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Conklin Duragraph


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#1 Apollo

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Posted 12 August 2005 - 20:24

In a previous thread I shared some first impressions of the Conklin Mark Twain Signature fountain pen which I liked so much, I thought I'd try another one of Conklin's offerings. This time it's the Duragraph which is the Conklin Pen Company's revival of the 1920's classic.

The Conklin Duragraph is quite an attractive looking pen and is available in Black, Tobacco Brown, Emerald Green, and Cobalt Blue. It's an oversized pen, but don't let that fool you. It's tapered barrel made of resin gives it a solid feel, but not a heavy one. It's surprisingly well balanced even with the cap posted. Like the before mentioned Mark Twain Signature pen, the Duragraph's cap twists off to reveal a 14k gold nib available in either fine, medium or broad sizes. The clip and band are silver plated.

The sample I bought is the Cobalt Blue model with a medium nib. Now, if you're a fan of blue colored pens, you'll love the rich blue tone on the Duragraph. Once I got home, I loaded the converter with Private Reserve American Blue and was in bliss. All I can tell you is that line this pen puts down is exquisitely smooth! It's smoother than my 18k gold nib Waterman Charleston and Parker Sonnet put together.

I don't know if the Conklin Pen Company manufactures these pens themselves or have them made under contract, but whoever made this one got it right. This is only the second Conklin pen I've had the pleasure of using and I must say that I'm very impressed. I really like the Mark Twain Signature series, but I love the Duragraph!

Okay, enough words. Here are a few pics:

Posted Image

Posted Image

Here's a size comparison. From left to right: Pilot VP, Pelikan M250, Conklin Duragraph, Conklin Mark Twain, Parker 51:
Posted Image

Now, if the pictures from my digital camera didn't do this pen enough justice, here are some pics of the Duragraph from WorldLux to drool over:

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Edited by Apollo, 12 August 2005 - 20:37.

Posted Image Bendita mi tierra guanche.

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#2 Psyktek

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Posted 12 August 2005 - 23:33

You're an evil, evil man! <_<


Beautiful pen; nice that it writes so well, too. :)
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#3 Roger

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Posted 12 August 2005 - 23:45

You're an evil, evil man! <_<

I'll second that, Psyktek! :P

No consideration for weak people, at all. :huh:
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#4 Apollo

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Posted 13 August 2005 - 01:07

You're an evil, evil man! <_<

Me? Evil? Never!
Posted Image

Seriously, it's a wonderful writer. Looks good too. ;)
Posted Image Bendita mi tierra guanche.

#5 southpaw

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Posted 13 August 2005 - 02:11

I'll chime in and agree with all - purely, wickedly, evil!!!

(Thanks for the look & review).
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#6 Dillo

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Posted 13 August 2005 - 04:12

Hi,

Very tempting. I ought to get one...if it has a nice nib. How well does it write? Could you post some writing samples?

Dillon

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#7 TheNobleSavage

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Posted 13 August 2005 - 06:28

That is a very nice looking pen. I had bad luck with the Conklin/Swisher LE Nozac (modern). I had problems with flow. It would write with what was in the Nib/Feed. Once that went dry then I had to force feed the pen. Too bad, because I really loved the size and color (blue and white swirl) and the 14kt gold nib.
I think I might take another stab at a Conklin. I was really looking at the Conklin Word Gauge.

Enjoy your pen, it really is nice looking!!!

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#8 Karin

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Posted 13 August 2005 - 08:50

I picked up a Durograph at the Toronto pen show. I got the Black one. Really nice writer. Beautiful pics.
I'm glad I already have one or I'd be :drool: :drool:

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#9 Apollo

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Posted 13 August 2005 - 14:00

Hi,

Very tempting. I ought to get one...if it has a nice nib. How well does it write? Could you post some writing samples?

Dillon

Dillon, it writes smoothly with no skipping and no scratchiness whatsoever.

I'll try and scan a small writing sample this afternoon.

Edited by Apollo, 13 August 2005 - 14:10.

Posted Image Bendita mi tierra guanche.

#10 Apollo

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Posted 14 August 2005 - 00:24

Dillon, here's a small writing sample of the pen compared with a couple of others:

Posted Image

Even the scan doesn't really do it justice, but the Duragraph lays down a nice, smooth wet line.

