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"best" Chinese Pen With A Gold Nib

china chinese gold nib 14k 12k 10k smooth soft flex

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#1 TruthPil

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Posted 22 April 2018 - 13:33

Hello again to all my FPN friends,

 

I know anytime you use the word "best" for something as subjective as a fountain pen you'll get varied responses, but that's what I'm hoping for.

 

Here's my question for you all:

 

In your opinion, what is the best gold-nibbed Chinese pen (a Chinese branded pen, not just a pen made in China) available on the market today?

 

Along with your recommendation, please explain why the nib feels great to you and what you like about both the pen and nib.

What does the nib feel like on the paper? How much feedback?

Including that information will help others decide whether the pen is a good choice for them.

 

Thanks in advance for your contributions!

 

 


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#2 Mech-for-i

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Posted 23 April 2018 - 11:01

I will discuss about the pen on the following post ; for those who are only interested in the pens , just skip this post here.

 

Now that surely is not an easy question to answer, I think I've been asked zillion times this same one ... lol ... I myself like to see this as a question best be splitted into 3 , namely

 

  • what is the best currently cataloged Chinese gold nib pen
  • what is the best vintage ( as in pre-1970s ) Chinese gold nib pen
  • what is the best retro / NOS Chinese gold nib pen

I intentionally take the 70s as a segregation as we all know there is a significant ( not too pleasant ) political event that take place at the time in the country which totally alter the political but also the economical and industrial environment which made a major impact on the said item in discussion. notably in material supply and how pens are to be actually being design and manufactured.

 

I shall explain this further. before the change implemented in the late 60s to early 70s the industry ( and not just pen making ) still enjoy a certain degree of liberty to their own and thus we can still see luxury pens such as celluloid button filler with 18K gold nib ( even though the would be astronomically expensive then ) and since the country is still rebuilding after a long decades of war ( no not just the sino-japanese war ; in case you are interested ) most of the pen manufactured were actually old models that can had their origin dated back to the 20's and 30's .. 

 

The  came the 70's when drastic change is in the industrial sector to had planned economy and restrained resource usage as well as the theme to produce for the people, by the people, and benefit the people ( not my word, its their slogan then ); as such the pen industry pretty much abandon all the various small batch production and adopt production line bench operation which force a more generic design and standardized components ( guess how many hooded nib were manufactured then ... ); this pretty muc dominate the scene way until the late late 90's and early Y2K when the industry is somewhat liberated and allow to run their own including acceptance of private sector involvement and listing of major names like Hero

 

And that bring us to what we have today ....

 

Enough history or at least my understanding of the historical context on this subject matter ; I will discuss about the pen on the following post ; for those who are only interested in the pens , just skip this post here.


Edited by Mech-for-i, 23 April 2018 - 11:02.


#3 TruthPil

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Posted 23 April 2018 - 13:16

Great short summary of the fountain pen situation in China over the past century or so!

Using your helpful threefold division of gold nibs, I'd say my original question would relate to the first and third categories...that is, all gold-nibbed Chinese pens currently available on the market, including both pens in the latest catalogs and pens that are either NOS or have NOS nibs.

I can't wait to read your next post!

Edited by TruthPil, 23 April 2018 - 13:16.

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#4 Mech-for-i

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Posted 24 April 2018 - 11:07

OK here's my 2 cents ; let's start with the real vintage as in pre 1970s ; admitting though the 1960s did not give much except for the Hero 616 / Wing Sung 612 combo which was the basic hooded nib pattern for decades to come.

 

First thing first, even this period can best be subdivided into 2, basically the pre war period and the post war period, before the war there were quite a number of pen brand in China and the were mostly affiliated with book stores, jeweler, and in rarer case independent. There were never any particular model as fountain pen though finding itself more commonplace among the market , is still a very pricey item and generally they were manufacturer on order or in ( very ) small batch. There is no need to name any particular model since the customer can usually tailor the spec and the Mfr will customized the pen for them; Bulb filling, ED, button filler, and lever filler are the norm; where the well off might do with expensive import like Parker Duofold , Sheaffer(s) and ( surprise surprise ) Japanese pens ( usually of the small name ).

