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Spors pen

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11 replies to this topic

#1 Robert Hughes

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Posted 23 February 2009 - 18:31

A glass nibbed pen from 1920's Japan (possibly made by Platinum), distributed in the US by Spors of Minnesota. What got me interested was the glass nib - daughter Charlotte has a glass nib dip pen, but she wouldn't let me try it, so I had to take drastic action and get one myself.

These pens are a pain to refurbish, as the original manufacturer glued the sections in place. On this pen I inadvertently cracked off the threaded end of the body while attempting to work it free (with a heat gun - sometimes it works, sometimes not), but the break was clean so I was able to use the rest of the body and slip-fit the cap. The original 1920's era rubber sac was of course long since perished, and I replaced it with a #14 sac normally used on Sheaffer Snorkels. The body is nitrocellulose based celluloid; I verified that by burning a sliver of the broken threads - it lit up like a flare! (I showed my daughter - she said, "You're such a boy!" As Trog says below, more delinquent attraction...) rolleyes.gif

One interesting aspect of this pen is the crescent filler (inset). I've never used a crescent filler before, but it works as advertised. The crescent says "Made In Japan", from the pre-WW2 days when that meant cheap, shoddy merchandise, as opposed to nowadays when it means the best!

Glass nibs are usable writing implements, I was pleasantly surprised. This pen needs a little priming prior to use if it's been sitting unused awhile - a drop of water on the nib gets it going just fine. I can bear down on multipart forms like checkbooks, or use a light touch as with a regular FP nib. The usable writing angle range is huge - all the way from 90 degree vertical, like I use for a ballpoint, to as low and close to the paper as I can bring the pen, so the standard 30-60 degree writing angle is easily managed. My nib was a little scratchy when I first tried it - a few swipes on 2500 grit sandpaper yielded a nice, smooth nib tip.

The pen seems to prefer a dry-writing ink - there is no formal flow control mechanism in the feed, as the nib IS the feed. (I've seen pictures of later Spors pens that had semi-hooded nibs - interesting ...) My first fill was with Skrip Blue, but I thought it flowed too wet, so switched inks.

As there are no metal parts in contact with the ink, I have the pen filled with an iron gall ink (Lamy Blue Black) and don't have to worry about the somewhat acidic ink ruining my nice glass nib - I'd bet that Bay State Blue and other non-standard formulations would also work without problem in this pen.

PhilM has a nice blog about his Spors pen refub.

Attached Images

  • Spors512.jpg

Edited by Robert Hughes, 24 February 2009 - 13:45.

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#2 Doug C

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Posted 23 February 2009 - 18:37

Wonderful timing Robert. I just bought my first SPORS last week. Red and black mottled.

It also has a dead sac, and I don't perform this kind of work on my pens, but I did get a chance to dip it, and they seem to be good little writers. I just might get a few more of these.
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#3 MYU


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Posted 23 February 2009 - 23:19

I too noticed a few SPORS pens flowing through that auction website recently... in some interesting mottled colors, too. I've been tempted, but those ones were offered with dried sacs and I just can't be bothered with installing a new one for now.

Glass nibs are definitely underrated. I'm glad to see more FPN folks getting into them. I've got one with a covered nib... I should write a review of it. It's not a bad pen... these do develop definite sweet spots from wear (and then you have to continue writing on a certain "side" to get proper performance).

Robert, thanks for the review and the link to Munson's refurbishing instructions. thumbup.gif

Edited by MYU, 23 February 2009 - 23:21.

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#4 troglokev



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Posted 24 February 2009 - 07:09

I notice on the technical diagram in the linked page the statement:
Small hole here, can't blot or leak, also this hole can't clog as by pressing on the self-filler you can shoot ink through small hole three to five feet

This pen has a certain delinquent attraction!

#5 tipstricks


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Posted 24 February 2009 - 07:57

Very interesting review, Robert. I'm also waiting for my first Spors, just curious to see what's the performance of a glass nib.

#6 artaddict


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Posted 24 February 2009 - 12:54

Thanks for the link! I may have to break down and get a heat gun.
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#7 Peter from Sherwood Park

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Posted 25 February 2009 - 05:20

Thank you for this review. I had not heard of these pens before your post -- I think I would like to try one if I am ever able to do so. Thank you for expanding my horizons!

#8 christof



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Posted 25 February 2009 - 06:53


This is a cool pen. Congratulations!

I have a German glass nib pen. It is a HARO. It writes a very wet line. I use it sometimes for sketching.

It is not always the most valuable pen, you have the most fun with.


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#9 Sailor Kenshin

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Posted 28 February 2009 - 21:02

That's a fountain pen? Cool. The only glass pens I have are the dip kind.

#10 bphollin



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Posted 28 February 2009 - 21:13

Very cool pens, Robert and Christof!

#11 QM2



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Posted 28 February 2009 - 21:20

Thanks for the review!

I had a handsome Mondial BCHR with a Bohemian glass nib, but sold it as it did not suit me. Below is a picture of it.

Spors pens are great! They are crescent fillers, come in lovely colour variations, and can be bought for under $20 in good condition.
I had never seen solid colours on these before, only swirly. A red-white swirly one is on the way to me from the UK and it will be my first!

Edited by QM2, 28 February 2009 - 21:24.

#12 saintsimon


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Posted 01 March 2009 - 05:03

And this is an early '90s Visconti Ragtime glass nib fp (not mine):

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