**UPDATE**

I think it's time I updated this thread in regards to the Duragraph.

After using the pen for a couple of days, I noticed a crack on the lip of the Duragraph's cap which ended in a nasty chip. A quick email to Conklin resulted in a very prompt response with an offer to send me a replacement cap free of charge. It took a couple of weeks to arrive, but the replacement cap worked and had no flaws. Now, as far as the pen itself, I began to notice that at times it wouldn't start, particulaly if the pen hat been sitting for a day or two. It was as if whatever ink left in the feed had settled back into the converter or the feed had just dried out. I noticed the same thing happening with my Mark Twian Signature pen. Needless to say, I found that they were not the most reliable writers unless the feeds were saturated with ink. Tired of having to prime the nibs every other day to make them write, I ended off trading the Mark Twain and selling the Duragraph.

Since the look and feel of the Duragraph made such an impression on me the first time around, I decided to get another (also in Cobalt Blue) several months later. Unfortunately, my second Duragraph proved to be very disappointing. First, the nib was defective. The very tip of the nib would grind against each other when writing and get out of alignment, but that wasn't the only issue. I had been using Private Reserve inks and the flow was horrible. Frustrated, I switched to Waterman Florida Blue to see if the ink flow would improve. It did not. Repeated flushing of the converter did not help either. I then began using cartridges, but got the same results. Then there was the issue with the nib. Emailing Conklin had not helped since they don't seem to respond to emails since their move to New Jersey. As such, I took matters into my own hands.

First thing I did was remove the nib and feed. Just a little tug and they both slide out. This is where I discovered that the main slot on the feed (the part where the nib is laid against) wasn't fully cut. I took an X-acto knife to it lightly in order to deepen the channel. This greatly improved the ink flow except for the problem with the nib's tip. Flossing the nib slit didn't seem to fix the problem either. So, I had to borrow a generic IPG nib from my Monteverde Regatta which happened to be a perfect fit. The flow improved greatly, but after a couple of days, it began behaving like my first Duragraph. Frustrated again, I swapped the nib/feed unit from a Danit Trio-Avant Garde and tested it. It wrote like a champion. I then set it aside for a couple of days, then tested it again and it began writing immediately and reliably. So, the issue was the feed used on the Duragraph.

In the end, I traded the pen with the generic IPG nib to another happy user. I for one am so disappointed with the lack of quality control and the apparent disregard for consumer concerns on Conklins behalf, that I will never buy another Conklin pen again unless I hear that their quality and customer service have improved.

Edited by Apollo, 20 March 2006 - 13:53.

Posted Image Bendita mi tierra guanche.

#11 Dillo

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Posted 14 August 2005 - 03:31

Hi Apollo,

Could you mail me the Pelikan 4001 ink sample? It is possible that my old blue is a different colour. The Conklin line...Just one word...beautiful. :)

Dillon

Stolen: Aurora Optima Demonstrator Red ends Medium nib. Serial number 1216 and Aurora 98 Cartridge/Converter Black bark finish (Archivi Storici) with gold cap. Reward if found. Please contact me if you have seen these pens.

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#12 Scottish007

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Posted 17 August 2005 - 20:24

Apollo:

I really appreciate the comparison picture. I really like big, chunky pens. Looks like the Duragraph will fit the bill nicely. The pictures you posted are far superior to the pictures on the FPH website. I just picked up a Sensa FP (cheap, but I love 'em), but I suspect that my next purchase may be the Duragraph.

Thanks for posting!
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Posted 04 April 2006 - 03:16

Please allow me to provide the sequel to the Conklin Duragraph Story. I am the happy owner of this pen now! I got the pen from Apollo on a trade, and I was in love with the pen the first time I dipped it in PR Copper Burst. The Medium nib that Apollo transplanted on it worked great! Very pleasing wet line. I do not need to talk about the esthetics of the pen because a picture is worth a thousand words and you all have seen the photos.

