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Ratnam Supreme Ebonite Fp


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32 replies to this topic

#1 Guest_Pjay_*

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Posted 31 July 2010 - 05:33

In the six weeks or so since I've joined this forum, my wife has been very patient about the money spent on pens, including Pelikan, Parker, Aurora and an MB 149. Funnily enough (an this is not been unique to my experience), it has often been the lower cost pens that have been the most fun. That list would of course include the TWSBI and Lincoln piston fillers, and the pen which is the subject of this brief review.

I had already purchased a couple of leather pen cases from Ashish Wakhlu, and out of curiosity ordered a couple of Ratnam Supreme ebonite eyedroppers. After a small wait for production, the two pens arrived, for a total investment of US$75 including postage. They had a rough ride on the way from India, and were falling out of the envelope, but no damage done.

Today I went to a local scuba shop to buy a small container of silicone grease, so I could start the process of testing one of these pens. The attached photos document the process - grease on the threads, slightly overfill the pen to achieve priming of the nib, and a quick clean up before commencing writing. One pen held 4.5 ml of ink, and the second closer to 5ml, and the nib width variation was the main surprise.

Appearance

The ebonite is not highly polished, and in some light looks almost brown instead of black. There are a few imperfections like small pitting and minor nicks, but they add to the pen's character. The clip and cap bands are poorly plated, so much so that they give an antique appearance to what is a new pen.

Design/size/weight
The overall contour is a pleasing cigar shape, and although this pen has a large girth, everything seems to be in proportion. Much of the length is in the cap, so it's not a long pen when unposted. It can be posted, but feels unduly top heavy in this mode.

Nib
This was a pleasant surprise. Although the nibs have considerable difference in width, both are exceptionally smooth writers, without any toothiness. They are sure to feel better after a little use. The nibs are marked "Genius iridium Germany" and are proof that an inexpensive steel nib can provide a pleasant writing experience.

Filling system
Nothing could be simpler than an eyedropper pen, no mechanism to wear out, just one thread to keep lubricated. No signs of leakage problems, and very large ink capacity.

Cost and value

The expression 'you get what you pay for' is not always exactly true. At $37.50 each, I did not expect the same level of fit and finish as a Pelikan or Parker, so my comments above about plating quality do not reflect any dissatisfaction. These pens are solidly made, and appear to be exceptional value. They are still available in the For Sale section of FPN

Conclusion
I have strong preference for piston filling pens, but the Ratnam Supreme serves as a great introduction to eyedropper pens, for minimal outlay. The example with the finer nib will stay inked for regular use, and has been a lot of fun. If a hobby does not generate a childish grin, then it's not worth pursuing :P

Attached Images

  • RS1.jpg
  • RS2.jpg
  • RS3.jpg
  • RS4.jpg
  • RS6.jpg

Edited by Pjay, 01 August 2010 - 05:05.


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#2 Namo

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Posted 31 July 2010 - 10:19

NIce review! I really like these big eyedroppers too, and the German Iridium nibs are generally excellent!

Edited by Namo, 31 July 2010 - 10:19.

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#3 akrishna59

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Posted 31 July 2010 - 11:20

if i remember right, mahathma gandhi who wanted a good indian pen, asked one of his friends to manufacture one and rathnam was the result. it was used and favourably commented on by gandhi.

many early indian leaders used rathnam. so you see, you have a piece of history in your hand. the look of the pen tinges nostalgia for all those good old days.

congrats. on your new acquisition.

tks.

krishna.
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#4 777

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Posted 31 July 2010 - 11:26

Thanks for the review! I like the few cheap pens I have too. They are always so much fun and I don't really care if I bust them or something.

Need a pen repaired or a nib re-ground? I'd love to help you out.


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#5 hari317

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Posted 31 July 2010 - 16:33

The Supreme is a nice pen, very ergonomic, thanks for doing this review.