 

By that account its almost impossible to name a particular pen model; but one can generalize. The better fountain pen wold have a 14K or 18K nib, though during the period the 12K nib was favored as the end users find that the 14K ad 18K just too soft so to speak. A button filler or lever filler would be considered state of the art until just before the war ( when the Parker 51 Vacumatic show up , prior Vacumatic do not seem to made any impression ). And generally a good pen would have nice celluloid body turned by master craftsman usually of striped colors also and size do made an impression so standard size pen would be those using a no.5 ( 5mm feed ) and the large size pen or oversized pen would use a 6m feed and bigger nib ( size 28 )

 

So to sum it up , the best fountain pen of that period would likely be a lever / button filler of the 28 size in Celluloid fashioned with a custom grind 14K or 18K nib though the 12K nib is more common and not lesser either. obviously as they are vintage condition today pretty much dictates. 



#5 Mech-for-i

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Posted 24 April 2018 - 11:44

And that bring me to the period of war years, up to the early 60s ... obviously as expected there is literally not much to be had during the war years, many brand simply vanish and even for those that keep making pens all they can do is scrap up whatever material they could find and try to made do, that pretty much dominate until the late 50's ; after all the war rage on even after the war ended ( 1945 ). The industry pretty much regroup, rebuild and restart in the mid to late 50's , that's when the introduction of large scale injection molded thermoplastic start to made an impact and the general adoption of technology that found their way to China ( aka aerometric filling and hooded nib courtesy of certain model 51 )

 

The classic of that era would be the original Wing Sung 101 ( Vacumatic ) and the original 100 Hero ( 100 Hero, is the actual model name, not Hero 100 which is a different pen ); Then came Hero 100 ( yes the same pen still we can get today ) which surprisingly actually not a clone of the P51 but more a development of the 100 Hero ( a P51 clone sort of with some design changes ). Gold Star at the time manufacture the best with a nominal open gold nib, generally with Bulb filling and later aerometric, but vacumatic mechanism can be found too.

 

The vacumatic mechanism as well as then the more up to date aerometric mechanism was at a time both being manufactured and it did not take a genius to figure out which mechanism ultimately proven winner. Wing Sung at the time also produce pen with the Sheaffer style triumph nib and continue to do so until its closing 1999. And at the period the touch down as well as the snorkel was indeed on some rather rare and expensive models notably the Lucky range. Smaller name / independent pen makers were then still around and still making pens ( and quality ones too ) but generally theirs are no more than pre war models made anew.

 

If I must be asked what would be the best gold nib pen of that interesting transition period I must say it would be the rare Hero 571 with a 12K gold nib , its the parent pattern for the latter 581 and then 616, with a much simplified and more robust workhorse aerometric filling but the same kind of nib as the Hero 100 ( aka P51 style ). where the original windowed Wing Sung 101 Vacumatic would run a close 2nd.


Edited by Mech-for-i, 24 April 2018 - 11:54.


#6 TruthPil

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Posted 24 April 2018 - 14:29

Thanks for more fascinating history!

 

 

So to sum it up , the best fountain pen of that period would likely be a lever / button filler of the 28 size in Celluloid fashioned with a custom grind 14K or 18K nib though the 12K nib is more common and not lesser either. obviously as they are vintage condition today pretty much dictates. 

 

Given the widespread turbulence both during and after the wars, I bet finding one of these in working condition would be near to impossible, at least on the mainland anyway. 

 

 

If I must be asked what would be the best gold nib pen of that interesting transition period I must say it would be the rare Hero 571 with a 12K gold nib , its the parent pattern for the latter 581 and then 616, with a much simplified and more robust workhorse aerometric filling but the same kind of nib as the Hero 100 ( aka P51 style ). where the original windowed Wing Sung 101 Vacumatic would run a close 2nd.

 

It sounds like these would be hard to find today as well.

 

I'm looking forward to reading about your favorite gold nibs in pens that can actually be purchased today hehehe.


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#7 Mech-for-i

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Posted 26 April 2018 - 17:41

Though I've been able to experience plenty of those vintage pens, I had to agree its a pain if not impossible to try to find one decent ample. lucky I am not into vintage pens any way ... :happycloud9:



#8 Mech-for-i

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Posted 26 April 2018 - 19:24

1960 come with many change in the political, and socio-economical aspect in China and that reflect in fountain pen industry in the form of planned economy and all its imposed. which dictate that most new models at the time ( until late 0s when privatization start ) was pretty much based on few individual design and without prior home grown design capacity, many would be copied, then modified, from imports.

