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  1. This is a review of “Kaco Master”. It’s the best Chinese Fountain pen I have come across till now.Kaco is a young company which makes some great products. Kaco since its inception in 2011 have launched many pens & accessories . This “Kaco Master” is among their most premium offerings .This has German Made Gold Nib , it doesn’t feel like it’s made by Jowo or Bock. It feels a bit different from those both. I think they are made by special order or made by some other company ! Pros- – Great 14k Gold Nib – Well Tuned Out Of The Box – Soft & Springy Nib – Minimalistic Design – Top Notch Construction – Great Price – Great Packing & Presentation – Hourglass Shaped Section – Have Premium Look – Suitable For Long Writing Sessions Cons- – Only comes in one colour i.e. Black for gold nib. Although the steel nib version comes in many colors. – Don’t post securely. – I can’t expect anything more at this price !!! Packing- Great, The pen comes with a great grey metallic case, which comes in a black box over which “Kaco” is engraved. The metallic oval case has a foam insert in it where the pen can rest. This foam ensures that the pen doesn’t get scratched with the sides of the metal case. Specifications- – Nib Size -Fine Nib 0.5mm – Filling Mechanism: standard cartridges and converter – Capped Pen length: 154mm – Section Length: 25mm – Section Diameter: 12.5 mm – Uncapped Pen Length : 133mm – Diameter: 16.5 mm – Pen weight: 27.5g Appearance & Design- Good, The pen has a classic design. It’s made of great quality black resin which has been highly polished. The clip is of gold color & fit into a clip-shaped recess in the cap & almost aligns with the cap of the pen .The clip is strong & is very functional. It is unique & looks good in my pocket. The clip has a small logo of “Kaco” over it .The pen size is around 133 mm uncapped & 154 mm capped. It doesn’t cap securely.This pen is made in very nice black resin, it is super shiny & feels premium in hand . I wish they had other colors too. It has an hourglass-shaped section & a number #6 14k nib in Fine with “Kaco” logo engraved over. It has a plastic feed. The section is long & threads of the cap are precise. This nib looks good & is similar to JOWO nib but it’s not JOWO. The nib suits the pen size & looks good. This pen is very comfortable for long writing sessions too. Construction- Very Well Made, The construction of this pen is top notch.The pen has been polished well & has been given a mirror like finish on both clip as well as body. It looks pleasing to the eyes , but as a result it attracts dust & micro scratches may be noticeable. The pen is elegant & is a perfect minimalistic office pen. Filling System- This is a simple C/C pen. The converter is interchangeable with a Schmidt K5 converter. It has metal reinforcements in the mouth & it is perfectly functional. You can use standard international cartridges too Nib Performance- Amazing , Kaco Master has #6 nib which is very springy and relatively soft.It is surely better than JOWO/BOCK nibs. This nib has a slight forward curve which makes a different writing angle which is different from others, I think it’s some unique Chinese grind. This is very smooth & gives a distinctive feel while writing. The nib is similar to European Fine Nibs.On the box, it’s written the nib is made in Germany but nib doesn’t look like common nibs i.e. JOWO or BOCK . Conclusion- True Master, This is the best Chinese pen I have ever used & one of the best pens available at this price. I bought it for around $120. The pen is very well made & has a great 14 k gold nib. It has a minimalistic look,which is amazing. The glossy black color looks good but I feel there should be more color options in this pen. I really can’t expect anything more at this price. It is true value for money given the quality, ergonomics and writing experience. It’s a masterpiece about which most people don’t know about !
  2. truthpil

    Pilot 78G+ = The New 78G?

    Hi Everyone, Last year a pen starting popping up for sale in China that looks like a legitimate reincarnation of the discontinued but beloved Pilot 78G. The interesting thing is that this new pen, the Pilot 78G+, seems to only be for sale in mainland China. At first I thought it was another knockoff like the Wing Sung 659, but then I saw this on the official Pilot website for China. Scroll down to see a detailed comparison of the 78G and 78G+. In short, the major differences are that the 78G+ comes in 2 new colors (bright blue and bright red) and an EF (0.28~0.3mm) nib is finally available. If these EF nibs are nice, this would mean no more having to put a Pilot Penmanship EF nib in a 78G body. Also, the CON-20 squeeze converter has been replaced by the new CON-40 piston style. Before I take the plunge and buy one of these new pens, I wanted to know....do any of you have one of these and how does it compare to the original 78G? http://www.pilotpen.com.cn/upload/fckimage/image/1(14).jpg http://www.pilotpen.com.cn/upload/fckimage/image/2(2).jpg
  3. Hero has made a new pen but has attached a sac filler to it. I may be in the minority here but I prefer c/c fillers (easier to clean, easier to replace due to limited parts availability here). I guess the use of a sac filler follows the vintage aesthetic it's trying to achieve: short waisted section, screw cap, double jewels, "ink window". I do quite like the aesthetics though. Parker Vacumatic? Also comes in a fude nib. I can't find the photo again but the "ink window" can be removed.
  4. Greetings All, Pardon the sloppiness (and embarrassing typos everywhere, even the first word ), but I wanted to get out this review as soon as possible because I'm so excited about this pen. I've had a lot of bad luck with Chinese pens (Hero's have been anything but my hero), but so far no Jinhao nib has ever failed me and their quality seems to be getting even better. Here are my comments and some writings samples about the new Jinhao 992. It's currently available in all colors on Ebay and probably places like Aliexpress as well. Writing sample on a cheap little notepad: Final Run-down Pros: - Quality construction - Superb converter that holds a good amount of ink - Toothless smooth nib - Flawless flow - Nib and feed easily removable for thorough cleaning (perfect for using those troublesome yet beautiful Noodler's inks) - Lightweight - Cap posts well (no slipping or popping off) - Screw on cap - Great color selection - The price! Cons: - Unbalanced when posted - Might be too small for larger hands when not posted [Addendum: Some pictures from the seller I bought from...]
  5. I have a Jinhao 85 stainless steel finish, it has problem of ink starvation in the nib after writing couple of lines. The thickness of line becomes thin and faded. I have taken out the nib, increased the nib slit slightly to increase the flow and washed it properly still no effect on the issue. What is causing such thing to happen I am just unable to identify. Anyone's solution to this problem would of great help. Such a nice looking pen is being just a sitting duck is very disappointing to me.
  6. This is the third part of a series of reviews I’m doing on Chinese Boss inks. So far I’ve found this brand of ink to be the most prevalent in China, but totally unknown in the West. They are great cheap inks and all are scented as well. Boss Enterprise “Laoban” ink (not to be confused with the Boss line of inks made by Ostrich in Tianjin) is produced in Guiyang by Guizhou Boss Chemical Industry Co., Ltd. More information about the company can be found here [http://www.made-in-china.com/showroom/gzboss/companyinfo/Guizhou-Boss-Enterprise-Guiyang-Boss-Chemical-Industry-Co-Ltd-.html] and their descriptions of their inks here [http://www.made-in-china.com/showroom/gzboss/product-detailsxmJCnEToQlW/China-Handwriting-Ink.html]. Boss inks are available in the following standard colors: 1. Black 2. Carbon Black 3. Blue-Black 4. Blue 5. Red Close up of ink comparisons taken in natural light: Close up comparing Boss Carbon Black and Noodler’s Black (B = Boss, N = Noodler’s): As you can see, it's completely waterproof: Boss Carbon Black is deep, dark and permanent. It also flows well and lays an excellent line. The only drawback to this ink what's typical for carbon pigmented inks: its ability to stain refilled cartridges or converters and potential clogging if left to dry in the pen. This ink requires regular use and cleaning of whatever pen it is in. If you need a decent permanent black and can find this ink for sale, it’s worth your consideration. Boss inks are only 4 RMB (US$0.62) per 52ml bottle in China. Thanks for reading!
  7. The only 0.3mm automatic feeding mechanical pencil in Chinese mainland, made by Shanghai Writing Instrument Research Institute(SWIRI) in the 1980s, an institution subordinate to the Shanghai Pen Industry Company. Although the quality of this pencil is relatively rough, as of now, it is the most technical level of the mechanical pencils made in China.
