From top to bottom:
J. Herbin Green Glass Pen (from the 1990's)
J. Herbin Blue Glass Pen (from 2011)
Rohrer & Klingner Blue-Red Glass Pen (from 2012)
Authentic Models Palette For Pens Blue-White Glass Pen (from 2011)
Authentic Models Palette For Pens Clear Glass Pen (from 2011)
The numbers in the written sample below show how far I got on just one dip of ink. The sample was written on Strathmore Calligraphy 400 Series paper using my own homemade traditional iron gall ink.
I've had the green J. Herbin pen the longest of the bunch, and it has always been a smooth pen. It never required any sanding of the tip, even out of the box the first time. My newest J. Herbin (the blue one) is quite scratchy and required sanding, by comparison, and the flow is much drier-- in the photo (second one down from the top) you can see the tip on this one is rather long and narrow by comparison, and I wonder if this is why the flow is drier. If you can find a good J. Herbin, this can be an excellent pen. My green one is my second favorite glass pen. Despite the round marble-like stopper, my fingers tend to get the inkiest when using the J. Herbin pens. The pens work well with both commercial and homemade inks (including iron gall, black walnut & pokeberry inks). Oh, and I love that the J. Herbin ink bottles have a little pen rest on them just for this glass pen!
My favorite of the bunch is the Rohrer & Klingner pen. It's very smooth, pretty, has good flow, and puts down a reliable medium line. This is the one I recommend the most and is my favorite (I did a separate review of this pen here). I like the flat disk-like stopper on this pen. Though smaller than the J. Herbin stopper, the shape seems to prevent my fingers from getting inkier. So far I've only tested this one with commercial and homemade iron gall inks and it works well with them. I never had to sand this pen, either.
Lastly are the two Authentic Models (Palette for Pens) glass pens. They are packaged very prettily but are incredibly fussy to use. They don't even do well with the Authentic Models ink that they come packaged with. For the longest time I didn't think these pens worked at all (so far, only my homemade iron gall ink has worked with them). Even if you can find an ink these pens work with, they tend to put down a heavy, inconsistent, gloppy line that takes forever to dry-- which then tends to get smeared as you continue to write. Because it puts down a heavier line at first, it runs out of steam quicker than the others, so this means more frequent dipping. These pens are fatter but feel alright in the hand. They are pretty, but I just wish they wrote better than they do. The little bottles of ink that came with the set are gorgeous, but are sealed with wax and are a pain to open. And once you do get the wax off, the little bottles do not reseal reliably.
The Authentic Models set, with inks:
My recommendation would be to test a glass pen before buying it if it is at all possible. But since most of us are mail ordering them (myself included) I recommend testing it immediately upon receiving it with a few different kinds of inks. I have had to return one faulty J. Herbin glass pen before. Sometimes a pen may work with one ink but not another. One that works well with all of your favorite inks is a keeper!
Edited by fiberdrunk, 08 March 2012 - 06:35.