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Indian Pens: Which To Buy, Which To Avoid

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#1 GMYoussef

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Posted 30 October 2013 - 04:27

Hey everyone,
So im new here as a member, but I've been browsing the forums as a guest for quite a while, and one thing ive noticed is lacking is a single thread talking about Indian pens that are excellent deals, and ones that aren't worth even the cheap price. Recently ive stumbled across a wonderful website called fountainpenrevolition.com which im sure many of you have heard of, where they sell many many many kinds of Indian fountain pens, most of which are very inexpensive. This intrigued me, because id never seen much on Indian fountain pens. So in short: I think it would be nice to use this thread as kind of a compiled list of all known knowledge on these Indian pens. In your experience are there Indian pens that were cheap yet are beautiful writers and part of your daily use? Or are these seemingly low prices really too good to be true? Which pens do you suggest? Which do you suggest not getting?

#2 Lorna Reed

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Posted 30 October 2013 - 08:37

I only have one Indian pen - a Guider eyedropper. Sweet little pen. I've not used it much, but had no problems at all. Can't remember what I paid for it, but it wasn't much.

[attachment=223196:P1000692.JPG]


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#3 GMYoussef

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Posted 30 October 2013 - 10:40

Its also quite a nice looking pen, thanks for sharing!

#4 Mesu

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Posted 30 October 2013 - 13:11

There are many Indian manufacturers who produce quality pens. Deccan, Guider, Kim &Co, Ratnamson to name a few. 

 

Opt for handmade pens. You can find some pics here: www.flickr.com/photos/103501065@N05/sets



#5 edorsky

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Posted 30 October 2013 - 14:17

I only have one Indian pen - a Guider eyedropper. Sweet little pen. I've not used it much, but had no problems at all. Can't remember what I paid for it, but it wasn't much.

attachicon.gifP1000692.JPG

Agreed.  I have one, but with the press bar. It writes nicely and was very reasonably priced.


Edited by edorsky, 30 October 2013 - 14:18.


#6 jjlax10

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Posted 30 October 2013 - 15:23

My experience has been that the Serwex, Camlin and similar brands are decent enough and it is matter of personal taste.  I will note that some of the resins they use can smell odd and off putting.

 

The ebonite pens by Deccan, Guider, Gama, Kim and Co., and Ranga are very well made.  I have a Ratnamson but did not like it as much.  The thing to know is that typically you get an ebonite spoon feed and a steel nib that is fine or medium with. If you like broad and stub nibs like me, you ended swapping them out, which is very simple.  The plain ebonite feeds do not retain the ink in the pen well, which is cured by using a Sheaffer No Nonsense feed or something else that fits with enough surface area help prevent a phenomenon known as glorping.

 

If you are new to pens I recommend trying one of the piston fillers or aerometric Guider pens. 


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#7 majorworks

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Posted 31 October 2013 - 14:00

I've yet to try an Indian pen that I don't like. I like eyedroppers and I like ebonite, so the Indian pens were a natural draw for me.

 

I presently own a Varuna (now Ranga) Rajan, a Varuna Gajendra, a Ratnamson Supreme, and two Airmail/Walitys, a 71J and a 71JT. Yeah, I like big pens. I'd say you can't go wrong with any of these brands.


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#8 Edwaroth

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 12:49

I suggest OP get hold of  Hari with some questions.



#9 icevic

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 19:58

Pretty much all Indian pens are great deals.  However, the nibs are not really well finished.  You rarely get a really smooth writing experience, and they are pretty much all standard F or M.  Nothing fancy.

 

The nibs tend to be small, so vintage nibs work well if you want to swap something out.  The feeds are usually fine, often ebonite which is adjustable.

 

There are many Indian pen makers who hand make their pens using simple tools, and in fact some of the major brands like Airmail are basically handmade as well. 

 

Try an eyedropper from India, you could say that those are a speciality of the country.  Dead simple pens;  nib, feed, cap, body, maybe a cip, and that's it.

 

Hari knows pretty much everything about Indian pens.

 

There are too many threads on Indian pens to compile everything here, but you're welcome to try.



#10 Aramchek

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Posted 02 November 2013 - 14:28

I've been pleased with all my Camlins, apart from the cheapest two, especially the Trinity and the S.D.

The only Deccan I have is really nice.

Airmail / Wality is variable but usually quite good - I tend to be more pleased with the body of the pen than the nib.

