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Fountain Pens With Ink Windows


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#1 Dr_Jekyll

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Posted 13 January 2018 - 20:04

Hello everyone!

My very first fountain pen was given to me by an amazing english teacher who loved fountain pens. He gave me a Pelikan m200 with a black cap, burgundy body, and gold trim. One thing that really caught my eye was the marvelous ink window that transitioned seamlessly into the burgundy body of the pen. Absolutely stunning!

Unfortunately, while studying in my university library, I left my table for less than a minute to get some napkins to wipe off the ink from my m200 and when I came back, someone had taken it...

Absolutely devastated, I have been trying to find a fountain pen that would give me as much joy as that Pelikan. I know I could just go out and buy myself any pelikan from the Souverän series and be just as happy, but the price point makes it a little difficult for a student budget.

Since then, I've been looking for fountain pens with ink windows that don't break the bank. I was wondering, are there any that you could recommend? Also, if price were not anything to worry about, are there any other fountain pens with ink windows that are currently available and highly recommended?

Thank you!

-Dr. Jekyll

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#2 Water Ouzel

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Posted 13 January 2018 - 20:19

Lamy 2000, Safari, Al-Star. (~$150, $30, $50)

 

Pilot Varsity, Platinum Preppy (~$3)

 

Lots of (made in India) fountain pens from Fountain Pen Revolution, which start around $12.

 

Any "Demonstator" (a pen with transparent body) the which can range from $2 on up.



#3 Bo Bo Olson

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Posted 13 January 2018 - 20:48

I don't know Stateside prices.....I just got the new Marbled brown Pelikan 200 for @ E-75 new. You would have to pay postage from Germany which is much, much cheaper than US postage. You have to have Paypal.

(WWW.fritz-schimpf.de..............they have been in business for over a hundred years....ask for postage price also.)

DSPqv6F.jpg

 

Changes shades as you roll or tilt the pen.

 

You could look in German Ebay for used 200's which will work as good as new, XXX :yikes: :headsmack: :doh:

Go for the new one, the prices I seen for 'Buy It Now Idiot' and even auctions are much higher.

That was a shock....I normally look for old 400-400nn's (for near the same price....cheaper in some cases...no ink window but hold to the light and look through the stripes.

You are not ready for semi-flex of the '50-65 era until you have had 4 pens....IMO.

 

The Chinese have some piston pens finally, but I don't know if they have an ink window. I know nothing about them but they just started selling them.

 

Shirt pockets are a must with a fountain pen......invented for fountain pens in @1895......they are not made for pants pockets. Stick the pen in the pocket after every use....and pens don't become lost or broken from sitting on them.

 

Have your name engraved into the next pen....that was a mark of class :thumbup: back in B&W TV days...One Man-One Pen time.....now 'everyone' is thinking about re-sale.

Had I done that back in the days of the big nickle Snickers, I wouldn't have had my pen stolen every year...until Bic came and if you held on to the cap....no one stole it.

 

If you get one with a window, do not use any red ink in them....and purple or supersaturated ink should be cleaned out every filling, in they will stain....sooner or later.

 

That don't go for traditional inks of Pelikan, MB, R&K and Herbin among others; which are perfect inks for ink windows.


Edited by Bo Bo Olson, 13 January 2018 - 20:52.

Everyone says poor Mozart dead at only 36. None say poor Mendelson, dead at only 38. His family only allowed him to start at 20, but before, musicians use to come to the Mendelson garden to steal the music of Mendelson and his sister. A good artist also, can still buy prints of his famous Scottish drawings in Scotland.

 

www.nibs.com/blog/nibster-writes/nibs-germany      Info on Bock nibs

 

The cheapest lessons are from those who learned expensive lessons. Ignorance is best for learning expensive lessons.

