A couple of months ago I have decided to go after an item I would really like to possess: a CONID bulk filler designed by forum member Fountainbel. I regret that I was way too late for the demonstrator version of the flat top Bulk filler. In my opinion a innovative system like this just screams for the transparency of a demonstrator.
Obviously I was very amused that in the beginning of May CONID decided to actually start the production of a limited series of streamlined demonstrators. I immediately signed up to one of the 60 pens to avoid making the same mistake…
Because of the fact I had not made a decision for the nib, I have asked whether it was possible to “testwrite” some different nibs. We agreed upon a date to visit the production facility (Komec Helsen) of the Bulk filler in Antwerp, Belgium. Meeting was set with Werner Helsen and Francis Goossens (aka Fountainbel).
At that point I was assuming I could test the different nibs in order to make a final decision. I would also like to see the difference between the streamline and sleek version with my own eyes. No decision-making for that amount of money based on a technical drawing.
I was very pleased with the opportunity to actually get these things done. The communication with Werner and Francis was excellent.
Although a little surprised by the e-mail I received the morning of the factory visit: Bulk fillers were ready to be picked up… I was not aware that I could really take the pen home already that specific day. Quite a big surprise.
The beginning of the meeting was nib testing. I had the opportunity to test all different materials in the available sizes. This to me was very important because this is actually my first fountainpen in this price range so I just wanted to be sure about the nib.
In the meantime other pen lovers arrived to pick up their pen. Also Fountainbel himself joined us for explanation, background stories about material choices and production facts and of course demonstrations of disassembling the pen. A nice pen case filled with prototypes was his companion.
Based on the drawings of the pen I was a little disappointed with the use of ebonite on both ends. The original prototype was covered in titanium but was tested as being too top heavy, especially when posted. The use of the black ebonite gives the pen a different look, but it remains great in its own simplicity. Actually I get to hold the original prototype and it do was heavy. Too heavy to write in a comfortable way.
That’s one thing I especially like about the Bulk filler. It is a technical masterpiece with every single detail well thought of and tested thoroughly. If there’s something that should need improvement, the design is changed. In my opinion this “story” behind the pen adds a lot of sentimental value to it.
The pen is presented in a modest box. Nothing to add value but the correct box for a pen built with the technical aspect in mind instead of the well known marketing approach.
Inside the box there’s a label to prove authenticity of the numbered first production run. This number and text is also engraved in the titanium ring at the end of the Bulk filler.
Included there is a cleaning cloth, some tools to disassemble the pen for thorough cleaning (or fun) and a very detailed information sheet with the technical drawings and the way to get the Bulk filler inked.
Although I was very amused by the performance of the steel nib I immediately fell in love with the broad titanium nib. Because this nib was added to the available range at the very last moment it has the original Bock design instead of the CONID lines we see in the other nibs. The titanium nib just looks great on this pen and writes just the way I like it. Perfect.
The fact the whole pen is disassembled very easy is just wonderful. There’s no glue involved and everything screws nice with the use of (double) o-rings. Very quick to take apart with the tools included and therefor easy to clean. Most certainly an advantage over a piston filler if you want to use different colors of ink.
CONID also modified the feed to improve ink flow. Although when the pen runs dry you can “supply” a little air to restart the flow. But after the writing I have done so far I did not have to do so.
At this moment I am still experiencing the in and outs of this technical masterpiece. But with my limited experience I can surely say this is one of the best pens I have ever used. And you know what’s best? It’s mine…
Proud owner of the 12/60 First Production Run Demonstrator CONID Bulk filler streamline