 

The most famous gold nib pen coming out of that era was and still is the Hero 100 , which as stated in prior thread developed from the Wolff 100 Hero , the 100 Hero was basically a reverse engineered clone of the Parker 51 and the Hero 100 while on the surface looks to keep all the parts was only superficially so. Each and every component of it actually were re designed and none are interchangeable with the prior model, with perhaps the exception of the nib ( using the same sized spec taken right off the P51 ) ; along with the Hero 100, the other gold hooded nib of the time worthy of interest would be the Wing Sung 101 ( now having an aerometric filling like the Hero 616 but was in fact more related to their own 612 ), Rainbow 800 ( which use a hooded nib sized spec off the Hero 616 ) and the Gold Star 103 ( which had its own hooded nib size, which was then re used for their other model and also by Hero in their 329 and 33X range ). White Feather 6XX series also had model with 12K and in several rare model 14K hooded nib.

 

However if I would be recommending I would not recommend any of these as an NOS purchase, simply because their outdated ( filling ) mechanism; personally I had no problem with that but I've been using them since my junior school days and that's why this period of Chinese fountain pen endear me a lot , sentimentality goes a long way.

 

Instead I would recommend the Hero 800 and all its variant ; namely because this is a proven model and is up to date in providing ability to use C/C filling ( just pop in a Parker ? Hero spec wide opening converter). No less also the 800 was actually first manufactured to be OEM for Parker ( though deal never came through ) The Hero 200 / Wing Sung 400 / Hero 50 / Wing Sung 55X with its Parker 75 style nib comes in close 2nd. They are not the most interesting nor the most luxury out there from that period, but as far as a balance of good writing experience and features goes they come out nicely done.

 

During the period , only the hooded nib enjoy some form of constant improvement, open ( gold ) nib was not favored and the famed Gold Star 28 yet still is no more than a vintage 20's button filler design updated with fixed aerometric filling, even its 12K nib design dated back pre-war; nice nib that is, nice pen its not. almost all the other open ( gold ) nib models that come out of that era was targeted towards the gift / export market. nothing exciting , OK, might be with the exception of the Wing Sung / Gui Guan / Sirui / others triumph nib models.  And then there is a further category of gold nib pen that's often neglected , the workhorse gold nib pen , yes you heard it right, the workhorse range, one would question this contradictory but heed this, establishments, book keeping, and numerous daily task which require penned record also require permanence in  the writing and that mean .... well .... Iron Gal ink or Carbon ink ( with binder ) .. guess what the not too good steel used in those days can be seen simply eaten up by the ink and well there's the need for the gold. in fact the very original Hero 200 was such a pen , reflected in its being an all brushed steel finishing with no trim what so ever. Many of these like the Wing Sung 102, Gold Star 705 are no more than better crafted variant of their daily use steel nib models now equipped with a 12K gold nib of the same size / spec. Most famous of that likely the Hero 110, unsuspecting would simply say its a  Hero 616 with metal end jewel as indeed its based almost entirely on the 616 but its with a difference and most importantly a 12K gold nib ( now that answer the long sought after to the question is there a gold nib 616 , right ). its not uncommon for wrecked 110 user to simply retrieve the still good nib and place that into a perfectly new 616 and continue writing. Each major and plenty of 2nd tier name had their own model of such and often than not they are good buy, after all they were mean to be used and that reflect in price ( good deal ) and also function ( workhorse usually can take loads of abuse ), in fact if one would want a vintage hooded nib of this period and can live with the aerometric filling the 110 can be a good buy, even today NOS can easily be found.


Edited by Mech-for-i, 26 April 2018 - 19:33.


#9 DrPenfection

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Posted 26 April 2018 - 20:20

Very fascinating history!  Thank you so much!


Best always,

Deborah (aka DrPenfection)


#10 hungrynerd

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Posted 26 April 2018 - 23:02

Can someone verify if the "Lucky" 14k nibs on Wingsung 698s are from old stock? That is currently one of my favorite pens. (Likewise, Wingsung offers a 618 with a 12k nib.)


My pen is smaller than yours.

#11 TruthPil

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Posted 27 April 2018 - 00:00

Many thanks for the helpful summary of the best gold-nibbed Chinese pens in modern history!

With the exception of the pens with Parker 75 or Sheaffer Triumph style nibs, it seems like hooded nibs are the only way to go when it comes to the best Chinese pens. It's fascinating how influential the "51" was in shaping the destiny of the Chinese pen industry for decades.

Thanks also for the information about the Hero 110. They are quite affordable for anyone wanting to try a nail gold nib. The filling system looks identical to that of the 616.

