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  1. 5umedh

    Airmail 58C

    Sometimes you have some pens just because they bring on pure nostalgia. This one is one of those for me. A pen by Airmail. Rather any pen by Airmail. We, 90’s kids of India, and also the kids before, grew up using this brand during our school days at least ones. Airmail Pen Company was established in 1951. Since then, they have been manufacturing some awesome pens, especially fountain pens. They are based in Mumbai, India. This review is about one of their offerings, Model 58C. I hope you will enjoy reading it. First Glance I personally don’t like huge pens. There are some exceptions of course. This, in my books, is a very big pen. But it is value for money. And when you have its value in mind, its a damn good pen. You get it in ₹180 (i.e. barely $3). I bet you wont get this quality fountain pen in a $3 pen elsewhere. You can compare it with the build quality of Noodler’s Pens. Looks The pen does not look that great for my taste. A very bulky but not at all a bad looking pen. How do you spot an Airmail from far is the steel band they have on the cap. It’s their trademark. Also this pen isn’t something you can flaunt in your shirt pocket. It is too huge for that. Finial and End-Cap The finial and end cap have a reflective, pointed dome made of steel which looks nothing but simple. The Clip is pretty tight but certainly useful with any type of shirt pocket. Simple steel clip. The Cap is Screw Fit & works great. The threads are all plastic as the pen is. Threads are not sharp at all. The only flaw (I would say) is the threads have 3 openings. This keeps the capped pens clip from aligning itself from the Airmail logo on the barrel. Small thing it is. And also something that you would not expect from a cheap pen. Filling Mechanism This is a eye dropper pen where you have to fill the ink directly into the barrel by using an eye-dropper or a syringe. The ink it should take is about (at least) two times of what a standard long ink cartridge can hold, though I have not measured it. Writing Experience I bought a Fine since it was the only nib option available with the retailer. I worked a bit on smoothing of the nib. There were very few fine nibs I have liked out of the box like my Lamy Safari’s. This nib was a bit scratchy for me. Now it has become somewhere between fine and medium since I worked on it. Posting Posting makes this pen top heavy. And it makes it so long that I could practically scratch my nose while writing General Info & Measurements Locking Mechanism: Screw fit Filling Mechanism: Eye dropper Posted: 17.4 cm Capped: 15 cm Uncapped: 13.2 cm My Ratings (after I worked on the nib) Nib: 6/10 Looks: 6/10 Pocket Looks: 1/10 Writing Experience: 6/10 Wetness: 2/10 Scratchiness: 3/10 Cost: 10/10 Line Variation: 7/10 Reverse Writing: 4/10 Overall: 5/10 ————————————— Disclaimer: This review is all about my personal views about a product especially the one I have used (for this review). You may come across a same model which you might find better or worse. Do let me know how you like the review. Follow my blog: https://pen5um.wordpress.com Thanks, 5umedh
  2. A BRIEF HISTORY OF WRITING MATERIALS AND INSTRUMENTS IN INDIA. PreVedic Age - According to historians there existed no written languages in India during the PreVedic period. This is confirmed by books like Vishnupurana also. But it is said that the Vedic knowledge existed during this period, which was transferred verbally from Master to the Disciple. Vedic age- This is the period were Vedas were written. Though there are many controversies regarding the age of Vedas, a period accepted by most of the historians is around 3000 BC. Most of the Hindu philosophers also accept this period as Vedic age. The Vedas are written and divided into 4 by Krishna Dwaipayana Vyaasa. Rig Veda is the first written Veda, also this is the oldest literature available to humans at present. Unfortunately there is no clue about the writing material or instrument used. Vyaasa - An Artist’s imagination. There are historians who conclude that writing was not started during this period as no manuscripts, writing materials or writing instruments have been discovered belonging to this period. But I may beg to differ as although there are no direct evidences, the following points may highlighted. Rig Veda itself is the evidence. It is a book consisting of more than 100,000 verses and 1000 hymns. Don’t you think that such a vast volume of information, unless written somewhere , we should n’t have these available at present. Another point, in Rigveda itself the words “Akshara” ( means Alphabet), Grandha ( means Book), Cows with the Numerical “8” written on them are present which clearly indicates that some form of writing was there. Also it has been written in Rig Veda that Shatapriya states – Vamanadeva by hearts Veda by “seeing” it and also Atreya saying about a Rishi reading it. Altough nothing about the word “write” is seen in Rig veda , Yajur Veda and Atharva Veda uses the word “ Likha” which means “to write”. All these indicates writing, though we do not know about where is it written or how is it written. So it should be concluded that some form of writing have been started in India during Vedic age itself. Indus valley Civilizations - This is the civilization which was developed along the River Indus and its tributaries developed around 2600 BC. Though many Stone and Rock carvings are obtained which belonged to this period, all of these are still undeciphered. Also nothing like manuscripts or writing instruments were able to be obtained and the mystery continues about writing in this period. The Epic ages - Roughly this age comes after the Vedic age, probably around 1000 – 500 BC. Many important literature works occurred during this period. Two great Epics, Ramayana and Mahabharata were written during this age. Mahabharata with more than 100,000 stanzas is the longest poem of the world. But the bad luck continues- still no manuscript was obtained, nor any writing utensils or materials. But in Mahabharata, there are various situations where some thing is writing on a leaf or cloth and send to be read by other people. Also the names of persons written on arrows. Yet another book written during this age was the “ Ashtadhyayi” by Panini and “ Dharmasutra “ by Vasishta. Though the exact period of Panini is not known, various historians put him from 8 th to 4th century BC. It is a grammar book on Sanskrit language. In various places he is asking the reader to “see” other rules as references indicating that the original form of this was a written thing. Also he uses a word “ Lipikara” Lipi = alphabet Lipikara = Writer. During this age, the usage of ink was there as evidenced by excavations from Takshila. Even a branch of science called ‘ Rasaratnakara’ developed where a recipe for ink was given. It was made from nuts and myrobalan. The word ‘ massi’ was used for ink. The word Massi stands for “ Crushed”. We Keralites still use the word “ Mashi” for ink. The word meaning shows that ink was made by crushing, may be plant or animal origin. The Rasaratnakara also tells us about mixing different types of plants and minerals to get different shades of ink. Some historians says that Wing feathers were used during this time for writing. This is the first time in Indian writing history where the usage of a writing instrument is indicated. There is also evidence about Indians using Wooden board as writing material. Writing was done with a material similar to chalk called Pandulekha. Nearchos ( 326 BC) admiral of Alexander, have mentioned about Cloth being used as a writing material in India. In Kerala ( where I live) cloth is used till recently by certain group of people as writing material. After this period, the next evidence of writing is identified in 250 BC in Emperor Ashoka’s inscriptions on pillars and stones, called as Ashoka pillars. Megasthanes, who was a Greek ambassador in Pataliputra,India,says about written horoscopes of Indian people. AROUND 1000 AD. ( Al beruni’s observations) During the later ages, the great Arab scholar Al beruni’s book gives some important informations about Indian writing. ‘ They use black tablets for children in school and write upon them with a white material from left to right’ (About Palm leaves) ‘ In Southern India they used a slender palm like leaves for writing’ (About Bhurj bark) In Northern and central, India, they used a wood called Bhurj for writing. They oil and polish it, to make it hard and smooth. So, what are the materials used in Ancient India for writing? Paper was hardly known in India before 11th century. Before that the main writing material in South India was Palm leaves.