  8. Hello, We are writing to inform you of the service of our Chinese lacquer workshop. Our workshop named "Zhizhai". Our lacquer workshop in Guangdong that introduces traditional Chinese lacquer techniques. At the end of this year, we plan to have a fun project for fountain pen lovers. We are professional lacquer ware craftsmen. Our main works are lacquer ware and furniture, interiors of hotels and luxury cars. From time to time, at the request of a friend, I apply natural lacquer to their private fountain pen. We don't know how to use this site at all. Should I write in this comment section if I have an event for this fountain pen lover? If you know how to effectively inform us of an event, please let us know. We started Instagram with the help of Japanese friends because of internet regulations in China. Because Chinese lacquer techniques are little known in the world. In the future, we will post many rare Chinese traditional patterns on Instagram. And although they are mainly samples of authentic lacquer ware, we can express the pattern with a fountain pen. This is our Instagram account. @zhizhai_lacquer This is our website. We have prepared a basic knowledge page for real lacquer. Chinese lacquer culture uses so many colors, all of which are real lacquer. https://www.zhizhai.shop/ We look forward to your support and advice. Thank you very much for your interest in lacquer culture. Zhizhai Xiao Guan
  9. Tefolim

    Rockman: the Hidden History

    You can find the article on my blog. https://tefolium.blogspot.com/2021/02/rockman-hidden-history.html As we know, Rockman was the second earliest fountain pen manufacturer confirmed by documents. However, there are a lot of wrong things in Rockman's history, especially the memoirs by Ning Sihong宁思宏, the former shareholder, turstee, manager and director after 1946. The four kinds of histories about Rockman were mainly based on his memoirs. I'd like to rebuild Rockman's history here with the documents and ads I collected. Notice: William Kwan Rockman(Wm. K. Rockman) = Guan Leming关勒铭. All the name of people but William Kwan Rockman will be Pinyin. I will add a list about the name and their romanization at last. People's names are in Simplified Chinese. Books', magazines', newspapers' and companies' names are depended on the periods. Modern Source means the four kinds of histories mainly based on Ning Sihong memoirs. Modern Source about Chen Sisheng陈巳生 is a brief biography about Chen written by his hometown. I also bought some documents such as the pedigree of William Kwan Rockman‘s clan(2005 editon). I am waiting for them. 1. Founders of Rockman According to the Prospectus of Wm. K. Rockman Inc. which founded in Shanghai in 1928.4, Guan Chongzhang关崇章, Guan Chongchang关崇昌 and Wm. K. Rockman wanted to found Wm. K. Rockman Inc. in 497 Connaught Road Shanghai, China. Even though they'd like to collect 200,000$ capital, they wrote down that once 150,000$ capital was collected, the company should be founded.And Guan Chongchang should collect capital in North America, Wm. K. Rockman and Guan Weilin关伟林 should work as engineers. Wm. K. Rockman Inc. was founded with 150,000$ capital in Shanghai. And the founders in the company policy of Wm. K. Rockman Fountain Pen Factory Ltd. (1946.5.18 correction) were Wm. K. Rockman、Li Lianming李炼明、Hu Zhuanghe胡庄和、Guan Xunpu关勋谱、Guan Shutang关树堂、Li Tailong李泰隆、Guan Chongchang、Guan Chongzhang、Guan Weilin关伟林. Because that if any founders withdrew the company, he would be no longer appeared in the company policy as founder in some company, the list may not be completed. It was strange that Guan Chongchang = Guan Weilin in fact. The Prospectus mentioned that Wm. K. Rockman was the inventor of Fountain Brush (patent US1526093 and US1621432). Wm. K. Rockman's patents The 1946.5.18 correction, 1946.9.1 edition and 1947.11.1 correction of the company policy emphasized that Guan Chongzhang and Wm. K. Rockman were the original founders of Wm. K. Rockman Company. An interview with Wm. K. Rockman in 1933, he said "Our company was founded in 7 years ago". In another report about Wm. K. Rockman Inc. in 1937, Wm. K. Rockman came back to China with 150,000$ collected by his father Guan Weilin in 1927. We can draw a conclusion: Wm. K. Rockman invented Fountain Brush in the US, he founded Wm. K. Rockman Inc. with his father Guan Chongchang(aka. Guan Weilin) in New York. Later, they wanted to move to Shanghai. Wm. K. Rockman, Guan Chongchang and Guan Chongzhang wrote down the Prospectus. Wm. K. Rockman Inc. finally founded by at least 9 people. 2. Wm. K. Rockman and his father Guan Chongchang They were from Kaiping, Guangdong. According to Guan Chongchang's daughter, Guan Zhong'ai, Guan Chongchang was born in 1872.3.16 and died in 1953.10.28. The interview in 1933 said Wm. K. Rockman came back to China when he was 30. Wm. K. Rockman should be born in about 1897. However, Xu Wancheng许晚成's A brief history of talents in various industries in Shanghai(上海百業人才小史, lit.)which was published in early 1945, mentioned that Guan Chongchang was 71 year old while Wm. K. Rockman was 51 years old. So, Wm. K. Rockman born in about 1892. An introduction of Wm. K. Rockman Inc. in 1936 said that Guan Chongchang was owner of a restaurant a woolen store in Chinatown, New York. According to the report about Wm. K. Rockman Inc. in 1937, Wm. K. Rockman made fountain brush in his 18. Later, he had been in a school as part-time student to study engineering for 4 years. After graduation, because he lacked experiences, Wm. K. Rockman had worked in a famous fountain pen manufacturer for a period. Other Source said the school named International Collage and the famous fountain pen manufacturer was Waterman. Wm. K. Rockman was alive in 1947.10, when he still behaved a shareholder named Senji森记. 3. Wm. K. Rockman Inc. 1928.4-1944 3.1 1928.4-1929 Fountain Brush Only According to the application for change registration information in 1946.7.9, Wm. K. Rockman Inc. was founded in 1928.4. 1928.5.26, Wm. K. Rockman applied for registering patents in China. 1928.5.30, Wm. K. Rockman applied for registering trademarks. Trademark No. 419 Tradmark No. 420 1928.6, Wm. K. Rockman Inc. wanted to join the Advocate Domestic Products Conference. 1928.7.18, Wm. K. Rockman Inc. got its business license. 1928.8.15, trademarks were published. 1928.8.19, patents were turned to review. 1928.10.22, the first ad of Wm. K. Rockman Inc. was published The first ad on Sun Pao and Sin Wan Pao 1928.10.22 1928.10.23, Wm. K. Rockman Inc. was introduced by Sun Pao. There were 4 kinds of fountain brushes, 2 for men and 2 for women. And there were ABCD 4 kinds of brushes differentiated by hardness. 1929.2.4, Wm. K. Rockman got the No.2 license of patent in China. During this period, Wm. K. Rockman Inc. manufactured Fountain Brush only. They did not sell well. Modern source said that the paper and ink were different between China and the US, so the fountain brush did not work well. 3.2 1929-about 1934 Fountain Brush and Fountain Pen In 1929, Wm. K. Rockman Inc. started to produce fountain pen. Modern source said that, the nibs were made in British and Japan. 1929.11.18, ad on Sun Pao said Wm. K. Rockman Inc. released a kind of fountain brush and 4 kinds of fountain pen with steel nib recently. The first ad about fountain pen Sun Pao 1929.11.18 1930.8, there was a dismissal dispute between Wm. K. Rockman Inc. and worker Lu Kunsheng路坤生. It was mediated well. 1931.2, Wm. K. Rockman Inc. got tax relief in the domestic market and tax free for export. 