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Guider Egg In Acrylic And Ebonite Review

guider indian acrylic ebonite kanwrite nib eyedropper

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#1 Samrat

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Posted 02 October 2016 - 18:59

Hello everyone.

 

I went for Guider egg acrylic fountain pen impulsively after reading a review by fellow Indian FPN gold member Prithwijit for ASA Santulan. Interested persons might like to first read through the wonderful introduction about fountain pen shapes, which practically went well above my head. So I concentrated more on the pictures, and immediately knew I needed a pen with "pointed top and end" (well, less technically).

 

Obviously I didn't have the Conway Stuart material, neither the ability to design pens on CAD software and implement it. So I had to look for some ready made pen showing the particular traits in shape, which to burrow Prithijit's language is '...a cigar shaped pen with a torpedo like barrel and a pyramid like cap'  and I stumbled across one of the current production models from 'Guider' pens, the Guider Egg.  

Now one disclaimer - This pen is nothing in front of Prithwijit's ASA Santulan, period. I have the propensity to seek small little joys out of nothing when other routes might be temporarily out of reach ( here it was the CS blanks). So, his review inspired me, gave me immense joy and one day I'll make my own version, till then let me review this little beauty.

 

Guider pen was started by Mr. G. Subbarao in 1946 in a place called Rajahmundry, by the banks of river Godavari in Andhra Pradesh. This is the same place where another patron of Indian made fountain pens, Ratnam and Brothers flourished. This small town became a place with rich tradition and impeccable artistry in making hand made fountain pens, just as India was at the threshold of becoming independent, both politically and economically. Its difficult to envision the extreme hardship, endeavor and dexterity of workers to produce completely hand made pens, without electricity, without Government support, in a shrinking market for fountain pens. There were definitely all those golden years for Indian Fountain pens post independence, with stalwarts from every walks of Indian society supporting the industry, but those were short. What followed was something akin to a dark winter, ball pens taking over the world, these facilities shrinking and getting eliminated with stiff competition from more organised and cheaper Chinese, Japanese and other European fountain pens, in whatever minuscule market that remained for these pens. Today, Subbarao's son, Mr. G. Lakhamana Rao oversees Guider's operations. I can feel his love for these pens. They are like materialized  emotions, personifying love, care, sweat, joy, hope and heartbreak of Rajahmundry, a small obscure town at one end of this subcontinent, trying hard to keep at least part of its rich past traditions alive.

 

That's enough ramblingsfor now, but this is to emphasize why I go back to these pens, why I overlook their flaws and fight for them. If loving ones own history and heritage is quirky, then using fountain pen in this age is quirkier enough.

 

I bought Acrylic version first, in brown material with white swirls. Later I was so impressed with the feel of this pen in hand, I searched out and bought the ebonite version in matte black as well. I'll review both together.

 

1. Appearance & Design:  Both pens look beautiful in their own way.  Obviously the acrylic swirls are more captivating and feels more costly. But the ebonite matte finish is also very good, for an ebonite lover at least. the Acrylic version is smaller and thinner than the ebonite, but that's expected. The cap on acrylic pen is longer than ebonite cap. It is because the pyramid shaped finial on the acrylic cap is larger. both the pens are cigar shaped with gradual  smooth tapering to pointed ends. The clips are typical golden coloured flat clips with Guider written on them, the quality of paint is not very good with some small imperfections exposing the underlying metal at some places. Though I haven't found any rusting after some intensive use at humid conditions. Both clips behaves well and secures the pen in shirt pocket without being tight. There is no other branding on body, which suits the design. The acrylic version has two golden rings at cap end, protecting the cap. Ebonite version doesn't have end rings on cap, but the end surface has been made glossy skillfully, so it looks pretty attractive even without the rings. The pyramidal finials are flushed with the cap, that's a nice feature for the design to work well. Both sections are tapered towards the nib and both have a small step just beneath the nib for easy finger rest. The sections are well designed for long writing sessions, and threads don't pose any problem while gripping.

