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  1. Man, I have not posted here for such a long time, that I could not even find which Forum to post these thoughts. I was thing aloud about one of my favorite topics - The "Clones". They are part of Pen History so here it goes. I have always been facinated with the "Clones", fountain pens that were trying to claim the spotlight while they share some to many common aspects (design, name) of another, well known pen. From the early days of my collecting life I was initially fascinated by the fake Parker Sonnet from China and I wrote a number of postings with the main one on penhero.com (see https://www.penhero.com/PenGallery/Parker/ParkerSonnetClones.htm) but also here on FPN. Of course, this is a trend that started neither with the fake Montblanks of the 90s, nor the Parker Sonnets of the 2000s. It is rooted way back in the Fountain Pen History. Many people tried to benefit from the success of important models by producing mostly illegally what we call today "clones". Misterlook and a bunch of Esterbrook "clones" pop up often in my mind, because the copied pen did not have to be an expensive one, simply a very widely known brand. Anyway I digress. The "clones" have come along way. For good or bad, they are now easily traded even on Amazon. But what exactly consitutes a clone? Or is this the exact term that we should use? People use more gentle terms like inspired, or tribute, or even the even more refined "hommage". I always thought that the last one is just a silly trick to use an uncommon word to avoid calling it a clone. The "clones" are here to stay (whether we like it or now - and please don't turn this thread into a fight for the ethics of cloning ). Many of them are actually decent users!... So I thought to propose a standardized terminology... When a pen has some visual similarities but there is no doubt that the "original", genuine pen is different enough, we should say that this "clone", which is really not a clone, is pen INSPIRED by the original one. Example: Jinhao 15 Guangzhou Tower (or Wasteline) model (still been sold in Amazon!) Waterman Serenitè (ORIGINAL) Of course the Serenite has the well known bend shape while the Jinhao, often call by the name "Gullor" is straight. When it is hard to distinguish a pen from a quick look from the original genuine pen, then we will call the pen a WANNA BE. I would reserve the term TRIBUTE or HOMMAGE if the original pen dates decades before the date of issue of the "Wanna Be". An important condition for this category is that the "Wanna Be" pen should not carry the name of the original pen company or model. Seagull (Japan) from https://www.fountainpennetwork.com/forum/topic/321688-mystery-parker-vacumatic-copy Parker Vacumatic Finally, in a class of their own, we have the "TRUE FAKES" or "GENUINE CLONES" - pun absolutely intended - which carry the name of the original pen make, even if there are minor differences between them and the original pen. Typical Chinese Sonnet Clone sold in Ebay (2023 Fall) Original Parker Sonnet Ciselé What do you think? Of course we can always add internediate grades as TRUE FAKE- or WANNA BE+ to cover gradations and introduce the obligatory ambiguity Example the Jinhao Centennials which I am not sure if they are an Homage+ or a True Fake- Let me know what you think. PS> The original article is in https://azfp.blogspot.com/2023/11/fountain-pen-clones-terminology-first.html to avoid the issue of lost images
  2. At the recent Pelikan Hubs gathering, a friend showed me a new Hero from China, with a safety and piston filling mechanism that worked just like a Montblanc Heritage 1912. It was branded as a Hero, and was not a Montblanc replica, but I was surprised that they had going to the trouble to copy this rather complicated mechanism. Now I see every day on eBay numerous "MB" replicas of the Heritage 1912 in black, red, steel, and possibly other colors. There are also many "MB" Rouge et Noir fakes available, even one with the matte hard rubber finish of the 1906 limited edition. The vendors are selling these at prices so low that no serious collector would mistake them for the real thing, but there is nothing to stop anyone from trying to represent them as real Montblancs, which would get a much higher price from an unsuspecting bidder.
  3. This may rile up some folks. I've noted that when the subject of low cost pens comes up, more and more members will now advocate the Chinese pens. I've also seen where some posts voice an uneasiness regarding whether or not the pens from China are out and out counterfeits. On the one hand, I do know and recognize that some of the Chinese manufacturers are not in the legal sense counterfeiters. Many we are told have or had licensing agreements with say Parker. Plus, given that they market under their own brand name, I'd concede that they may not be legally counterfeits. Counterfeiters typically try to name their products so that a purchaser thinks these fakes are the legitimate product. But not always. Back in the 80's Iived in Asia when it seemed every taxi driver wore what appeared to a 'Rolex' (but wasn't). Every shop keeper it seemed had what appeared to be an Apple II computer but wasn't. Yes, I know I exaggerate -- did so on purpose. I myself at that time had a 'pineapple' computer linked with a couple of 'orange' floppy disk drives. At the time I had no choice where I was; when I came back to the US I did not bring the fakes with me! What I am bothered about from surveying offerings on e-bay as well as websites from some sellers/importers (several of whom are active members of FPN) is that this approach is being used by the Chinese pen manufacturers. Think of how many of the Chinese pens not only look like Parker 51's in general body shape, but also use the Parker arrow clip of the same design as the P-51 era. Also how many pens are using what appear to be Sheaffer or Waterman clips. I've seen quite a number of pen offerings that have the pen cap bevel that look like Waterman. As well as pens having the conical cap ends looking like Cross products. In short, to me these imports smack of the same approach to counterfeiting as I described above for watches and computers in the 80's. And yet all too many of us moan about the industry dying or going off shore, while we buy the products that are stealing the legitimate manufacturers' markets. I don't object to the imported products. But let the overseas manufacturers use their own design elements, rather than try to fool purchasers. And we, as enthusiasts, should vow not to support these imports pretending to be what they are not. Anyone else feel this way? Comments?

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