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Here's an extremely cheap italic FP to give to a curious beginner.


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#1 Jeff Muscato

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Posted 30 December 2007 - 10:01

I might not have thought of looking in the art department for a writing pen, but Manuscript's calligraphy starter set is a fine pen for letting someone try an italic nib without risking your own pen in another's hand. If they offered it with only one nib that would be even better, but the price is fine for what it is and it comes with cartridges so a beginner can start using it right away.

This set is slightly different from the one I've seen (which, I think, has five or six nibs). The only question I'd have about it is whether it has a straight italic nib or just oblique nibs, since it comes in left- and right-handed versions. (The bigger set I've seen has some straight nibs.)

Does anyone have any comparable italic pens to recommend? I found a few open packages of these in my mom's calligraphy box and while the first nib I tried was fine, the second had uneven tines and didn't write well. If there's a different brand with better quality control at this price point, I'd like to know about it. I'd probably order a few to keep as gifts. This set is around $5 and the bigger set I mentioned is around $11, I think.

Here's the product page:
Manuscript calligraphy set


Edited by Jeff Muscato, 30 December 2007 - 10:02.


#2 Banana

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Posted 30 December 2007 - 12:44

The parker Vector Calligrapy set is a nice deal. They're about $20 but you can get them in a tin gift box and they are probably a nicer pen.



#3 fpfanatic5

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Posted 30 December 2007 - 14:09

I have a Sheaffer Viewpoint set with 3 nibs and 4 cartridges, but I don't like it at all. Even for calligraphy it has horrible inkflow. Usually I have to repeat a line 3 times on the upstroke for it to finally show up. I would never write with it regularly though, the line width is much too big and the italic nib catches on the paper (which can be expected).

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#4 Paddler

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Posted 30 December 2007 - 15:45

I have two Manuscript pens and a handful of nibs of different sizes.

I also have the $20.00 Sheaffer Viewpoint set (three pen bodies and F, M, and B italic nibs). They all write well - no flow problems at all. I use the F nib to write in my journals with cartridges filled with Legal Lapis. I can use any of these nibs to write at speed.

The Manuscript nibs give crisper line variation and have slightly smaller sweet spots than the Sheaffer nibs. My Manuscript M nib gives about the same line width as the F Sheaffer nib.

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#5 lefty928

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Posted 30 December 2007 - 16:25

You might try eBay -- I think people have found old Osmiroid and Platignum calligraphy pen sets there. Manuscript pens are so inexpensive that I can't think of any nibs I'd vouch for in that range. I have a left oblique .85 mm nib that lays down a lovely, crisp line and the pen is a reliable starter. The others in the set ... not so much, although I do like the nibs. It's a shame about the new Sheaffers, since they are available all over and I saw a single Viewpoint at Barnes & Noble last year for $8. I have an old one (looks like the Viewpoint) that's very reliable and fine for use as a writing pen, although the nib's too sloppy for calligraphy. For a much higher outlay, some FPNers have praised the Lamy Joy -- if someone already has a Safari, however, Pendemonium sells the 1.1 mm italic nib for $12. Of course, that's a fat line (but I'm an F and EF person, myself).

You are right, calligraphy sets are a great way to persuade people to give italic nibs a try. I did, however, buy a no-name calligraphy pen set for my sister last year, as she had expressed an interest in italic. Even though I've repeatedly mentioned that there's no need to wait until there's time to practice learning a calligraphic hand, that the F nib would work just fine at enhancing her already lovely everyday writing and might be fun just to play with, I suspect she's yet to crack open the tin! The intimidation factor at work ...

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#6 Ernst Bitterman

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Posted 30 December 2007 - 16:32

The Manuscript pen is unquestionably a cheap item, but in terms of function, it's a big fat bargain. Of course, I've only tried a couple, which is not a good sample, but they work at least as well as similarly-sized Osmiroid "Easy Change" units. I'm in the camp of recommenders for Manuscript.
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#7 juhtolv

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Posted 30 December 2007 - 21:02

I have some calligraphy set by Manuscript and it may be exactly that set.

It really sucks golf balls and rotten frogs through a garden hose, raw eggs through a very thin straw and snow out of Mt. Fuji. Whenever I try to write with that distorted picture of fountain pen, it has infernally outrageous starting problems. When it finally starts to write, I must write very slowly or I will experience skipping. And its nib is scratchy as sandpaper. It do no accept any other converter but that leaky pump converter that comes with that lousy fountain pen.

Save your money and buy some some real calligraphy fountain pen, instead, for example Rotring Artpen. It just works.


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#8 Jeff Muscato

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Posted 30 December 2007 - 23:01

QUOTE(juhtolv @ Dec 30 2007, 03:02 PM) View Post
Save your money and buy some some real calligraphy fountain pen, instead, for example Rotring Artpen. It just works.

