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How Many Onotos Do You Own

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#21 ralfstc

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Posted 28 February 2018 - 20:57

That K4 nib will be a wet broad. They seem (in my experience anyway) to come mostly in a flexible fine or a broad (I have one that could be considered mediumy). They are cracking little pens. I have never had one with a piston issue yet, though a bit of lube around the piston seal is often helpful. Their weak point is the plastic itself, which may be cracked, typically the hood/shell and the cap lip. I haven't had any crack while I've owned them, even with daily use, so I wonder if the ones that are stable will stay stable.

 

It is very easy to open the front and clean up the feed and nib-- basically it's a tiny, cute version of a standard Onoto under there! There seem to be two versions of feed, the one pictured above and a smooth one.

 

I would like to find a K1, with a metal cap.

 

I'll be very interested to read your impressions when it arrives, Richard.

 

Cheers,

 

Ralf



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#22 eachan

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Posted 28 February 2018 - 21:19

The K4 quite commonly has hood cracks.


Regards,

Eachan


#23 praxim

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Posted 02 March 2018 - 22:34

That Magna ink-visible I mentioned in an earlier post came with a pleasant surprise. On commencing disassembly I found that the shank pin appeared to be metal under a little hard black wax. That was a surprise. Clearly the pen had been restored at some point. The section having been removed, before continuing to remove the shank pin I worked the stiff piston again. There was a satisfying pop of vacuum release, meaning cup washer and rod seals were in fine condition. A bit of silicon grease on the piston rod and barrel wall, and it is working perfectly, ready for ink.

 

The odd thing about both this Magna and the black one is that neither wholly conforms with the table on p 217 of Steve Hull's book, nor information in the text or photos. Both are marked 1873 yet both have a single wide gold band, the [sole] distinguishing feature of the 1876. An 1873 is supposed to have three narrow bands.

 

Purportedly, pre-war Magnas used 14k gold bands whereas post-war used 9k. The black Magna has an 18k band hallmarked De La Rue. It was probably a special order or else a frankenpen of Onoto's own making (accidental, careless, or somewhat deliberate) during the difficult post-war era, or else toward the end of Onoto's corporate existence. The single tone nib which this pen has were apparently characteristic of very early or else late production.

 

Ink-visible Magnas are presumed not to have been produced after 1940, yet mine has a 9k band hallmarked Johnson Matthey & Co. JM&Co apparently provided these only around 1946-1948. The year code is L but I could not find a reference to date that properly. One auction site as an item with code M which they date to 1946, so I guess 1945. The solution I think most likely for that puzzle is that production did indeed cease in 1940 but the pen remained in stock, being sold post-war when there was access to gold again and the band was fitted. Nib is two-tone.


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#24 ralfstc

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Posted 03 March 2018 - 17:08

Sounds a lot like my magna, which is ink-visible with a broad 1964 hallmarked 9K band. It has the two-tone nib #7, though . . .



#25 Methersgate

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Posted 03 March 2018 - 18:45

D, I think?

A 3,000 which is a bitser - put together by me from three other 3,000s to yield one with a tight cap, a good springy nib and a contemporary aftermarket nickel silver Art Deco pocket clip. Oh, and the original box in good order with instructions.

A 6235 - the three band black job with the no.5 nib that is the poor mans Magna. My pride and joy,

A Magna pencil to go with it.

Two K1s - one broad and a bit wet and one fine, and a K4. I like Ks.

A pretty green celluloid De la Rue lever, not branded Onoto, but one can see where it came from. A modest little pen and ever so slightly scratchy.

Why did Onto use such rubbishy pocket clips on otherwise nice pens?

Edited by Methersgate, 03 March 2018 - 18:47.


#26 richardandtracy

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Posted 04 March 2018 - 14:54

My K4 arrived yesterday. It was very, very clean. Used, but not often.
And so dry it was virtually unusable.

I took the hood off, removed the tiny conventional nib and feed, checked that the feed channel was clear (it was) and then gently pushed the nib shoulders apart. Then reassembled the pen, and it was still a little on the dry side, but I'll leave as is for the moment. There are a couple of tiny chips in the edge of the cap lip that I'll polish out before they turn into cracks.

The overall impression of the pen is that it's a product of its time. A time when the UK had no idea which way it was going, wanting to innovate but being too timid to take the necessary steps and investment. The result being an unhappy compromise. Not as good as the P51, but competent and sufficiently stuffy not to frighten the bosses. It came in exactly the same 4 boring colours that the UK Duofolds did at the time - Parker suffered from the same innovation malaise in the UK at the same time.