( My mothers horoscope was on palm leaves. It was written on 1950s.) For writing a sharp ended metal piece called Naarayam was used. A type of palm, which grow on coastal Malabar area was famous for this. The leaves are collected, boiled and dried before writing with the Naarayam, which is held with whole palm instead of a tripod grip. In Northern states, where good quality palm leaves were not available, the bark of a tree called Bhurja is used. After Chinese have found the technology of making paper in Ad 700s, it was introduced to India by Arabs. Though reference says that paper industry was already started in a limited amount in India, in Delhi or Lahore,it was probably insignificant. The first real paper industry was developed in Kashmir by Sulthan Sainul Khan, in 1400s. The real high quality paper soon became very famous, so that the demand from rest of India and other parts of the world were difficult to meet. Soon, with rapid demand, other centres also started developing making papers. Important among them were Punjab,Jaunpur, Bihar,Bengal, Ahmedabad,Gujarath and Mysore. Soon Gujarath developed as the largest producer and exporter. In medieval India there were atleast 20 paper making centres. This hand made paper making industry was going in full strength until the early part of 19th century and later started declining. So what writing instrument was used in these papers? In places where bamboo type plants grow, thin reeds about 5 mm diameter were made and tips were sharpened with knife. Bamboo with brushed tips can also be seen in museums. These were dipped in inks made of plant resins with soot or mineral colours for writing. It seems that the ink pot for these inks were made of Brass, which is kept as an antique item in homes and museums. These were called as Kalam Dams. In places were bamboos were not available bird feathers were used as a writing instruments. It seems that a wooden pen nib holder with attached metal nib was introduced in India British East India company, which may be in early part of 20th century. Cheap to obtain, it became a popular writing instrument. For writing different languages like English, Urdu and Hindi different types of nibs were available. Even after the introduction of fountain pen, because of high price , this was the writing instrument for a large mass of Indian people almost till independence. Ink pots were available in office and schools where premade depressions in furniture were made to keep the ink pots. It was during this period that East India Company made a decision not to use Hand made papers in government offices and started using imported machined papers from Britain. At the same time 2-3 paper mills already started functioning in India, which made cheaper paper available in the market. All on a sudden the glamorous profession till now went down to pathetic condition. Going became rough for both people and the industry. Gandhiji understanding the situation,tried to improve this. By this period the Swadeshi movement under his leader ship have already started. To help indigenous industries an All India village Industries Association have started, under the guidance of Sri.Kumarappa. So, what about fountain pens during this period? What I understand is that there were persons ( or agencies?) who bring foreign pens to India, either officially or unofficially. The Hyderabad native, SS Siddiqui, who went to Calcutta in 1920s for pen business, later became agent for Conway Stewart, and started the famous Deccan pens of Hyderabad. Gupta agencies, again based on Calcutta was also importing foreign pens even before this period. While examining the history of Pen hospital, Trissur, the founder KKP Abdulla, got his initial training ( in late 1920 or early 30s) again from Calcutta. So, Calcutta was the India’s major pen hub? In Madras, during late 1920s, MS Cunnan ( pronounced as Kannan), started the pen shop, Gem & Co,which later became authorized representatives of Parker and Waterman in India. After 1925,a few more paper mills started appearing - now there are more than 10 mills functioning in full swing in India with the combined annual production going more than 45000 tons. It seems that India’s writing industry is well responding to Gandhiji’s call for Swadeshi movement. In records, Krishnaveni Ink factory establishedin 1920,by Sambasiva Rao of Madras was the first brand came into life in response to Swadeshi call. So many ink brands, mostly very small units were established in the following years throughout the country. Demands were also raising. 1931- Dandedkar & Co establishes which later becomes Camlin. This company begins production of ink tablets and powders under Horse brand. The year 1932 – Probably the most important event in Indian writing history happened now- In Rajahmundry, “The grandfather of pens” Kosuri Venkat Ratnam makes the first fountain pen of India in silver. When Sri. Kumarappa of All India village Industries Association came to see the work in 1934, he takes one ebonite pen for Gandhiji. And the most important thing, Gandhiji appreciated it very much. What else a pen maker want in his whole life? The year 1933 – Probably this year is also may be very important in Indian writing- The birth of Mahtre pens. They were started as representatives of Eversharp pens in India. But they had no production facilities at present. 1934- Sulekha works Ltd start its operations in ink making. In late 1930s and early 1940s the ink and paper industry of India flourished exponentially due to increased demand during the war, this also resulted in birth of many new brands. 1940 – Yet another important year. The birth of Balkrishna pens and Dhiraj pens. There is a beautiful article written by Purvi Sanghvi, about these. This was a combined effort of two brothers- Sri. Dwarakadas Sanghvi and Sri. Vallabhdas sanghvi. So who made India’s second pen? I think that credit goes to these people, Sanghvi brothers. Mahtre have n’t started their own production facilities ( as far as my knowledge goes). Mahtre start first brand Plato, in 1950 only. During this period Swan and Black bird birds were very available as I interviewed my grand pa and ma. I had to go a little crazy over this and started interviewing neighbor hood grand pas and mas and later all the old people of the village started hiding them selves on seeing my face. The inference I got from different people goes like this- All of them started to write with dip pen which they call as steel pen. Most of them know two types of ink. One coming in bottle, other as tablets. Most of them were using tablets as other was expensive. As they upgraded to fountain pen, most of them started with a Black bird or a Swan pen. All of them have not heard about Ever sharp. One of them used a Parker as step up from dip pens. The bottled ink was a Swan or any “local” manufacturer. So when did Mahtre started representing Swan pens? This remains as a mystery. Any way the pens were marketed more aggressively than Eversharp. Continuing with Balkrishna and Dhiraj pens, initially they started with Wilson branded pens. They became huge success. Soon they started – around 1945- President brand, which also was a huge success. Then they started Olympic brand- but it seems that this brand was not that much heard about later. I think that this group had still some other “ unknown” brands. [ A Wilson 45 ( from 60s). Olympic Pen- A Vacumatic look alike – I do not have original cap – so using Vacumatic’s.. Though initially there was overlap, later Balkrishna pens started producing only Wilson brand and Dhiraj pens, produced President. 1946 – Guider pens started in this year by Mr. G.Subbarao, they still have antique celluloid rods for making pens. !947 – Everlast pens – an American brand was introduced in Madras by a local agency. Later this brand was introduced in Calcutta, Delhi and major cities. It seems that though initially pens were imported directly from USA, later local production started here either with the knowledge of original company or unknowingly. 1950s- By this time there are more than 100 ink brands in India. Also in early 1950s, may be in 1951 itself, the Japanese giant Pilot and the American giant Parker started their ink manufacturing plants in India. Gujarath Pen industry I am not sure when this have started. Having head office in Bombay, but I suspect that they started some where in Gujarath. Only thing I can say is that they have registered the trade mark of “Champion brand” in 1958- but that does not mean that the company have started in 1958. The company may have started may be around early 1950s- but correct me if I am wrong. They had at least 3 brands of pens. President, Ashok and Service. Of these President was the flag ship brand, but Ashok was immensely popular. But do not be confused, there is one more Ashoka ( Ashoka, not Ashok). This was a smaller company from Andhra Pradesh and only made hand made pens unlike Gujarath Ind. These Ashokas were more popular in Kerala. ( I can tell that there are people who still enquire about Ashoka, to whom we may make pen “ like Ashoka” ). 1950 – Kim& Co at Calicut came into existence. As detailed article already exists, readers are referred to there. Probably the first India’s first “manufactured” pen produced by Mahtre under the brand name Plato in this year – 1950. About Mahtre pens and plastics Started in the year 1933, this company made some important contributions to Indian pen industry. It represented Ever sharp in India for decades and later in 1958 it started the brand “ Doric” under Eversharp licence. This firm also had their own brands like “Writer” and “Clipper”. It have represented also companies like Swan and Waterman. During early 1960s they have started making pens for Waterman and Swan under their license for marketing in India. The original Mahtre company although wound up in 80s, the company exist as Ravlon pen company at present with Ravindra N Mhatre as Chairman & Managing Director They are the makers and exporters of ball pen tips. They are the largest makers of ball pen tips in India and also the only exporters of the same. 1951 – Airmail Wality company established. 