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Review: Hooded Nib Fountain Pens In India
shrujaya posted a topic in Fountain Pen Reviews(Alert: There are a number of photos…) This post is a companion piece to my post on the Indian pens with conical nibs which I put up in June 2011. Though I planned to compose this as soon as I posted that, it has taken me three years to get this going. Even then, this is not as comprehensive as I want it to be. I have taken into consideration here mainly those examples that are one-off efforts, i.e., one batch that is made to satisfy a tribute-ary urge in pen-makers. So, here we have Ratnamson, Guider, Deccan, and Sultan – all from Andhra Pradesh & Telangana; and Indian Waterman’s – as an example from the old times. And bringing up the rear are three examples of pens with slightly exposed nibs, though still hooded. These are models still under production – Camlin 47, Wality 77, and Arihant 47. I missed buying a Wilson hooded nib pen recently, otherwise that too would have been shown here. I am sure there are other Indian models too which I am unaware of. For many middle class Indians of my generation, our first brush with hooded-nib pens was through the iconic Hero models – Hero 616, Hero 330, and Hero 329. And for many of us, this was also our first encounter with a ‘foreign’ pen. . It is only now that we see so many other Hero models in India, but 25-30 years ago, ‘Hero pen’ meant the ‘hooded-nib’ pen. It is only fairly recently that I managed to acquire the big daddy of them all, a modest plastic bodied Parker 51. But for pen-makers like Deccan, Ratnamson, and Guider, the Parker 51 wouldn’t have been a far-away pen. I am sure they would have been acquainted with the iconic fountain pen and many would have also bought and used it. They would have also seen how the pen is made, its inner engineering and so forth. But while we look at the photos of the hooded-nib fountains made by Guider or Ratnamson, we see little evidence of the inner engineering that made P-51 the pen that it is. The recreations by Ratnamson, Guider, Waterman’s India, Sultan or Deccan can at best be described as evidence of fascination with the form rather than content. RATNAMSON 21 This was the first Indian handmade hooded-nib pen that I saw pictures of on FPN and this was way back in 2008. I was just about getting acquainted with Indian handmade pens during that time and this Ratnamson model (No. 21) was definitely a novelty. Hari’s post on Ratnamson 21 helped me to firm up my decision to buy this pen. The Ratnamson 21 is an ebonite eye-dropper FP with a screw cap. As you can see in the photos of the dismantled pen, the hood (the section) is also made of ebonite, which I feel is not that easy to make. The nib and feeder are fitted into a holder and this nib unit is not screwed into the hood, but friction-fit and can be pulled out from below. The stock nib is a Hero circular nib. A straightforward arrangement I should say. I had it filled with red ink when I had bought it and the nib was smooth. http://i306.photobucket.com/albums/nn280/bambli_mass/HN2-Ratnam-uncapped_zpsfdb00a0d.jpg http://i306.photobucket.com/albums/nn280/bambli_mass/HN3-Ratnam-section-nib_zps62823acc.jpg http://i306.photobucket.com/albums/nn280/bambli_mass/HN4-Ratnam-section-back_zpscb7acefd.jpg http://i306.photobucket.com/albums/nn280/bambli_mass/HN5-Ratnam-section-open5_zpscda8fa02.jpg http://i306.photobucket.com/albums/nn280/bambli_mass/HN6-Ratnam-section-open6_zps5993c807.jpg GUIDER Guider introduced their hooded-nib model only recently. As is usual with Guider, we have 4 colours to choose from – black, light brown, green, and dark brown. The bodies are made of ebonite and the caps are steel. And two clip variations – the arrow clip and the sword clip. Unlike the Ratnamson 21, the Guider HN model is a slip cap pen. This model too is an ED filler. Very interestingly, there is a faux ring on the section which at first sight suggests that the hood could be screwed out, but it is just there to add to the design. Like Ratnamson 21, this model too has a friction-fit nib unit. The stock nib here is again Hero. http://i306.photobucket.com/albums/nn280/bambli_mass/HN17-Guiders-uncapped_zps277939c1.jpg http://i306.photobucket.com/albums/nn280/bambli_mass/HN18-Guiders-sections-nibs_zps88de3961.jpg http://i306.photobucket.com/albums/nn280/bambli_mass/HN19-Guiders-section-back_zps6d5567ab.jpg http://i306.photobucket.com/albums/nn280/bambli_mass/HN15-Guiders-open1_zpsbee2faf7.jpg http://i306.photobucket.com/albums/nn280/bambli_mass/HN16-Guiders-open3_zpsed444442.jpg