1931.4.5, Wm. K. Rockman Inc. re-elected the board of members. The second board of trustees 1931.4.5-1933.? Trustee Stock Worth$ Guan Weiln 1200 60000 Guan Chongzhang 40 2000 Wm. K. Rockman 587 29350 Hu Jiawei 胡嘉维 60 3000 Guan Xunpu 50 2500 Guan Dexun 关德勋 400 20000 Xie Meizhu 谢美祝 10 500 Supervisor Stock Worth$ Hu Zhuanghe 20 1000 In Commercial Dictionary of Shanghai, published by The Commercial Press. LTD. Shanghai in 1931, the managements of Wm. K. Rockman Inc. were: Guan Chongchang - Manager Wm. K. Rockman - Production Manager Lu Shengqian陆升千 - Business Manager Gan Hanhui甘翰辉(aka. Gan Zhuowen甘焯文) - Accounting Manager Guan Weilin - Advertising Manager Gan Zhuowen甘卓文(甘焯文 is correct)- Clerical Manager So, it was normal for Wm. K. Rockman Inc.'s staffs using different name in different posts. In CREDIT MEN'S BUSINESS DIRECTORY 1933, Guan Chongchang(aka. Kwan Wm.) was the general manager, Wm. K. Rockman(aka. Kwan Rockman) was engineer, Gan Hanhui was business manager. Sin Wan Pao 1931.9.6 Sun Pao Monthly 1932.7.15 The Eastern Miscellany 1932 vol. 29, No. 3 The Eastern Miscellany 1933 vol. 30, No.8 The interview in 1933 said fountain brush had been incidental production, while Shidai Ribao時代日報's 2nd anniversary magazine in 1934 said that the fountain brush could not be popularized for a while, the manufacture had been stopped. The 2nd anniversary magazine said Wm. K. Rockman was the general manager,wrong. Wm. K. Rockman Inc.'s announcement published in 1934 still said that Guan Chongchang was the general manager. Sin Wan Pao Supplement 1934.9.30 3.3 1934-1937 Fountain Pen only, before the total Sino-Japan war's Battle of Shanghai Since 1935, Wm. K. Rockman and his father Guan Chongchang had been confusing in some introductions. 1936.10.31, Wm. K. Rockman Inc. applied for 4th Grade Domestic Good Certificate. 1936.11.13, Wm. K. Rockman Inc. got 4th Grade Domestic Good Certificate. 1936.4.8 Chinese Domestic Good Production and Marketing Association Weekly Report(中華國貨產銷協會每周匯報) Vol.2, No.14 said that Wm. K. Rockman Inc. was the first factory which could produce components by itself (in fountain pen makers). The colourful barrel materials were imported from the US and Germany. 1936.4, Social Economy Mouthly社會經濟月報 mentioned that Wm. K. Rockman Inc. had successfully developed Parker Vacumatic-style vacumatic fountain pen and it would be released soon. 1936.7.15, Chinese Domestic Good Production and Marketing Association Weekly Report Vol.2, No.28 had introduced the recently listed Rockman Vacumatic Fountain Pen. Rockman Vacumatic Chinese Domestic Good Production and Marketing Association Weekly Report Vol.2, No.28 1937.3, Kenneth Safford Parker came to China. Later, Parker announced that Arrow Clip was the trademark of Parker Pen in China. I did not find any Rockman Pen but Rockman's Vacumatic using Arrow Clip which can be identified that it was made before 1951. 1937.8.13, Battle of Shanghai broke out. Wm. K. Rockman Inc. stopped production temporarily. 3.4 1938-1944 Full of resumption of production-Reorganization of management 1938.10.10 Announce raising price. 1939.6.15 Announce raising price again. 1941.12.7 Pacific War broke out. Japanese occupied concessions. Modern Source said Rockman had to use domestic nibs and tubes because of the War, and the barrels were made of Japanese materials. The Factory and Business Dictionary of Shanghai上海工商名錄 published by Sun Pao in 1945 introduced the board of trustees and managements before re-organization in 1944. Chairman: Hu Zhuanghe Managing Trustee: Guan Weilin, Guan Chongzhang, Zhang Yibin张怡炳 Trustee: Guan Xunjin关勋锦、Gan Zuobin甘作斌(maybe Gan Hanhui)、Guan Xunyao关勋尧 Supervisor: Guan Xunpu, Hu Jiawei General Manager: Guan Weilin Vice Manager: Gan Hanhui Director: Guan Dexun In 1944.5.25, Sin Sin Industry announced that it was trusted by Rockman to deal with share affairs. In 1944.6.22 Rockman announced that it had finished IPO. The full name of Rockman became Wm. K. Rockman Fountain Factory Ltd.關勒銘鋼筆文具厰股份有限公司 Modern Source about Chen Sisheng said Wm. K. Rockman was to sick to manage company then, Guan Weilin met Chen Sisheng through his nephew Guan Kegui关可贵 and ask Chen for help. According to achieves, Liang Guan梁冠榴, Guo Yudong郭雨东, Xie Shoutian谢寿天, Mei Dajun梅达君, Liu Jingqing刘镜清(aka. Liu Xiao刘晓), Chen Sisheng, Ou Weiguo欧伟国, Lu Xiuyuan陆修渊, Yao Yan姚炎, Chen Miaosheng陈淼生(aka. Chen Duanyi陈端颐), Guan Kegui Joined in 1944. 4. 1944-1951 Re-organization, 20th Anniversary, before Joint State-private Ownership 1944.8.29, Wm. K. Rockman Fountain Factory Ltd. got certificates from the Wang Jingwei regime. 1945, The WWII ended In 1945, Chen Sisheng had met Ning Sihong and they founded The Educational Press. Ltd. 1946.5.18, re-election of the board of trustees. Lawyer Yu Shun虞舜 became law adversior. Before 1946.5.18, the legal trustees were Guan Shudong关叔东, Li Lianming, Hu Zhuanghe, Guan Xunpu and the supervisor was Guan Shutang. The Trustees and supervisors re-elected in 1946.5.18 Trustee Liang Guanliu Guo Yudong Xie Shoutian Wm. K. Rockman Mei Dajun Liu Jingqing Chen Sisheng Ou Weiguo Guan Chongzhang Guan Shutang Lu Xiuyuan Gan Zuobin Yao Yan Hu Jiawei Hu Zhuanghe Supervisor Guan Chongchang Chen Miaosheng Guan Kegui 1946.7.19, Wm. K. Rockman Fountain Factory Ltd. re-registered. The letter for re-register said that Rockman was founded in 1928.4. 1946.8, IPO again. Ning Sihong, Ning Sili宁斯理 etc. joined Rockman. 1946.9.21, re-election of the board of trustees. The Trustees and supervisors re-elected in 1946.9.21 Trustee Liang Guanliu Chen Sisheng Wen Tiansheng 闻天声 Mei Dajun Yao Yan Ning Sili Gan Hanhui Xie Shoutian Ou Weiguo Guo Yudong Ning Sihong Lu Xiuyuan Guan Kegui Mao Xiaocen毛啸岑 Liu Jingqing Alternate Trustee Yu Langxi俞朗西 Wang Jiadong王家栋 Supervisor Guan Chongchang Chen Miaosheng Qiao Qilin钱齐灵 Alternate Supervisor Guan Xunyao And the distribution agency of Rockman moved from the factory to Ning Sihong's paper factory and the Educational Press. Ltd. In 1947, Wm. K. Rockman Fountain Factory Ltd. celebrated its 20th anniversary. Shanghai Manufacturers' Directory 1947 p458 When the trademark had became 101 Rockman 14K was released as the commemorative pen in August with 10,000 Rockman Handbook. There were 12 colours of 101 Rockman. I think the Rockman Handbook were designed by Ning Sihing's paper factory. China Times 1947.9.10 Wm. K. Rockman Fountain Factory Ltd. held a Dinner in 1947.10.10 and took a memorial photo. 111 Rockman was released in October, when 5000 Rockman Handbooks & 101 Rockman sets were added. 111 Rockman Sun Pao 1947.10.21 Wm. K. Rockman was alive in shareholders' list in October. 1947.11.1, re-election of the board of trustees. The Trustees and supervisors re-elected in 1947.11.1 Chairman Liang Guanliu Trustee Yao Yan Xie Shoutian Lu Baozhong陆宝忠 Ning Sili Gan Hanhui Ou Weiguo Guo Yudong Mei Dajun Xue Zhiying薛志英 Lu Xiuyuan Mao Xiaocen Ning Sihong Wen Tiansheng Liu Jingqing Yu Langxi Alternate Trustee Fu Jukang符巨康 (aka. Fu Bingyang符炳阳) Zhu Ruixuan朱瑞轩 Jiang Shilin蒋士林 Supervisor Guan Chongchang Chen Miaosheng Qiao Qilin Alternate Supervisor Guan Kegui Achieves in 1947.11.1 was said that Ning Sihong became Manager of Rockman in 1946.5.18, the same as Chen Sisheng, while Chen Sisheng only in Achieves in 1946.5.18. Strange. 1947.11.24, Wm. K. Rockman Fountain Factory Ltd. hold 20th anniversary reception. Because of the inflation, Rockman fountain pen's mail sale was stopped by some magazines. 1948.5, Wm. K. Rockman Fountain Factory Ltd. reissued certificates. 1948.8.18, current reform. 1948.8.19, Gold Yuan was issued. Gold was controlled by the KMT government. 1948.10.9, on ad, the distribution agency of Rockman and Ning Sihong's stationery had been moved to new place. 1948.10, Rockman stopped mail sale. On the October, fountain pen makers asked Kuomintang Government for rationing gold. 61 Rockman was released in the second half of the year 1948. 61 Rockman Sin Wan Pao 1948.12.21 Wm. K. Rockman Fountain Factory Ltd. bought 100 machines between 1947.8 - about 1948 according to the manual. And there are achieves about Rockman's dismissing in Shanghai in 1948. 1949, Wm. K. Rockman Fountain Factory Ltd. still branded 61 Rockmman. 1949.2, Lawyer Zheng Jingshun郑经顺 announced he became the law advisor of Ning Sihong 1949.5.27, Shanghai was liberated fully. 1949.9, Ning Sihong joined the visiting group to N. E. China and advised to founded a fountain pen factory in Harbin with Harbin Enterprise Company哈爾濱企業公司. Chen Sisheng took part in the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference. 