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Manuscript Dodec (Aka The "college Cartridge Pen")

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#1 Chrontius

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Posted 06 October 2013 - 23:24

 
 
Several years ago, a black version of this pen was sold in the US as the "College Cartridge Pen".  I had discovered fountain pens in my freshman year of college with the Sheaffer Reaktor from Walmart.  It was night and day compared to the Bics I used up to that point.  This was night and day compared to the Reaktor - the nib was buttery smooth, the feed even and reliable, and it was a joy to write with.  For more than half a decade and most of a pen worth of replacement parts, it was with me in my pocket nonstop.  I put most of a bottle of Sheaffer Turquoise through that thing.  When I sat on it and broke it, I was crushed.  (Interestingly, the screw-on cap protects it nicely; I had somehow managed to unscrew it in my pocket before I could break the pen)  So was it.  I spent an inordinate amount of time and money tracking down the last few of these left on the market, and absolutely did NOT regret doing so.
 
Now I find they're available at Hobby Lobby, for half the price I paid for my first two, and I'm ecstatic.  This is probably the best cheap pen on the market.
 
I highly recommend an ink cartridge converter and buying ink by the bottle - you'll like this thing enough that you'll find any excuse to write with it, and if you do any appreciable amount of writing before, well… Also, there are far more shades and colors of ink available in bottles than cartridges; you're sure to find one that suits you. If you prefer the convenience of cartridges, Waterman long cartridges will fit, one at a time; short international cartridges will fit with room for a spare. Cheap generic ink cartridges are available on eBay in bulk for a price that you won't mind paying; they're not quite as cheap as bottled ink, but the difference is pretty small.
 
While this can be considered a "gateway" fountain pen, it stands up to the more expensive pens you may be tempted to upgrade to nicely.  Because the cap screws on, it does not dry out quickly; it can be left in a desk as an occasional pen.  Because it's so cheap, it makes a wonderful gift for those considering trying a fountain pen, or a loaner you won't cry about losing.  You want this pen - trust me.  Maybe more than one.

 



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#2 virgilio

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Posted 01 December 2016 - 23:21

A belated thanks for this excellent review. I just ordered one off of amazon.com.

#3 virgilio

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Posted 03 December 2016 - 00:14

By the way, if you live in England, almost any school supply house, online or otherwise, can get the Dodec for you in packs of 12 for around £12, and in packs of 40 (yes, FORTY) for around £30 including VAT and shipping. That's only about a dollar per pen...They are at least $4 on amazon.com including shipping, more often $5. You see there is a big advantage to living in a country that still makes and uses fountain pens.

#4 virgilio

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Posted 03 December 2016 - 00:17

I forgot to mention that there now seems to be a version with a colored cap, on ypo for instance, which I think looks a lot better than the transparent cap.

There is also a Manuscript converter that I assume fits the Dodec, but some of the super cheap Chinese converters may also fit.

#5 rwilsonedn

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Posted 13 December 2016 - 20:38

By the way, if you live in England, almost any school supply house, online or otherwise, can get the Dodec for you in packs of 12 for around £12, and in packs of 40 (yes, FORTY) for around £30 including VAT and shipping. That's only about a dollar per pen...They are at least $4 on amazon.com including shipping, more often $5. You see there is a big advantage to living in a country that still makes and uses fountain pens.

 

OK, you don't have to rub salt in the wound.

Isn't it wonderful, though, to find a simple, inexpensive pen that is just a joy to write with?

ron



#6 virgilio

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Posted 16 December 2016 - 01:27

I have just found them on officesupply.com (in the US) for just $2.16 apiece, with free shipping on orders of $45 or more. That would be 21 of the little critters.

They write VERY smooth, and if you add a little Ivory Dish Detergent to your ink, they write very wet too. The Manuscript ink in the cartridges is not very good, but it's simple enough of course to replace it with some Quink (or your favortite ink) using a syringe.

I don't much like the clunky sort of cap, but I believe I saw a site somewhere with Dodecs that have more traditional-style caps.

Finally, the Dodecs take Parker converters. Also cheap Chinese Jinhao converters that I got on amazon (5 for just $6 shipped).

#7 virgilio

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Posted 18 December 2016 - 23:15

The Dodec writes a lot wetter with a converter than with the cartridge, so I would definitely recommend getting a converter to go with it.

Still don't like the clunky cap. Maybe paint it?

#8 virgilio

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Posted 24 December 2016 - 01:16

The converter that I found that fits it is the Jinhao deluxe converter, push-in style, available on amazon, pack of five for $6. But any international size converter should fit. Once you make the ink wetter with some detergent and get a converter for it, it writes like a champ.

Wouldn't write at all with the lousy Manuscript ink tho.

#9 virgilio

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Posted 28 December 2016 - 03:26

The Dodec is my biggest Find since the Universal Scolasticas I got on ebay a decade or so ago. Not as pretty, but NO TINKERING with the nib is required to make it write really well, and that is quite unusual for a fountain pen in this day and age. I even splurged and bought all of them a converter. Total price apiece, about $3 and 40 cents. European quality at Chinese prices.

#10 virgilio

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Posted 31 December 2016 - 01:31

If you don't like the transparent cap on the Dodec, the Manuscript Masterclass calligraphy set, with two pens, uses the same barrel and cap, but in black. They are available on amazon, and are pretty cheap.





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