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  1. I have been given an Onoto piston filler which I have managed to coax back into life. mostly blocked with a crust of dried ink. Water soluble fortunately. I was wondering if anyone can help me identify and possibly date it as I would love to know more about it. I have added pictures of all the identifying marks I can see.
  2. praxim

    Onoto K Series Pens

    I found here one review of an Onoto K series pen. It is excellent, worth reading as a companion because I do not plan to repeat most of that information. This is more of a comparison and notes on the pens. However, I will recap the series briefly. In 1955, just three years before they gave the pen game away entirely, Onoto released a series in a new style for them, being fairly plain plastics, piston fillers, mainly with hooded nibs, and barrels in the vogue cigar style. They proved to be good pens but, too little, too late as the British were wont to say. The pens were: K1 - Gold clutch cap, ink window, hooded nibK2 - Same as the K1 except with body coloured capK4 - Same as the K2 except the cap was screw rather than clutchK3 - The odd one. It is slimmer (by about 1 mm), slightly shorter in barrel and cap with flattened ends to both, an open No 3 nib, no ink window, and the piston mechanism is able to be serviced, unlike the other three. In remaining respects it was somewhat like the K2 with body coloured clutch cap.Onoto's marketing of the time profiled the pens like this: The K3 and K4 were the same price despite their obvious differences, with the K4 described as a basic pen and the K3 as a conventional pen. The K1 stepped up the price 7% for its gold cap.The most expensive was the K2, up another 12% in price, distinguished as having "extra iridium". So, the numbering follows no price or feature pattern, and the K3 remains quite an oddball among them when you get to the detail. In the following photo I have placed an Aurora 88 and Lamy 2000 for comparison, being similar hooded piston fillers of the era and shortly after. From left to right, Aurora 88, K1, K3, K4, K4, Lamy 2000. Note also clip differences in the K1, K3 and K4. I have not purchased a K2 because its features all exist elsewhere in the K models. Buying a second K4 was somewhat accidental. The Lamy looks huge next to the others, the Aurora (an original 88 with Nikargenta cap) quite comparable if slightly bigger over all. I speculate that the Aurora 88 may have been Onoto's principal model for their pen. Here are the pens with nibs exposed. From left to right, K1, Lamy 2000, K3, Aurora 88, K4 underside of nib, K4 with shroud removed. Note slimness of the K3's section compared with the others. The K3 has a conventional section which unscrews to reveal the barrel internals and piston. The other three pens have a friction fit section which is concealed under a screw-on plastic shroud. Note that after removing the shroud on the K1 on the left, I have not quite re-aligned it correctly. In this case I can screw the shroud a shade tighter. If you have removed the section (you can grease the piston, needed maybe once if ever, but you can not remove or replace it) then unless you have marked carefully you will be up for some repeated un- and re- screwing of the shroud while you rotate the section fractionally until the tightened shroud lines up with the nib. A touch of silicone grease on the friction fit is useful simply to make that a little easier. The K1 nib and feed I own do not appear to be set correctly, or else the K1 is different in one respect. On removing the shroud I can read the nib down to where it says K1 on it, below "De La Rue // 14 ct // Onoto". This part of the nib is inset further on the K4 pens so I can not read below 14 ct. I have not thought finding out a sufficient reason to pull the nib. The K3 sports a standard Onoto No 3 nib, saying "Onoto // 14ct // 3" as usual. I have inked two of these pens and dipped the other two. Pelikan 4001 Königsblau was used in both of the filled pens, for comparison. I dipped the other two in my Random Mix Bottle as an afterthought. Both of the K4 models display a heavier line but the inked grey K4 needs a little tine adjustment (closure), I think. Note the railroading in the closing bracket of "grey". At first that happened to the "i" in Pelikan as well, but enough ink was laid that it soon filled the gap with bleed in the paper. Used after dipping, the maroon K4 seems better behaved. The K1, dipped only and unadjusted at all so far, also looks a bit dodgy with bleeding. Hands-down winner here for me is the K3, the No 3 nib gliding