Serwex pens usually looks cheap but work quite well although two of them leaked at the front until I added some silicone grease.

Didn't care for any of the three Guiders I got - they're pretty but poorly made.

Both Fellowship pens I have are nice.

The only Lazor Hero I have is rubbish.

 

If I could recommend three pens from FPR, it would be the Camlin Trinity, the FPR Dilii, and the Deccan Bullet senior.


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#11 deepak23

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Posted 04 February 2014 - 16:44

I would also add the brilliant Camlin Elegante. I showed the Elegante & my Sailor 1911 to a FP Novice and he was confused as to which is the more expensive of the lot. Little matter that the Elegante costs 1/50th the cost of the Sailor. 


A lifelong FP user...


#12 SteveE

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Posted 04 February 2014 - 17:32

While I don't "do" eyedroppers, I have found a couple of c/c fitted Indian pens.  I've forgotten the brand of a couple of early acquisitions, but the pens are equally forgettable.  My most recent Indian pens, all ebonite, are Ranga's, purchased from Teri at Peyton Street Pens.  Three of the four have modern steel nibs (I believe they are JoWo0, while the fourth has a vintage Eversharp semi-flex nib.  All 4 Ranga's are really nice pens - especially for the prices.  I'm already looking at more of them. . .



#13 alexander_k

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Posted 04 February 2014 - 17:33

All Indian pens I have used are worth their price. Eyedroppers have their problems and most nibs need some care but time spent on them usually pays back.



#14 hari317

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Posted 04 February 2014 - 17:59

In my personal view and opinion, The Deccan pens stores of Hyderabad make the best pens in India viz Advocate, Masterpiece, Author/Aurelius. Of late, Gem and Company in Madras in association with ASA pens is also making some very good pens under the Gama brand, that have managed to get my attention. HTH. 


Edited by hari317, 04 February 2014 - 18:03.


#15 rwilsonedn

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Posted 04 February 2014 - 20:36

In my personal view and opinion, The Deccan pens stores of Hyderabad make the best pens in India viz Advocate, Masterpiece, Author/Aurelius. Of late, Gem and Company in Madras in association with ASA pens is also making some very good pens under the Gama brand, that have managed to get my attention. HTH. 

+1, not that I am anything approaching knowledgeable on the subject. But I do somehow seem to have accumulated a few Indian pens. My Deccan pens are uniformly splendid, without any modification, right out of the box. In my experience their feeds manage the issues with ED filling quite adequately, providing uniform ink flow and no indiscretions.

I am also becoming a fan of the Gama brand. I just finished inking a Gama Supreme from ASA (no affiliation). I did substitute a Sheaffer NoNonsense feed for the rather simple Gama feed. The pen is huge, and I didn't want to ask that simple feed to deal with all that expanding air. But I kept the original two-tone nib. So far the pen is beautifully behaved, and the nib, which required no adjustment or smoothing for my taste, is an elegant F with just a bit of feedback and no hint of scratch. As almost goes without saying for Indian hand-made ebonite pens, the size, balance, and feel of the pen are wonderful.

ron



#16 Woodnut

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Posted 04 February 2014 - 23:16

I'm with majorworks and alexander_k: I've yet to own an Indian pen that I don't like. I have  4  Guiders (and one on the way, all of which are good writing instruments. I also have a Gama Supreme, a Ratnamson 15, a Ranga Duofold Model 3, a Kim & Col. big cigar-shaped pen, a Wality, a Serwex piston, a Camlin, and an Oliver Ideal. They are all fine writers, and all are fairly simple to adjust, if necessary.

 

The ebonite models, with their light weight, are a joy. The nibs are basic: they write. It's sometimes necessary to smooth them. Don't be afraid -- there are plenty of threads here about how to do that, and we're not talking "nibmeister territory." You need, also, to pay attention to your ink level in your pens; but given the fact that they hold 2-3 times the amount of the average cartridge or converter, don't think that you'll be running to fill your pen every 10 minutes.

 

Much of the talk you'll find here about "which is the best pen?" reflects personal preference rather than any objective, scientific judgment. Some folks like one manufacturer, some like another. Proclamations about which is best frequently fall under the category of "narcissism of minor differences."

 

Give them any (or all) of them a try. You can build a collection quickly, given the prices. A "high-end" Indian ebonite pen costs a fraction of its comparable European or American cousin.



