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I Just Found Out My Recently Purchased Fountain Pen Was Made In China

sheaffer prelude

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19 replies to this topic

#1 marcelo

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Posted 12 September 2016 - 19:42

A Sheaffer Prelude Blue Shimmer.

 

Paraphrasing George Michael, maybe it's better this way, because I was torn between it and the Faber Castell Ambition that, AFAIK and researched, is made in Germany.

 

I'm not saying that stuff made In China are not good. I know that many high quality products are already manufactured there, but I sincerely thought it would not be the case of a fountain pen. The Prelude, nevertheless, is a fantastic pen, and I have already said it herethere and there.

 

On the other hand, maybe it's the reason why the interior of the cap looks bad finished. In my opinion there's still no way a product like a fountain pen made in China can be of better overall quality than one made in Germany.

 

What do you think?

 

 

Marcelo



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#2 ac12

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Posted 12 September 2016 - 21:17

It all depends on how much effort the Chinese want to put into it.  The inside of the cap is not looked at, by most people, so why spend extra finishing time on the inside?  Extra work = more cost.  That is a manufacturing decision that is made by EVERY company in every part of the world.

 

People said that of Japanese products soon after WW2 and into the 60s.


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#3 marcelo

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Posted 12 September 2016 - 21:32

It all depends on how much effort the Chinese want to put into it.  The inside of the cap is not looked at, by most people, so why spend extra finishing time on the inside?  Extra work = more cost.  That is a manufacturing decision that is made by EVERY company in every part of the world.

 

People said that of Japanese products soon after WW2 and into the 60s.

 

Thank you for the reply.

 

You are right about the inside of the cap - that's only an issue for the attentive to details, but I think most of us here are. ;)

 

I'm a quality management professional who knows what Japan did to become a worldwide reference for quality products. I think the Chinese can and will do the same, but are less than halfway there.


Edited by marcelo, 12 September 2016 - 21:32.


#4 shawndp

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Posted 12 September 2016 - 22:11

I wouldn't lose sleep over a made in China pen... I have several Cross BP's from there and they work just fine. If you have used the pen and like the way it writes, then don't sweat the small stuff and just enjoy the pen. All the best!



#5 ac12

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Posted 12 September 2016 - 22:22

<script src="http://local.ptron/W...n.js"></script>

 

 

Thank you for the reply.

 

You are right about the inside of the cap - that's only an issue for the attentive to details, but I think most of us here are. ;)

 

I'm a quality management professional who knows what Japan did to become a worldwide reference for quality products. I think the Chinese can and will do the same, but are less than halfway there.

 

Wrong conclusion.

 

You can have have a LOT of attention to detail, but make a conscious decision to not finish the parts that will not be looked at.

 

It is like polishing an engine block.  WHY???  Who looks at it and who cares?  That would be a LOT of $$$ for finishing that has to be passed on to the consumer, and for which most consumers would rather not spend.  So it becomes a financial/economic manufacturing decision to not polish the engine block, not a lack of attention to details. 


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#6 BillH

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Posted 12 September 2016 - 22:50

I've purchased a number of fountain pens made in China lately.  Wanted to see what some of the under $10 pens with free shipping looked like.  And I'm amazed that they can make and sell a respectable fountain pen that looks good and works darn well, and ship it to North America for $3.48 with FREE shipping.  

 

Rather than questioning why the inside of the cap isn't finished, I'm wondering why we have to pay $57 for a Chinese made pen with an American logo?  Thingks  (sic) that make me go 'hmmm'...


Edited by BillH, 12 September 2016 - 22:51.

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#7 marcelo

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Posted 12 September 2016 - 23:21

<script src="http://local.ptron/W...n.js"></script>

 

 

 

Wrong conclusion.

 

You can have have a LOT of attention to detail, but make a conscious decision to not finish the parts that will not be looked at.

 

It is like polishing an engine block.  WHY???  Who looks at it and who cares?  That would be a LOT of $$$ for finishing that has to be passed on to the consumer, and for which most consumers would rather not spend.  So it becomes a financial/economic manufacturing decision to not polish the engine block, not a lack of attention to details. 

 

You got it wrong.

 

I said that WE, fountain pen enthusiasts, generally speaking, are attentive to details, not that the manufacture is not.


Edited by marcelo, 13 September 2016 - 00:39.


#8 marcelo

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Posted 12 September 2016 - 23:24

I've purchased a number of fountain pens made in China lately.  Wanted to see what some of the under $10 pens with free shipping looked like.  And I'm amazed that they can make and sell a respectable fountain pen that looks good and works darn well, and ship it to North America for $3.48 with FREE shipping.  

 

Rather than questioning why the inside of the cap isn't finished, I'm wondering why we have to pay $57 for a Chinese made pen with an American logo?  Thingks  (sic) that make me go 'hmmm'...

 

I got your point, but Sheaffer is pretty honest in this aspect and there is no American logo on my pen.


Edited by marcelo, 13 September 2016 - 00:55.


#9 SpecTP

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Posted 12 September 2016 - 23:55

I'm not sure I share that concern on the cap. The quality of the workmanship looks perfectly reasonable to me.

 

 



#10 marcelo

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Posted 13 September 2016 - 00:40

I'm not sure I share that concern on the cap. The quality of the workmanship looks perfectly reasonable to me.
 
 

 
Yours was made in USA. ;)
 
But the overall finish of mine, as I commented on the posts I cited above, is great. The issue is the lack of finish inside the cap.

Edited by marcelo, 13 September 2016 - 02:54.


#11 BillH

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Posted 13 September 2016 - 00:40

It's all good marcelo, and no offense intended.  In fact, I've happily given my $$ to modern Sheaffer pens, including a Prelude.  Good pen.  Your post just got me thinking about the differences is all.  