1953 or earlier – Chelpark Ink company established. About Chelpark company. There is a well written article about Parker pen company and Chellaram family in India, for starting ink manufacturing. Though parker have started it operations early 1950s, the exact time of deal between Mr. Byford of Parker and Chellaram family is not clear. Chelpark Company came into life atleast in 1953. Mr. Byford of Parker joined parker company of Britain in 1946, working for overseas operations including Africa, and Chellaram had business in same region from 1943 onwards and bought Parker products from him for marketing there. Though Chelpark exists almost no more as a ink manufacturer, the group still exists as Chellsons exports and Chellsons Packaging Pvt ltd, exporting stationary items. Late 1950s - Deccan pens started making pens under their own brand. In 1960s, many companies came into existence- notable among them where Mercury pens, Ambitious pens, Ritesharp pens, Chandra pens, Sulekha pens, Matharu pens, Camlin pens , Artist pens and Wimco pens. 1963 - Artist pens, which started their operations in 1963, later became Luxor pens. 1964 – BRIL inks (Industrial Research Corporation) came into existence. In 1960s MS Pandurangan have started Ranga Pen company, producing hand made pens,which later developed in to the single brand having the most international collaborations than any other similar firm. 1965- Ambitious Gold Nib manufacturing company started. This company caters the OEM needs of many fountain pen brands of the world from at least 1980s onwards. From an article about Indian Pen industry in Times of India 1987- (“Ambitious Gold Nib manufacturing company,the Nib and Ballpen manufacturer which hawks nibs to Parker and Sheaffer in the US, is busy developing rollerball and micro-tipped pens”) The company is having ( or had) collaborations with Parker, Sheaffer, Pilot, FaberCastle, Zenith(Poland), Styb(Spain), Viva and many more. Camlin started making fountain pens from mid 1960s. Higher quality products with competitive pricing made them very popular for next 2 decades. This company also meets the OEM needs of major brands and export them to different countries. Nibs for higher models are made by Ambitious. PILOT pens in India On or before 1953 Pilot have established Pilot Pen Co ( India)LTD, and started ink manufacturing. During or after 1959, Pilot have started manufacturing pens. It became a huge success. It belonged to the Super series – though not exact copies of their Japanese counter part- Super 1,2 and 3. Also pilot G series with gold nib. During this period Calicut pen people have contacted the company for making hand made ebonite pens for them, they also made a few ebonite pens as samples using Pilot clips and nibs, but the venture did not worke out well. The models made by Pilot were very popular and affordable. Pen Industry after 70s/80s. Probably after 70 or 80s I would like to call writing instruments industry as modern. The industry pattern have changed. Companies have changed. And the customers requirements also changed. Now there is more demand for ball pens. Among the notable brands from the past, only Balkrishna ( Wilson)have survived the test of time. The hand made pen industry, though surviving, is going through a rough time.It is to be noted that Wilson branded jotter pens very popular now. From 1980s onwards the industry begins to shift from the hands of small unorganized players to bigger companies. Many companies wanted to make alliance with world’s leading brandsto conquer the market. Probably the first move in this direction was made by Luxor, by entering in to an agreement with Pilot to launch Pilot pens in India in 1982. Chandra pens have started marketing Cross ball pens. Cross ,already having a good brand image in India became a huge success, selling more than 100,000 units in the first year itself. Ambitious pen companies talks with Parker and Cross went unsuccessful for a joint venture. Parker began to look for other suitable partner which they found on Luxor.Meanwhile Flair bought Pierre Cardin, Senator and Pentel to Indian market and Linc pen bought Uniball, Lamy and Bensia. About Luxor pen company Started in 1963, Luxor started marketing Pilot pens in 1982. In 1996, Luxor group company and Gillete group entered into a 50:50 venture for production and marketing of Parker, Waterman and Papermate brands in India. This have helped Luxor to strengthen its market position. In late 2000, Gillete sold its Stationary product business to Newell Rubbermade, along with the 50% stake in this joint venture. Later Luxor group bought out the rest of the stake from Rubbermaid, retaining its right to manufacture, market and sell Parker, Waterman and Papermate products in India. ( Sanford does not have any stakes in Luxor now). Still there are companies I do not mention which includes Cello ( 40 % of stake is with BIC, I think Cello is the number 1 brand at present),Reynolds under GM pen International ( still under Sanfords) Today’s, Montex ( another company which concentrates in export market meeting the OEM demands of various brands)Lexi and Pik and probably numerous others. I know that many other small firms that make hand turned pens have been omitted. A place called Thiruvalloor, of Chennai , was just like a pen making centre where there were many small firms making ebonite rods and Ebonite pens. Most of them have closed, but still some exist. They do not want to brand themselves . When they get clips named Swarna, that batch of pens becomes “Swarna”. But the same batch of clips when supplied by the clip company to some other similar firm in Andhra Pradesh, that batch also becomes “ Swarna”!. Now we have 2 different pens with the same name! But most of the time get clips with out name- that’s our luck. In Chathoor,( Chennai state) nibs are still being made as hand made items. In Thanjavoor , specialist calligraphic nib grindrers were shut down, who used to custom modify nibs. Though the firm have been restarted, they have not come up yet. That on Left is made by makers at Chennai, while right by makers at Andhra. Original article written for the book “ Kozhikkodinte Charitram” ( History of Calicut) in Malayalam language. Briefed, translated and edited for FPN by my wife’s brother Nighil Mohan ( mohan in FPN). Thanks for reading. Sreekumar
  3. Lotus is a new brand to the Indian handmade pens scenario. It has carved a niche for itself, crafting high quality pens from high quality materials. They are priced well for what they offer. I got one after great thought and I'm happy to say its worth all the hype it has been getting. Design and Material I knew I had to get a Lotus. I knew I had to get a Lotus in the Honey Dew Celluloid. But what I did not know was which model to get. Finally, I decided on a design based on the Churchill, and I couldn't be happier. I am a huge admirer of the Churchill by Conway Stewart but since that pen isn't affordable for me, I got one made based on it. This design for some reason shows off the Honey Dew material much better than any other design (in my opinion). It is a flat shaped pen with a small taper towards the end on the barrel. The top finial has ridges on it which I love. The first trim ring appears just below it and then comes the clip. Then there's a wider trim ring above the cap lip. Right where the taper begins on the barrel, is another trim ring. And then the last one is at the section threads. I asked for all brass trim but some of it was gold plated but it wasn't hard for me to sand it down and polish it so that now all's just brass. The clip originally had a pseudo diamond like end which I shaped into a sharper diamond shape. The Honey Dew celluloid is a beast in itself. It's a deep black with flame like orange and red flecks. It looks like a flame caged in the belly of a pen. The only branding is done on the clip and on the nib (the branding on the clip got sanded off while I was removing the gold plating). In sunlight, the pen looks like it's gonna ignite. I love the way this pen looks. Construction and Quality The Lotus Churchill is the best made Indian pen I have in my collection but I still feel it can be improved. The polishing is great but the finishing is where things go a bit off track. There are a few lathe marks here and there and the section has a poor polish. I'm pretty sure this isn't captured in my pictures though. But not all's bad. I would rate their making miles above many makers in India (with due respect to all). The quality of materials seem pretty good and only time can tell how it'll all hold up. The trim rings are all nice and thick. One thing I would say is that the nib unit was screwed in too tight and that caused the feed to crack inside the unit while I tried to unscrew it for cleaning. I couldn't take screw out the unit since there was nothing protruding that would let me unscrew it. Lotus was prompt to offer a new section but I managed somehow managed (with tips from some of my friends) to screw the cracked unit out by using a knockout block to first get the broken feed out and then use a screwdriver to remove the collar. This deemed the unit useless but the nib was unharmed. I just took a new unit and slathered a ton of silicone grease and now it screws and unscrews just fine. Filling Mechanism It's a good old CC. Uses any international converter. Mine came with the Schmidt K5. It is a convenient mechanism and works well. I also put in an agitator ball from a cartridge just so that I won't end up with any air gaps inside. You can see a hint of the metal part o the converter in the following photo. Comfort This is no small pen. It borders on the oversize and that's exactly what appeals to me. Its tall enough to be used unposted and the balance is pretty much perfect. I would prefer a tiny bit more heft. Maybe a metal threads insert at the section might help. The section first has a taper towards the nib and then a small flare up. It is gently curved and is very comfortable to hold. Writing Ah, the most important part of a pen. I'm have to say that this was the most disappointing part for me. Lotus offers stock grinds with their pens and I had asked for a #6 JoWo gold tone CI with the intention of making it a two tone nib and was very excited for it. What I received was a flimsy stub that had a triangle shape and a TON of scratch. Under the loop, I could make out the tines being off alignment and once I had aligned them, it wrote okay. It was still feedback. I had to then grind the nib to make it write the way I liked. I couldn't make a cursive italic out of it due to the shape but managed an uber smooth stub. I was much happier but for some reason, the nib doesn't seem to connect with the pen. I'll be getting a regular broad at some point and use that in this pen. The #6 nib is a good match but it does deserve a bigger nib, but I don't really have the funds for that so I'll live with this. (The stub I ground) (Writing sample) Wrapping Up Its a pen that I love. I would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a good quality celluloid pen. It does have a few flaws here and there, but nothing that couldn't be fixed. Edit 1: I forgot to mention that the material is see through at the orange flecked parts.