 

Pens/inks/paper on hold for a year....new addiction pocket watch chains. :happyberet:


#4 voltron

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Posted 13 January 2018 - 21:22

Your cheapest option is to probably grab a pack of Dollar 717s off ebay. They're nice but don't expect their quality to be even close to that of Pelikan.


Edited by voltron, 14 January 2018 - 16:02.


#5 stephanos

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Posted 13 January 2018 - 21:25

That really sucks! Sorry to hear about the theft.

 

If getting a Pelikan 200 doesn't break the bank, you'll probably be happiest doing that: replacing like for like, even if it's a little more expensive. Bo Bo offers good sourcing advice above.

 

Assuming you can't afford a Pelikan 200 on your current budget, then I'm afraid I don't know of any fountain pens at the lower end that have the same ink window as the Pelikan, with the window flowing into the barrel. You would have to compromise.

 

Here are four options for inexpensive-but-good fountain pens with an easy way of telling the ink level:

 

1. TWSBI Eco - demonstrator pen (i.e. totall clear), so you can always tell the ink level. These are well-made and use a piston, which you are familiar with from the Pelikan.

 

2. Lamy Safari or Al-Star - these have a hole in them to show the ink level. Be aware that they have a triangular grip section that some find off-putting. Cartridge/converter pen. (The Lamy Vista is an entirely-clear-plastic version)

 

3. Sailor Pro-Color in translucent blue. Cartridge/converter pen

 

4. Kaweco Sport (plastic version). Cartridge pen, though you can get a short converter.

 

These are all solid, reliable pens that write well. In each case, choose the same width nib as you had before (except the Sailor, which is a thinner line, though I think they only come in Medium, which is no wider than a modern Pelikan Fine).

You could also go for the Indian pens suggested above.

The Lamy 2000 is lovely, but will almost certainly cost more than a Pelikan 200.

 

If you really, really want the Pelikan-style window, then you're probably best off looking online for vintage pens. But that's probably not your best best right now.

 

One final thought: if you're not madly into fountain pens already, I would suggest choosing something that costs you under $50 and just using it for a while. Roll a dice if necessary. Seriously: there is plenty of time in the future to explore the rabbit-hole that is the fountain pen world. Online stores such as Gouletpens.com (no affiliation) have useful filtering tools to help you with this.

 

Please let us know how you get on.



#6 French

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Posted 13 January 2018 - 21:42

Like Others have mentioned the Dollar 717 seems to fit the bill, but, wont be the same fit and finish as the Pelikan. Hisnibs.com tests and adjusts the pens he sells, ensuring a good out of box experience.
http://www.hisnibs.com/717i.htm

In the $40 range are the Noodlers ebonite Konrads. I have had very good luck with my two, others have had mixed experience.

French

#7 bugsydog55

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Posted 13 January 2018 - 21:53

Besides the Indian pens that have been mentioned (many of these have translucent ink windows but are mainly eyedroppers) there are some spectacular pens from China.  Wing Sung currently makes several that are quite good and are not very expensive.  The model 3008 is a piston filler that writes very well and is in a variety of demonstrator colors.  Model 618 is a hooded nib variety that is also a piston filler and comes in demonstrator colors or the newer ones can be purchased with solid colors and ink windows.  These are an extraordinary value and can be obtained through Ebay in just a matter of a few weeks.  For less than 20.00 dollars you could have a 618 in a color of your choice and three or four 3008's.  All of these write great, hold a ton of ink and are easy to maintain.  And you won't be devastated if someone walks off with one of them.



#8 Dr_Jekyll

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Posted 14 January 2018 - 00:06

Thank you everyone for your informative responses! I'm new to FPN and it's great to feel the sense of community already. It might help to give a little bit of background to my pen experience as well.