So, competent, well made, and ever so dull is my summary of this K4. I reserve the right to change my mind once I have got to know it better.

Regards

Richard.

#27 ralfstc

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Posted 05 March 2018 - 01:55

Thanks for the update Richard! I think I had to floss the nib of one of mine to help it flow, and that worked well, probably clearing dried ink rather than altering the nib very much.

 

I must admit that, like you, when I first got a K I was underwhelmed. It seemed cheap and a little desperate. But it grew on me over time. It does definitely feel more like an M200 than an M1000, if you see what I mean, and even a little less solid and classy than a 51 in some ways. I feel it's unfortunate that Onoto did not produce a pen of the same design with the classiness of their earlier products. And yet, the K series, when all sorted, are terrific writers and I have one that is even okay with flying. It seems very much like a "could have been" situation . . . To continue the Pelikan analogy, it could have been Onoto that staggered through the 1960s and 70s and then received an overseas infusion of capital.

 

I am also fond of 1950s and 60s British motorcycles and it's the same story. Underinvestment in design and yet wonderful when on song due to the sheer craft knowledge of the people putting them together.

 

Anyway, I will try not to rant on, but I hope that you do come to appreciate what it offers once the nib is sorted. They are genuinely lovely nibs. And that it ends up being the solid office pen they can be.

 

Cheers,

 

R.



#28 Methersgate

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Posted 05 March 2018 - 02:23

Thats a nice analogy. I am a happy owner of a BMW motorcycle which is old enough not to pay road tax, made in 1977 when BMW were, like Pelikan, just staggering along. But its a better bike than the more famous Triumph Bonneville, on all counts, better made, better finished, better handling, better standing quarter...

The Ks were strangled at birth by De La Rues decision to get out of writing instruments - a decision which, with 20/20 hindsight, from sixty years later, was probably quite right.

Ks do seem to vary a bit in the nib department, but the rest of the pens are bullet proof. But then, so are Newhaven Duofolds!

#29 praxim

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Posted 05 March 2018 - 03:17

Interesting, thank you Richard. I tend to compare it with Pelikans of the time rather than a Parker, despite external similarities, because it is a piston filler rather than an aerophlegm or whatever they were up to by then ;). At the moment, Parker-styled pens with better nibs and piston fill is a slot filled capably by Aurora 88s for me. I will be interested in your writing experience further to ralfstc's, because I will dispose of some excess Auroras fairly soon, so may have a slot for a later Kn even as I have added at least one Pelikan from the period.

 

Regarding which, ralfstc, I see that you are selling your Magna. I inked mine (the ink-visible one) today to find it wrote beautifully with a light touch. For some reason I was surprised. I shall have to check back on my black Magna to see whether I had a bad experience with it the first time around. A 6233 and 2500 were also brought into action today. The last of those needs the traditional close attention to maintain a balanced ink flow; no blobs yet because now I err on the side of starving the feeds a little.


Anyone owning three or more working pens is in no position to disparage choices by others.

#30 richardandtracy

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Posted 05 March 2018 - 14:03

I have never bought a piston fill Pelikan - basically I bought the K4 with money set aside either for a Pelikan or something I like better. I have one piston fill pen, the 2011 FPN Stipula Etruria. This pen now writes adequately after sending it back to Stipula, but it was so bad when I got it that quite frankly I'll be damned if I'll use it regularly (story here: http://www.fountainp...alic/?p=2225954 - still infuriates me 6 years on). 

 

The Etruria has tended to colour my view of piston fillers, and as a result I have had difficulty convincing myself to buy a new (ish) Pelikan. Maybe this will do it. Maybe not.

 

Regards,

 

Richard.



#31 ralfstc

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Posted 05 March 2018 - 17:08

Ah yes, Praxim, the sell or not to sell Magna saga. It's my most valuable pen by far, and we've had a challenging Winter/Spring due to flying around the world to visit seriously ill family members. So I go through the usual loop- I should sell it to restore our finances a little, followed by "don't be daft, it's lovely and you'll never get another." Don't we all have these little head vs. heart experiences from time to time?

 

Right now the advert is closed, pen unsold . . . . .

 

Piston fillers are terrific, mostly! I have quite a few Lamys, Omas, and Pelikan, and they are all rock solid.