  4. Got another inexpensive masterpiece with very smooth writing and moderate wetness. honourably sized. These pens are acting as catalyst to keep my interest growing in fountain pens. Tried to write few things and a big shout to fellow FPN users to their encouragement. Presenting Oliver Tulip with Fine nib, Piston mechanism filled with Blue Black Sheaffer ink. Size Comparison with Pilot Metropolitan Writing Sample:::::
  5. Hello From past few days I was reading the ASA Nauka Series review by our learned fellow members like Aditkamath26 (Very Good Pics), dinuraj - Marvellous info rich review, Sagarb - Superb Handwriting and Vaibhav (as always very detailed review with sharp pics) and after reading again and again I had decided to go for "ASA Aqua Blue Translucent Acrylic Nauka" . And let me tell you gentleman that though above mentioned people's review tempted me to buy this but I am enjoying this pen completely. Not only me, but my colleague at workplace are as well enjoying the beauty and writing of this pen. From last couple of days this ASA demonstrator is demonstrating itself very well. I believe, all the specs and details are already given in previous reviews, so, I thought that I will write some gibberish for sample and clicked few pics for your viewing pleasure.
  6. Just over a month ago, on August 25, I received a notification in my email inbox that a new fountain pen was being released by the folks at Fountain Pen Revolution – the first pen in their line-up to take advantage of their #6 nibs. If you trawl through the Fountain Pen Reviews sub-forum here you’ll see that I’ve reviewed a number of his pens before – I’m an unabashed fan of most of the pens these guys release (the Dilli being the one real exception). What attracted me to this pen was the larger nib, the aesthetic (it’s pretty similar in appearance to the Jaipur, albeit larger), and the capacity to swap nibs in and out – not to mention the very competitive price tag! – so I placed an order, pretty much immediately, for two pens: a ‘solid’ coloured teal, and a clear plastic demonstrator. Discerning viewers will notice a distinct resemblance between this pen and the Click Aristocrat – that’s no coincidence. I’ve confirmed with Kevin from FPR that this pen is the product of a collaboration between the two companies – based on an original pen design from the folks at Click. ______________________________________________________________________ 1. Appearance & Design The Darjeeling is currently available in 6 solid colours (teal, red, blue, white, black and green) – I opted for the teal – or as a clear demonstrator. I’m not sure what material the pens are made from, but they look and feel like some kind of plastic, and have the distinctive smell of products made from vegetal resin. The clear demonstrator especially has a noticeable odour attached to it – which doesn’t bother me at all (in fact I quite like it!), but may be an issue for some people. If you’ve ever purchased a Noodler’s pen (or certain other Indian-made brands), you’ll know what I’m talking about. The first thing I noticed about the pen when I looked at the photos – and confirmed when I had one in hand – was the similarity of design to the Jaipur: a fairly straight pen that terminates on a shallow ‘conical’ bottom end, with a cap that screws over the top of the grip section and has a similar conical ‘top end’. The barrel tapers slightly towards the bottom, to allow the cap to post deeply on the pen. The main difference between the two pens, visually speaking, is the fact that the Darjeeling is a cartridge converter pen, so there’s no piston knob at the bottom of the barrel. The ‘accents’ on the pen (i.e. cap ring and clip) are ‘chrome’-coloured stainless steel. Comparison of several FPR pens - from top to bottom: the Jaipur, Darjeeling (solid teal), Darjeeling (demonstrator), Himalay, and Triveni Junior … 2. Construction & Quality The Darjeeling appears to be moulded (primarily) from the same vegetal resin as the Jaipur and Guru – the solid pens are relatively glossy, and the demonstrator pen is nice and see-through. The fit and finish on these pens is pretty good – especially considering the price tag. One of the new design features of this pen is the capacity to screw the entire nib assembly in and out – previous pens from FPR tend to be designed so that only the nib and feed are easily replaceable. You can still buy replacement nibs and do a swap – but it’s now possible to buy entire nib assemblies for a few dollars extra, to simplify the process of changing over nib sizes. … 3. Weight & Dimensions I’m away on holiday as I write this review, and I forgot to bring my scale with me (!) – but the FPR website says this pen weighs around 16g, and from memory that seems about right. It’s a very lightweight pen, especially given its size – which means it sits equally comfortably in the hand either posted or unposted. The grip section on the pen is 25cm long (including threads), with a diameter of 11-11.5mm, depending on where you hold it. The cap band, the widest part of the pen, has a 15.5mm diameter, while the barrel sits around 13mm. Lengthwise, the pen is 140mm long capped, 130mm uncapped, and extends to ~170mm posted. … 4. Nib & Performance The Darjeeling is the first pen designed by FPR to take its #6 nibs – and, as mentioned above, it’s now possible to buy a nib assembly that simply screws into the grip section. I haven’t had much exposure to FPR’s #6 nibs prior to this, as they’re a little wider at the base than JoWo, Bock or Jinhao nibs, and don’t fit as easily into my other pens (e.g. the Jinhao 159). I’ve been very happy with the nibs I purchased, though – a flex nib purchased for another Indian pen, the M and 1.0mm stub nibs that came with this pens, and the EF nib I swapped into the teal pen. It’s worth pointing out that these pens seem to write very wet, despite the fact that they use a plastic feed (as opposed to the ebonite feed in the Jaipur). As with the #5.5 nibs, I find the stub nib doesn’t provide the greatest amount of line variation – but it writes very smoothly, as do the rounded tip nibs. … 5. Filling System & Maintenance The Darjeeling is a cartridge converter pen, that will take standard international converters, and comes with a simple push-pull-type converter (rather than a screw-type). I find these a little fiddly, but they work perfectly well – and you can always swap in a better converter if you prefer. The pens are also designed to work as eyedropper pens, and will accommodate an impressive amount of ink (I’d guess 4-5ml or more?). I’ve eyedroppered the demonstrator pen, and it’s been hassle-free. The only downside doing this with the solid coloured pens would be the lack of an ink window. … 6. Cost & Value The Darjeeling is excellent value for money, starting at $15 per unit (add $4 if you want a B, stub or flex nib). Since FPR’s base of operations relocated to the US, postage is higher for international buyers – but still pretty competitive compared to other US retailers. … 7. Conclusion I’ve once again been really pleased with FPR’s offerings – I wish I could say this was my favourite so far, but honestly, I still really like the Jaipur, the Himalaya, and my collection of Trivenis (the Gurus and Induses are pretty good too, but for different reasons are a bit lower down my list). If you like piston filler pens, I’d go with the Jaipur or the Himalaya; if you prefer the greater convenience of a cartridge converter pen, this is a great pen for an amazing price. Happy to answer any questions you may have – though my internet access is going to be very patchy for the next few days. …
  7. I'm still finding pens for long writing sessions, and I've discovered that I like large grip sections. Not being in the income bracket for a KOP, I'm looking into something like the Nauka or Maya. My understanding is that the standard pen (with the stock ASA nib) comes with a friction-fit feed. If ordered with a Jowo housing, it's a screw-in. If I plan to eyedropper the pen either way, is there any real advantage to getting the Jowo housing? It's around 28 USD more, which is more than the cost of a nib. If I buy the stock pen, couldn't I swap out the nib anyway if I didn't like ASA's? If anyone has a preference between these pens (or other similar pens! Gama?) I'm all ears. I understand the owner of ASA is recovering from surgery as well — I hope he's back on his feet soon.
  8. vamsivadrevu