I have been using fountain pens for about 4 years now. In my senior year of high school, I became quite interested in fine writing and calligraphy due to the fact that I wanted to go into medecine (I did not want to feed the stereotype of doctors with bad writing 😛) and because of the beautiful pens my english teacher had (I'm pretty sure he always had a Meisterstück 149 and a Montblanc Heritage 1912 on him at all times haha). After the pen he gave me was stolen, I bought myself a few jinhao pens (jinhao 159 and x750) and played with the Chinese market for a little while. I met up with my teacher again and he was nice enough to give me a lamy safari, a pen I use often to take notes in class. From there, I ventured out into Cross pens (Aventura and Bailey) that I was able to get for a really good deal. I then learned about the difference between Japanese nibs and German nibs after purchasing a pilot metropolitan, which I enjoy using very much. My interest in calligraphy expanded to flex nibs, which followed with the purchase of a Noodler's Konrad. This Christmas, my family caught on to my love (or obsession? 😉) for fountain pens and I was blessed to have been gifted a Platinum Century 3776 in soft fine, a Hero H718, and a Faber Castell Ambition (all of them amazing writers in their own way!).

Its funny because none of those pens have ink windows! 😂 I do agree with everyone that I should buy a pelikan. I think my biggest problem is not being able to use it before purchasing it. There's something so personal about pens that begs me to feel them in my hand before committing, especially at the higher price points. However, based on all of the review I've read of Pelikan and many other german brands, I doubt there is much for me to worry about 😊.

I also looked at the website www.fritz-schimpf.de and unfortunately, I don't speak german (though I plan on learning it in the near future). Is there an option to translate the site into English?

I'm also interested in knowing about pens that are way beyond my price range! Why? Well, it's nice to have some "Grail Pens" in mind for when I finish medical school, no? 😉

Thanks everyone!

#9 AmandaW

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Posted 14 January 2018 - 01:11

The Wing Sung 698 comes in a couple of solid body colours which have an ink window - it's a little bit different. From memory it's available in black, pale blue and ivory.

 

698.jpg


It's all about the greys...


#10 escribo

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Posted 14 January 2018 - 02:21

In the $40 range are the Noodlers ebonite Konrads. I have had very good luck with my two, others have had mixed experience.

French

 

And for $15 more I added a nice 1.1mm stub nib to my ebonite Konrad. Now I find that I go for that pen way more often than any of the 10 or so that are inked up and within arm's length; it's just so dadgum reliable now.  And the Konrad holds a lot of ink. A bonus with that pen is that I love the smell of ebonite--smells a lot like burning rubber, as in tire burnouts. :D (YMMV) The acrylic (non-ebonite) demonstrator ones are about half that.


I may not have been much help, but I DID bump your thread up to the top.


#11 Runnin_Ute

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Posted 14 January 2018 - 02:35

Thank you everyone for your informative responses! I'm new to FPN and it's great to feel the sense of community already. It might help to give a little bit of background to my pen experience as well.

I have been using fountain pens for about 4 years now. In my senior year of high school, I became quite interested in fine writing and calligraphy due to the fact that I wanted to go into medecine (I did not want to feed the stereotype of doctors with bad writing ) and because of the beautiful pens my english teacher had (I'm pretty sure he always had a Meisterstück 149 and a Montblanc Heritage 1912 on him at all times haha). After the pen he gave me was stolen, I bought myself a few jinhao pens (jinhao 159 and x750) and played with the Chinese market for a little while. I met up with my teacher again and he was nice enough to give me a lamy safari, a pen I use often to take notes in class. From there, I ventured out into Cross pens (Aventura and Bailey) that I was able to get for a really good deal. I then learned about the difference between Japanese nibs and German nibs after purchasing a pilot metropolitan, which I enjoy using very much. My interest in calligraphy expanded to flex nibs, which followed with the purchase of a Noodler's Konrad. This Christmas, my family caught on to my love (or obsession? ) for fountain pens and I was blessed to have been gifted a Platinum Century 3776 in soft fine, a Hero H718, and a Faber Castell Ambition (all of them amazing writers in their own way!).

