Jump to content

The Fountain Pen Network uses (functional) cookies. Read the FPN Privacy Policy for more info.  To remove this message, please click here to accept the use of cookies


Registration on the Fountain Pen Network

Dearest Visitor of the little Fountain Pen Nut house on the digital prairie,

Due to the enormous influx of spammers, it is no longer possible to handle valditions in the traditional way. For registrations we therefore kindly and respectfully request you to send an email with your request to our especially created email address. This email address is register at fountainpennetwork dot com. Please include your desired user name, and after validation we will send you a return email containing the validation key, normally wiithin a week.

Thank you very much in advance!
The FPN Admin Team






Photo

Kaweco 85 With 14K Fk Nib (Review)

kaweco dia review vintage

  • Please log in to reply
9 replies to this topic

#1 OMASsimo

OMASsimo

    Collectors Item

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 956 posts
  • Location:Ink Blue Planet
  • Flag:

Posted 13 April 2020 - 17:45

Disclaimer:

My reviews are about vintage pens I've been collecting for many years. So, please don't expect you can rush to the store or go online to find that particular pen I'm talking about immediately. Also, vintage pens will always be an adventure and in my opinion that's part of the fascination. Even if you find the same model, there's no guaranty that it will behave the same way as described here.

 

 

image.jpg

 

 

 

Background:

Kaweco as a brand name has made an amazing renaissance in the past several years since the original company went belly up some time in the 1980s presumably. Due to the efforts of H & M Gutberlet, several model names and the brand name have been resurrected but I believe that most FP users never got in touch with the original versions of a Kaweco Dia or Kaweco Sport to name only two of their most prominent model lines. So, here comes a short review of one of the ancestors, a Kaweco Dia 85.
The model name "Dia" was introduced in 1934 to point to the clear ink window that became possible due to the new piston filling mechanism. Before the Dia, the Kaweco pens were safety, lever, or button fillers. Since then there have been numerous versions of the Dia and even models sharing the same model number can have different designs. The model I'm presenting here is a Dia 85 with FK ("fein/Kugel") nib. It also has a "101" imprinted on the barrel and I have no idea what that refers to. In fact, I have a second Dia 85 with M nib that is almost identical except for the position of the two narrow cap bands. This second Dia 85 has a "52" imprinted on the barrel. But now for the actual review.

 

 

 

The outer values (design):

 

image.jpg

 

 

This Kaweco Dia 85 was presumably produced roughly between 1946 and 1954 and is a typical representative of the German elegant black piston filler of the era. Anything colourful would have been considered extravagant or frivolous! It measures 125 mm capped, 117 mm uncapped, and 142 mm posted, quite a typical size for the period. The barrel is indeed slightly barrel-shaped with conical domes at both ends and with a short section, which is 9.2 mm at its thinnest (near the nib). The widest girth of the barrel is 11.8 mm right behind the ink window and the cap's girth is 13.2 mm.
The piston knob is hidden by a blind cap and the piston mechanism is screwed into the barrel such that there is a 7 mm wide section of the barrel belonging to the piston housing. The imprints of the model number "85" and the nib type "FK" are on this visible ring, which is kind of a design element. To make it visible, the edges of the piston housing are very slightly knurled. There is another imprint on the barrel reading "Kaweco-Dia" which once had been gold but the paint is partially rubbed off. I probably should mention that this is a very well-used pen, a real daily worker. The ink window used to be green but has darkened almost completely, which is very common with these pens and presumably due to the use of iron gall inks over many years.

 

 

image.jpg

 

 

The cap sports two narrow gold plated cap bands, a decorated clip with the "Kaweco" brand name, and an intricate inlaid gold plated finial in the cap screw. Both cap screw and blind cap are knurled and have a conical domed end. The cap also has two breather holes as typical for the era. The pen only weights 15.9 g and this light weight is due to the entire pen being made of celluloid with very few metal components.

 

 

image.jpg

 

 

Finally, the pen is fitted with a 14k semi-flex gold nib with the imprint of the KAWECO logo together with "WARRANTED" and "14c-585".