    Ranga Model 8 Black Ebonite

    This is my first review on FPN. I recently ordered a Ranga Model 8 with JoWo #6 Nib in Gold Mono Tone from Mr. Kandan. Body Black Ebonite glossy finish. He's been extremely responsive and patiently answered all my questions. I'm addicted to his pens. I recently ordered his newly released Model 9B pens as well. So here goes my review; Design and Construction: 8/10 I absolutely love the torpedo and cigar shaped pens. This torpedo shape is my favourite. A Standard Swiss army knife for size reference. The pen is very light in weight at just 19gm capped and inked. However this light weight doesn't make the pen feel cheap. It feels quite robust. It is well balanced when writing. The cap however, doesn't post securely, this is not a pen that is meant to be posted. The cap also easily clips into pockets as the size of the pen is average (just a tad longer than a Pilot Metropolitan). It is perfectly suited for daily carry. The body of the pen weighs just 11gm It is very well built. The cap threads are very well cut. There's no skipping of threads when screwing and unscrewing the cap. The action is smooth and inspires confidence. The finish on the black ebonite is glossy and quite well done. However we can still see some tooling marks. Comparing it with another pen that I own (Deccan Advocate -- which is so well-finished that it's surface feels lacquered), I found that the finish could have been a little better. The quality of ebonite seems top notch. There are only two very small pits on the cap. (Visible only if one went about looking for them with a magnifying glass). The cap leaves some scratching marks on the barrel of the pen just below the point where the section threads into the barrel.. But this is common on all ebonite pens. The section is a little slim for my liking (after being used to Deccan Advocate which is very thick) but I hope it is just a matter of getting used to its slim size. The section threads into the barrel very securely and smoothly and I'm pretty sure it is going to be leak proof but I've not tested it. It comes greased so that one can convert it to an Eye Dropper Pen). I ordered the pen with a JoWo #6 Medium Nib with a cartridge converter. The nib is beautifully carved (JoWo Unit) Nib, Feed and Writing Experience: 9/10 Since the pen comes equipped with a screw in JoWo Nib Unit, it is a typical JoWo nib performance. It writes relatively wet and extremely smoothly. The feed keeps up with all kinds of crazy writing speeds. The tines are very rigid as nail. No Flex properties exhibited (I don't like Flex). I also ordered a 1.1 Stub Nib that I have yet to test. I'll post a separate review for the Stub Nib when I rotate my inks and replace this medium nib with stub nib. With Parker Quink Blue, the flow is very good and the nib glides on the paper. (A standard Classmate notebook). There is however a slight problem of ink sticking to the walls of the Schmidt Cartridge converter and not flowing down into the feed when beginning to write. A small metal agitator (stainless steel ball bearing or spring) might probably be needed to fix this problem. Suggestions are welcome on how I can get a steel ball into the Schmidt K5 Cartridge Converter. I've loved the writing experience so much that I filled half the notebook with just scribbling. The entire experience of the nib gliding on the paper is very therapeutic! Overall I'd give this pen a solid 8.5/10.
  9. mehandiratta

    Asa Patriot - The Classic

    Lately ASA has released lot of pens and believe they will be coming up with lot more in near future. And today I am reviewing another great pen by them which is ASA Patriot. My detailed review is also shown at wordpress page here Link ASA Patriot I had my eyes on Gama Eyas / Gama Hawk for a quite a long time because i wanted an ebonite pen with the rounded top and bottoms. I was just about to buy the pen and then ASA came out with this beauty named PATRIOT and i quickly grabbed the same. DESIGN & BUILT: The pen is a regular sized pen and comes in 5 color options, shiny black, matte black, light brown rippled, dark brown rippled and green rippled finish. Its a regular sized pen which comes with JoWo nib options of F, M , B and 1.1 Italic size. The pen that i reviewed today comes with 1.1 Italic nib. ASA Patriot with 1.1 JoWo Itaic nib It has a clean and minimalist design. The pen open in 2 and half turns which I beleive is the highlight of the pen being an Indian pen. The top and bottom of pen are rounded which are quite nicely done and has been paid lot of attention as it is a handmade pen. ASA Patriot - Top of Cap and Bottom of Barrel ASA Patriot - Uncapped The section of the pen is finished in black shiny finish which is quite okay and provides for sturdy grip. However i would have liked it even more if the section would also have been given a matte finish. Below is the image which shows the pen broken down in to parts, which shows the Schmidt K5 converter also. ASA Patriot - Taken apart The Clip is chrome finished and quite sturdy and the O ring of the clip is well hidden by the rounded cap top. (Update: these are push in type clips, thus no O ring )The Also i got an option to engrave my name on the pen and i opted for the same to be done at the cap which really adds to the beauty of pen. ASA Patriot - Sturdy Clip ASA Patriot - Name Engraving As mentioned earlier the pen is the regular sized pen and below are the few images to show the comparison against various pens. ASA I Can vs ASA Patriot vs Pilot Metropolitan vs Sheaffer No Nonsense - Capped ASA I Can vs ASA Patriot vs Pilot Metropolitan vs Sheaffer No Nonsense - Uncapped This is a well designed pen which is just a class apart in built quality. Actually its a no fuss design. For the detailed review and more images along with the writing sample please follow the link : ASA PATRIOT
  10. Hi All, Recently, we did an India Exclusive Group Buy, for ASA Azaadi. A model which was designed after Conway Stewart Churchill model. Here I am producing a Group Picture of the pens made with Conway Stewart, Omas and Cocktail Blanks, for some of our customers. Thanks for looking. Subramaniam
  11. Dip n Scratch

    Airmail 69A

    I bought this pen just exactly a week ago. That's right one week from the order to the delivery. From India. I hope this bodes well for the two other Wality pens from the same seller. After photographing it for you I inked it with some KWZ IG Aztec Gold. I took the usual precaution of a very light smear of Silicone grease on the thread of the section. It is now standing nib down in a pot while the ink works its way down the feeder. The Wality nib does not have the greatest reputation. I have had one Wality nib where the tines were way out of alignment, but this one is OK. Quick writing sample on a Rhodia No14 notebook.
  12. Hello everyone, We all remembers our first fountain pen we started writing with. We have always cherished that pen and the company. For me, Airmail has been and will always be close to my heart. From school days to 2012 have been loyal to Airmail. However, when I misplaced them in 2012 it broke my heart. Since then searched a lot for them. Always thought the company might have closed. However , a month back noticed that Airmail has started selling the pens on Amazon.in It was a surprise and ordered couple of 70 and & 71JT. Each costing about 350/- INR which seemed very resonable. Will be reviewing Airmail Wality 70 with few pictures. Online order experience: 1. Ordered four Airmail 70 pens of brown colour. The very next day received a call from the representative informing that brown colour is not available and if I may wait for a week or order mix colours. Could not wait and ordered the mix colours(brown, red, blue and green) . The person was courteous and simple to talk to. No typical business-wala talk but very humble gentleman. The package was shipped within 2 days, shipped by BlueDart and received in 9 days. 2. They were packed in a A4 size envelope, which could be better packed for added safety. I was expecting them to be packed loose bound together and scratched/ damaged. However to my surprise each pen is packed neatly in a box with foam cut for the pen, with an eyedropper and a spare two-tone medium nib. It was something unexpected and does get a smile on you. Compare it with the Parker packed in a cheap cardboard and plastic covers. 3. It would make a nice gift for someone who loves FPs. Pictures of the Beauty A Classic look The box Foam cut to safe the pen from any scratch with a eyedropper Spare nib Slim profile Comfortable to hold. Light weight. Rests nicely. Well balanced when writing without the cap posted. Even with the cap posted the pen is well balanced due to the light weight. Either way , with or without the cap it is comfortable to hold and write for long duration. The nib with the pen is fine. It is equivalent to 0.5mm. A bit fine than Luxor 0.5. Depends on how much pressure one puts on. There is no flex to it at all. The nib has been smooth to write with. Had to tweek a bit for wet writing which I prefer. The feeder is a flat feeder unlike few who have a thick feeder. The feeder is of good quality and surely is not a cheap hand made one. The grooves to screw in are nicely made and it screws in smoothly. The feeder has grooves for ink flow. They are not cut by hand. Precise neat and deep cuts which has ensured nice steady ink flow throughout. The grooves are well cut ,both in and outside the barrel. Translucent slots to see the ink level. To see the level one needs to hold it vertical for few seconds, let ink to flow and against a bright light. Quality of pen: 1. Extremely well made. Impressive. Construction of the pen is top notch quality- comparable to any pen one can think of. Feel it to believe it. 2. Elegant looking. Does catches the eyes of people around, writing or be it in pocket. 3. Light weight. Does not mean its cheap material!!! 4. It is nealty made, well designed for long duration writing. Have not felt tired holding it. Ink Flow: 1. Out of the box, filled and it started writing straight away. Used it for couple of days but seemed dry for my liking. A bit of adjusting the feeder for wet ink flow and working like magic since then. 2. Have not had any sudden ink blobs flowing out till now. 3. Kept it uncaped for 15mins, picked up and it wrote straight away. ( I dont think anyone would keep their FP uncaped for so long!) 4. Takes 3ml of ink. Thats more than enough one needs to fill in pages! Conclusion: 1. It is an extremely serious contender to many FPs which cost more than twice! For VFM it beats Parker hands down!!!! 2. The colour, the design all along catches the eyes of beholders around. Rather than discussing the papers to sign- the topic always came to the FP. 3. With the pretty decent cardboard box, neat presentation can be a gift. 4. For daily use its a beautiful, quality FP and pleasure to write with. 5. Many would want to change the nib. I am satisfied with the nib it has, been smooth so far. 6. For extreme VFM for a student who would want a ED pen- Trinity is lot better as it costs 100/- as compared to 350/- for Airmail. Anyone who has been using it, would like to hear your experience. Thank you
  13. Namaste people. This coming Wednesday is pretty special because after a gap, I'm going to India again. Yaaay!!! This time we planned to give Delhi a small visit. Now, being the person I am, whenever a destination is chosen for a trip, I search for possible pen shops. I did the same here but I really couldn't get much in detail. So to all people who've been to or are in Delhi, are there any pen shops that sell for amazing prices? I'm mostly looking to purchase an everyday writing pen (Mostly Indian made) and also some spare nibs and ink if possible, for the best prices. an anyone help me? Thanks and regards, Adit Kamath
  14. Sheri Chander