DECCAN The Deccan hooded-nib FP is a one-off model I think. I must have bought it 4 years ago, and after that I have visited Deccan Pen Stores many times and haven’t seen this model again. The body is plastic and the cap is steel. This pen follows the classic pattern as far as looks are concerned – arrow clip, slip cap, and screw-in hood. But this pen is also an eye-dropper filler like the earlier two. I tried to open the hood, but it was too tight and after a while, I gave up lest I break the pen. So, details of the nib and the nib unit remain under the hood. Also hidden is the inner engineering, which would be interesting in case it is different from Ratnamson and Guider. I am sure these details would be interesting to note. I had filled the pen with blue ink when I had bought it and enjoyed writing with it for quite some months. http://i306.photobucket.com/albums/nn280/bambli_mass/HN6-Deccan-uncapped_zps2d1b61a0.jpg http://i306.photobucket.com/albums/nn280/bambli_mass/HN7-Deccan-nib_zpsbc04ad59.jpg http://i306.photobucket.com/albums/nn280/bambli_mass/HN8-Deccan-nibback_zpsa90b71a3.jpg INDIAN WATERMAN’S 71 Knowing that there was an Indian version of the Waterman pen itself was surprising and when I came across this pen in a pen shop in Hyderabad, I was amazed. It has a slip cap, an aerometric filler, a screw-in hood, a nib unit that can be taken out of the filler system…all boxes ticked. The nib has ‘optimate’ etched on it and it is 14 KT gold plated. I was not sure about the condition of the pen. It looked pretty old and I did not have the courage to ink it up. http://i306.photobucket.com/albums/nn280/bambli_mass/HN9-IW-capped_zps9ea5430e.jpg http://i306.photobucket.com/albums/nn280/bambli_mass/HN13-IW-section-nib_zps9d6f4669.jpg http://i306.photobucket.com/albums/nn280/bambli_mass/HN14-IW-nib-back_zps193f861c.jpg http://i306.photobucket.com/albums/nn280/bambli_mass/HN22-IW-open1_zpsffd21726.jpg http://i306.photobucket.com/albums/nn280/bambli_mass/HN23-IW-open2_zpsab6693de.jpg And here is a photo of the nib units of Ratnamson 21, Guider HN, and Waterman’s 71…one can see the different kinds of feeders used in these three… http://i306.photobucket.com/albums/nn280/bambli_mass/HN24-Guiders-open4_zps21bd0cdf.jpg SULTAN The Sultan hooded nib pen is a pen I bought in a lot of pens which I didn’t want to leave behind. Also it is a Hyderabad based pen company and so, adds to the number of pen makers from AP & Telangana who made the hooded nib pen. This is an ED filler pen with body made of plastic and a steel cap with Sultan Pens printed on it. The nib is not completely hooded like the preceding three. Here too I tried to open the hood, but was unsuccessful and stopped after 2-3 attempts. This is also an old pen and when I bought it I noticed that the tines were a little dodgy and when I tried to see if I could set them straight, the right tine showed itself to be brittle and promptly fell off. In case I manage to get the hood open, I might try and see if I could replace the nib. As of now, it is a left-tine nib pen!! http://i306.photobucket.com/albums/nn280/bambli_mass/HN27-Sultan-uncapped_zpsb9fe88d8.jpg http://i306.photobucket.com/albums/nn280/bambli_mass/HN28-Sultan-section-nib_zps003ad89e.jpg CAMLIN 47, WALITY 77, AND ARIHANT 47 Now we turn towards those hooded pens that are still under production, but again, like Sultan, these too are not full hooded pens. Of the three shown here, Camlin 47 and Wality 77 are piston fillers and the Arihant 47 is an ED filler pen. All are slip cap pens and each has a different kind of ink window – Wality 77 has triangular shaped ink windows all around, Camlin 47 has diamond shaped ink windows, and Arihant 47 has a thin strip ink window. All three have similar clips with the brand name running from top to bottom. The cap of the Wality 77 is particularly interesting. CAMLIN 47 http://i306.photobucket.com/albums/nn280/bambli_mass/HN20-camlin-uncapped_zpsa2aaef05.jpg http://i306.photobucket.com/albums/nn280/bambli_mass/HN21-camlin-section_zps65bffd6c.jpg WALITY 77 http://i306.photobucket.com/albums/nn280/bambli_mass/HN22-Wality-uncapped_zps17dee190.jpg http://i306.photobucket.com/albums/nn280/bambli_mass/HN23-Wality-section-nib_zps56a41c98.jpg ARIHANT 47 http://i306.photobucket.com/albums/nn280/bambli_mass/HN24-Arihant-uncapped_zpsc862afa8.jpg http://i306.photobucket.com/albums/nn280/bambli_mass/HN25-Arihant-section-nib_zps3959a3f9.jpg Friends, this is all for now. In case you have other examples of Indian hooded nib pens, please do share photos and links. Comments are welcome. Regards, Shrujaya