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#12 TruthPil

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Posted 27 April 2018 - 02:08

Can someone verify if the "Lucky" 14k nibs on Wingsung 698s are from old stock? That is currently one of my favorite pens. (Likewise, Wingsung offers a 618 with a 12k nib.)


I've read in several places that all the new Wing Sung pens with open gold nibs are using old Lucky stock. All the photos I've seen confirm that as well. They must have made a ton of those nibs back in the day!

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#13 hungrynerd

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Posted 27 April 2018 - 17:50

Thank you!!

 

If you don't mind - could you tell me a bit more about the "Lucky" brand, history, etc? Or point me to to existing threads?


My pen is smaller than yours.

#14 Mech-for-i

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Posted 28 April 2018 - 08:36



... (Likewise, Wingsung offers a 618 with a 12k nib.) 

 

 

Victo re purpose vintage 90's production batch of 12K hood nib Wing Sung had that's manufactured to fit their 10X series pen ( all hooded nib, all use the same mechanism, an all equipped with the same 12K gold nib ) and here's a hint, my Wing Sung 103 black ( retrofitted with a S1 type calligraphy nib )

 

41014733124_7809754f3a_k.jpgWing Sung 103 on Flickr



#15 TruthPil

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Posted 29 April 2018 - 09:37

 

 

Victo re purpose vintage 90's production batch of 12K hood nib Wing Sung had that's manufactured to fit their 10X series pen ( all hooded nib, all use the same mechanism, an all equipped with the same 12K gold nib ) and here's a hint, my Wing Sung 103 black ( retrofitted with a S1 type calligraphy nib )

 

41014733124_7809754f3a_k.jpgWing Sung 103 on Flickr

 

That's a classy looking pen! I like how there's an actual arrow pointing to the tip.


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#16 Stefan-Ionut-Marius

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Posted 21 August 2018 - 06:06

 

 

Victo re purpose vintage 90's production batch of 12K hood nib Wing Sung had that's manufactured to fit their 10X series pen ( all hooded nib, all use the same mechanism, an all equipped with the same 12K gold nib ) and here's a hint, my Wing Sung 103 black ( retrofitted with a S1 type calligraphy nib )

 

41014733124_7809754f3a_k.jpgWing Sung 103 on Flickr

This is a beautifu pen i love it . They are available to buy it any more ?


I love Fountain Pens, with hooded nib in the classic style, Parker 51/61 type .
 
 
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#17 Mech-for-i

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Posted 22 August 2018 - 11:06

The Wing Sung 103 is a 1990's production and yes there would be NOS still available , the usual Black and Burgundy / Wine Red. There are the usual 12K gold nib and the steel nib version ( standard FINE ) ..  



#18 TruthPil

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Posted 22 August 2018 - 14:47

The other day had a "someguy" moment when I came across an orphaned NOS Hero 100 Flighter in a pile of pens on the bottom shelf at a local stationary shop. They had no idea what it was worth and sold it to me for a mere 58RMB. Now I understand the hype about these pens. The nib is just wonderfully smooth and wet and it's a joy to write with. The nib never dries out when capped either. I guess I was just unlucky with my first 100. The 100 definitely deserves to be among the bests of Chinese gold nib pens.

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#19 Stefan-Ionut-Marius

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Posted 23 August 2018 - 08:34

The Wing Sung 103 is a 1990's production and yes there would be NOS still available , the usual Black and Burgundy / Wine Red. There are the usual 12K gold nib and the steel nib version ( standard FINE ) ..

Yes i found one on Taobao and I also found a Wing Sung 105 , but now în have some problems with the Alipay i have on my new account on Taobao i can not add a credit card . Can i use my Alipay account which I use on aliexpress also on Taobao ?

Edited by Stefan-Ionut-Marius, 23 August 2018 - 08:41.

I love Fountain Pens, with hooded nib in the classic style, Parker 51/61 type .
 
 
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#20 Mech-for-i

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Posted 23 August 2018 - 11:34

Yes i found one on Taobao and I also found a Wing Sung 105 , but now în have some problems with the Alipay i have on my new account on Taobao i can not add a credit card . Can i use my Alipay account which I use on aliexpress also on Taobao ?

 

I think you can use your Aliexpress ID to log into Taobao and do the purchase as well .. though I must say I am not sure ...







Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: china, chinese, gold, nib, 14k, 12k, 10k, smooth, soft, flex



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