy.

The pen is made entirely of lathe-turned mottled ebonite. You can just make out the lathe marks on the section. The cap has a single ring cut into it and a silver plate clip. The clip has pyramided rectangle boxes running the length of the clip. The clip is attached to a silver-plated ring and held in place by a blind cap.

I was able to remove the ink stains from the cap with a Sunshine cloth, and cleaned the insides; purple was the past ink of choice.

Time to give it a try, I got out the Serenity Blue and filled the barrel. Had to prime the nib, but once it got started no problems. I stored it nib up for hours, introduced it to paper and ink flowed without missing a beat.

Now for the scary part, I’m going to lay the capped pen on my desk in the hope it doesn’t leak.

Vital Statistics

  • Capped length 128mm,
  • Uncapped length 112mm,
  • Barrel diameter 11mm,
  • Cap diameter 13mm,
  • Inside barrel diameter 7mm,
  • Inside barrel depth 61mm,
  • Pen weighs in at 13g.

Geek alert! For giggles, doing the math (yes I cheated and used an online calculator) but the volume of the inside of the barrel (less the section) is nearly 9,300 cubic mm. This pen can hold just north of 9ml of ink.

The Verdict

I have a thing for mottled pens let’s focus on the pink elephant, I was leery of the nib. Image my surprise when it wrote so well. Once upon a time, I was a fan of fine-tipped nibs (to compensate for cheap paper) and this pen writes closed to fine than to medium making this a great choice. The nib is firm, bordering extra firm – ok it is so firm you could use it in a game of darts, which may not be agreeable to all. The pen did not leak when left lying horizontally but it did have an issue after the weekend. When I tried to use it after it lay horizontally over a weekend nothing, no ink. I applied the nib to the paper with a bit more force than normal and a gusher ensued.

Final thoughts, this pen is not elegant, it’s not fancy, it’s simply functional. With the huge ink reservoir, I’ve filled it with as much Serenity Blue ink as I dare, now let’s see how long it lasts. Kudos to the Indian artisan who made this pen.

Posted in Collection, Pens, Reviews, Stories

The (Wish) List

I usually acquire pens based on impulse and circumstance (i.e. dumb luck), which has introduced me to a variety of odd pens. Some contemporary, some vintage, but all speak to me. The pens on this list are not pens to finish my collection. Nope, these are pens that have caught my eye, struck my fancy, and now I have a penchant for owning them. Oh and BTW, I love lists. Without further ado, in alphabetical order, let’s start the new year with a wish list ….

Benu – Silver Skull

“Silver Skull Fountain Pen is inspired by our childhood dreams of piracy and adventures. Rebellion and daring design is created for those who share the same ideals. Skillfully crafted by hand from glossy resin with its hand-friendly shape and shining decorative ring the Silver Skull Pen is a stylish accessory and a real pleasure to use.” – Benu Pen.com

I just thought this pen is the coolest. Why? Well I have a fondness for black pens, plus I have a fascination for Día de Muertos and who doesn’t like pirates. There are many “skull” pens on the market but this is the one for me.

Benu Silver Skull

Irish Pens – Black Carbon Fiber

“At 66 grams, Rhodium and Titanium wrapped in Black Carbon Fiber and with a Peter Bock nib at the business end this is a serious fountain pen, a fountain pen that will feel at home in the most exclusive boardroom, business setting or in your personal writing space, its gravitas will not go unnoticed whenever it is used. When the written words really matter! this is the fountain pen to use.” – Irish Pens.ie

Irish Pens, an Irish indie pen company specializing in pens made in County Cavan, Ireland of Irish native woods. I originally was drawn to their pens made from bog oak, but I saw this one! You have to admit, it takes your breath away. No surprise, this pen is the most expensive on the list.

Irish Pens Carbon Black

Kaweco – Student Pen

“Nostalgic fountain pen in soft green with golden details made of precious resin. The Student 60’s Swing impresses with a soft and organic green. The combination of green and golden elements is harmonious and underlines the series’s nostalgic, bulky shape. It matches the motto of the Swinging Sixties: Harmony and peace. The Student fountain pen with its curved pen body made of high-quality resin guarantees a haptic and visual writing pleasure.” – Kaweco Pen.com

Germans are known for their over engineering not for their simplicity, this this pen is the exception. The design, aesthetics, complimentary colors of ivory and green – beauty in simplicity. I do wish the section was not gold, but rather the same color as the cap.