Thank you for your replies, everyone. juhtolv, I have a Pelikan M600 with a great calligraphic nib, which I use every day, but I'm asking about pens cheap enough to give away to anyone who's interested. The Rotring or the Lamy Safari would probably be the next step up, but they cost quite a bit more for a giveaway pen.

Edited by Jeff Muscato, 31 December 2007 - 00:43.


#9 WillAdams

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Posted 30 December 2007 - 23:42

I picked up a Manuscript left-handed set for my daughter who has been quite pleased with it. Also got sets for my two nieces and a second (red) pen for my daughter.

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#10 Lozzic

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Posted 31 December 2007 - 00:00

I have two Deluxe Calligraphy sets from Manuscript. They are fairly good pens for the money in my opinion however you may have problems getting them started after they have been left for a while or the cap has been left off. They are definitely only suited to Calligraphy though since you must be very slow when writing, I would recommend trying one. Personally though, for Calligraphy, you cannot beat a good old dip pen, some William Mitchell or Leonhardt Roundhand nibs and a bottle of Ziller Ink, sounds like heaven! roflmho.gif

#11 Jeff Muscato

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Posted 31 December 2007 - 00:46

QUOTE(Lozzic @ Dec 30 2007, 06:00 PM) View Post
Personally though, for Calligraphy, you cannot beat a good old dip pen, some William Mitchell or Leonhardt Roundhand nibs and a bottle of Ziller Ink, sounds like heaven! roflmho.gif

I know that there are better pens for calligraphy, but I've had several people show interest in my italic Pelikan. Rather than let others (especially beginners) use it, I thought it would be nice to have a couple of giveaways ready.

#12 Lozzic

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Posted 31 December 2007 - 01:09

QUOTE(Jeff Muscato @ Dec 31 2007, 12:46 AM) View Post
I know that there are better pens for calligraphy, but I've had several people show interest in my italic Pelikan. Rather than let others (especially beginners) use it, I thought it would be nice to have a couple of giveaways ready.


I understand where your coming from, you want a pen to give to beginners, who you would not want to let use your best italic Pelikan straight off, to demonstrate how an italic fountain pen feels and works rather than a pen dedicated to doing calligraphy. When I wrote that comment in the last post it was somewhat rhetorical and expressing my opinion towards fountain pens dedicated to Calligraphy and their use in Calligraphy though they do have their place I will admit. I have found many a use for one where I do not have access or space to set up all my equipment. Anyway getting more back on track, for the price you can get a Manuscript they would make good introductory pens or to demonstrate what it is like to use a more expensive italic fountain pen. I have not tried any other Calligraphy sets however so I do not know how they compare to the Parker one, Rotring pen, Sheaffer pen or the rather more expensive Lamy. This site is good for all sorts of Calligraphy stuff, there is a section on Calligraphy fountain pens http://www.johnnealb...detail_list/7/1 thumbup.gif


#13 limesally

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Posted 31 December 2007 - 01:27

QUOTE(Jeff Muscato @ Dec 30 2007, 04:01 PM) View Post
Thank you for your replies, everyone. juhtolv, I have a Pelikan M600 with a great calligraphic nib, which I use every day, but I'm asking about pens cheap enough to give away to anyone who's interested.


I'm not sure whether or not to recommend the new Sheaffer calligraphy sets that you can find so cheaply now. I have one that's a few decades old and it still works amazingly well, despite my ignorant abuse of it - letting ink dry, soaking it for days in water, flinging nibs and pen unprotected into a drawer. That sucker still writes! However, the newer ones I got for my children don't seem as sturdy, they're a tad leaky, and they just don't fit together as well as my old one. But, for kids, it might still be worth it if you can get one very inexpensively.

#14 Jeff Muscato

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Posted 31 December 2007 - 02:40

Hmm.... Despite my comments above, I'm starting to think that maybe something in the $20 range (Rotring, Lamy Joy, etc.) might be the best choice for giveaways. Something so cheap that it doesn't work well will just frustrate beginners.

I have a Lamy Joy and it's fine for what it is. It comes with a converter, too, which the Rotring doesn't.

#15 Immoteus

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Posted 31 December 2007 - 04:45

I use the Sheaffer NN calligraphy set and it hasnt failed me yet (10 years give or take)
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#16 FrankB

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Posted 31 December 2007 - 06:52

I agree with limesally that the newer Sheaffer calligraphy pens are not as good as the older ones. I have several older Sheaffer calligraphy pens that really are fun to use and actually quite durable.

I have some Rotring "ArtPens" that are very nice writers, but I think they are no longer in production. They died with the Rotring brand, but you might find some sets still new in the box. I also have some Pelikan "Script" pens that I am very satisfied with. I think my Pels cost about $8 or $10 each. As far as I know they are still in production. Mine came in a set of three with nibs that are 1.0mm, 1.5mm, and 2.0mm. I really don't know if Pelikan makes other nib sizes for the "Script" models.

juhtolv wrote:

"It really sucks golf balls and rotten frogs through a garden hose, raw eggs through a very thin straw and snow out of Mt. Fuji."

