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

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Posted in Pens, Stories

Fountain Pen 101 Primer – How Does a Fountain Pen Work

It is interesting or shall I say surprising to me the number of people I’ve handed a fountain pen, encouraging them to give it a try, they either decline or stumble along. The initial look of fear, then confusion, followed by the exasperation “I don’t know how.” They are at a loss – how to use the pen. Thus the inspiration for a series of Fountain Pen 101 primers.

The workings of a fountain pen can be described simply as a controlled leak.

Major Fountain pen components

  • The nib. The pointed metal end that transfers ink to the paper and is the most recognized or iconic part of a fountain pen.
  • The feed. Sits under the nib and supplies ink from inside the pen to the nib. It often contains a visible set of grooves or fins which collect ink flowing from the reservoir and regulates ink flow.
  • The reservoir. Where the ink is stored in the pen’s barrel.

Take notice of the nib, there is a slit from the nib tip running half the length, terminated at the “breather” hole. The slit is placed above a similar groove along the dorsal side of the feed. The breather hole has two purposes, it acts as a means of “stress-relief” preventing the slit from growing and it allows air to enter the ink channel.

How does it works

How does the ink get from the reservoir onto the paper?

In part, gravity, but mostly through capillary action – the process by which liquids travel along the surface of a solid material because of attraction. Think how water spreads out across a paper towel to soak up a spill.

The feed of a fountain pen consists of one big channel with small groves or channels (usually 3) cut into the channel bottom. Ink flows along the small channels while air flows through the space above. This arrangement allows air to flow into the ink reservoir and simultaneously allows ink to flow towards the paper at a controlled rate. Capillary action along with gravity keep the channel filled thus preventing ink from escaping the fountain pen because air can’t get into the reservoir to displace ink.

The fins of the feed act as a temporary reservoir regulating the flow of ink. They fill with ink that is drawn across the top of the feed and the ventral side of the nib by capillary action.

A quick note on Fountain Pen Ink

Ink is water with dyes and other chemicals required for proper functioning. The chemicals create the properties of the ink, including the surface tension or viscosity (wettability). While the saturation of the dyes provides the color. Also, present are anti-bacterial chemicals so your ink does develop a life of its own in the bottle. Mold does bad things to your pen!

The ink also needs to be the right viscosity for capillary action to pull it through the feed. This is why it’s so important to only use fountain pen inks in a fountain pen.

The Ink Reservoir

The ink reservoir stores ink and can be a simple ink cartridge to a complex filling mechanism that’s capable of drawing in and storing the ink. Contemporary pens primarily use one of 4 types of ink storage; converter, piston, cartridge, or eyedropper, all located inside the handle.

A cartridge is the most common of the reservoirs. Each comes pre-filled with ink, making it easy to replace. Simply buy a new cartridge and replace the old one.

Converter and Piston reservoirs function by twisting the filling mechanism at the end of the pen. To operate, submerge the nib or opening of the converter into a bottle of ink twist the mechanism, and ink is drawn into the reservoir. Converter reservoirs are similar to the ink cartridge in that they can be removed. While Pistons are non-removable converters that come built into the fountain pen.

Eyedropper ink storage is more popular in regions that experience year-round heat and humidity (like in Asia). The filling process is considered cumbersome and potentially messy. The process is not that bad, simply remove the section, use an eyedropper (I use a straw) to draw ink from a bottle. Insert the eyedropper into the barrel, give it a squeeze, and you are done. These pens hold considerably more ink but due care is needed when filling them.

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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, Stories

My Favorite Quote: Handwritten (Happy New Year)

Let’s have some fun, what’s your favorite quote, saying, or wish for the new year. Write it down and share with the world. It doesn’t matter if you use a fountain pen, ballpoint pen or a #2 pencil – write it down. Typing is so blah and impersonal, enjoy the effort and create something worth sharing. And don’t worry about your handwriting, mine’s atrocious.