 

Best to all,

 

Ralf



#32 praxim

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Posted 05 March 2018 - 22:44

I am saddened to hear about ill members of your family, much as it happens to all. I hope things work out without too much stress personally or on your pen hobby.

 

Richard, my particular thing is that I have a disparaging view of any filling mechanism which involves any sort of rubber sac or diaphragm. Pistons (integrated or swappable C/C) have pretty much taken over the modern fountain pen world beside cartridges. Despite that, I of course own and will keep very many pens with slowly deteriorating rubber sacs in them. :rolleyes:

 

I love plunge fillers though, so quick and conceptually neat compared with twisty things or barrel removal, so as Rick said, we'll always have Onoto.


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#33 richardandtracy

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Posted 06 March 2018 - 09:08

I dislike flexible rubber in pens too. The PVC used in the P51 Aero & Parker squeeze convertors seems to last as long as the butyl/neoprene used as the seal in piston fillers. It's a shame no-one ever got around to making a PVC mould for the P51 vac.

 

Regards,

 

Richard



#34 Methersgate

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Posted 18 March 2018 - 17:53

The pen thar De La Rue didnt make - and maybe they should have done - was a high end piston filler. They did well with the Onoto K Series, in that the piston filling mechanism seems to be almost indestructible, but what a pity that they did not make a piston fill Magna...

#35 praxim

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Posted 18 March 2018 - 22:39

The K series was their last throw, or we may have seen more.


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#36 ralfstc

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Posted 23 March 2018 - 18:18

A PISTON FILL MAGNA????? WOAH!!!!!  :notworthy1:



#37 CS388

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Posted 01 August 2018 - 00:50

Yikes! I thought I had a handful, but raking through my old box, I find I have only one! So, category A.

No idea which model, but it's an old BHR (discoloured and worn) plunger fill - currently used as an eyedropper, as it needs new seals etc.

 

After a quick inking and a trial, I remember it's the best nib in the box. And that's why I kept it, during my evacuation days. (A couple of old Swans come close, but the Onoto always had the edge)

 

Must try harder and get more Onoto's. (But, they're so expensive, now!)

Hopefully back soon, in a different category.

 

Thanks.


Edited by CS388, 01 August 2018 - 00:52.


#38 chunya

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Posted 01 August 2018 - 06:10

 

Ink-visible Magnas are presumed not to have been produced after 1940, yet mine has a 9k band hallmarked Johnson Matthey & Co. JM&Co apparently provided these only around 1946-1948. The year code is L but I could not find a reference to date that properly. One auction site as an item with code M which they date to 1946, so I guess 1945. The solution I think most likely for that puzzle is that production did indeed cease in 1940 but the pen remained in stock, being sold post-war when there was access to gold again and the band was fitted. Nib is two-tone.

 

If it was Asayed in London and the date letter is a capital L then it probably should be 1946.  The Gold Traders ID Wizard is great and is almost always sitting open on my laptop. https://www.gold-tra...o.uk/hallmarks/

I know that in one of my 'odds 'n sods' boxes I have probablt still got 3 or 4 in pieces or various states of disrepair/damage, and I think that two have nibs minus tipping.

I've got my beautiful transparent ink pencil that had been converted to a fountain pen with a Pelikan nib (does that count as 1/2 Onoto?), and an early 1937 Magna with three cap rings. The Magna has just come back from Eric Wilson who worked his usual magic. I also asked him to look at the ink pencil conversion.

The ink pencil conversion is definitely for keeps or maybe a nice present for a friend. I'd love to keep the Magna, so time will tell

So currently 1 1/2 whole Onotos.



#39 dms525

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Posted 01 August 2018 - 19:43

I have just one vintage Onoto, a Onoto De La Rue 6233 Blue with a medium-broad nib. Very nice writer. I also have two modern Onoto Magnas, one blue and one black. Both chased. Both have B nibs I have had ground to crisp cursive italics. They are wonderful writers. Interestingly, one of the nibs is quite stiff. The other is moderately springy. 

 

My only complaint about the modern Magnas is the large number of turns to remove the cap.

 

David



#40 Wardok

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Posted 02 August 2018 - 21:39

I've been accumulating for quite some time now so I'm firmly in the H band. Lots of duplicates and many parts pens that came in bundles with other pens. One day I'll sit down and fix those that I can. Like Peterg I did a couple on a WES course and have done a few since, but by the time I get through them all I'll be really proficient.







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