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’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.
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.
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.
- Capped length 129.5mm,
- Uncapped length 118mm,
- Barrel diameter 12mm,
- Cap diameter 12.5mm,
- Pen weighs in at 11..