1949.12.1, the foundation of joint factory in Harbin had been published. 1949.12.5, Chen Sisheng became a member of East China Military and Administrative Committee as Wm. K. Rockman Fountain Factory Ltd.'s General Manager. 1950.5, the foundation of the joint factory in Harbin was permitted, and the factory began to produce fountain pen in 1950.10. Coupon before 1950.10 In 1950s, Rockman's manuals, coupons and director's speeches said it was founded in 1927, when Wm. K. Rockman came back to China. 1951.2.22, Chen Sisheng and Ning Sihong became Executive Members of Shanghai Federation of Industry and Commerce. 1951.7.1, Wm. K. Rockman Fountain Factory Ltd. became Joint Public-private enterprise. 5. 1951-1962 From Joint Public-private Wm. K. Rockman Fountain Factory Ltd. to Shanghai Watch Components Factory 5.1 1951.7-1956 To industry-wide public-private ownerships In 1951, Ning Sihong became the director of Rockman after it became Joint Public-private enterprise. And the plants were moved to new place. Chen Sisheng died in 1953.8.2. Guan Chongchang died in 1953.10.28 101 accidents happened to Rockman in 1953. In 1954, Sin Hwa came to learned how to molten gold better. 1955.3, Pen Industry Company was founded. Ning Sihong was a vice-manager. Shanghai Cultural and Educational Supplies Industry Association re-organization, Ning Sihong became the chairman. 1955.7, It was reported that Rockman's celluloid workshop used fish scales and cellulose acetate to make celluloids instead of imported celluloids. Rockman learned how to molten gold better from Sin Hwa and broke the record. Ning Sihong took part in proposing for industry-wide public-private ownerships. 1955.12.28, Doctor, the successor of the first fountain pen manufacturer were merged by Rockman. 24 factories were merged by Rockman in 1956. 5.2 1956-1962 In the second half of the year 1956, 1955-style feed were promoted. 216 Rockman with 1955-style feed, 402/405 Doctor with fish-scale-light celluloids were released. The celluloids were cellulose nitrate. 216 Rockman, 402/405 Doctor, 102/105 Doctor 1957.5, Influence from Rightists made trobule in Rockman. 1957.6, "Friendship" was released. Friendship Fountain Pen Hangzhou Ribao 1957.7.25 Workers in Rockman broke 16 records before the 8th National Congress of All-China Federation of Trade Unions. In 1958, Rockman wanted to "Surpass Waterman". Before 1958.3.26, 81 Rockman was developed. It surpassed Pilot. In 1958.4.16, the first 81 Rockman was manufactured. Hongguang Pen Factory(红光钢笔厂) were merged by Rockman and Rockman's plastic workshop was merged by Shanghai Pen Plastic Factory(上海制笔塑料厂, lit). The brands owned by Rockmman were Rockman, Doctor, Hongguang, Meixing(美星) Before 1959.8.5, Rockman 81 had been redesigned. An ad in 1959. Rockman and Doctor were Gold nib fountain pen, Hongguang was steel nib fountain pen with iridium point, Meixing was steel nib fountain pen. High Grade Rockman>Doctor>Hongguang>Meixing Low Grade In about 1960, Rockman 66 was released. In 1960.11.28, Rockman was turned to produce watch components, fountain pen manufacturing and brands were transfered to Kin Sin. 66 Rockman ad for export Kin Sin's 1962 Calendar Card. The pens were 801 Kin Sin, 66 Rockman, 28 Doctor, 23 Doctor and 319 Kin Sin In 1961, Rockman made Chinese first watch hairspring. In 1962.2, Rockman changed its name into Shanghai Watch Components Factory. According to Seele's post in Gangbiwang(http://www.gangbiwang.net/read.php?tid-5164-page-2.html), Shanghai Watch Components Factory manufactured Rockman and 红宝Hongbao brand fountain pen. The address No.21, 237 Nong, Jiangsu Road belonged to Shanghai Light Industry Electronic Component Factory before 1981, when it was merged by Shanghai Watch Components Factory. And Shanghai Watch Components Factory became Shanghai Guanleming in 1995.12.23. If the box is real, Shanghai Watch Components Factory manufactured Rockman and Hongbao in a period between 1981-1995. Shanghai Guanleming is the largest watch gem bearing and shock absorber manufacturer in far east now. 6. The Transfer of Rockman brand in pen industry. 1926 -1960 Rockman 1960 -1978 Kin Sin 1978 - 2004 Hero. 1987 New Rockman Brand was registered by Jin Jingpeng金京鹏, who is relative to Hero 1988 Fuzhou Pencil Factory got license from Hero, when Hero was one of its shareholders. 1000,000 Rockman fountain pen were made for export. 1997 - 1998.7.29 Hero Changsu Guanleming Company was licensed by Hero to use Guanleming trademark. 2002 Changsu Fountain Pen Factory manufactured Guanleming. 2004 - 2018 Guanleming trademark belonged to Shanghai Guanleming Gold Pen Co., Ltd. 2018.3.20-2020.5.27 Guanleming trademark belonged to Changsu Fountain Pen Factory. 2020.5.27 - now Guanleming trademark belonged to Jin Jingpeng A period in 1981-1995.12, Shanghai Watch Components Factory manufactured fountain pen again under Rockman and Hongbao brands, if the box is real. One of Shanghai Guanleming, the former Shanghai Watch Components Factory's trademark is a variant of. 7. Other Daily newspaper Nanfang Ribao南方日报 and Magazine Nanfang南方杂志 are official newpaper and magazine of CPC Guangdong(Canton) Committee. Their journalists, retired journalist and a village named Xibi溪碧 in Lufeng City faked a 216 Rockman as a fountain pen which was a gift of Zhou Enlai, the former Chinese PM, in 1927 to got poverty relief funds that they should not got. They also planned to made a statue of the fake pan in the village. List of Names SC: Simplified Chinese TC: Traditional Chinese ALSO: The name was also written down as PINYIN: Pinyin Romanization: Other romanization in documents. All the Guan XXX are from the same Clan. SC TC ALSO PINYIN Romanization English Notice 关勒铭 關勒銘 関勒銘 as brand Guan Leming Kwan Rockman / Kuan Le-ming Wm. K. Rockman Co-founder of Rockman and the inventor. 关崇昌 關崇昌 Guan Chongchang It seems to be the generation name of Guan Weilin. Father of Wm. K. Rockman. Co-founder of Rockman 关崇章 關崇章 Guan Chongzhang 李炼明 李煉明 Li Lianming 胡庄和 胡莊和 Hu Zhuanghe One of Guan Chongchang's son-in-law 关勋谱 關勳譜 關勋譜, handwritting, 門→门 Guan Xunpu 关树堂 關樹堂 関樹堂, handwritting, 門→门 Guan Shutang 李泰隆 李泰隆 Li Tailong 关伟林 關偉林 関偉林 Guan Weilin Kwan William Guan Chongchang 胡嘉维 胡嘉維 Hu Jiawei 关德勋 關德勳 關德勛 Guan Dexun 谢美祝 謝美祝 Xie Meizhu 陆升千 陸升千 Lu Shengqian 甘翰辉 甘翰輝 Gan Hanhui Kan Hanwe The courtesy name of Gan Zhuowen. He had worked in Rockman since 1928. 甘焯文 甘焯文 Gan Zhuowen The birth name of Gan Hanhui. 张怡炳 張怡炳 Zhang Yibing 关勋锦 關勳錦 關勛錦, 関勳錦 Guan Xunjin 关勋尧 關勳堯 甘作斌 甘作斌 Gan Zuobin May be the third name of Gan Hanhui 陈巳生 陳巳生 Chen Sisheng 关可贵 關可貴 関可貴 Guan Kegui Nephew of Guan Chongchang. 梁冠榴 梁冠榴 Liang Guanliu Liang Kwan-Lau / Liang Kuan-Liu 郭雨东 郭雨東 Guo Yudong 郭景芳 Guo Jingfang's courtesy name 谢寿天 謝壽天 Xie Shoutian Real name is 郭本守 Guo Benshou, art name is 叔申 Shushen 梅达君 梅達君 Mei Dajun aka. 梅光庾 Mei Guangyu 刘镜清 劉鏡清 Liu Jingqing 刘晓 Liu Xiao‘s fake name. 欧伟国 歐偉國 Ou Weiguo Au Wai Kwok David David Au 陆修渊 陸修淵 Lu Xiuyuan 姚炎 姚炎 Yao Yan 陈淼生 陳淼生 Chen Miaosheng Chen. T. Y (Chen Tuan Yih) Another name is 陈端颐Chen Duanyi, The romanization belongs to the name 陳端頤. Elder brother of Chen Sisheng. 宁思宏 寧思宏 甯思宏 Ning Sihong 虞舜 虞舜 Yu Shun 关叔东 關叔東 関叔东, handwritting, 門→门 Guan Shudong 宁斯理 寧斯理 甯斯理 Ning Sili 闻天声 聞天聲 Wen Tiansheng 毛啸岑 毛嘯岑 Mao Xiaocen 毛兆荣Mao Zhaorong’s courtesy name 俞朗西 俞朗西 Yu Langxi 王家栋 王家棟 Wang Jiadong 钱齐灵 錢齊靈 Qian Qiling 陆宝忠 陸寶忠 Lu Baozhong 薛志英 薛志英 Xue Zhiying 符巨康 符巨康 Fu Jukang 朱瑞轩 朱瑞軒 Zhu Ruixuan 蒋士林 蔣士林 Jiang Shilin 郑经顺 鄭經順 Zheng Jingshun