Pens:

  • Esterbrook SJ, 9556 Firm Fine nib
  • American Pencil Co #1156, Esterbrook Drawlet nibs #3 & #5
  • Hero 395, Fine nib
  • Conklin All America, Medium nib

Inks:

  • De Atramentis – Fog Grey
  • Scribo – Chianti Red
  • Waterman – Serenity Blue
  • Pelican – 4001 Black

Posted in Restoration, Stories

To Wax or Not to Wax, Maybe Just Polish

People frequently confuse polishing with waxing or use the terms interchangeably. So why wax your pen? Well, the wax would appear to offer protective benefits for hard rubber and casein-based plastics (never apply it to celluloid) by creating a relatively impermeable layer to protect against moisture.

Spoiler Alert: from what I’ve read, waxing is not recommended for any pen, now let’s determine why!

The preferred method of restoration or cleaning is to polish a pen’s surface – please don’t ever use a buffer. I use a Sunshine cloth on everything. Some pen materials, such as celluloid, need to breathe and be stored in a place with good air circulation to avoid “celluloid rot”.

What’s the problem with wax?

Waxes have not been shown to benefit hard rubber, while they can damage celluloid by preventing the escape of the acidic gas by products celluloid naturally produce. The wax seals the celluloid, preventing the nitrocellulose gas from escaping, it is retained in the celluloid hastening decomposition. As waxes age, they harden requiring extraordinary measures for removal. This is even more prevalent with hard waxes like Carnauba. Also, the wax will “yellow” or become cloudy with age impacting the pen’s appearance. Even the best microcrystalline waxes are subject to these same issues. Synthetic waxes are even worse, they are almost impossible to remove. Waxes that were once thought to be “museum grade,” such as Renaissance Wax, are now known to be no better than other waxes.

Renaissance wax was developed by The Britisch Museum to protect the items in their collection. A study showed that Renaissance wax is especially difficult to remove without harsh solvents. The wax is no longer used in museums.

The point to waxing is to clean (surprise), wax makers know this and their recipes contain more hydrocarbon solvents than wax. Neither the solvents nor the wax is beneficial or appropriate to use on a pen. There are products out there that have neither solvents nor waxes that do an excellent job in polishing plastics.

At one point I thought Danish Oil would be a good ebonite protectant until I read the small print, the oil I was using is 70% toxic solvents and resin ester. I now use 100% mineral oil and a Sunshine cloth. The mineral oil is a cleaning agent on ebonite only. Guess what, it is distilled petroleum and petroleum does not play well with some rubber (I know – “loser”). Sticking with oils, REM and 3-in-1 oils have also been shown to accelerate the gas deterioration process.

As mentioned, I do not use wax at all, I do not use a buffer and the only polishing I do is use a Sunshine Cloth. I am considering a polish that contains only a micro crystal abrasive in a water suspension – no wax or solvents. Micro-Gloss Liquid Abrasive appears to be a good choice. I bought a rare Esterbrook circa 1932. When the pen approved it was clear the seller had applied a polish, I immediately got out 7,000 grit paper and did the best I could to remove any wax or polish residue on the pen.

  • Carnauba wax
  • Renaissance Wax
  • Johnson’s wax
  • REM (gun) oil
  • 3-in-1 oil
  • WD40
  • Mineral oil
  • Danish oil
  • Jewelers’ rouge buffing and polishing compounds

In Conclussion

I learned a lot and found out some of the things I have been doing could potentially cause harm long term. One of the purposes of this blog is to help others learn from my mistakes. Celluloid is not a concern for vintage pen collectors only. Montegrappa and Visconti are making beautiful pens from celluloid today.

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Posted in Stories

Blogging: More than sitting around a coffee shop making up crap

A couple weeks back I reached the 50th blog post (Genus of Ink) – Yah me! Some of the reasons why I’ve been blogging is explained to the interested on the “Why you might Ask” page and on the “Seinfeld” post. Today I thought I’d highlight the processes and the effort that goes into each post. I imagine most people skim the post, not bothering to actually read it (I know this to be true).

This post is not directed towards bloggers, it’s for those who scoff at blogging, to educate and provide insight into the process. Maybe the muggles will gain an appreciation. This is not a “how-to” post, though 99% of help and tips does come from other bloggers. For me, it’s about something I’m interested in and I’m having fun, let’s look inside the creative process (stop laughing).

Technology

I use an iPad and a couple apps throughout the process, from tracking ideas, to research to first draft. It’s a little embarrassing that I write a blog about fountain pens and never pick up a pen.