Best,
Hari
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#6 hari317

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Posted 31 July 2010 - 16:35

BTW The pen brand is "Ratnamson", Ratnam is another pen company owned by the elder son of KV Ratnam(The original founder of Ratnam pen company).
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#7 Guest_Pjay_*

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Posted 31 July 2010 - 21:14

Hari, you may well be right about the company name - but the box the pen was shipped in says "Ratnam Ballpen Works" ESTD. 1932

#8 majorworks

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Posted 01 August 2010 - 02:43

Nice review. I'm always interested in reading about the Indian ED pens.
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#9 MS3607

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Posted 01 August 2010 - 03:30

Nice review. The pen has a simple elegance that I find very attractive. Plus it holds a ton of ink. :thumbup:
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#10 twincityskyline

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Posted 01 August 2010 - 04:53

Nice review!
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#11 Pepin

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Posted 01 August 2010 - 05:46

What is the ebonite? Can you give some measurements of the pen? It looks very elegant in its simplicity. Reminds me of a pickle.
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#12 Guest_Pjay_*

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Posted 01 August 2010 - 07:29

According to Wikipedia:
Ebonite is a very hard rubber first obtained by Charles Goodyear by vulcanizing rubber for prolonged periods. It is about 30% to 40% sulfur. Its name comes from its intended use as an artificial substitute for ebony wood. Ebonite is a brand name — it is also known as vulcanite or hard rubber.

This material is often used for 10 pin bowling balls, one day I'd like to make some pens from a bowling ball!
Dimensions should have been included in the review, capped 146mm, uncapped 128mm, diameter of barrel approx. 16mm

#13 hari317

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Posted 01 August 2010 - 08:22

Hari, you may well be right about the company name - but the box the pen was shipped in says "Ratnam Ballpen Works" ESTD. 1932


That is absolutely correct. Ratnam Ballpen Works makes Fountain pens Under the brandname "Ratnamson". The clip on the pen will usually say "Ratnamson".

Actually the ballpen works went to the younger brother and the fountain pen operations went to the elder brother (who still makes FPs under the "Ratnam" name). Since the younger one could not make "Ratnam" FPs, his brand for FPs is Ratnamson. I prefer the Ratnamson fountain pens made by the younger brother, they are of better quality IMHO. YMMV

Best,
Hari
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#14 Guest_Pjay_*

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Posted 01 August 2010 - 08:37

Thanks for the excellent clarification, Hari! Crystal clear now :thumbup:
The clip is branded "Ratnamson", as you say.

#15 ashishwakhlu

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Posted 02 August 2010 - 03:12

Hi Friends, Lovely review Peter,

I am also a Supreme Fan, so a recent acquisition for you to enjoy. The paper is Executive bond and the ink is my mixture of Camlin Scarlet 10 ml with Parker Quink Black 1.5 ml.

regards

Ashish

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Edited by ashishwakhlu, 02 August 2010 - 03:13.


#16 hari317

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Posted 02 August 2010 - 08:23

Nice pen Ashish, I am curious, as to why you did not get the nib personalized with your initials? I believe they can engrave upto 6 characters on the nib.

Best,
Hari
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#17 akrishna59

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Posted 02 August 2010 - 08:55

great pictures ashish and thanks for adding to the delicious stew. does the eyedropper filling leave ink traces on your fingers while using the pen?

rgds.

krishna.
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#18 hari317

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Posted 02 August 2010 - 09:47

does the eyedropper filling leave ink traces on your fingers while using the pen?


Krishna, I am answering since I own and have used many Ratnam and Ratnamson pens, I have never had any inky fingers. I seal the section threads with Silicone grease (Metroark 211 compound available easily in India, or go for Dow corning).

Best,
Hari
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#19 Preetham

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Posted 02 August 2010 - 14:36

Thanks Pjay for the excellent review. I myself have ordered a couple of 302's and 32's from the manufacturers here in India. Looking forward to experiencing them first hand.

#20 GirchyGirchy

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Posted 02 August 2010 - 14:59

I purchased a couple of Ratnams, one for myself and another for a friend. I kept the hooded one and gave him the more standard looking pen (can't recall the numbers). Mine writes very well and, after greasing the threads, seals at the barrel/section joint well. However, sometimes it'll dump a bunch of ink into the cap and it'll get all over the section. Which makes for a mess. I'm not sure why it's doing this.

PS: You can get silicone grease at any hardware store in the plumbing section. It's for greasing o-rings so they're not eaten up.






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