  10. Opus 88 Multi-Review Taiwanese company Opus 88 has recently put out a whole series of dedicated eyedropper-filled pens, and I picked up three of them: the Koloro, the Picnic, and the Fantasia. I think these three models are similar enough to warrant a combined review. http://zobeid.zapto.org/image/pens/opus_88/picnic_koloro_fantasia_uncapped.jpg At the time of writing this, I found both the Picnic and Fantasia on sale — possibly closeout sale. I’m not sure, but it seems that these models may be discontinued while Opus 88 focus on the Koloro, the Demonstrator and the Omar. A Demonstrator might possibly be in my future, but that is not for today. Presentation They all come in a presentation box which is made from cardboard with a black vinyl covering, embossed printing and a magnetic latch. There’s a thin cardboard sleeve to go around the box and keep it closed while being shipped or stored, and there’s a foam insert to protect the contents. When I opened one of these boxes, I thought for a moment the pen was missing! It had, in fact, slipped underneath the insert while being jostled around by the mail service. Personally, I favor smaller boxes with less wasted space (like the presentation cases vintage pens used to come in), but I know the entire pen industry is against me on this, so I guess there’s no point in complaining. http://zobeid.zapto.org/image/pens/opus_88/fantasia_in_box.jpg A little cartoon pamphlet with one side in English and the other in Chinese shows how to fill the pen. You should probably look it over, as there’s a good chance you haven’t had any pens before that work like this. Or else, you can follow my instructions below. All three pens came with a glass eyedropper, although the exact size and design varied a bit. It’s just a little glass pipette with a rubber bulb at one end, and I personally don’t consider it the most ideal tool for the job (more on that below), but it’ll work. The Filling System Well, the filling system is what really makes the Opus 88 line stand out. We’ve got some FPNers converting cartridge/converter pens to eyedropper fill, but most of us don’t have much experience with the purpose-designed “Japanese” eyedropper system and its shutoff valve. The fill process is as follows: Holding the body upright (nib pointed up), unscrew the section and body in the same manner as opening a cartridge/converter pen. Use an eyedropper or syringe to transfer ink from your bottle to the pen body. Screw the section and body back together. http://zobeid.zapto.org/image/pens/opus_88/koloro_and_syringe.jpg Couldn’t be easier. There are a few quirks you need to consider, though. The knob (not really a blind cap) at the tail of the pen controls the shutoff valve. Some of you may already be familiar with a similar shutoff valve used on some (but not all) vacuum-filling pens, such as the TWSBI Vac 700 or the Pilot Custom 823. Its purpose is to prevent ink from “burping” out of the pen due to changes in air pressure (such as when flying or riding an elevator), or when your hand warms the air inside the pen, causing it to expand, and it also reduces the chances of ink being slung or knocked out of the pen during travel. Contrary to what some have assumed, you do not need to open the shutoff valve to fill the pen. You also don’t need to open it for jotting brief notes, as there is a tiny ink chamber available when the valve is closed, but you will need to open it for more extended writing sessions. The shutoff knob has another useful function that I haven’t seen mentioned elsewhere. Although there is no piston or plunger in this pen, moving the knob and rod in and out does displace a small amount of ink or air, and it can be used to pump a drop of ink into the feed. If you’ve just filled a dry pen, and you need to prime the feed and get ink flowing, this is the easiest way to do it. I’ve struggled sometimes with cartridge pens, getting a dry pen with a fresh cartridge to start writing. That shouldn’t ever be a problem here. Do be careful, though, as you can burp or spatter a drop of ink out of the pen if you manipulate the rod too much! A few minutes of practice with this technique should serve you well. Watch closely and you’ll see the ink flow into and saturate the feed. As already mentioned, the glass eyedropper will do an okay job of filling the pen. However, it doesn’t pick up much ink per squeeze, so you will be going back-and-forth between the bottle and your pen a few times. Also, the tip of the eyedropper is sort of bulbous and doesn’t deposit ink with great neatness or precision. Luckily, there is an alternative. From the Goulet store I picked up a couple of semi-disposable syringes, 2 for $5. These are what I think of as “hummingbird” syringes due to their long, blunt needle. They are graduated up to 5 ml, and they are ideal for taking every last drop from an ink bottle and then putting that ink precisely where you want it, as well as seeing exactly how much you got. They have other uses, such as refilling cartridges, but they really shine for filling eyedropper pens such as these Opus 88s. Maintenance Because these pens open up for filling, and because they use interchangeable nib modules that simply screw in and out, and because there’s no complex filling mechanism, these pens should be easy to maintain, to clean, to assemble and disassemble. One quibble is that the tail end of the pen can’t be disassembled as easily as, for example, a TWSBI. To remove the shutoff valve mechanism requires a special spanner wrench that Opus 88 neglected to supply with the pens. Likewise, if the walls of the ink reservoir pick up any residue, you can’t simply stick a Q-tip in there and wipe it off, since the shutoff valve is in the way. (I’d suggest not using Baystate Blue in these!) Also, much like TWSBIs, these Opus 88s rely on O-ring seals in several different places. Some of these are easy to see and access, some not. All of them could benefit from a little lubricant, but none of them came with any. In fact, the shutoff knobs on some of these pens squeak-squeak-squeaked when I operated them. The O-rings on the valve itself and where the section and body go together also felt sticky. I really wish that Opus 88 had included a little vial of silicone oil, such as you get with TWSBI pens. Luckily, I had both silicone oil and grease on hand. If you don’t, you might consider picking some up when you order any of these pens. Please do not try to substitute any random oil or grease that you may have! Petroleum-based lubricants can damage O-rings. That means no Vaseline, no Lubriplate or M1 Rifle Grease, no WD-40 or Break Free, no 4-in-1 Oil, etc. If you can’t get actual silicone grease or oil, then Super Lube synthetic grease or Crosman Pellgunoil should be safe substitutes. http://zobeid.zapto.org/image/pens/opus_88/koloro_and_lubricants.jpg I lubricated the valve operating rod, the body-and-section seal, the tiny O-ring at the base of the feed housing (more on that later) and the valve itself. The squeaking and stiffness went away. I applied some extra grease to the section threads and to the cap threads, just to provide a little extra smoothness and sealing for ink and air. All three of these pens hold roughly 2 ml of ink. In fact, if I stop filling just short of the section threads, which I think is good practice, then the total is just short of 2 ml. When you see claims that eyedropper pens hold “a ton of ink”, let's put that in perspective and remember that a Sheaffer Skrip cartridge is supposed to come from the factory with one ml, and a Lamy 2000 holds about the same. Two ml is a very healthy amount, hyperbole not needed. Design & Construction I'll say right up front: These are well made pens. Parts are well-fitted; there are no gaps or rough edges. Machine work and threading is very clean. Surfaces are nicely polished. Most of all, they're made from two of the most time-tested of all pen materials: ebonite and acrylic. All of the pen bodies and sections are made from translucent acrylic. The Koloro and the Fantasia both have shutoff knobs made of ebonite. The Fantasia’s cap is made from ebonite, and the Koloro’s cap is made from a combination of ebonite and acrylic parts. I think the Koloro and Fantasia would look and feel a bit nicer if their sections were ebonite too, but that's not a big deal. A natural point of comparison might be that other Taiwanese company: TWSBI. Opus 88s are a fair bit more expensive than TWBSIs, but the materials and construction are markedly better and, I think, hold up well to US brands such as Bexley, Edison or Franklin-Christoph. Those pens don’t break, and I don’t expect Opus 88s to break either. The