I guess that comment describes my Manuscript set pretty well. I guess when you get to know us better you will tell us what you really think. roflmho.gif

#17 Jeff Muscato

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Posted 31 December 2007 - 09:16

QUOTE(FrankB @ Dec 31 2007, 12:52 AM) View Post
...
I also have some Pelikan "Script" pens that I am very satisfied with. I think my Pels cost about $8 or $10 each. As far as I know they are still in production. Mine came in a set of three with nibs that are 1.0mm, 1.5mm, and 2.0mm. I really don't know if Pelikan makes other nib sizes for the "Script" models.
...

The Pelikan Script looks like a good alternative to the Lamy Joy, at half the price. The Lamy comes with a converter; I don't see that the Script does.

Pelikan Script at PenCity

#18 Garageboy

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Posted 31 December 2007 - 17:06

The latest Sheaffers are Chinese made. I'd go with an Italic Safari

#19 FrankB

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Posted 31 December 2007 - 19:35

Jeff wrote:

"The Pelikan Script looks like a good alternative to the Lamy Joy, at half the price. The Lamy comes with a converter; I don't see that the Script does."

I am sorry that I did not think to comment on the filling features. You are correct, Jeff. The Script pens are cartridge fill. However, the barrels of the Script pens are long and tapered and they do have enough space for full sized converters. I think almost any international style converter will fit. I have some Herbin converters that I have used in my Script pens.

#20 Jeff Muscato

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Posted 01 January 2008 - 08:49

I mentioned my search to my mom (who has been into calligraphy for decades) and she suggested something I'd completely overlooked: a felt-tip italic pen. Though not at all an example of the fountain-pen experience, it might be a great way to let someone try italic writing for the first time.

$2 italic felt pens

#21 diplomat

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Posted 01 January 2008 - 09:01

My advice would be don't go cheap when acquiring a calligraphy set. The pleasure of writing can be seriously damaged by a scratching nib. At least this is my impression when using my Vector 1.1 (though I know the quality on parker low end nib may vary).

I got a nice Lamy Joy set (1.1 & 1.5) at Selfridges this summer for about 28£. Both nibs write that smooth that I often use them at work to take notes.

The set looks like this:

http://www.artbrown....-P9338C481.aspx

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#22 CaseyK

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Posted 01 January 2008 - 09:11

I am a retired art teacher who regularly got tapped to do certificates for athletes, thespians, academic achievers, etc. and for late graduates and for replacement diplomas. Of the pens you can get on the market today, I much prefer the Rotirng Art Pen. Sheaffer has a shadow nib that is difficult to use and needs to be special ordered and I only use it if I have to. Otherwise Sheaffer, Osmiroid, Plantaget (sp?) and the set you show are all not worth the money.

after reading the other posts, I did not know that Rotring isn't being made any more. Pelikan pens-of which I have the older ones- are far and away better than the others I have mentioned, including Rotring.

Edited by CaseyK, 01 January 2008 - 09:18.


#23 Jeff Muscato

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Posted 01 January 2008 - 09:23

Thank you for the additional replies but, again, I have a Pelikan with a calligraphic nib (from John Mottishaw) which I love and use daily. I'm looking for a cheap, giveaway pen for people who say, "Oooh, calligraphy--may I try?" The felt pen might be a solution. If the recipient likes it, I can give him or her the felt pen with which to practice italic writing and then we can revisit the FP aspect another time.

Edited by Jeff Muscato, 01 January 2008 - 14:30.


#24 JoanB

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Posted 23 August 2012 - 15:54

I mentioned my search to my mom (who has been into calligraphy for decades) and she suggested something I'd completely overlooked: a felt-tip italic pen. Though not at all an example of the fountain-pen experience, it might be a great way to let someone try italic writing for the first time.

<a href="http://www.misterart...raphy-Pens.htm" target="_blank">$2 italic felt pens</a>

Reviving an old post, but this is what I gift. If people are interested, they can learn the ropes and move up from there, but they are much easier to the learn form with than dealing with cleaning pens, etc. There are even some good scroll markers which usually enamor new users. (Now, back to finding a better everyday italic pen. My favorite to date is a Parker, but it's a bit stiff for me. My hand tires after fast writing with it).

#25 rockydoggy

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Posted 23 August 2012 - 16:12

One other option to throw into the mix:
Online (a German brand, I think) makes some calligraphy sets--each comes with a pen and three nibs.
I've not bought one of these sets but I do have a couple of inexpensive Online pens that are excellent writers for the price.
A number of internet shops carry the sets, but isellpens currently has some on sale for $20.
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