softly to produce a beautiful line, as these nibs usually do. I do not normally post pens, including these Onotos, although to be fair they look elegantly longer if you do. You might gather the K3 is my favourite although I think I will get good service from the others with a little nib work, which is not unexpected in a 60 year old pen. Comparing the Aurora 88, and Lamy 2000, the lack of an ink window is a deficiency of the K3, and I am not keen on the heavy hooding of the other K models. I prefer to see the nib at least a bit, if only not to have to think about rotation alignment of the pen at the first stroke of writing. Writing, none of these nibs (all 14 ct) could be called soft so far as the metal goes. The Lamy is well known to people, a smooth nail. Closest comparison would be with the K1 and K4 Onotos. The Aurora 88 has its characteristic slight toothiness and little in the way of softness either, really, so my narrow writing winner is the K3 even though that too is not a soft nib. This is purely a personal preference. Subject to a little work on two of them, I think all of these will be found to be excellent. The Onoto K-series pens are good buys in that they are simple, robust, light, discreetly elegant and capable of writing very well. The fact you can not service the piston seal other than on the K3 does not seem to have been a problem anywhere to date. Like the two comparison pens, A88 and L2K, they will serve as workhorse pens that no-one should be afraid to take anywhere. They are also inexpensive. Oh, and my favourite colour is the maroon. They also come in black. eta: a couple of extra notes
  3. I I thought to open a thread on ONOTO PENS. Just show your Onoto pens and perhaps some writing samples to inspire us and what is your thought when you found this classic rare pen. I have several pens and I am going to post my writing experience with these amazing pens ,soon later. The pens are on the left hand side of this image is my Vintage collection
  4. Recently, I came upon some photos of Onotos formerly owned by Ernest Shackleton. It seems they have not been shared on FPN before, so here they are: The first one is from a Christie's auction in 2012 (picture can be magnified by clicking on it) : https://www.christies.com/en/lot/lot-5605380 The second one, which looks so similar to the one above that it may be the same pen, is pictured in an online exhibit made by the Osher Map Library of the University of Southern Maine. Scroll down to item no. 67 on this page and you'll see it (picture can be magnified by clicking it) : https://oshermaps.org/exhibitions/to-the-ends-of-the-earth/section-7 If the pens above are one and the same, I wonder if it is currently in the collection of the Osher Library. (Any FPN folks work there, perchance?) In any case, here is a third one, obviously not the same pen as the above, with much more barrel wear but less discolouration. This photo is from an earlier Christie's auction in 2001. Unfortunately, the photo of this pen is lower resolution than those above. Moreover, the imprint is worn down and quite hard to read on this one: https://www.christies.com/en/lot/lot-2778060 All of the pens are engraved on a barrel band with Shackleton's initials and the year 1921. It seems he must have obtained them shortly before embarking on his final expedition; perhaps he even carried them aboard the Quest. Now, both (or all three?) of them are typical 1920s hard rubber Onotos in most respects - the shapes of the sections, caps, and plunger knobs; the chasing pattern; the absence of an over-under feed. But interestingly, they all bear this style of imprint: "ONOTO" PATENT SELF FILLING PEN DE LA RUE, LONDON The imprint on the last pen is so worn that I can't tell for sure that it isn't the "Onoto THE Pen" type of imprint instead, but based on what I can see, and word placement etc., it seems reasonable to say that it was most likely the same "patent self filling pen" imprint. I've always assumed the "patent self filling" imprint was early; certainly by 1921 I would have expected to see "Onoto THE Pen" imprints, especially on pens with the newer design of section/cap/filler knob. Clearly my assumption was wrong. That said, I don't have Steve Hull's Onoto book, so I don't know what the best of current knowledge is regarding when the imprint change happened. (Does the book say anything about when the redesigns and imprint changes happened for N and O model Onotos?) In any case, these are pens that accompanied the great explorer in his last adventures. It is heartening to see them preserved till the present day in such a fine condition.