Its funny because none of those pens have ink windows! I do agree with everyone that I should buy a pelikan. I think my biggest problem is not being able to use it before purchasing it. There's something so personal about pens that begs me to feel them in my hand before committing, especially at the higher price points. However, based on all of the review I've read of Pelikan and many other german brands, I doubt there is much for me to worry about .

I also looked at the website www.fritz-schimpf.de and unfortunately, I don't speak german (though I plan on learning it in the near future). Is there an option to translate the site into English?

I'm also interested in knowing about pens that are way beyond my price range! Why? Well, it's nice to have some "Grail Pens" in mind for when I finish medical school, no?

Thanks everyone!


In the UK there is The Writing Desk. I paid 87.50 GBP for my M200 brown marbled from them. Shipping was about $5.65 GBP. Martin & Anna are great to work with too.

Or you could go the ebay route and hope to get lucky. I got a M200 a couple of years ago for under $50.

Edited by Runnin_Ute, 14 January 2018 - 02:36.

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#12 SoulSamurai

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Posted 14 January 2018 - 03:31

Noodlers Nib Creaper and resin Konrad have ink windows, but they dry out very quickly even when capped. The ebonite Konrad lacks the ink window but shouldn't dry out anywhere near as quick. Noodler's pens can take some fiddling to get them writing nicely.

TWSBI has some piston and vac-filler pens, most are demonstrators but the Classic haa an ink window.

#13 Dr_Jekyll

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Posted 14 January 2018 - 17:05

I don't know Stateside prices.....I just got the new Marbled brown Pelikan 200 for @ E-75 new. You would have to pay postage from Germany which is much, much cheaper than US postage. You have to have Paypal.
(WWW.fritz-schimpf.de..............they have been in business for over a hundred years....ask for postage price also.)
DSPqv6F.jpg
 
Changes shades as you roll or tilt the pen.
 
You could look in German Ebay for used 200's which will work as good as new, XXX :yikes: :headsmack: :doh:
Go for the new one, the prices I seen for 'Buy It Now Idiot' and even auctions are much higher.
That was a shock....I normally look for old 400-400nn's (for near the same price....cheaper in some cases...no ink window but hold to the light and look through the stripes.
You are not ready for semi-flex of the '50-65 era until you have had 4 pens....IMO.
 
The Chinese have some piston pens finally, but I don't know if they have an ink window. I know nothing about them but they just started selling them.
 
Shirt pockets are a must with a fountain pen......invented for fountain pens in @1895......they are not made for pants pockets. Stick the pen in the pocket after every use....and pens don't become lost or broken from sitting on them.
 
Have your name engraved into the next pen....that was a mark of class :thumbup: back in B&W TV days...One Man-One Pen time.....now 'everyone' is thinking about re-sale.
Had I done that back in the days of the big nickle Snickers, I wouldn't have had my pen stolen every year...until Bic came and if you held on to the cap....no one stole it.
 
If you get one with a window, do not use any red ink in them....and purple or supersaturated ink should be cleaned out every filling, in they will stain....sooner or later.
 
That don't go for traditional inks of Pelikan, MB, R&K and Herbin among others; which are perfect inks for ink windows.


Hi Bo Bo Olson, thank you for all of the information! I checked out the site you recommended, but unfortunately I do not speak german. Is there a way to translate the site into english/an English version of the site?

#14 Bo Bo Olson

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Posted 14 January 2018 - 17:33

They do speak a good English....E-Mail: service@fritz-schimpf.de

They don't have the English button found on many German companies sites.

 

I made a mistake or the price went up to E84............ :rolleyes:....got the 4 right. :)

Pen found in 'neuheiten'.  third page.

 

Ah Ha, found Japanese inks for E24 still much more than I want, but a hell of a lot less than the E70 they were a couple of years ago before Amazon.....which is another place to check.

 

Check the $ to Euro and $ to pound rate.


Edited by Bo Bo Olson, 14 January 2018 - 17:34.