Ideas

I use Evernote . As ideas come to me I pull up the app, open the “Future Blog Ideas” and create a new topic line with the idea plus maybe an explanatory sentence. If I’m walking the dogs and the idea hits me, I pull up Evernote, click the note and use the dictation function. Ideas are fleeting and will be gone in a matter of moments. Then as I start researching the topic, I simply add to the note until I am ready to write the post.

Writing

I use the Chronicle app, free in the Apple App Store. I bought the multiple journal upgrade as I also use the app to journal vacations and as a daily journal. The app exports directly to Word Press, saving the post as a draft.

Writing is the easy part, the typical post goes through +30 changes before it is published. I recently decided to avoid adverbs – thanks Stephen King.

Schedule

Many “successful” bloggers will tell you, maintain a regular posting schedule so I picked Monday. Then every other Thursday, we’ll sort of. On Thursdays I have a new post or a TBT repost on FB only. Gotta maintain a work-life balance and I have other interests. I keep a schedule of posting ideas in the Numbers app (I started with Excel). It is easy to reorder topics plus I like to keep some basic statistics. I use the Word Press feature to schedule a publication based on date and time. Also, I don’t write and publish in order, I’ve already written a post for Sept 26, 2022.

Spreadsheet Posting Schedule

Photos

I use a couple photo apps on my iPhone, Camera+2 and ProCamera they do a good job providing macro (close up) images. I air dropped the photos to the iPad where I make edits as needed using the Pixelmator Photo editor app.

Blogging Software

As you have discerned, I am using Word Press. I choose this software in part because, it was so popular, it is so easy to use thus I figured it would be easy for the “old man” to set up the blog and get help. Depending on what I want to do, some things are super easy on the iPad app, some are easy as the Chrome App and other times it is easy using the web version. Having some insight into html has also been helpful – I had to make changes in html. The software comes with tons of options and the instructions are clear as mud, but I manage. Oh and BTW, free is not free in the world of blogging.

Side note, I just made a “photo box” to improve my photos and eliminate the need to coordinate picture taking with the available sunlight. Besides I love projects.

Posted in Restoration, Stories

“All have their Worth and each contributes to the Worth of the others.” J.R.R Tolkien, The Silmarillion

I came across a pen, a cheap gold-plated metal one with the name “Worth” etched on the clip. The nib needed lots of attention but the barrel and cap are in reasonably good shape – plus the price was right – ok it could have been a couple dollars cheaper.

Back story

I set about researching the “Worth” name on the pen. Pens typically bear the names of the manufacturer such as Parker, Sheaffer & Esterbrook, while some also included names of large retail chains (“big box” stores). House-brand pens as they are known, are not favored by collectors but they are often attractive and on occasion of high quality. Could this be a department store pen, maybe Woolworth’s or possibly the French fashion shop House of Worth? I doubt it, so what’s next?

Are you familiar with Eclipse Pens? I’m not but wouldn’t you know it, they offer a metallic pen with a very similar design of gold-plating. Eclipse was a Canadian Pen manufacturer known for their celluloid and BHR pens. I assume that they contracted with a third party for the metalwork and the service provider probably had a catalog of designs to pick from. Finding two pens with the same design by different manufacturers is not a surprise.

Eclipse fountain pens were originally manufactured in the United States from about 1903 until the early 1930’s, manufacturing moved to Canada from 1925 to 1960 when the company shuttered. Maybe, maybe not, next!

Then I stumbled upon a dip pen manufacturer in NY marketing “Worth College Pen” nibs. These nibs are readily available on eBay and Pinterest. I tried researching the nib manufacturer but to no avail. I also posed questions to the Fountain Pen Network and Fountain Pen Geeks, and no one is familiar with “Worth” pens.

The Restoration

Ok let’s be honest, the nib is gross. There is ink gunking up the feed. The section is easily removed from the barrel. I put it in a cup of water for 24 hrs. Oddly enough the water did not change color based on the dried ink. I guess the gunk isn’t ink or it is not a water based ink (more likely the case). Anyway, the nib and feed easily separated from the section with a gentle pull and I set about working on the tarnished nib with a Sunshine cloth.

When the old dried up ink sac was removed, it was grey primarily, making me think it dated back to the 1960s. The section was showing signs of abuse, sandpaper removed the marks and some accumulated yuck.