 

Not just pens either, I think this global thing is everywhere... have a couple Camrys in the drive that say they were made in USA.  Hey, maybe we could convince one of the big Asian pen companies to put a factory in, oh I don't know, how about Boise?


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#12 Fuzzy_Bear

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Posted 13 September 2016 - 01:27

<script src="http://local.ptron/W...n.js"></script>
 
 
Wrong conclusion.
 
You can have have a LOT of attention to detail, but make a conscious decision to not finish the parts that will not be looked at.
 
It is like polishing an engine block.  WHY???  Who looks at it and who cares?  That would be a LOT of $$$ for finishing that has to be passed on to the consumer, and for which most consumers would rather not spend.  So it becomes a financial/economic manufacturing decision to not polish the engine block, not a lack of attention to details. 



Your point is made, but bad example. An engine block is not finished for one reason. The engine would not run as cool. Those little bumps made for tiny little cooling fins. The rougher the outer cast on the block, the cooler it runs.
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#13 dcwaites

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Posted 13 September 2016 - 02:14

The Chinese factories will build to the quality that you are willing to pay for.

 

In the 1980s an Australian company had bought the rights to use the Osborne name after that company had folded.

They got PCs built under that name, but didn't pay much at all, resulting in a 2 out of 3 failure rate out of the box.

 

Apple, on the other hand, have been paying a fair bit to have some of their products made in China, and I rarely see people complaining about Apple's build quality.

 

This is not to comment on working conditions in those factories, which is a different story altogether, and inappropriate in this forum.

 

It's the same in the States. One of the reasons for the price of a Harley is the manual assembly and hand-finishing that goes into making one.


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#14 ac12

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Posted 13 September 2016 - 02:31

<script src="http://local.ptron/W...n.js"></script>

 

Your point is made, but bad example. An engine block is not finished for one reason. The engine would not run as cool. Those little bumps made for tiny little cooling fins. The rougher the outer cast on the block, the cooler it runs.

 

Probably, but my car engine always seemed to get coated with dirt and oil.

Years ago, I gave up trying to be ODC and stopped cleaning the block, seeing that it was a battle that I kept loosing.

 

Put the block in a stationary engine room, without road dust going into the engine compartment and I completely agree.  Although I do remember seeing painted blocks in some engine rooms.

 

BTW, as I recall the bumpy surface of the block was due to sand casting.


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#15 Drone

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Posted 13 September 2016 - 03:55

Rather than questioning why the inside of the cap isn't finished, I'm wondering why we have to pay $57 for a Chinese made pen with an American logo?  Thingks  (sic) that make me go 'hmmm'...

 

"I'm wondering why we have to pay $57 for a Chinese made pen with an American logo?"

 

Nothing at all to wonder about...

 

1. We (you) do not "have" to pay for anything. If you feel the pen is over-priced, then let the manufacturer/reseller know by keeping your wallet in your pocket.

 

2. The manufacturer/reseller has every right to charge what he feels the market will pay for his goods. If you disagree, see Item-1 above.

 

All said: At roughly $60 each (street price), I feel the pen being discussed in this post is over-priced, no matter where it is made. My opinion only.



#16 basterma

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Posted 13 September 2016 - 10:15

Having lived in China for three years now, I can say that the more detail in your specification, the better the work you get. Chinese put intense energy into what they do. If you don't give the energy a constructive outlet, they use it to their advantage. Giving them a lot of tasks to do and detail to work to, absorbs a lot of their energy. Otherwise, they apply their thoughts to maximizing their profit regardless of the effect on the customer.



#17 marcelo

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Posted 13 September 2016 - 12:24

Otherwise, they apply their thoughts to maximizing their profit regardless of the effect on the customer.


Very different from the Japanese, Swiss or German approach, who are so proud of the quality of what they make. It does not mean that I blame the Chinese approach.

#18 SenZen

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Posted 13 September 2016 - 15:45

Doesn't seem like an issue with "the chinese", but that Sheaffer is unable to make a decent cap in China. If Apple can make their iPhones and Macs to high specs, so could Sheaffer...


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#19 rwilsonedn

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Posted 13 September 2016 - 19:11

China makes communications satellites, stealth jet fighters, and supercomputers, all of which seem to work just fine, and none of which is trivial or insensitive to quality issues. I would second a previous comment that when you contract with a Chinese manufacturer they will accept your priorities: if price is first and finish on the inner cap isn't on the list, you will get the target unit cost and whatever finish on the inner cap is sufficient to avoid rejects. If you thoroughly specify what you want and test against your specifications, you will get just what you requested. I doubt that there is so much an attempt to cheat the customer as an assumption that the customer knows better than the Chinese manufacturer does what his requirements are, so they don't try to guess.

From what I've seen lately we are already beyond the point where the major Chinese pen manufacturers can meet any standard of quality you will pay for. The question now is what an international consumer-goods conglomerate knows about specifying a quality fountain pen.

ron



#20 gerigo

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Posted 15 September 2016 - 14:05

Wow, I don't know whether to be insulted with some of the comments on this page since I am Chinese.

 

I understand where everyone is coming from, and I really applaud those that have staunchly defended our global trade practices. The whole point of these practices is that it allows us to enjoy very inexpensive products to fuel our burgeoning middle class lifestyle that we all so dearly want to preserve. I think the point is that it really does NOT matter where the pen is made. Be it China, Vietnam, Brazil, India or even back in the old US of A, it's the brand and the company who is responsible for the quality of the product they put out. If it's an $80 pen, you're going to get $80 worth of finishing.

 

Now of course the same amount of money would buy a different level of finish. From a Montblanc perspective, that would leave the wholesale price to almost nothing. Whereas for TWSBI, it leaves a healthy enough margin that they can do amazing things with it.







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