  5. Hi, just thought id share my selection of Stephens (1932) & Parker victory (1935-46) English made (discounting the first 5 years made in canada). when you look at the the period in general a lot of the the other makers were concentrating on lever fillers. would be nice to see what else is made during the period in button filler. regards Rick
  6. Hi Guys and Gals. I wonder if any of you can help in providing some information of this pen? The pen was shown to me recently by a retired Gentleman, who is a volunteer engineer at the local aircraft museum, in Newark on Trent. He has had this for a lot of years, residing in the back of a drawer, previously owned by another family member. The conversation pretty much came about by accident, as we usually talk about his fixing of vintage aircraft, but for some reason, I had just mentioned that I owned a few pens! I digress. On my next visit (which was last week), he had brought the pen in to show me, stuffed in his work overalls pocket… I had a look, and it is some sort of Onoto, with a number 3 nib. The body looks and feels like an acrylic material, but could be anything (not an expert in any way shape or form) with a well worn silver overlay. The filling mechanism seem jammed solid, the plunger was pulled gently until it stopped, which was not very far. No forcing, just moved so I could take a picture. I have looked over the internet, and multiple pages on FPN, but not managed to ID the pen, or get any ballpark date on it. I have no idea if it is valuable, or just worth a few pennies, but have advised that he takes it out of his coveralls and keeps it in some safer place for now! Many Thanks!
  7. Conradandhispens

    Repair Of Lip Crack - Onoto 6000 Bchr

    I have just bought two onotos, one is a 6234 plunger, and another is a very early BCHR pen. The BCHR is in great condition, except for the cap having a small lip crack (its a slip cap by the way) Im wondering how I can fix this? I am not sending the pen overseas to a repair man as Im confident I can do the repair, I just don't know how. Or if it cant be repaired Id buy a cap off of someone. Here's some pics. thank you.
  8. Pen_Padawan

    Metal Onoto Shank Retaining Pin

    Dear Onoto Guru's, I have a metal Onoto that needs service, but the plunger is frozen (see photo, that's all that will move). But since it has a metal Shank (plunger knob) I do not know if there is a shank retaining pin. I have repaired a few Onoto's; remove shank pin, replace cork seal, replace plunger washer but with no shank retaining pin how does one disassemble this metal pen? If any one know's how to disassemble a vintage metal body Onoto plunger pen, please let me know. Thanks.
  9. The top one is an Onoto 6233. Certainly a beauty, very nice and balanced to hold and to write with. I got it from an auction along with a bunch of other interesting pens and it proved a nightmare to repair, certainly due to some extent to my lack of experience, but also to the trickiness of the plunger filling system. It took me no less than four orders from Custom Pen Parts to get it to fill properly. Now, the nib is certainly very nice and soft, though not a flex one. The ink flow seems to be as much of a nightmare as the filling system. Most of the time the ink flow is stingy, with Diamine China Blue. However, at times, it reminds me of a dip pen when just taken out of an ink well, as I remember from when I learnt to write, back in the fifties. It just keeps dripping. I know that before starting to write with a plunger filler you have to unscrew half a turn the blind knob, in order to open the flow valve. However this doesn't seem to have any immediate effect. If the nib is dry, no opening of the valve will bring the ink down unless you shake the pen several times and nicely sprinkle whatever you've got around you. Conversely, once the ink starts overflowing, no locking of the valve will stop it for a while. So that's my experience with an Onoto. The pen below in the picture is a Swan 3260, which I bought on Ebay. It's not particularly beautiful, in fact, rather plain looking. It is a lever filler, which I cleaned, resaked and got to write with no problems. The nib is semi-flex and writing with it is a lovely experience. The pen is absolutely no-nonsense: it does what it is meant for and does it flawlessly. I bought another one on Ebay, shortly after, a 6260. The nib writes too fine for my writing, but I love to use it for drawing. As a bottom line: I wish I could write with my beautiful Onoto, but always fall back on my Swan.