#17 hari317

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Posted 05 February 2014 - 05:15

I have sound reasons why I prefer the manufacturers I do.Their pens are very well engineered.

 

Some of the following lacunae are persistent despite my best efforts to get them to make pens properly and I have mentioned these already in several older posts and since i have interacted closely at one time or the other with nearly all the handmade pen makers in India, I can say that some are more receptive than the others when it comes to improving the technical aspects of their pens.

 

Common lacunae with some of the makers i have given up on:

 

  • Non existent inner caps in some models, in situ machined or otherwise. (result: incessant dryouts, no positive stop for the cap when it is closed on the pen)
  • Incorrectly placed cap breather holes even on caps featuring an in situ machined inner cap. (Dryouts, meaning a lot of work sealing the cap to make the pen usable as a daily reliable writer)
  • Sloppy manufacture of the section bore (leading to a loose fit of nib and feed, result blobbing, blotting irrespective of ink level) and sometimes also an out of round bore. The out of round bore is the most dangerous, nothing you do can cure it other than re-manufacture the section(very difficult to find feeders in small diameter increments ). Even a donor Sheaffer feed will not help in such cases.

Edited by hari317, 05 February 2014 - 05:55.


#18 I like mango cheesecake

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Posted 05 February 2014 - 07:24

all I can say is don't get the cheapest one, the ones for $5.  I got the Serwex 162 and it was built like a $5 pen. I used it for less than a paragraph's worth of writing and then promptly chucked it. It smelled chemically, felt sticky, and was extremely poorly put together. The clip snapped off within 10 minutes of fiddling with the pen. The piston developed a kink in it and was not providing good suction. It leaked inside the cap the very first day.



#19 amk

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Posted 05 February 2014 - 09:47

I love the modern Indian ebonites and some lovely acrylics. Another thing I love is that many Indian pen makers are still modelling their pens on vintage styles (contrary to, for instance, Parker, whose modern pens I find underwhelming), though somewhat larger so they are more comfortable in my hand.

 

Eyedroppers = nothing to go wrong!

 

As a couple of posters have noted, nibs and feeds can be the weak point. But with a bit of tweaking, you can have a lovely ebonite pen for under £50, and if you are lucky enough to be in India and buy from the pen shop, quite a lot less than that.

 

Good pens I have include Ranga, Ratnamson, Deccan, Guider, Airmail and pens from Abhay Pens in Aurangabad. Also (cheapie) Camay.

 

To avoid: Montex. 15 cent pens that write like 1 cent pens. Nasty.


Edited by amk, 05 February 2014 - 09:49.


#20 lekhak24

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Posted 05 February 2014 - 14:55

 

I have sound reasons why I prefer the manufacturers I do.Their pens are very well engineered.

 

Some of the following lacunae are persistent despite my best efforts to get them to make pens properly and I have mentioned these already in several older posts and since i have interacted closely at one time or the other with nearly all the handmade pen makers in India, I can say that some are more receptive than the others when it comes to improving the technical aspects of their pens.

 

Common lacunae with some of the makers i have given up on:

 

  • Non existent inner caps in some models, in situ machined or otherwise. (result: incessant dryouts, no positive stop for the cap when it is closed on the pen)
  • Incorrectly placed cap breather holes even on caps featuring an in situ machined inner cap. (Dryouts, meaning a lot of work sealing the cap to make the pen usable as a daily reliable writer)
  • Sloppy manufacture of the section bore (leading to a loose fit of nib and feed, result blobbing, blotting irrespective of ink level) and sometimes also an out of round bore. The out of round bore is the most dangerous, nothing you do can cure it other than re-manufacture the section(very difficult to find feeders in small diameter increments ). Even a donor Sheaffer feed will not help in such cases.

 

Thanks Hari for this informative post. I have bought a new Gama Kuyil and am facing the 3rd issue captured by you. I will try to remove the feeder and nib and refit the same and try. It would be nice if you can share any prior experience with this pen.

 

Ganesh


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#21 hari317

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Posted 05 February 2014 - 15:01

Thanks Hari for this informative post. I have bought a new Gama Kuyil and am facing the 3rd issue captured by you. I will try to remove the feeder and nib and refit the same and try. It would be nice if you can share any prior experience with this pen.

 

Ganesh

Ganesh, contact the seller for replacement pen/repair. The nib and feed fit is an excellent fit on my example of the Kuyil, I am very happy with the pen. You may PM me if you need further tips for debugging your pen.