translucent acrylic body is a great match for an eyedropper pen, since it allows you to easily monitor your ink supply. However, it’s easier in some cases than others. The body of my Fantasia is quite dark brown. When filled with a wet ink that coats the sides of the reservoir (like for example, Diamine Eclipse), it's difficult to gauge the ink level. I have to hold it up to the light, wait a minute for the ink to “settle,” and squint. Frankly, it's easier to keep track of the ink in a C/C pen. With the Picnic it's just the opposite; the pen body is a pale blue, and with a dry ink (like OS Accident) it’s easy to glance and see the ink sloshing around. The Koloro falls somewhere in between, as I can't tell at a glance, but I can hold it up to the light and discern the ink level pretty easily. I have to emphasize that this depends on both the darkness of your chosen body color and the ink you’ve put in. The Koloro was the first of these pens that I bought, and the distinctive two-tone look is part of what attracted me. It’s a clean and modern design, and this beige-and-gray color combo has proven popular. However… In the catalog photos online, the body color looked almost green, like a lovely teal. Some sellers even described it as a beige-and-green. The one I got looks darker and much more neutral gray than those photos. I'd call it "smoke gray". Were the online photos deceptive, or did Opus 88 change the color at some point during production? I would have preferred one that looks like the photos, but it's still an attractive pen. http://zobeid.zapto.org/image/pens/opus_88/size_comparison.jpg The Koloro and Picnic are full-sized pens. Capped, both pens are about 14.4 cm (5⅛”). Both are comfortable to use un-posted, and both of them post “okay” but not great. Either of these can fit neatly into the pen loop in my vest, but wouldn't go if they were any longer or fatter. Obviously, your pen loop may be different from mine, but what I'm saying is that these are about the very largest pens that I'd normally consider carrying away from home. The Fantasia is similar in girth, but shorter, giving it a chunky look. Capped, it’s about 11.7 cm (4⅝"), making it the shortest modern pen in my collection. Uncapped, it’s about 10.3 cm (4"). As a result, I can write with it un-posted, but the very tail of the pen rubs lightly on the web of my hand. For extended writing I would definitely post it, and allowance has been made for this. The tail of the pen has threads for posting. That seems to work very well. However, if you post the cap and then find you have to open the shutoff valve, even more screwing around is going to be needed. The neurotic among us should be aware that the Fantasia’s pocket clip may or may not line up with the nib when posted. On mine it does. The cap finial seems very tightly secured, and I’m not sure if it’s even supposed to be removed or loosened (which would allow repositioning the clip). There is a little leeway to turn the nib assembly, though, if you really care that much. I should also note that the Fantasia section is stubby, and gripping it will result in some finger contact with the cap threads, but this didn’t present any comfort problem to me when writing. If you are particularly sensitive to this issue, you might want to go for the other models with more normal grip style. The color and style of the Fantasia is quite compelling to me. It stands out, and to my eyes it has a sort of 1970s retro vibe. As already mentioned, the Koloro is another pen with distinctive style. The Picnic is plainer and less distinctive, since it has no decorative ebonite bits, and there are any number of other translucent and cigar-shaped pens on the market. That’s not to say it’s bad looking at all. Screw Caps These pens all have screw caps, which is something I wouldn’t usually even comment on, but I’ve seen some complaints about how many turns it takes to uncap them. So, let’s take a look at that: Opus 88 Koloro — 3½ full turns Opus 88 Picnic — 2 full turns Opus 88 Fantasia — 2½ full turnsI checked some other pens, vintage and modern, and it seems like they typically require around one or two full turns. So, the Opus 88s do require a little more. To me this is trivial; even with the Koloro it slows me down by only a small fraction of a second. Some other folks, apparently, find it highly annoying. I do believe that more threads make for a more secure and more airtight cap, for whatever that’s worth. The Nibs All of these three pens come with standard #5 sized nib-and-feed modules and steel Jowo nibs. (The Demonstrator and Omar come with #6 size nibs, though.) I won’t go into great detail about their writing qualities, since they are basically the same as nibs shipped in TWSBIs and many other brands, and they are widely known to be good quality. All three of these were fine tips and wrote well right out of the box. They were adjusted slightly dry, which I've also found to be typical of modern German nibs, but increasing flow is one of the easiest adjustments to make on a steel nib. They do incorporate a nib-feed-and-housing module that is interchangeable with some other brands — but I don’t know which ones! Digging through my parts box, I found a nib assembly with a Bock nib that swapped right in, but I don’t remember where it came from. If anybody else familiar with these pens knows which other brands it can swap with, please say in the comments! When removing the module, you must be careful of the little O-ring right at the base of it, a place where I’ve never seen one used in any other pens. You don’t want this to fall out and get lost. I believe this is supposed to keep ink from going between the feed housing and the section, which wouldn’t cause any harm but can look messy in these transparent, demonstrator-like pens. (I also found that when flushing the feed with a syringe, too much pressure can force water past this O-ring and into the section, which again looks a bit messy.) You don’t have to swap whole modules, though. Bare #5 nibs can be swapped between assemblies with only a little more work and care. Since I wanted a bigger tip with more flow, I swapped a TWSBI medium nib into the Picnic, and it works with no problem. Value & Conclusion If you favor the Japanese eyedropper filling system or just want to give it a spin, these Opus 88s are pretty much your only option now. Nobody else is doing this, while Opus 88 are doing it quite well. For those who are less concerned with the filling system, the value calculation is more complicated. Their prices are in the mid-range: a fair bit above Monteverde or Conklin, a fair bit below Edison or Bexley. My personal evaluation of Opus 88’s quality is closer to Bexley than to Monteverde, so it seems like a pretty good deal to me. And of course, I have to compare with TWSBI. There’s a bit of family resemblance between the products of these two Taiwanese companies: lots of transparent or translucent pens, lavish use of O-rings (unusual among other brands), novel filling methods with large ink capacity, easy disassembly (for the most part), and the use of standard, interchangeable, German nibs. The Picnic is priced much higher than the Diamond 580, and the Demonstrator much higher than the Vac 700R. However, TWSBIs are made of injection-molded polycarbonate and are known to crack, and break, and break again. The Opus 88 pens are made of materials that shouldn’t break, and to me that’s an enormous advantage. As much as I admired TWSBI pens in other respects, I swore off ever buying another due to the breakage problem. From where I sit, these Opus 88s are very welcome replacements.
  11. I have heard a rumour that some of the West's best known fountain pen companies manufacture their pens in China, Mont Blanc was specifically mentioned and I am wondering if there is any truth in this? I know that Apple and a lot of other computer companies use Chinese manufacturers and it would not surprise me if pen companies did. Does anyone know if some of our best known pens are actually made in China?