  10. Hi, I was lucky enough to find a 1930's Onoto Magna which has been restored to working condition. The downside is that the fitted De la Rue No. 7 nib is a fine one with no flex and I don't find it very satisfying to write with. I'd like to know if there are replacement No.7 nibs available or alternatives used with magnas of this era. Thanks
  11. No 'Topic Poll" button appeared when I started this topic. Perhaps it is excluded in this sub-forum. We shall have to do it by hand. I see irregular mention of Onotos on the forums, from people scattered across continents. It is evident from some of the replies that there are some with significant experience of them, probably with current or past collections. So, I am curious to discover more. How many Onotos do you own? Is the number static, rising or falling? Any particular focus on them or comments? For my part they currently stand as the modal point of my collection, albeit not by much. Aurora and Waterman are close behind. I started on them early, and still pick them up occasionally, preferring those needing some repair these days because I find that entertaining. Had I been able to start the poll, my divisions were going to be something like: A. 1 B. 2 C. 3-5 D. 6-9 E. 10-15 F. 16-24 G. 25-40 H. 41+ I fall in the sixth of those categories, F, with 21 currently if I include one on its way. Not all of those are currently functional, but they will be.
  12. Here is a brief overview of the pen, with a link to the full review at the end of this post. Appearance and Design: 9 While this model (the Chuzzelwit being based on the Magna Classic) is under a decade old, appearance wise there is something very classically British about the pens. The core model unashamedly harks back to a time of old and is still hand made. The odd sized nib helps give an illusion that this pen is smaller than it really is, as if it were the same pen Winston Churchill apparently asked his wife to obtain after he lost his in the Number 10 bunker. http://i.imgur.com/dQKgUaU.jpg Construction and Quality: 9.5 The score is based upon my original Magna Classic, as the Chuzzelwit was a prototype bought as such at the 2018 London Writing Equipment Show. The only problem with the latter is the clip is too stiff and had to be prized slightly away from the body. The pens are hand made and the execution is superb. Everything fits together extremely well. The clip has spring and is easy to use and the pen feels secure when in a pocket. If there were to be one gripe it would be that it takes roughly 3.5 turns to remove the cap, though this is down to the use of a single thread allowing the branding to line up nicely with the clip. http://i.imgur.com/qCrcHiV.jpg http://i.imgur.com/XsmVKUI.jpg Weight and Dimensions: 10 The pen is light and appears smaller than it really is, but I found this made it incredibly comfortable to hold and use. The threads are thin and cannot be noticed unless you rub your finger up and down against them. The smooth tapering also makes it very easy to find a comfortable position by which to hold the pen, it does not force you in to a specific position. If you do want a heavier pen then there is a cost option (£30 ?) to have an additional weight added in to the barrel. Nib and Performance: 9 As of late 2018 Onoto are changing their supplier from Bock to Jowo. The gold nib on my Magna Classic is the former. With the Chuzzelwit I had an option of a fine Bock or a medium Jowo, trying both at the pen show the latter was far nicer and so was the one I went with. The size is #7 and the appearance is the same for the nibs of both manufacturers (steel). The gold nib in the Magna Classic is fine. It is a very nice writer, smooth and wet, though on the stiffer side. Despite preferring softer, bouncier nibs I actually rather enjoy the experience of using this pen. On the Chuzzelwit, the steel nib is also very nice and is possibly nicer than the gold one, which is something to bare in mind as Onoto pens, despite the costs, come with steel nibs as standard, the gold ones are an additional cost option. http://i.imgur.com/s5qWEYV.jpg http://i.imgur.com/8geWS0l.jpg Filling System and Maintenance: 8 There's not too much to say here. The pens both came with unbranded standard international pattern convertors already installed and no cartridges. The convertors are firmly in place and fit well. I'm not one of the 'if it costs more than a couple of hundred quid it must have a piston' brigade, so