    Review - Pierre Cardin - Veer

    Hi All, This is my first fountain pen review here on FPN and I am thankful to all who have posted reviews here earlier and showed us how exactly to do a pen review. I consider myself a complete novice when it comes to fountain pens, so any omissions and mistakes in the review are entirely due to my lack of knowledge in this field. Nonetheless, I would try to be completely honest and unbiased while attempting to review a pen. If you require any addition details, please do not hesitate to ask me for the same. The pen that I am going to review today is Pierre Cardin Veer. It is an inexpensive, plastic fountain pen being offered by Pierre Cardin in India. It comes in five colors as shown below and I would be reviewing the white version. The pen comes in a blister pack with two free cartridges and I took it out before taking any pictures of the same (sorry L). The word “Veer” means “The Brave” in Hindi, and as such it seems this pen would have to prove a lot in order to justify its name. http://www.pierrecardinpens.in/images/pens/exclusive11-11.jpg 1.Appearance & Design (Rating: 7 out of 10) The pen is quite simple and unorthodox but there isn't anything radical about the design. The design of this pen borrows heavily from Lamy Safari i.e. the uni-color plastic body, glossy finish and the ink window. The differences here are that the barrel, cap & grip are rounded and do not have triangular contour lines like the Lamy. The grip is made of black rubberized plastic with raised lines and having a matte finish. The clip is of metal with a glossy black paint finish to it. The top of the cap has the Pierre Cardin Logo, brand name and the word “Paris” (nationality of the Mr. Cardin) printed on to it. Overall, in this price range, the pen is OK and some might even find it kind of cool looking and unobtrusive. 2.Construction & Quality (Rating: 6 out of 10) Nothing great about the construction as such but it seems like that pen can take multiple hits and falls, and still would live to write another day. The design quality is not up to the mark as the clip seems somewhat bent towards the left. It is not possible to correct this as the cut of the metal forming the clip seems to be reason of this flaw rather than the common misalignment factor. Also the clip seems to be missing the etched Pierre Cardin name and the design of the nib is different as shown in the advert. 3.Weight and Dimensions (Rating: 8 out of 10) The Pen is very light, falling in the category of the lightest ones that I have ever used. I do not have a scale with me but this won’t be more than 30 grams in any way. The dimensions are as given below: Length Capped: 13.4 cm Length Un-Capped: 12.4 cm Length Posted: 15.4 cm Visible Nib Length: 17.5 mm Cap Diameter: 13.5 mm Barrel Diameter (Thickest): 12 mm 4.Nib and Performance (Rating: 8.5 out of 10) The nib is made of stainless steel and as such there is no flex in the nib. It has “Iridium Point Germany” etched on to it and I like the way the two etched lines run out from the feeder hole to form a V on the nib. The nib grade was not mentioned on the packaging but it writes somewhat towards medium. The feed is made of plastic and very generic in shape and size but does its work quite amicably. The pen writes very smooth and draws a clean neat line without any skipping or ink breaks. The only problem I faced with it was that it skipped a bit on a particular notebook (Camlin High Quality Notebook) that I used for the sample write-up but it was primarily due to the paper, as it is extra smooth and other pens too had the same problem on it. I tested the pen on a variety of other paper and I couldn't reproduce the problem. 5.Filling System (Rating: 8 out of 10) The pen comes with two small sized cartridges and should easily take the longer Parker cartridges too. I even managed to use a Camlin converter in the pen, so standard converters too would obviously work with it. Because of the ink window using this pen as an eye dropper is completely out of the question. 6.Cost and Value (Rating: 10 out of 10) The pen retails at Rs. 100 i.e. $1.70 approximately. Given the straightforward design and the nib performance I would say it is an absolute value-for-money pen. Moreover, given the fact you can buy it in five peppy colors means you can have a multi-color pen arsenal at your disposal for as low as Rs. 500 ($8.5). 7.Conclusion (Final Rating: 7.9 out of 10) I think Pierre Cardin have done a good job here and what they need is proper marketing for it to pick up in sales. I also found an advert video on you tube for the same but haven’t seen it anywhere on TV. This pen is somewhat similar in price to Jihao 599 which is available in India from ASA Pens for Rs. 175 ($3) and on eBay too. Obviously this is not a premium or even a mid-range pen but it can certainly be used as a daily driver if you write a lot and want something you can be completely careless with and maybe even loan out to friends and colleagues ;-). A writing sample (please ignore the sub-par handwriting) and the advert link are given below. Cheers, Sheri Chander Advert https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ko0Gqhm_ews Writing Sample
  15. Dear All After the successful group buy of RANGA BAMBOO MODEL & RANGA MODEL 4C & Model 3 & Model 5 This is a group buy effort for the Ranga ZEAL which will be available only till 18th March 2016 (i.e. Friday) Kindly register at the earliest. Minimum requirement is 10 nos. Details of the pen in Four options are as below: Ranga ZEAL (Eyedropper Version) The dimension is 5.75 inches length. the dia is 16 mm Finish - Polished or Matte (Bakul)Option - Flat end or Round endNib Option :Wality Gold Color - Fine NibDual Tone - Medium NibAmbitious 35 mm Fine Nib at extra US $ 1Ambitious 40 mm Gold Tone Nib at extra US $ 3Bock (With Conklin imprinted) M or B at extra US $ 8.Clip Option Finish : Gold Color or Chrome Silver ColorDefault settings: Wality Gold Colored Fine Nib with Gold Color ClipShipping: Included and is through Registered Post. Takes 2 - 4 weeks for delivery. Price includes shippingPayment: Via Paypal to paypal account mpkandan@gmail.com Colour Available : Regular Ebonite (as per 2 images below)​Brown - Black RippleReddish Brown - Black RippleBrown Mottled Black Matte / Black BakulYellow - Black RippleBlue - Black RippleParrot Bright Green - Black Ripple/MottledSolid BlackOlive - Black RippleGreen - Black RippleGreen - Orange Ripple with black specksBlue - Orange Ripple with black specksGreen - Pale Yellow Ripple with black specksRed - Yellow Ripple with black specksBlue - Yellow Ripple with black specksBurgundy/Pink - Black ripple and black specks Ranga ZEAL (Cartridge/Converter Version with German Nib Units) Finish - Polished or Matte (Bakul)Option - Flat end or Round endNib Option : JoWo Nibs ​​/ Schmidt NibsJoWo Nibs options : #6 SizeGold Color Mono tone F, M or B nibChrome (Silver) Mono Tone F, M, B NibSchmidt Nib options: #6 SizeGold Color monotone F, M, or BChrome (Silver) Finish Monotone F,M & B.Converter : Schmidt K5 ConverterDefault settings: Schmidt Gold Colored monotone F nibShipping: Included and is through Registered Post. Takes 2 - 4 weeks for delivery.Includes worldwide shippingPayment: Via Paypal to paypal account mpkandan@gmail.com Colour Available : Premium Ebonite (as per image below)​Solid Blue Blue/Green/Orange Swirls Solid Orange Blue/Pink Swirls Solid Pink Blue/White Swirls Solid Green Yellow/Green Swirls Red/Black Swirls Yellow/Black Swirls. Please note that the Group Buy (Discounted) International prices are as below: Eyedropper Normal ebonite - 31 USD (Regular Price is US $ 40) Eyedropper Premium Ebonite - 43 USD (Regular Price is US $ 55) German nib Normal ebonite - 61 USD (Regular Price is US $ 78) German nib Premium ebonite - 73 USD (Regular Price is US $ 93) All these pens are all handmade. And payments will be made only via paypal for international customers. In case of any query or pen related issue kindly PM me or MP Kandan FOR SHIPPING WITHIN INDIA, PLEASE PM ME