 

 

The inner values (technical stuff):

The patented screw-in piston mechanism consists of the housing with a square inner boring, the piston rod with a square outer shape, a cork ring as seal held by a plug, which is fixed by a metal pin through the piston rod, the piston spiral inside the housing, and the knob attached to the spiral with another metal pin. The mechanism is rather simple but well-made and functional. It has been used with only minor modifications by Kaweco well into the 1960s. Expect that the cork seal has to be replaced after roughly 70 years! I did it for this one and recommend to be extremely careful or send it to an expert. Due to the construction, you can easily crack the barrel end when trying to unscrew the piston housing or crack the piston rod when knocking out the pin holding the plug of the cork seal. Anyway, with a good, working piston seal in place, the filling works flawlessly and probably will so for the next 50 or so years. If the old seal still works (sometimes after extensive soaking), I recommend to keep it wet all the time to prevent it from shrinking. By the way, the measured ink capacity is roughly 1.0 ml.

 

 

Performance and balance:

If you're not used to vintage pens of this kind, it might appear at first like you have nothing in your hand because it's so light-weight. It's also quite small compared to many modern pens. But once you get the knack of it, it's awesome. It's no different with this Kaweco Dia 85. In fact, it has the almost perfect balance for me, both unposted as well as posted. But I usually don't like to post my pens. When writing, my forefinger might rest on the threads but this doesn't irritate me. I don't feel the threads because I have a very light grip, maybe a result of writing with vintage pens all the time. So, the balance is nearly perfect, what about the writing performance? I'd say as close to perfect as it gets. Writing with this pen is completely effortless. The ink simply flows and even won't make a mess on crappy paper, though it is a medium wet nib (and feed) when compared to other pens of the era. There are no hard starts and no skipping and absolutely no pressure is required. This means that I can write for hours with this pen without the slightest sign of fatigue. I also can write very fast without any problems. And I won't need to worry when taking a thinking break because even without capping the pen for extended periods, it will start writing without any problems.
The nib iteself I'd call semi-flex. It won't flex when used in normal or fast writing mode but you can flex it moderately if you want and it will give some line variation (maybe 2-3x). But it's quite clear that this nib was not meant for flex writing. However, the springiness of the nib results in a very nice writing feel together with the smooth tipping that gives just the right amount of feedback even on very slick paper like Clairefontaine or Rhodia. So, it is a little toothier than many modern pens with highly polished nibs (and all the problems that come with this). It's probably comparable to many Aurora nibs regarding feedback. On non-absorbent paper, the nib puts down a truely fine line when not flexed. The "Kugel", meaning sperical, tipping assures that the line has the same width in every direction. It was meant for people who cannot control the "rolling" of the pen and was a specialty nib in the era. The typical German nib till at least the 1960s was more chisel shaped what might be called a stub or cursive italic today. Anyway, the FK nib certainly would be a good choice for a beginner because it's very forgiving.

 

 

image.jpg

 

 

Note: The top pen is the one I just restored and described here with the FK nib. The bottom pen is the mentioned second Dia 85 with M nib, which is not restored yet. I only repaired the badly bent nib so that it would write again.

 

 

Conclusion:

This is an absolute keeper, a very well balanced pen with an excellent nib and flawless filling mechanism. The design is rather understated but shows a lot of love for details if you are willing to look for them. Despite its age, it is an excellent EDC pen and I use this or similar pens all the time, these pens were meant to be used.



Sponsored Content

#2 Aditkamath26

Aditkamath26

    Extremely Rare

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 382 posts
  • Flag:

Posted 13 April 2020 - 19:20

DAMN,

Those are lovely pens! 



#3 Honeybadgers

Honeybadgers

    Museum Piece

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,557 posts
  • Flag:

Posted 13 April 2020 - 21:15

what's going on with that grinder bite into the nib?

 

I'd be careful flexing that thing.