#22 mhguda

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Posted 05 February 2014 - 22:36

My Kuyil, which I picked up yesterday and inked immediately, is also a very well-made pen, and a pleasure to write with. In addition, Asapens was very diligent in getting this pen to me, even asking several times if I had received it and tracking it down (to Amsterdam where it had erroneously been sent). Nothing but kudos. This was the first time I bought from them, and I'm very happy with the experience. Thanks hari317 for bringing this one to our attention.


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#23 Aramchek

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Posted 05 February 2014 - 22:59

One brand I've so far been pleased with is Fellowship. I've three eyedroppers from them. Two of them worked directly, the third needed reseating of the nib and feed. All three are remarkably smooth for such cheap pens and reliable - the one I currently have inked has reached below 50% ink level and is starting to threaten to deposit drops on the page, but that seems pretty common with simple eyedroppers. The finishing is fairly poor, but they feel like they should survive a fair bit of abuse.


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#24 Snargle

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 17:55

I've got a few Indian pens and, for the most part, I like them very much. They include an Ebonite Ranga "Duofold" eyedropper (with a replacement Broad nib), an Ebonite Ranga Cruiser (with a Fine Eversharp flex nib, from Peyton Street Pens), a Wallity Airmail eyedropper, and a Camlin Elegante. I also have a Camlin SD on order and should be arriving any day now.


Larry


#25 prasadvenkat

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Posted 19 March 2014 - 03:39

Hey everyone,
So im new here as a member, but I've been browsing the forums as a guest for quite a while, and one thing ive noticed is lacking is a single thread talking about Indian pens that are excellent deals, and ones that aren't worth even the cheap price. Recently ive stumbled across a wonderful website called fountainpenrevolition.com which im sure many of you have heard of, where they sell many many many kinds of Indian fountain pens, most of which are very inexpensive. This intrigued me, because id never seen much on Indian fountain pens. So in short: I think it would be nice to use this thread as kind of a compiled list of all known knowledge on these Indian pens. In your experience are there Indian pens that were cheap yet are beautiful writers and part of your daily use? Or are these seemingly low prices really too good to be true? Which pens do you suggest? Which do you suggest not getting?

FPR by Kevin is an amazing site.  (I have no affiliation to this or to Kevin,  just an extremely satisfied customer)  I would highly recommend the Flex versions of the pens he keeps.  Specially the Guru.  I have been using it for the last month and have had NO problems with it.  Took it out of the wrapping,  disassembled and cleaned it with plain water.  Inked it up and its been writing perfectly since.  It flexes beautifully and for the price,  is an amazing deal.



#26 Sasha Royale

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Posted 19 March 2014 - 03:56

I have a couple of Serwex piston models.  They are good value.  From a distributor in the ISA.

The pen industry in India is very different than we understand.  I was fascinated with what I learned.  

 

Here is a suggestion that yields great benefits >> 

Get a pen pal in India.  Get him/her to find you one or two bottom teir pens, about 30 to 50 rupees.  

You will enjoy and cherish your 85 cent fountain pens.  Hopefully learn about another culture.  



#27 WestLothian

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Posted 19 March 2014 - 22:49

How is the quality of the plastic on the Guru? I find the smell of the Ahab plastic unpleasant and I was concerned that the Guru may be similar.



#28 amk

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Posted 20 March 2014 - 15:22

Get a pen pal. Or even better, if you can, visit India. Marvellous country - marvellous pen makers and shops!



#29 LWJ2

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Posted 21 March 2014 - 01:35

I have purchased several Romus Majestic pens, they're a piston-filler with a surprisingly smooth fine nib; my initial purchase was good enough that I made another buy to give to friends wanting a beginner's pen. I'd put them on a par with the Reform 1745.



#30 prasadvenkat

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Posted 23 March 2014 - 11:06

How is the quality of the plastic on the Guru? I find the smell of the Ahab plastic unpleasant and I was concerned that the Guru may be similar.

Have not found any smell from the Guru.  Not sure about this, but I think the Ahab material is totally different from what is used in the Guru.

Are the Noodler's Creaper (standard) and Ahab made of the same stuff?  I have the Creaper  and it does smell a little. 

The Guru is a clutch less filler pen and easy to totally take apart.  As soon as I got it, I took it apart and washed it out.  No smell at all.







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