  16. FPN has a very talented pen maker in the form of ManojD who is located in Pune, India. He shows his creations from time to time on FPN. His pen company is called Fosfor pens. A few months back we discussed the possibility of producing some fine fountain pens out of Sandalwood. The highest grade of this wood is local to India, we prize this wood and genuine Indian Sandalwood (Santalum album) will remain fragrant for decades. Sandalwood ballpens are made available through government emporiums to the common public but no one was offering uncoated fragrant sandalwood fountainpens. Manoj took up the challenge to make such a pen for me. He found the sandalwood billets with the provenance hammer marks. My design decisions were : Exposed uncoated wood for fragrance and tactile sensation of the Fine sandalwood.Inner core of the cap and barrel to be fully Ebonite, so that even if the converter leaks, the wood will not stain, if the nib leaks out into the cap, the cap exterior will not stain.Use of a Schmidt nib housing (Choice between JoWo housing and Schmidt).Clipless after much debate, since I wanted a wooden finial and not an Ebonite finial. I am trying to get a jeweller to make me an accommodation clip for this pen.Minimisation of the barrel to section step. The pen was delivered to me a few weeks back. i have been using it extensively at home and will carry it to work once I work out a means to clip it to my shirt pocket(no pen pouches for me) The pictures of the sandal wood billets used for my pen are kindly provided by Manoj. http://i991.photobucket.com/albums/af39/hari3171/ManojDChandan/DSCN4934.jpg The Hammer marks: http://i991.photobucket.com/albums/af39/hari3171/ManojDChandan/DSCN4936.jpg The pen came in a nice wooden box: http://i991.photobucket.com/albums/af39/hari3171/ManojDChandan/IMG_9828.jpg http://i991.photobucket.com/albums/af39/hari3171/ManojDChandan/IMG_9829.jpg http://i991.photobucket.com/albums/af39/hari3171/ManojDChandan/IMG_9830.jpg Cap top: http://i991.photobucket.com/albums/af39/hari3171/ManojDChandan/IMG_9831.jpg Barrel end, he has tried to preserve the hammer mark: http://i991.photobucket.com/albums/af39/hari3171/ManojDChandan/IMG_9832.jpg The pen writes well. http://i991.photobucket.com/albums/af39/hari3171/ManojDChandan/IMG_9833.jpg I was a bit worried about the step in barrel to section so we had an intense round of discussion with sketches flying back and forth, but I am very pleased with the final results. the section length moves the step out of the way for me, in fact, I don't feel it at all. The lightness, texture in hand and aroma of the wood and the pen, is wonderful. I am very pleased with the pen. It was also priced very reasonably for a sandalwood pen, in line with the other offerings on Manoj's website. Thank you Manoj. Cheers! Hari
  17. Hello fellow FPNers, So it was a lazy Sunday afternoon and i was in front of my laptop with a cup of freshly brewed coffee. Beside my laptop was lying the Oliver Karma demonstrator. I had bought it quite a while ago and used it quite a lot. As a result. The clear acrylic barrel had developed scratches that scratched the eyes of the viewer. Also, it had not been factory polished from inside the barrel when i had bought it. It had the marks of lathe machine in it. As i sipped my coffee, an idea struck me like a bolt. Perhaps the result of my strong brew! I thought, why not try and give it the "frosted" finish that has recently gained quite some popularity. And off i went to convert my thought into action. The pen itself is an eyedropper as evident. Nothing complicated. Just unscrew the Barrel (Huge 20 turns to open it up!) and ink it up and you are good to go. Initially it burped sometimes. I found out it was due to loose fitting nib and feed. Fixed it up by tightening the nib and feed into the section. The issue was resolved. The nib is okay in writing. Nothing to write home about but not bad either. Just average. Then again, its a 150 Rs pen. Quite decent for the price seeing that you get a hand turned clear acrylic barrel. The original finish. This how it came out after i used a bit of varied degree of sandpapering. The writing sample. My Instagram post (chintan_pandya)
  18. I laid my hands on a new pen sold by Gem and Co in Madras. The pen appears to be a homage to the legendary Skyline pen. The Skyline was a popular pen in India with several clones already made by Indian pen companies like Wilson etc, some of which are documented here: https://www.fountainpennetwork.com/forum/index.php/topic/146528-indian-celluloid-pens-with-a-theme/ The pen is petite. Closed: 133mm Open: 122 with nib Posted: 153mm Section dia: 9mm tapers down to 8mm and flares up to 9mm again at the base of nib Barrel dia: 11mm steps down to 10mm for cap Cap dia: 13mm The pen is very nice to look at and gracefully shaped like the original, but is offered in Ebonite in 4 colors, I bought a set of these pens, one in each color. http://i1269.photobucket.com/albums/jj582/hari-317/GamaSkyline/IMG_0044.jpg http://i1269.photobucket.com/albums/jj582/hari-317/GamaSkyline/IMG_0043.jpg The clip is spring loaded with a lever at the top which can be depressed to open the clip up. The clip is good, but I found the tension a bit floppy. It is easy to re-tension the clip by unscrewing the cap top finial and bending the washer towards the clip. http://i1269.photobucket.com/albums/jj582/hari-317/GamaSkyline/IMG_0046.jpg The Stock pen: The stock pen comes with friction fitted yellow steel nib marked Gama, 5 year point and an extra long ebonite feeder. http://i1269.photobucket.com/albums/jj582/hari-317/GamaSkyline/IMG_0047.jpg http://i1269.photobucket.com/albums/jj582/hari-317/GamaSkyline/IMG_0054.jpg I am not a very big fan of the stock nib, it is an acceptable nib, but requires some tuning to get it to write the way I like(YMMV), so I decided to fit in a Schmidt nib unit instead. My first attempt, with the black pen, was a disaster . There is very little space. The wall thicknesses come out to 0.25mm in some places. http://i1269.photobucket.com/albums/jj582/hari-317/GamaSkyline/IMG_0055.jpg I did not give up and decided to proceed with extreme caution the next time, i decided to hack the green one. Success! http://i1269.photobucket.com/albums/jj582/hari-317/GamaSkyline/IMG_0048.jpg http://i1269.photobucket.com/albums/jj582/hari-317/GamaSkyline/IMG_0049.jpg http://i1269.photobucket.com/albums/jj582/hari-317/GamaSkyline/IMG_0050.jpg http://i1269.photobucket.com/albums/jj582/hari-317/GamaSkyline/IMG_0051.jpg http://i1269.photobucket.com/albums/jj582/hari-317/GamaSkyline/IMG_0052.jpg http://i1269.photobucket.com/albums/jj582/hari-317/GamaSkyline/IMG_0053.jpg Stock Vs Modified: http://i1269.photobucket.com/albums/jj582/hari-317/GamaSkyline/IMG_0056.jpg http://i1269.photobucket.com/albums/jj582/hari-317/GamaSkyline/IMG_0057.jpg There is not enough space in the section as well as the barrel to accept a converter. I am using the modified pen in ED mode with Pelikan black ink. It is my sole pen at work today. Gem have priced this pen very attractively (I purchased from owner of asapens). In my view, it represents a very good value for money, beautiful ebonite pen, despite some shortcomings like a slightly less springy pocket clip and the lack of an inner cap (whether it has any detriment on performance remains to be seen, I have only just begun to use the pen). Cheers! Hari
  19. Hello fellow FPNers, So it was a lazy Sunday afternoon and i was in front of my laptop with a cup of freshly brewed coffee. Beside my laptop was lying the Oliver Karma demonstrator. I had bought it quite a while ago and used it quite a lot. As a result. The clear acrylic barrel had developed scratches that scratched the eyes of the viewer. Also, it had not been factory polished from inside the barrel when i had bought it. It had the marks of lathe machine in it. As i sipped my coffee, an idea struck me like a bolt. Perhaps the result of my strong brew! I thought, why not try and give it the "frosted" finish that has recently gained quite some popularity. And off i went to convert my thought into action. Here is the result... The original finish.
  20. Hello FPN members and guests! Today i will be reviewing the pen(Wality/Airmail 70AM) that i received just today through asapens.in. But before i start the review i would like to give a "thumbs up!" to ASA pens and Mr. L.Subramaniam! It was my 1st purchase from their site and i must say i am quite pleased with their service and the quality of the product and also the FP collection that they have. Okay, so that aside lets start with the pen itself. Airmail Pen Company was established in 1951 by Late Shri. Mohan L. Mirchandani and is one of the oldest of its kind in India. It produces two brands of Writing Instruments, Wality and Airmail. The pen, along with the usual packaging and bubble wrap came in a transparent and sturdy Zip-lock pen pouch. The pouch also contained a little eyedropper as it is an eyedropper pen. The pen itself has this beautiful Pinkish orange and purple acrylic body which shimmers in light and is very pleasing to the eye. The material also displays quite a depth to it. The cap is all metal with a beautiful texture, a dome shaped pointed top and an acrylic bottom that matches the pen body quite nicely. I also like the short clip, which has enough tension to it that it can secure the pen firmly in the pocket. Upon unscrewing the cap, you find a matching coloured semi-transparent grip section with a gold coloured airmail nib. The nib that i received was Fine-Medium in writing width and Very Very Wet! And i mean a GUSHER! It wrote quite pleasantly with some feedback. Also, it has some spring to it which offers a marginal line variation. WRITING SAMPLE: Conclusion: It is a simple no-nonsense beautiful looking pen which performs quite nicely. I am looking forward to writing with it regularly and enjoying the shimmery acrylic which is sure to be an eye candy in bright sunlight! If you are looking for a beautiful economical everyday pen this one might add a feather to your collection!
  21. hari317