Selling a boatload of restored, fairly rare, vintage Japanese gold nib pens, click here to see (more added as I finish restoring them)


#4 TheDutchGuy

TheDutchGuy

    Collectors Item

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,396 posts
  • Flag:

Posted 14 April 2020 - 05:53

Wonderful review, thank you! I share your views on the many joys of discovery that surround vintage pens. I like the Kaweco brand, it got me into this hobby, but I’ve yet to acquire a nice vintage one.



#5 austollie

austollie

    Pelikano Super

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 111 posts
  • Location:Sydney, Australia
  • Flag:

Posted 15 April 2020 - 08:05

Nice pens and great review.  What I particularly like about these Kaweco pens is that the knob for the piston filler mechanism is hidden under the screw-off end part.  I have the mini-Dia version (which has more of a cigar-shaped end) and I love it.



#6 OMASsimo

OMASsimo

    Collectors Item

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 956 posts
  • Location:Ink Blue Planet
  • Flag:

Posted 15 April 2020 - 18:09

DAMN,

Those are lovely pens! 

 

They sure are and they're among the best writers you can find. :)



#7 OMASsimo

OMASsimo

    Collectors Item

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 956 posts
  • Location:Ink Blue Planet
  • Flag:

Posted 15 April 2020 - 18:12

what's going on with that grinder bite into the nib?

 

I'd be careful flexing that thing.

 

I have no idea where this little dent on the nib comes from. The pen was pretty much in unaltered shape and didn't look like somebody fiddled with it before. Maybe it came like that from the factory. And no worries, this is not the nib I would flex anyway, though I'd think you could mildly.



#8 OMASsimo

OMASsimo

    Collectors Item

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 956 posts
  • Location:Ink Blue Planet
  • Flag:

Posted 15 April 2020 - 18:16

Wonderful review, thank you! I share your views on the many joys of discovery that surround vintage pens. I like the Kaweco brand, it got me into this hobby, but I’ve yet to acquire a nice vintage one.

 

Thank you very much, indeed. Funny, I only new vintage ones for a long time and then learned here on FPN that the brand name resurrected. The vintage ones used to be quite common on German ebay but it seems that the supply dried up a bit recently. If you have a chance, they are very worthwhile picking up for cheap. Good luck hunting.



#9 OMASsimo

OMASsimo

    Collectors Item

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 956 posts
  • Location:Ink Blue Planet
  • Flag:

Posted 15 April 2020 - 18:29

Nice pens and great review.  What I particularly like about these Kaweco pens is that the knob for the piston filler mechanism is hidden under the screw-off end part.  I have the mini-Dia version (which has more of a cigar-shaped end) and I love it.

 

The blind cap hiding the piston knob was the standard design of most German piston fillers from the 1930s through around 1960. It was easier to make and you wouldn't get into trouble with the Pelikan patents for the differential screw piston filling mechanism. The Kaweco Dias from 1934 through about 1960 all had a blind cap and then changed to a differential piston. Here is a photo showing three of the four major design changes and also different sizes of the Dia:

 

image.jpg

 

At the bottom you see the Dia 85 described here. Next above is a Dia 803 from the period roughly 1954-1960 which might come close to your pen. It still has a blind cap, two narrow cap bands and a double conical finial (but not knurled anymore). Next above is a similar Dia 805, same design but larger. (The second cap band fell off because these pens are still made of shrinking celluloid) The top two pens are a smaller Dia 802 and a larger 805 produced from about 1960 onward. You can see that the finial changed to fit the "cigar shape" of the barrel end and these pens don't have a blind cap anymore but a differential piston. They also have synthetic piston rings and a blue ink window.



#10 austollie

austollie

    Pelikano Super

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 111 posts
  • Location:Sydney, Australia
  • Flag:

Posted 17 April 2020 - 02:43

Thanks very much for the additional pics (indeed my pen looks like the second off the bottom) and the explanation re the blind cap.  Much appreciated.  I have much to learn about pens and this forum is the place to do it.







Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: kaweco, dia, review, vintage



Sponsored Content




|