  12. Hello again to all my FPN friends, Today the long awaited Penbbs 456 vac-filler arrived in the mail, so I thought I'd give everyone still waiting for theirs on the slow boat from China to see what they have to look forward to. Below are just a few impressions after filling it up and taking it for a test drive. - The pen just exudes quality! The translucent blue material looks thick and sturdy. The pen just feels very solid and sturdily constructed. - The 456 is just a tad longer than the 309, but notably heavier due to the additional metal parts (see comparison photos below). - It posts securely, the most securely of any Penbbs pen I own. - The clip is one of the best I've seen on a Chinese pen. It's just the right amount of springiness and slides very smoothly only whatever it is clipped too. Unlike previous Penbbs models, the end of the clip isn't just folded over metal, but appears to be a separate piece welded on. - The vacuum mechanism worked perfectly on the first try and filled up a little more than half the ink chamber with one pump. I'm so happy to have been able to try this filling system without having to pay $70+ for a TWSBI. I've owned TWSBIs before and I'd say the 456 actually feels more solid. - Although the section threads are metal going against the cap's threaded acrylic, uncapping and capping the pen is very smooth and secure. The metal threads on the section are smooth and I have no problem actually resting my fingers on the threads when writing (something I have to do given the issue below). - The only negative point for me is the balance. The pen is back heavy even when not posted. This probably won't be an issue for people with larger hands. However, with my small hands I must hold the pen on the section threads in order to obtain a comfortable balance for writing. Otherwise the angle of the pen decreases from how I normally write. - As for the nib, it's a super smooth two-tone #6 Penbbs nib. It writes a little on the dry side, but the filling method ensures that there's plenty of ink in the feed to keep it going. The nib has the classic Penbbs slight bend to it which can actually make a little bit of line variation, what I would call "semi-architect." Downstrokes are about 0.5mm while sidestrokes can vary from 0.3 to 0.8 depending on the writing angle. Ink fly increases with pressure, but there's nothing in the way of flex. All in all, I think Penbbs has created their best product yet and can't wait to see what they come up with next! Comparisons (from left to right: Pelikan M215, Lingmo Lorelei, Platinum 3776 Century, Penbbs 308, Penbbs 309, Penbbs 456) Writing (slight line variation between vertical and horizontal strokes)
  13. Hello again to all my FPN friends, After acquiring too many inks and far too many pens, I thought it was time to turn this obsession toward papers in order to round out the experience. I just received a blank notebook in the mail from a Chinese stationary company called Kinbor (www.kinbor.net/). They seem like a Chinese version of Midori and offer very similar products (at much lower prices, of course). Here's an article about the company that has nice photos of their products. I'm thoroughly impressed with the paper in this A5 notebook. Although this paper is 80gsm and quite sturdy, it's also very supple and floppy like Tomoe River paper. The sewn binding is better than most I've seen; the journal will lie open completely flat regardless of what page you open to. The paper texture is much smoother than Midori paper but not slick like Rhodia and Clairfontaine, again reminiscent of Tomoe River. I've only tested a couple inks with really wet pens so far but there has not been any bleed through or even show through, although a little feathering in same cases. It is advertised to be fountain pen friendly (see picture below). These journals are currently offered in A6 and A5 with the options of blank, dot grid, graph, a blank/dot grid/graph combination, 7mm lined, lined with red side rule, thick sketchbook paper, and a calendar/planner combination. They come with either white or brown covers. I'm in no way affiliated with the company, but I thought I'd ask about these journals because this is the first Chinese paper I've ever tried that has actually blown me away. That's saying a lot because I live in China and have tried lots of papers over the past few years, most of them being quite unfriendly to fountain pens and often unbearable toothy as well. I'll try to post a review once I spend more time with this journal and run in through some tests.
  14. Hello again to all my FPN friends, When the original Moonman 80 came out, I resisted buying one because I already have more Parker 45s than I can remember. However, when the 80mini came out I knew it was worth a try, if only to be a recepticle for my favorite Parker 45 gold nibs. Although the quality isn't nearly as good as that of a real Parker 45, these pens still hold their own and nib swappability opens up endless possibilities. How cool is it that I can put a soft 14k UK Parker 45 OBB stub in a tiny pen that will fit in my pocketbook or even directly in my pocket?? Here are some of my impressions after taking the pen apart and playing around with it today: (This first page was written with the stock EF nib. Notice how hard it is to read due to how dry the pen writes.) (Problem solved with a quick and easy nib swap.) Size Comparisons: (top to bottom: Platinum Preppy 02; Pilot 78G; Delike Alpha; Moonman 80mini) Comparison of Nib Assemblies: (Parker 45 on the left; Moonman 80mini on the right) Notice the extra bits of plastic from the injection molding process still on the Moonman's feed and cowl. This leads me to believe that the Moonman will probably write much better if one uses a razor blade to scrape off the extra plastic bits and floss the channels. Moonman 80mini vs. my son's "moon man":
  15. Penbbs is a Chinese online fountain pen community similar to FPN. They not only talk about inks but also produce their own inks every year. Each series consists of ten to fifteen inks and 2017 marks the release of Penbbs’ fifteenth ink series. Due to Chinese postal restrictions, these inks are virtually impossible to obtain outside of China. However, within China they are extremely affordable (21 RMB or about US$3 per 60ml bottle) and can easily be purchased through the Chinese online shopping giant Taobao. This ink up for review is from Penbbs’ twelfth series. It is named after the city of Hangzhou in eastern China. Hangzhou is famous for its beautiful scenery and is where longjing green tea is grown (a wonderful tea which I highly recommend). This tea is pan-roasted so the color is a little darker than some other green teas. I think the color of this ink is a good representation of the color of the tea leaves, although I don’t know if that’s what the ink makers were going for. What do you think? The color may just be a reference to the city’s natural scenery. The color is slightly darker and greener than the olive Penbbs ink No. 132 that I reviewed previously. This makes it more useful for daily writing. The color is certainly gentle on the eyes. This ink gives some shading on all papers with wider nibs. Its drying time is a little longer than No. 132, but it also feathers a little less. Bleed through was quite bad on Moleskine, but on other papers it was passable with wet nibs and non-existent with the Japanese fine nib. This ink is slightly water resistant as well. The darker green component remains to leave a barely legible line while the rest washes off. The interesting color and shading make this a nice ink, but as with ink No. 132, it feathers and bleeds too much for my taste. Pens used (in order): 1. Pilot 78G Fine 2. Lamy Safari Broad 3. Pilot Plumix Italic 4. Noodler’s Nib Creaper Flex 5. Hero 5028 1.9mm Stub Swab Paper Towel Drop 80gsm Rhodia 73gsm Chinese Tomoe River Wannabe (brand unknown) 70gms Deli Copy Paper Moleskine Water Resistance Mini-comparison (No. 157 is at the bottom) [My apologies that I don’t have any inks close to this color to do an adequate comparison. No. 157 mistakenly appears lighter than No. 132 on this image. ] SDG
  16. Hello again to all my FPN friends, I happened to have 2 pens of similar flow and nib size inked with these and thought it might be helpful to compare them. Both are iron-gall inks and somewhat similar in color. However, at least in my experience, Hero 232 is much drier than Pelikan 4001 Blue-Black. It's so dry that it stopped flowing at all in the pen I used for this comparison once the converter wasn't completely full. The dryness may be due to high iron gall content. I assume this because when I flushed the pen, there was a notable strong smell of fresh blood that I've only experienced before with the super-charged iron gall ink ESSRI. Hero 232 usually has the same smell many other Chinese inks, as well as Pilot Blue-Black, but when mixed with water in the sink the iron smell took over. So all you vampires out there will probably enjoy Hero 232. General observations: - The Hero is drier than the Pelikan. - The Hero is darker and more saturated than the Pelikan. - The Pelikan shades easier than the Hero. - The Hero can produce a nice, deep indigo when fully saturated, slightly reminiscent of my favorite Kung Te-Chung. - In China, the Hero is one tenth the price of the Pelikan. - Both are iron gall inks, but not so much as to harm your pens or leave sediment behind. - On absorbent paper, both are almost completely waterproof. The Hero looked completely unchanged, but some slight fading with the Pelikan. - Both are great inks if you have wet pens. The pen used for the Hero 232 writing is a Pelikan P30 with soft 14k broad nib. The pen used for Pelikan Blue-Black writing is an ebonite FPR Himalaya fitted with an extremely flexible steel Artus/Degussa oblique broad ("BS") nib and feed. I just scribbled this out on a cheap notepad, so I don't know how different they would look on better papers like TR or Rhodia. Comparison Close-ups: Hero 232 Close-up: Pelikan 4001 Blue-Black Close-ups:
  17. I bought this pen three months ago from an M & G store in Beijing. I now have several pens made by the company and they are all smooth writers out of the box. M & G seems to be an independent company, but uses one of the "standard" cartridge types that modern Chinese pens use. The nib is a clone of a Lamy nib and it puts a smooth line for an EF nib. Lamy's nibs always had trouble with the I way I loop certain letters, but this nib does not do that. I don't know if it is the thickness of the nib, or the alloy used, but I can never get the non-2000 Lamy nibs to write well for me. There is no decoration on the nib other than the width of the nib. I have not tried to pull out or swap nibs. The other views of the nib The converter is the lower level plunger filler seen in cheaper Chinese pens with an annoyingly sized glass ball that perfectly blocks the opening, leading to a needlessly finicky rinsing process. They could have made the ball just a little bit larger and made the converter much more competent. I have had to prime the plunger three times a fill. You can see the plunger partially depressed in the first picture. The cap has a nice brushed aluminum finish that seems to have been applied after the clip was attached as the finish is a little less matte near the clip. The clip works well enough and has two indentations that look like rivets. Other than these "rivets" the pen has a ruthlessly functional aesthetic. It reminds me of some Online pens I have seen. The barrel is mostly brass with the wood forming a binde. I do not know what kind of wood is used as there was nothing in the packaging I could read to tell me. I have used Blue Hero 233 ink in it and the result is nice despite my poor handwriting. The pen cost less than 100 RMB and is a nice step up from the normal blister pack pens M & G sells in China. I recommend looking at the pens from M & G as they are trying to be different from other Chinese companies. For photo geeks I used the super macro setting on my Fuji Finepix S1.