As you can see the barrel and cap are in good shape with the exception of the chip missing from the lever – oh well. A Sunshine cloth removed the accumulated dirt and grime, restoring a very nice luster to the pen.

I installed a new ink sac, a #18 fit very nicely without being cramped inside the barrel.

All cleaned up, nib shows no sign of damage, we’ll see if it needs any smoothing but it has what appears to be hard water stains. The stains could be caused by overzealous cleaning with alcohol or an acetone, or fountain pen unfriendly inks.

There does not appear to be any corrosive damage to the nib. I found several options to address the stains, including micro mesh, silver polish, car polish, tooth paste, an emery cloth, so I opted for 7,000 grit paper. If anyone has other suggestions on how to remove the stains don’t be shy.

How does it write? Well, it is scratchy, can’t say I am a fan. If the angle is too steep the nib digs into the paper causing holes. Also, it needs to have the nib and feed heat set (my fingers are blue now). Considering what it looked like when I got it, I guess it writes well.

Vital Statistics

  • Capped length 127mm,
  • Uncapped length 119mm,
  • Barrel diameter is 10mm,
  • The cap diameter is 11mm,
  • The Pen weighs in at 14g.

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Posted in Pens, Reviews, Stories

It’s a new month, what’s in your pen cup?

Wow, a new month upon us again heralding the last month of the year. This month I thought I’d give the Ambassador a-go. If you remember the pen impressed me when I completed the refurbishment so now it gets the opportunity to prove me right.

Just did a quick check and I have 6 pens inked up, about twice the norm. Which ones you ask, well there is the Duofold, Esterbrook SJ, the “fluffy” Conklin All American, Airmail Wality 69LG, and Lady Sheaffer Skripsert VI. It’s good to have options.

So what are you writing with this month?


Posted in Stories

The Genus of Ink

Whether you find yourself using a ballpoint pen, a gel pen, or a fountain pen, other than the color of the ink who really thinks about the ink?

This seemed like a good topic but once I got to researching the topic, reading the vast amount of information I decided this post would be an exercise in generalization and summarization. The amount of information is overwhelming and yes I am talking about ink for fountain and dip pens.

Fountain pen ink is water with dyes and other chemicals required for the proper function. The chemicals create the properties of the ink, including the surface tension or viscosity (wettability). While the saturation of the dyes provides the color. I know, duh!. Also, present are anti-bacterial chemicals so your ink doesn’t develop a life of its own while in the bottle. Of course molld does bad things to pens!

Types of Inks

There are many, many different inks for pens, so let’s group them as those for dip pens and those for fountain pens. Generally speaking, fountain pen inks do not play well with dip pen nibs. The ink flows too quickly off the nib, causing blotches.

For Dip pens

Art Inks

These are inks used for calligraphy and artwork or drawings. Types of inks that fall into this category include: Carbon inks like India ink and China Black made with fine particles of carbon or soot. And Pigment inks for colors (organic and synthetic).

Document Inks

For over a thousand years documents were written with iron gall inks. These inks rely on the chemistry of oxidizing iron. Usually, gallic acid is used to keep dissolved iron ions in the solution. When the ink is applied to paper, oxygen in the air oxidizes the iron producing a black oxide.

Writing Inks

These inks are not as robust, tending to fade with time. Aniline was one of the first synthetic dyes produced based on a solution of coal-tar dyes in organic solvents. Inks prepared from an aniline dye are dissolved in alcohol and bound with a resin.

For Fountain Pens

Dye-Based Inks

The aniline dyes used in fountain pen inks are organic in nature and subject to molding – just saying. These inks contain chemicals to wet the internal surfaces of the pen. The acidity of the ink has been adjusted to prevent the ink from drying out in the pen while quickly drying on paper.

Pigmented Inks

Traditional pigmented inks are hazardous to fountain pens, gum arabic, or shellac are added as a binding agent. Modern inks do not contain a binding agent and the ink particles are ultrafine. How fine you ask? So fine that molecular vibration called Brownian Motion keeps the particles in suspension.

Iron-Gall Inks

Most modern iron-gall inks should only be used in dip pens, they contain gum arabic. Other modern inks contain Ferro-gallic to increase the permanency of water-based inks. These chemicals are not as corrosive as gallic ink, but they increase the level of corrosiveness of the ink and can damage the nib and pen.