Well, I am more of a Fine nib type of guy so I called Conklin to ask about the chances of buying a Nib from them. So, I did call. I spoke to a gentleman there and told him about the way I acquired the pen and about all of the problems Apollo had with it and lastly as to the fact that it had generic nib on it now. Well, they did admit to having had problems with the feed and the shape of the nib a few months ago, but that the problems had been corrected. They apologized about 50 different ways. They offered to sell me a new nib for $60USD. I told them that I would think about it, they did take my information for marketing purposes and they offered to send me a catalog of their current line. I thought it would be cool to have some reading material, so I did conform and gave them my mailing info.

About 2 weeks later a second gentleman left a message at home with the wife. She called me in the office and I gave him a call. He apologized first of all for the problems the previous owner had with the Pen. Second he asked me about the the trade and how it had gotten to me. Once the whole story was shared, he asked me if I could tell him about the nib I had on the pen and about how happy I was with it. I told him that it was fine. It wrote well and I had no problems with it. He told me that he did not like the idea of having a "no name" nib on the Conklin and offered to send me a nib, my choice free of charge. I mentioned the previous problems with the nib and the feed and he guaranteed me that they were all resolved. I opted for a Fine 14K gold. Well, I am happy to report that the nib did come in the mail along with a presentation box and papers. I replaced the nib that same evening and have been writing with it since. I love this PEN!!!!! :)9

Going on the 3rd full converter. No problems! It was a bit toothie at first, but now it just glides! There is a significant line variation, makes it semi-flex. I'll post some samples shortly. The only charge I had was $1.89USD for shipping. I am going to write with this pen till forever, I do believe!

Regards,

Angelo

#14 RLTodd

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Posted 05 April 2006 - 01:16

That is a very nice looking pen.  I had bad luck with the Conklin/Swisher LE  Nozac (modern).  I had problems with flow. It would write with what was in the Nib/Feed.  Once that went dry then I had to force feed the pen.  Too bad, because I really loved the size and color (blue and white swirl) and the 14kt gold nib.
I think I might take another stab at a Conklin.  I was really looking at the Conklin Word Gauge.

Enjoy your pen, it really is nice looking!!!

TNS

Same problem in March 2006, with a C/S LE Nozac. Gave up and returned for refund.

Loved the feel and writing experience but I concluded it was a little much to lay out for a dip pen. :)
YMMV

#15 rroossinck

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Posted 03 March 2007 - 00:40

Angelo, can you update us on the long-term success with the Conklin?

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#16 rroossinck

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Posted 03 June 2007 - 04:59

Here's a quick picture I took of my BRAND SPANKIN' NEW ONE, next to its sibling that I gave to my wife.



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#17 MikeW

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Posted 03 June 2007 - 12:44

rroossinck,

I am really curious about your experience with the two Conklins in the photo. I bought a number of them because they are really nice looking pens but I have had the same flow problems noted by others in this thread and so they sit in the box. The worst of the bunch was the Mark Twain Signature, which I commented about on a recent thread (for some reason I cannot find it).

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#18 shahrincamille

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Posted 03 June 2007 - 15:10

My experience with modern Conklins have, fortunately, been different from the tales of woe posted here.

I first bought myself a Mark Twain Signature in the limited "tobacco" color from FPH last year on a Super Special (cost me only US$39.95 vbg.gif ). It came with a Schmidt IPG M nib and is oh-so-smooth thumbup.gif

Then a couple of months back I got myself a Glider in "Aquamarine" color and it came fitted with the exact same nib as the Mark Twain. However out of the box it is very scratchy with poor flow, but luckily I bought it from a local B&M store where Manjit (our local nib expert here in KL) works. When I bought the pen I was in a hurry so I did not test it first in-store doh.gif After the necessary alignment was done I am happy to state here that this pen too writes like a champion just like its cousin happycloud9.gif


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#19 rroossinck

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Posted 05 June 2007 - 02:27

My wife wrote with the pink MT Signature and she said that it was very prone to drying out - as was my other MT Signature that I reviewed elsewhere. If it continues to bother her, we'll send it back and have Conklin look at it. When they write properly, they're fantastic writers!

On the other hand, my Duragraph is writing VERY well. Expect a full(er) write up on it this weekend (I hope).

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#20 RLTodd

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Posted 05 June 2007 - 04:30

In fairness I guess I should add that I picked up a modern Conklin Blue Swirl Glider on sale and it writes with out problems, smooth, feeds well and does not dry out as long as I don't store it capped tip up.
YMMV






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