Everyone says poor Mozart dead at only 36. None say poor Mendelson, dead at only 38. His family only allowed him to start at 20, but before, musicians use to come to the Mendelson garden to steal the music of Mendelson and his sister. A good artist also, can still buy prints of his famous Scottish drawings in Scotland.

 

www.nibs.com/blog/nibster-writes/nibs-germany      Info on Bock nibs

 

The cheapest lessons are from those who learned expensive lessons. Ignorance is best for learning expensive lessons.

 

Pens/inks/paper on hold for a year....new addiction pocket watch chains. :happyberet:


#15 French

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Posted 14 January 2018 - 17:48

The ebonite Konrad lacks the ink window but shouldn't dry out anywhere near as quick. Noodler's pens can take some fiddling to get them writing nicely.

TWSBI has some piston and vac-filler pens, most are demonstrators but the Classic haa an ink window.


Is that a new design on ebonite Konrads? My two are a couple of years old and both have ink windows.

#16 SoulSamurai

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Posted 14 January 2018 - 18:04

Is that a new design on ebonite Konrads? My two are a couple of years old and both have ink windows.


Oops, sorry, I think I mixed up the ebobite Konrad with the ebonite Neponset. Which isn't a piston filler. I'm going to go stand in a corner now, please ignore me.

Edited by SoulSamurai, 14 January 2018 - 18:05.


#17 French

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Posted 14 January 2018 - 18:48

Oops, sorry, I think I mixed up the ebobite Konrad with the ebonite Neponset. Which isn't a piston filler. I'm going to go stand in a corner now, please ignore me.


No worries. I was wondering what would have prompted the design change (a leaky window would spell disaster as one of my Konrads is a Baystate ink pen).

#18 mitto

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Posted 15 January 2018 - 11:42

German piston filler pens (other than Pelikan and MBs) with large clear ink windows. Like Osmia F.C, Trupen etc.
Khan

#19 sansenri

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Posted 15 January 2018 - 23:20

if you can, the choice you will not regret is get a new m200...

 

good recommendation however is to try a Wing Sung, the 3008, or 698 are demonstrators so you can see the ink, and cost is really a fraction of a Pelikan, so worth trying if you are on a tight budget

you will notice the difference in the nib, stiffer than the pelikan, but not bad



#20 Olya

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Posted 15 January 2018 - 23:57

You can translate whole pages via google translate or if you use google chrome, then it's even easier (the add-on in G Chrome makes it even better).

Go to google, select the language relevant to your querry, copy + paste the web page instead of text, and click on the link in the translated section. Very easy!

 

I did it for you, just click on the link.

 

https://translate.go...t-text=&act=url

 

I also recommend simply getting a Pelikan, whenever your budget allows you to. I think most of us can tell you from experience that it is no good to get "substitutes" for the pens we really want, because sooner or later (often sooner) we purchase the pen we really wanted in the first place anyway and at times regret getting the substitute, which is a waste of money.

 

Also look at the Pilot Prera, they have a demonstrator line (Iro Ai) along the fully coloured/ opaque one, use the same nib & feed as the Metro, but are similar in size to Pelikan's m2xx and I personally like the Prera much better than the Metro. Sailor's ProColor is great too, only available in F though (the blue demonstrator is beautiful), but as you've experienced a Platinum (S)F you'll know how fine it is and whether it suits you.

 

For Japanese pens the best places are ebay & amazon for the best price.

 

PS As you're a student, a tip: use google books, the stuff you can find there is amazing. Esp if you're too swamped or lazy to go to the library, or have to many hard copies as is and can't carry any more, or need just some tiny quote to prop up your "quoted sources" in a paper... And carrying all those books isn't easy either. When I returned the books after finishing my dissertations I had to enlist help, I basically had half the library at my flat... I started using google books fairly late, but it was a life saver and I wish I had discovered it sooner!


Edited by Olya, 16 January 2018 - 00:04.







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