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Do You Think Older Chinese Fountain Pens Have Better Quality Than Current Production?

quality chinese fountain pen

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31 replies to this topic

#1 fpenluver

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Posted 09 August 2014 - 01:08

fpn_1407546154__wing_sung_380_2.jpg

 

By old I really really mean older production like the 80s and 90s. So, what do you think? I have a few of the older ones and it seems all of them have better quality than the newer model.



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#2 penrivers

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Posted 09 August 2014 - 01:20

On the contrary, dynamics of production should increasingly get better.



#3 ANM

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Posted 09 August 2014 - 02:09

I have picked up a couple of older Chinese pens along the way. If new one are worse than those, they must be really bad.  


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#4 Wolverine1

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Posted 09 August 2014 - 12:47

It is a Chinese fountain pen, for God's sake. Quality was never an issue whether Chinese pens are newer or older pens. If you want quality pens, look for pens manufactured in the USA or Germany or Japan, or Italy or the UK.



#5 Renfield

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Posted 09 August 2014 - 13:34

Chinese Pens are cheap. and usually you have to trade off Price Vs Quality.

 

 

But like all cheap products, you get some exceptions to the rule. In my opinion, the Kaigelu 363 is one of them. It only costs a couple of pounds, but is well made, writes well and will last years.

 

And on the other hand, you get expensive pens which are bad, poor flow, baby bottom.  They are usually more in the minority, but that is because the additional cost of the pen allows for better quality control.

 

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#6 Florida Blue

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Posted 09 August 2014 - 21:59

China can produce good fountain pens when contracted to do so. The modern Chinese-made Cross fountain pens are very good in my opinion.


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#7 BrandonA

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Posted 09 August 2014 - 22:34

China can produce good fountain pens when contracted to do so. The modern Chinese-made Cross fountain pens are very good in my opinion.


I think the OP is more interested in Chinese branded pens though, which is a completely different scenario to a respected western company merely using cheaper labour in china to produce the pens.
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#8 FountainPages

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Posted 09 August 2014 - 23:34

I have had some modern Chinese pens of very high quality, among them, two Picasso's and a Hero 382. A friend of mine has bought several Montblanc copies of exemplary quality...that's correct, expemplary, absolute beauties and sweet writers to boot.


Edited by FountainPages, 10 August 2014 - 23:10.

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#9 VivienR

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Posted 10 August 2014 - 12:49

Brought two, thought give them a try, because there are good reviews... both are terribly made environmental waste, both are Kaigelu. A 300 and a 368. I don't think that will give a chance for Chinese pens again...



#10 pajaro

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Posted 10 August 2014 - 14:54

Some years ago my wife gave me one of the Chinese pens.  It is a beautiful pen, but it was totally unable to write at all.  Recently I put a fine nib from Goulet Pens in it and it now writes.  The cap can't be posted at all, though.  It's beautiful but clumsy.  My wife gave it to me, so it has sentimental value.  I bought some more recent pens they made, and they are beautiful also, but slightly less useful than a twenty-nine cent Wearever from the late fifties.  They are static display pieces unless I fit a decent nib into them.  I content myself with something reflecting more developed and mature taste:  the Waterman Lara Croft Tombraider pens.  They have the virtue of being nice writers.


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#11 SenZen

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Posted 10 August 2014 - 16:42

Never tried one but probably depends on the brand? Which ones do the Politburo get? (oh dear, I just thought: Montblanc!). If China can produce everything from our computers, phones, to quality socks and pants I don't see why they couldn't produce a quality fountain pen!


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#12 FountainPages

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Posted 10 August 2014 - 23:14

It seems I am the exception to the rule...I plan on purchasing a MB Boheme copy and am expecting good, if not better. I really do love these Chinese pens for the price versus quality thing we all go after.


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#13 welch

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Posted 11 August 2014 - 01:41

Several big-name companies make some of their pens in China. The Chinese factories seem capable of making a quality product if the market demands it. I would guess that the outside companies have QA staff watching.