 

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Guider Egg in Brown swirl acrylic and matte black ebonite

 

 

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2. Construction & Quality : I am no authority about acrylic and ebonite quality as I don't have many world class costly pens to compare with, but they don't feel cheap. The trim quality is not very good and this is one of the big problems plaguing Indian hand made fountain pen market. The finish is very good. the acrylic pen don't show ant imperfections in the body and cap. The ebonite matte finish is  smooth and warm to touch. Both the caps closes on respective bodies with about two and half turns, no tightness is felt anywhere. The section secures well in both the pens, there is no leaking problem. The acrylic section is easily screwed over its body. Ebonite section faces some stiffness while turning initially, later it screws on rather smoothly. Both the pens are lightweight and much thinner than similar pens from many other Indian makers. 

 

fpn_1475431858__dsc_0671.jpg

 

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3. Weight & Dimensions :  I don't have exact weight, but both are light weight. The measurements are given in the following picture. It is clear the acrylic version is smaller and thinner, with a larger cap. Both have very good balance, the acrylic one is a bit thin for my choice but holds very well while writing quickly for longer periods. The balance improves further after filling both with ink. Secure posting possible in both of them and neither becomes oversize after posting. I use all my fountain pens without posting.  

 

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Size measurements

 

 

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From left to right: Kaweco sports, Sheaffer no-nonsense, Pilot Metropolitan, Guider egg acrylic, Guider egg ebonite.

 

 

4. Nib & Performance: Guider nibs are unpredictable. I had to change the nib of Acrylic version with a #5 Kanwrite fine nib and after some adjustment, it writes in accordance with the feel of the pen. It appears like a spear in hand, and the kanwrite nib writes with just the appropriate balance of feedback and smoothness, just like a spear would behave in my hand. The nib of the ebonite version is a bit larger, but fortunately it was good. After some smoothing on a nail file, it behaved well for daily use. The nibs are one of the disadvantages of these pens, so if one is not comfortable with nib tuning or nib swapping, better not to go for these pens. Both nibs write fine with adequate flow, flow of ebonite version more than acrylic one, but not much difference. Both have friction fit nib and feed. The feeds are probably made of ebonite.

 

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fpn_1475432528__untitled-1.jpg

 

 

5. Filling System & Maintenance : Both are eyedropper as default design. But I think if requested Mr. Lakhamana Rao can arrange for other filling mechanisms at some extra price. The maintenance is minimum, at most amounting to periodical application of silicone grease at the threads and occasional flushing after pulling out the friction fit nib and feed. 

 

fpn_1475432451__dsc_0725.jpg

 

 

 

6. Cost & Value : These are cheap pens. Each of them cost around rs 1000-1200 ( 15 $- 18 $ without customs, shipping etc). Even if one has to replace the nibs with kanwrite or Ambitious nibs (both very good quality cheap Indian nib manufacturer), still the price is quite decent for such pens, in my own idea. 

 

7. Conclusion : I love them. I am posting pics and thorough review for others to judge. I'm no expert when it comes to fountain pens, just a plain user who allots some time from his daily routine to these small ceations. The Guider Egg pens, both acrylic and ebonite make me happy when I use them.

 

fpn_1475432305__dsc_0694.jpg

 

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Why there is no marks given in any segment : Let's face it, these pens are nothing in front of so called 'good' international fountain pens. Even many Indian fountain pen users are not satisfied with them when compared to the high standards set by some of the big names in this industry. So, I don't want to give the impressions that these are very high ranking pens, but at the same time I cannot belittle my own joy and the struggle of our cottage industry. I wrote candidly about them, its upto the buyer to dive into these pens. 

 
Contacts: Mr. Rao is very responsive and cooperative, give him some time and he can customise according to ones wishes. His no. for phone and whatsapp-- +91 9390163779.
His website (though no direct buying link) Guider pens. 

 

 



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#2 visvamitra

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Posted 02 October 2016 - 19:40

Great review and brown acrylic looka really nice.



#3 Bobje

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Posted 03 October 2016 - 02:29

This is a detailed, labor-intensive, spectacular review, Samrat. Beautiful photography and an elegant way to present dimensions. Well done!


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#4 amk

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Posted 03 October 2016 - 09:48

Lovely pens and a fascinating review. Though I feel you are a little hard on Indian pens at the end. Compared to pens of the same price in Europe or the US I think Indian pens are terrific. True, your Guider pens will not out-write a Pelikan 400, but then, they are not in that price range. I find the pens are also extremely comfortable to write with, for the most part.