Kaweco Student

Parker – 51

“When it introduced the “51” in 1941, the George S. Parker Company knew it had a winner. The pen was stylish but not flashy, durable but not clunky, and reliable but not overengineered. Over the next 31 years, the pen proved itself immensely popular. Tales are told of people who, unable to afford a whole pen, would purchase only a cap to clip in a pocket, giving the appearance of a complete pen.“ – Richards Pens.com

Parker 51 is the one vintage pen everyone should own, or so I have been told. After reading tons of accolades, this pen is worthy of the distinction. It is an attractive pen, unique in design. I am looking for an acceptable 1941 pen but they are not common. I fancy the Cedar Blue color but as mentioned I’m sure dumb luck will prevail and I’ll get what I get.

Parker 51

**** Update, a 1941 or maybe it’s a 1944 (more on this at a later time) is in the mail and of course it is not Cedar Blue.

Scrikss – Heritage Black GT

“Launched in 2014 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Scrikss company, the Heritage range is intended to be emblematic, a flagship of the brand Scrikss. The painstaking design is a combination between traditional and modernism, having as inspiration the aqueducts model that surrounded the old city of Istanbul in the past. It is created by the Turkish designer Kunter Sekercioglu.” – Scrikss Pen.com.tr

I stumbled on this pen after I bought a Scrikss 419. A lovely metal pen, with laser etched scrollwork. I feel like there is an elegance inspired by Instanbul. I have not found a US dealer as yet.

Scrikss Heritage GT
Posted in Pens, Reviews

The Hero 395

Company Backstory

The Shanghai Hero Pen Company has been manufacturing high-quality fountain pens since 1931. They began as Wolff Pens but changed their name to Hero in 1966. Hero pens are popular with users in China and India.

My Pen

This is not my first Hero pen, I was impressed by the Kaigelu 316A (which resembles the Parker Duofold Centennial). As a general rule, the Chinese do a good job imitating American and European products – including pens. Often these imitations have a tacky appearance and suffer for quality. This pen however is a legitimate original design with some interesting aesthetic considerations.

The pen has a metal barrel and cap, heavily patterned, copper or brown in color with a very subtle lacquer or antique finish. The pattern is either imprinted or acid etched and is intended to make the pen look aged.

The cap clip has a wave to it and attaches to the cap with the company floral logo imprinted on it. The barrel ring has “395,” “Doctor,” the company floral logo, and Chinese characters etched on it. The blind caps as well as the clip and barrel ring are finished to appear as “aged” metal. I assume they are made of stainless that has been treated to appear aged. Vinegar or a chemical wash or heat staining are options to age stainless. I can’t put my finger on it but the quirky end of the pen is very aesthetically …. well …. pleasing.

The pen comes with the stiff press bar converter filling mechanism – hated by many. I agree it is stiff, and with my fat fingers, depressing the bar is a challenge, but I managed.

The stainless nib has a gold plate center, with scrollwork etching including the company flower logo. Put nib to paper and ink begins flowing without delay. The nib is not a flex nib, or is it stiff – it is semi-flex if there is such a thing. I like it better than any flex nib I’ve ever run into.

Vital Statistics

  • Capped length 133mm,
  • Uncapped length 122mm,
  • Barrel diameter is 12mm,
  • The cap diameter is 12mm,
  • Pen weighs in at 29g.

Cons

My biggest complaint has nothing to do with the pen. As always, I bought it used. The previous owner must have loved it, the dark antique finish on the barrel is worn to a light color while the cap retained the original coloration. Then there is the filler mechanism, it is a PITA if you have fat fingers but it can be replaced.

Opinion

I am impressed by this pen, it is a great pen and at a mere $14 it is a steal, but wait, the same pen is on eBay now for $11 and the antique finish is not worn off on the barrel.