  18. truthpil

    Jinhao 991 Review

    Hello again to all my FP-friends, Allow me to introduce to you the Jinhao 992’s oddly named and somewhat homely younger sister—the 991. This pen comes in both an EF (0.38) hooded nib and F open nib version. Since the nib, feed, housing, and converter on the F nib version are identical to that of the 992, it goes without saying that the 991 writes just as well and has the same smooth nib and flawless flow. All I had to do was put ink in the converter (I don’t like sticking my pens in bottles), put the converter back in the pen, and within just a few seconds the pen was writing a juicy medium-side-of-fine line. I can’t speak for the EF version because the black hooded nib was just too ugly to look at. Nib options: (Taobao) Color options: (Taobao) Appearance & Design There is no question as to where the design came from: The appearance is my least favorite part about the 991. Who would want to own a fountain pen that looks just like a disposable roller-ball?? The only saving factor is that it’s a demonstrator (and, of course, a fountain pen). The coffee brown tint on this model gives it an extra bit of class over the dull black Uni-ball. Looks aside, the matte finish on the cap and barrel adds a nice tactile feel. The whole pen is notably thinner than the 992 and almost as long as the X750. If you wanted a significantly thinner and lighter alternative to the X750, then you’ll probably enjoy using the 991. The section is long and slender and will be comfortable no matter where you grasp it. The design is utilitarian and comfortable, even if boring and unoriginal. I could easily write with this pen for hours on end with no fatigue. Construction I was at first concerned about the durability of the 991. The plastic is noticeably thinner and has just a tad more “give” to it than that of the 992. The thickness and strength of the plastic reminded me a lot of a Platinum Preppy (see below). In fact, I’d say the 991 is Jinhao’s answer to the Preppy (and a more cost-effective answer at that). Despite these initial concerns, after much squeezing of both barrel and cap on the 991 and a Preppy, the 991 is clearly more durable. If you like Preppies and use them regularly without cracking the cap or barrel, then you’ll love this pen! I’m just slightly more apprehensive with this pen than with the 992 about throwing it in my bag unprotected, but I don’t think you’ll have to wrap tape around the joints to prevent cracking the way I always have to with my Preppies. Jinhao 992 and 991: Jinhao 991 and Platinum Preppy barrels: And now the million yuan question, “Does it come cracked like the 992?” After examining the whole pen with a loupe for quite some time over two days, I can assure you that at least my specimen has NO CRACKS whatsoever. [What might appear to be cracks in the photos below are injection molding seams and a few scratches in the plastic.] I’ll give you an update after a few weeks of use, but I don’t foresee cracking as a problem. The end of the barrel does have a plug in it, but it is quite different than that of the 992. The plug takes up the whole end of the barrel, as is also the case with the finial on the cap. If you’re one of those brave souls who likes to eyedropperize pens, then this pen is worth your consideration. The seal on the barrel plug is airtight. I also filled the barrel with water and shook it vigorously for a while and there were no leaks. My only hesitation about using this as an eyedropper filler is that the pen is very slender and will probably heat up quickly from hand warmth and start burping, as might occur with a Preppy. Also note that, unlike the 992, this pen does not come with an O-ring, so you’ll have to supply your own and probably apply some silicone grease to the threads just to be safe. One nice point is that the threading is much finer than on the Preppy and thus provides a tighter seal. Weight & Dimensions Numbers mean little to me when I’m thinking about what is comfortable in my hand, so here are some comparison shots with other common pens to give you an idea of the physical dimensions of the 991. From left to right: Jinhao 992, Jinhao 991, Platinum Preppy 02, Jinhao X750, Parker 45, Parker 51, Lamy Safari The 991 is a very light pen. It has no heft at all when unposted and feels back-heavy and unbalanced when posted (at least for my small hands). Concluding Remarks Although the 991 lacks much of the appeal of the 992, it also lacks its problems. I’m not fond of the shape and general appearance of this pen, but it’s a pleasure to write with and extremely comfortable to hold (unposted, in my case). This pen was designed to write and write and write effortlessly, although some may be uncomfortable with the slender body and light weight. Nib options are limited to EF and F, but you can easily remove the nib on the open nib model and put in another. TWSBI ECO nibs fit well and perhaps a standard #5 would work as well. I’ll have to get back to you on that once my JoWo #5 architect grind arrives. I recommend the Jinhao 991 over the Platinum Preppy for the following reasons: (1) its nib is just as smooth as an 05 Preppy; (2) its material is sturdier; (3) it comes with its own converter that holds a lot of ink; (4) it comes in several colors with no painted on branding to remove; (5) it’s about half the price of a Preppy, depending on where you live. This pen is a perfect choice for your “fountain penvangelism” efforts and is just nice to have around for trying funky inks you may be afraid to put in nicer pens. This pen is so affordable that, if you can tolerate its underwhelming physique, it’s worth at least owning a couple.
  19. Dip n Scratch

    Green Leaf Ink

    I was trawling one of the Web sites devoted to buying products made in China and noticed Green Leaf Brand Ink. Has anyone come across this brand? The ink is dirt cheap. Shipping is where things turn sour. It makes the price of curiosity expensive. If it is nothing particularly special, then you don't buy any more.
  20. It's about $6.00 locally in China but $24.00 on eBay. There's also Makrolon bodies (the three below) for $8.00 that aren't sold on eBay. Comes with an EF nib that one person has described as soft. It looks quite good but the clip worries me; looks brittle.
  21. Hi everyone, I'm talking about the pen, not the plane. Has anyone used one of these?? I handled one in a local shop the other day and have been thinking about it ever since. It has a nice tactile surface, seems well balanced, and looks pretty cool. At least here in China they cost a lot more than the average Hero pens, retail is around US$27 but that can be had for half that. Before taking the plunge I thought I'd ask around to get some opinions. Thanks!
  22. Hello again to all my FPN friends, I know anytime you use the word "best" for something as subjective as a fountain pen you'll get varied responses, but that's what I'm hoping for. Here's my question for you all: In your opinion, what is the best gold-nibbed Chinese pen (a Chinese branded pen, not just a pen made in China) available on the market today? Along with your recommendation, please explain why the nib feels great to you and what you like about both the pen and nib. What does the nib feel like on the paper? How much feedback? Including that information will help others decide whether the pen is a good choice for them. Thanks in advance for your contributions!
  23. If the subject has been done to death, sorry. How does one ensure that you are getting the best version? That's weird: A knock-off of a knock-off. The worst are like dragging a finger nail on a emery board, not surprising given that the nib is very fine.
  24. I've recently begun purchasing fountain pens and have bought a few through ebay from china. They state that they are Parker Sonnet, and appear to be just that, but the prices are dramatically less than if I were to purchase from Amazon. For an example I bought a Blue Parker Sonnet pen, gold trim with a medium nib on ebay for $12.05 Cdn, but on Amazon the same pen is listed for around $45.20 Cdn. Are these pens truly a Parker Sonnet, or a 'knock off' and how would I be able to tell. The pen writes well and I have no complaints about it, but the pricing variance is a little unsettling.

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