 

Observation on the quality of the trim is correct, though. I think most Indian manufacturers now have addressed the issues with nibs, often by making it easier to swap, or by offering Bock/Jowo as an option, but the clips do sometimes let the pens down. (I have bought quite a few of mine clipless.)

 

Now if you really want a nasty Indian pen to be abusive about... there are some horrors on sale near Crawford Market at 100 rupees each, in blister packs... ugh. (I was fortunate enough to find some nice gentlemen who sold me a bunch of Guiders at not very much more!)


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#5 mhguda

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Posted 03 October 2016 - 11:33

Very nice review Samrat and I agree with amk that you're too harsh on Indian pens. I have by now a quite large collection of them and love most of them: I prefer them even above my Montblanc Boheme...

I have a pen very similar to yours, and the most ridiculous (to me) part of it is the name of the model... Egg, indeed! I call it the Pointy Guider, because mine tapers even steeper than do yours. Mine is in glossy black ebonite, has three cap rings and the same clip, in chrome. And it is smaller even than yours. The body of the pen is 123 mm long (just measured it!) and the cap is 72 mm. It's also thinner, though I have not measured the width. It feels like a very dainty pen.

Your experience with the nib mirrors mine, I too swapped out the nib. I think I put a #5 Ambitious, chrome colored, in. Never looked back. I just took it up, it lay unused for at least five weeks, and it wrote immediately. A nice wet line.

I'd love to have one of those acrylics though: yours is gorgeous. I can feel the "must have, want that"s starting up. Good thing they don't have a buying link on their website, or I'd have clicked it already. Off to the website...


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#6 Ron Z

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Posted 03 October 2016 - 14:44

They are attractive pens, nice copies of the design introduced by Sheaffer with the Balance pens back in the late 1920s.


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#7 Samrat

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Posted 12 October 2016 - 12:33

Lovely pens and a fascinating review. Though I feel you are a little hard on Indian pens at the end. Compared to pens of the same price in Europe or the US I think Indian pens are terrific. True, your Guider pens will not out-write a Pelikan 400, but then, they are not in that price range. I find the pens are also extremely comfortable to write with, for the most part.
 
Observation on the quality of the trim is correct, though. I think most Indian manufacturers now have addressed the issues with nibs, often by making it easier to swap, or by offering Bock/Jowo as an option, but the clips do sometimes let the pens down. (I have bought quite a few of mine clipless.)
 
Now if you really want a nasty Indian pen to be abusive about... there are some horrors on sale near Crawford Market at 100 rupees each, in blister packs... ugh. (I was fortunate enough to find some nice gentlemen who sold me a bunch of Guiders at not very much more!)


Thanks a lot....Indian fountain pen industry is trying to get going once again..Like you, I would also like to see them doing well by bringing about changes like good trim, standardized nib, etc. The designs are really good as is the expertise. Hoping for a bright future for cheaper fountain pens, cheers...

#8 Samrat

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Posted 12 October 2016 - 12:36

Very nice review Samrat and I agree with amk that you're too harsh on Indian pens. I have by now a quite large collection of them and love most of them: I prefer them even above my Montblanc Boheme...
I have a pen very similar to yours, and the most ridiculous (to me) part of it is the name of the model... Egg, indeed! I call it the Pointy Guider, because mine tapers even steeper than do yours. Mine is in glossy black ebonite, has three cap rings and the same clip, in chrome. And it is smaller even than yours. The body of the pen is 123 mm long (just measured it!) and the cap is 72 mm. It's also thinner, though I have not measured the width. It feels like a very dainty pen.
Your experience with the nib mirrors mine, I too swapped out the nib. I think I put a #5 Ambitious, chrome colored, in. Never looked back. I just took it up, it lay unused for at least five weeks, and it wrote immediately. A nice wet line.
I'd love to have one of those acrylics though: yours is gorgeous. I can feel the "must have, want that"s starting up. Good thing they don't have a buying link on their website, or I'd have clicked it already. Off to the website...


Thanks a lot....I would love to see a pic of your pen, the pointy ebonite one. I call these two Guider spear, more so to the acrylic one. Guider designs are very good, I would love to see their pens getting the place they deserve, with may be schimdt nib units...cheers for future..and do post the pic..