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#14 fpenluver

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Posted 11 August 2014 - 06:31

Several big-name companies make some of their pens in China. The Chinese factories seem capable of making a quality product if the market demands it. I would guess that the outside companies have QA staff watching.


It is true that they will make good quality if "monitored". I have heard of this before.

however, back to the topic I started. I have a few of the old chinese fountain pen from a "lot auction". All of them seem tho have better quality material and finish from "the current cheap chinese fountain". They are more like the upmarket Hero 100 quality.

#15 Ste_S

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Posted 11 August 2014 - 07:14

Several big-name companies make some of their pens in China. The Chinese factories seem capable of making a quality product if the market demands it. I would guess that the outside companies have QA staff watching.

 

I don't think they need external Q&A watching, Chinese companies can make a product to a price. Parker's IM & Urban are manufactored in China, and notoriously have QC issues with their feeds. I suspect Parker are paying them less than perhaps some of the other Western companies.



#16 fpenluver

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Posted 11 August 2014 - 07:52

Brought two, thought give them a try, because there are good reviews... both are terribly made environmental waste, both are Kaigelu. A 300 and a 368. I don't think that will give a chance for Chinese pens again...


I also do not have good luck with kageilu. Try Jin hao or baoer instead. I think they are pretty good, and if you are patient enough you might get it for under $4 on auction.

I heard duke and picasso have more consistent quality but they are a bit more expensive. I just won a duke at decent price, but have not had time to ink it. The finish is pretty good though.

#17 fpenluver

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Posted 11 August 2014 - 08:13

I think the OP is more interested in Chinese branded pens though, which is a completely different scenario to a respected western company merely using cheaper labour in china to produce the pens.


In this discussion, correct. I have non chinese brands as well. I just posted the questions because the older chinese pens model I have apparently less troublesome. I might post a picture or two when I have time to show what I mean.

#18 Seele

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Posted 12 August 2014 - 01:46

Back to the topic again.

 

Centralized planned economy can do strange things beyond what free economy does organically, and it also has some other effects afterwards.

 

At the beginning of Chinese fountain pen manufacture, in the first years of the 1930s, the ecosystem that supports the pen manufacturing industry did not yet exist. While domestic manufacture of parts and materials - especially synthetic materials - slowly appeared, a fair quantity of these had to be imported. Not a lot of these pens were exported, and a relatively small number of them survived (I have a war-time W K Rockman in my collection) but the current lack of a support and restoration ecosystem within Mainland China also means they remain unusable and untestable, the impact of age notwithstanding.

 

With the establishment of the PRC in 1949 and the planned economy it established soon afterwards, it might give people the belief that substandard products were made in vast quantities. It's definitely not the case: planned economy also means the establishment of industrial associations for overseeing the development of each industry, and importantly, the establishment of quality standards the products had to reach by every manufacturer. Certainly, some manufacturers are inherently better than others: in the fountain pen business, nobody would even pretend that a firm like the Shandong-based Jinyan is of the same standing as the Beijing-based Golden Star.

 

After China "opened up", anything goes, including quality. This is due to the lack of a strong basis of market economy, which allows the "wild west" situation to exist. The state-owned firms like Hero, who was doing a great job back then, suddenly found themselves like the Roman Empire during the last days, being attacked by every two-bit tribe from every angle, and many of them succumbed.

 

I know I am generalizing quite a lot, the users and collectors within Mainland China are willing to pay a premium for pens from the classic era might be an indication of something. However, there is an extra variable: do not think you can get a NOS pen and think it's better than any current, compatible one (such as the Hero 100 and similar pens with long production runs); the old example could very well be the dregs at the bottom of the barrel too.


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#19 EirwenZh

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Posted 12 August 2014 - 08:47

Among Chinese pen users, old products seem to have a better reputation. The price of older products are rising.
My pen is Wing Sung 103, in 90s.
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#20 fpenluver

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Posted 20 August 2014 - 06:33

fpn_1408516248__kin_sin_for_forum.jpg

 

As promised, here is one of the old one. The brand is Kin Sin.

The aerometric metal is thicker than Hero 616. The plastic feels sturdy. The finish is smooth.

It is pretty much like Hero 100 quality.







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