    My Gama Ergo

    Sharing some pictures of the new Gama Ergo. It is an attempt to achieve a pen the same size as the Raja, but with a long tapering ergonomic section (The name Ergo comes from here) and a matching smaller sized nib so as to keep the barrel threads to paper distance the same for writing comfort. The longer section with just a 1mm taper allows the writer to find their preferred gripping position more easily. The use of the German Schmidt nib unit allows C/C capability, the pen of course, is fundamentally designed with ED use in mind and the modern Schmidt feeder allows reliable and controlled flow performance even in ED mode. http://i991.photobucket.com/albums/af39/hari3171/Gama%20Ergo/IMG_9951.jpg http://i991.photobucket.com/albums/af39/hari3171/Gama%20Ergo/IMG_9952.jpg http://i991.photobucket.com/albums/af39/hari3171/Gama%20Ergo/IMG_9953.jpg Along with the Raja/Padpad: http://i991.photobucket.com/albums/af39/hari3171/Gama%20Ergo/IMG_9954.jpg http://i991.photobucket.com/albums/af39/hari3171/Gama%20Ergo/IMG_9955.jpg The long tapering section and the matching nib, the threads to nib tip distance remains the same. http://i991.photobucket.com/albums/af39/hari3171/Gama%20Ergo/IMG_9956.jpg http://i991.photobucket.com/albums/af39/hari3171/Gama%20Ergo/IMG_9957.jpg Heavily finned modern feeder: http://i991.photobucket.com/albums/af39/hari3171/Gama%20Ergo/IMG_9958.jpg Cheers! Hari
  22. akstorm

    Butterfly 311Tg

    So, this is it, my first review. I have not been a member of the forum for long and really don’t have much experience writing reviews. I hope this will be useful and any criticism is welcome so that I can improve future reviews. Butterfly 311TG: I was recently randomly going to shops looking for fountain pens and found this one (with several others) at an old shop near my house. I had never used a pen of this make before and so I picked one up. It is certainly not an award winning pen in looks or build quality but it is certainly worth a review just because it is a nice pen to write and that too when it is probably one of the cheapest pens in the world. 1. Appearance and Design: 7/10 As I mentioned in the introduction, it is not an award winning pen in this segment. It is a very sober looking pen and looks pleasing in the first look. This was only available in blue so I don’t know if there are other options available. The cap has a good design with all its gold elements. The barrel has a cigar shaped tapered body and the cap screws on the barrel. The design of the pen is actually very good. The pen has a very convenient clear ink window and it does the job very well. The ergonomics of the pen are really nice. It is comfortable to hold and the section is not slippery at all. The threads do not irritate no matter where you hold the pen. Un-posted the pen is fairly decent size and posted the pen becomes very convenient to use, even for people with large hands. 2. Construction and quality: 5/10 While the tolerances of the pen are decent, the overall quality is rather poor. The pen looks plastic and the materials actually feels like recycled plastic. The make and model is screen printed on the barrel but is legible. The clip is of useless as it bends every time I put it in my pocket. Also the clip is permanently bent towards one side and it looks like a manufacturing flaw because I cannot straighten it just by hand. The gold paint on the cab band and the clip has already started coming off and the plastic of the pen is also very prone to scratches. 3. Weights and Dimensions: 6/10 Length: Capped – 134mm Uncapped – 122mm Posted – 148mm I do not have callipers to measure the dia but the pen is actually on the slim side so that might be a downside to people who like thick pens. I personally like the pen as it is comfortable to hold. As far as the weight go, well the pen is light, very light. Actually, it is so light that it becomes annoying to use it without posting it because you just don’t feel you are holding something. After posting it becomes usable but still a very light pen in my opinion. 4. Nib and Performance: 7/10 Now here it has both pros and cons. The pen has a gold coloured steel nib, which is as hard as a nail and I only realised after coming home that there is no tipping material on the nib whatsoever even though the nib says – “Platinum Power Point” which is just hilarious. The tines were completely misaligned and it took me about an hour to fix the nib and get it in writing condition. Then again the nib feels smooth although it has a lot of feedback. The feedback is somehow not scratchy and annoying. I mean even on very poor paper it did not dig into the paper or pull out fibre. The feed on the other hand is a beauty. The pen has an ebonite flat feed which keeps up the flow no matter how fast you write. Overall, the performance of the pen is nice. It is awesomely wet (the way I like it) and although the nib is a western fine, the pen writes so wet that it writes like a medium. I somehow enjoy writing with the pen even with its feedback. 5. Filling system and maintenance: 8/10 It is an eyedropper filler pen. One either loves it or hates it. I personally like eyedropper pens, so I would not complain, but if you do not like the hassles of the ED pens then this pen is not for you. Compared to other ED pens I have it does not hold a lot of ink but still holds a decent amount (a little less than 2ml) The nib and feed are friction fit and come out for easy cleaning which is really convenient when cleaning the pen. 6. Cost and Value: 9/10 The pen set me back around 20INR which is roughly 31 US cents (as of 14-11-13) so to get a pen for that price which writes well and one that I like writing with, I would say it is pure value for money. 7. Conclusion: 7/10 I would say a very decent everyday writing pen for students and other people who have a tendency to lose their pens. That said it is not a pen for everyone given its feedback and light weight. Plus it is not pretty. But as a pen I would say it deserves that 7/10 because it is a reliable writer, has no startup issues, holds a decent amount of ink and is ergonomic to use. I would say it does what the pen was designed for “write” and it does that rather well. And finally a writing sample and size comparision (with a parker Beta and Schneider Base) Thank you for reading. Ankit Chauhan





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