#9 Samrat

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Posted 12 October 2016 - 12:38

This is a detailed, labor-intensive, spectacular review, Samrat. Beautiful photography and an elegant way to present dimensions. Well done!


Thanks Bobje....you know I love to share quirky pens...its all for bettrement of fountain pen community...

#10 Samrat

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Posted 12 October 2016 - 12:40

They are attractive pens, nice copies of the design introduced by Sheaffer with the Balance pens back in the late 1920s.


Thanks Ron...I exactly don't know the details but would love to see a pic of what you mentioned.....the designs are really attractive...

#11 Samrat

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Posted 12 October 2016 - 12:40

Great review and brown acrylic looka really nice.


Thanks a lot...

#12 Ron Z

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Posted 12 October 2016 - 14:04

Thanks Ron...I exactly don't know the details but would love to see a pic of what you mentioned.....the designs are really attractive...

 

The torpedo/cigar shape was a big change from the favored flat top designs of the 1920s and shook up the pen industry.  It was part of the move to "streamlined" designs in about everything from cars and trains, to trash cans. The Balance profile was patented, but that hasn't kept people from copying it in the last 85 years.

 

Just do a search for Sheaffer Balance.  But to get you started, here's a picture of one.

 

pen2284.jpg


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#13 mmg122

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Posted 12 October 2016 - 17:05

Samrat...excellent, well documented review of your Guider Pens. I have had the privilege of buying several pens from the Ranga Company in India and have been very happy to see what great pens are being made in your country. They are some of my favorite pens. The pens I purchased have Jowo nibs and very nice trim without problem. Both of the pens you've reviewed are really lovely. I'd be hard pressed to pick one over the other. In summary, I'd say the fountain pen industry in India is alive and well. I look for bigger and better things to come.

#14 mhguda

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Posted 12 October 2016 - 18:45

Here are two not-so-good pictures - sorry, not a photographer, and used my small phone.

fpn_1476297554__pointy_guider_01.jpg

fpn_1476297639__pointy_guider_02.jpg

Taken under my red parasol in the middle of the day - I tried correcting for overmuch red, hope it comes through a little. This pen may have been originally inspired by the Sheaffer Balance, as Ron says, but it's definitely its own take on it. Especially the cap is much pointier than the Balance (of which I have a small one). I bought this one from fellow FPN member Mesu who had regular contact with Guider. What's interesting is this is one of their few pens that have this distinctive shaped clip (inspired, no doubt, by Pelikan) but no name engraved on it, although most of my other Guiders do have the GUIDER engraved on the clip. Something I'm not really fond of actually.


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#15 mhguda

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Posted 12 October 2016 - 18:46

Oops - double post. Sorry for that...


Edited by mhguda, 12 October 2016 - 18:47.

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#16 mehandiratta

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Posted 13 October 2016 - 06:39

lovely review...

I actually love the matte one in ebonite more...


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#17 mehandiratta

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Posted 13 October 2016 - 06:40

 

The torpedo/cigar shape was a big change from the favored flat top designs of the 1920s and shook up the pen industry.  It was part of the move to "streamlined" designs in about everything from cars and trains, to trash cans. The Balance profile was patented, but that hasn't kept people from copying it in the last 85 years.

 

Just do a search for Sheaffer Balance.  But to get you started, here's a picture of one.

 

pen2284.jpg

 

still the boss


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#18 Sagarb

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Posted 13 October 2016 - 07:33

lovely review...

I actually love the matte one in ebonite more...

Me also..it looks more proportionate..

and Samrat..fantastic review ...pictures are awesome.


Sagar Bhowmick


#19 mhguda

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Posted 13 October 2016 - 11:50

lovely review...

I actually love the matte one in ebonite more...

I see mine as an extravagant pen... It has the three cap bands, and those sharp points at the end. Why settle for matte? I love the shininess of it. I have a few pens in matte ebonite, and it can be lovely, totally agree. But for this one, I like the glossy!


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#20 woleizihan

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Posted 17 October 2016 - 18:12

Beautiful pen and nice review. Thanks. I'm really curious what kind of nib could fit into the acrylic one. The #5 nib looks a little smaller and it would be just fantastic if you can fit a two tone Balance nib in there.





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