Cellulose-Reactive (Bulletproof) Inks

Bulletproof inks are based on dye technology, and cellulose-reactive chemistry to bind the dyes to the cellulose fibers in the paper or your clothes. Once the bond has been made to the fibers it cannot be removed – the ink stains the paper or your clothes.

Certified Document Inks

Pigmented, Iron-Gall and Cellulose-Reactive inks are all ‘Permanent’ but they are not legally certified to have those properties. De Atramentis Document inks and Mont Blanc Permanent Inks are certified permanent.

Expiration Date

Mont Blanc recommends replacing inks after 4 years because ink properties change with time due to gradual chemical reactions. Unless your ink has turned moldy in the bottle, there is no reason to stop using it.

Ink Staining Pens?

Inks in the red, violet, and pink range are more likely to stain the ink container and the nib section of the pen. The blue-tone inks are generally the least likely to stain. Ink transfers from the nib into the inside of the cap, then the cap is posted on the pen. Providing ample opportunity for ink from the pen cap to stain the body of the pen.

A good part of the “ink experience” is often summarized by how it flows. Always give your pen a good cleaning. Inks frequently leave residue in converters. If residue is in the converter, it is in the feed and nothing good is happening.

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Posted in Pens, Reviews, Stories

Airmail Wality 69LG Eyedropper

Company Back Story

Airmail Pen Company (Est. in 1951) is one of the oldest pen companies in India. Renown for producing the best Indian fountain pens. They market pens under 2 brands – Wality and Airmail both manufactured in Mumbai. Wality Pens are generally not readily found in the northern part of India. Surprisingly, even in Mumbai the availability of the pen is limited to select areas of the city.

Initially, Airmail manufactured completely lathe turned ebonite pens, thus continuing with tradition, the 69 is a completely lathe turned pen made of swirled Acrylic. The feed is made of ebonite and requires heat setting of the nib for proper ink flow. The quality of the acrylic used in this pen is far better than the other Wality pens, which are known to omit a pungent odor.

My Pen

My interest in Indian pens came about by accident. I was intrigued in eyedropper filling systems after I acquired the 2 Gold Starry pens. But my focus was now on Mabie Todd Black Bird eyedropper pens. Research on the eyedropper filling system quickly leads to inks and the necessity of eyedropper fillers because of the impact of weather (heat and humidity) on inks, then to Asian pens.

I paid $14 for the pen, which is a normal price for this pen. First impression, the pen felt solid, it’s a big pen but not too thick – just right. The section is made of the same acrylic as is the cap and the barrel. There is a large gold plate band on the cap with “Airmail Regd” engraved on it.

The clip is gold plate, with pyramided rectangle boxes running the length of the clip. The clip is attached to a gold plated ring and held in place by a blind cap.

It is an eyedropper pen. When I unscrewed the section it took 9 full turns to remove it from the barrel and the cap took 2 complete turn to remove. To prevent ink leakage, the threads on the section need a small amount of silicone grease to seal the pen or maybe the addition of a small O-ring.

It is called an “eyedropper” because you use an eyedropper to fill the reservoir in the barrel. If you don’t have one, a pipette or a straw if you are really cheap (wink-wink) will also work.

Generally the Wality nibs are known for bad behavior but this one writes well but needs to be heat set – ink drops form under the feed. But it still writes fine.

Vital Statistics

  • Capped length 148mm,
  • Barrel diameter is 13mm,
  • The cap diameter is 15mm,
  • Pen weighs in at 18g.

Cons

My only complaint which is not uncommon is how wet the pen writes – I need to heat set the nib. It is possible my ink flow issue is caused by the ink viscosity. This is expected at this price point. The tins on the nib are aligned and it writes well. Manually adding ink via an eyedropper (ok a straw who am I kidding) takes a bit of getting use to. I was hyper focused on keeping the open barrel facing up at all times while filling the pen. This takes some getting used to it, plus there is the fear of wearing the ink if a mishap occurs.

Opinion

For this price, you can’t beat this pen. It is attractive, feels solid, writes well. Readily available on eBay in a variety of cool colors. And of course, it is wallet friendly!

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