I have no problems here. As a result the pen is easy to clean. Also the nib is in a unit that screws in and out. http://i.imgur.com/7Q1eCGH.jpg Cost and Value: 8 (9.5 for the Chuzzelwit as it is a prototype) This is a difficult ones. Onoto pens are not cheap, starting at just under £400 and going in to the multi-thousand. Additionally they come as stock with steel nibs, the gold option costing £120-140 extra, however at the same time they are hand made in traditional ways and with great care. The nibs are hand tuned, and also there is a life time guarantee on the pens (though I do not know if this is transferable). Conclusion: 9 I was nervous when I bought the Magna Classic, but enjoyed using it so much that I actually went to the 2018 London Writing Equipment Show with the intention of buying another of their pens if I could get a decent price. The prototypes have risk, but for me was ultimately worth it. As ever I advise people to try before buying, especially with the cost of these pens and their rarity on the second hand marker - something of a good sign as it shows people consider them keepers. My full write up can be found at: https://dapprman.wordpress.com/2018/12/08/onoto-magna-classic-and-chuzzelwick/ (edit next day to correct spelling from Chuzzelwick to Chuzzelwit)
  13. Hi folks, I'm afraid I rather lost track of all the news concerning Onoto, but thought that you might be interested to know that the website is currently alive and kicking, and I was able to order a Magna just the other day. Does this make it a zombie-zombie-pen-company? Sorry if this has already been discussed to death!!! R.
  14. This is the catch from yesterday's pen show in Tilburg, NL. I'm not knowledgeable about vintage pens, so some help would be welcome. Ignoring the Sheaffer PFM for the moment, I found what is supposed to be a ca. 1938 Onoto 5601 in green marble with a 14k #3 Standard nib. Very nice pen, writes extremely well. I put J. Herbin Lierre Sauvage in it - great match! The other pen, which was bought by my son, is a very, very beautiful De La Rue / Onoto lever filler in brown-flaked marble. Exact model and year of manufacture as yet unknown. Any corrections and additional info are welcome! Thanks!
  15. Some context for the adventure here. The question comes in the last paragraph. I bought a long model Onoto 6234 from Spain recently, expecting it would need some service work. The pen looked to be in very fine shape externally, so that was promising. The plunger was extremely difficult to push down. Before taking it further apart, I removed the section to add some silicone grease to the barrel, as an experiment. Now the plunger moved very easily, but with no suitable 'pop' of vacuum breaking. Removing the rod showed that the "cup washer" was made from two bits of what appears to be bicycle inner tube (it curves floppily on one radius) hand cut with a knife into a random polygon roughly approximating a circle, with no cone washer for support. OK, I can replace that. A lack of ink in the barrel or section suggested the earlier repairer had found their effort was not entirely successful. I noted also that the plunger cone pin had rust around it! Pushing it out, I found that my predecessor had resorted to a bit of metal for the pin, and not a rust-proof bit, for this pin immersed in dyed water. Also, the rod was bent, presumably from trying to force down the ungreased piston. Well, it is ebonite with a wire core. I am trying to ease its bend at the moment. It may need replacement. Next, I turned to the cork seal at the top of the barrel. Hmm, no seal screw. That does not help. So, to the question: Does anyone know the threading used for the seal screw on top of an Onoto barrel? Given they used 5BA for the rod, I am conjecturing it will be 0BA or 1BA (but normal RH thread). If it is, I may be able to make another.
  16. Admitting I have not read Steve Hull's excellent book cover to cover, I am a little mystified by an Onoto pen I have just acquired. It has an 18ct nib. No other vintage Onoto of which I am aware has other than a 14ct nib. The pen itself is one in the Streamline style. I will identify it properly later. The mottled red hard rubber barrel is labelled "Onoto The Pen" under which is, less clearly but present, "De La Rue & Co London", so that part is all correct. The nib has a heart breather hole characteristic of the brand and era, but whereas my nearest comparable pen has on the nib "DeLaRue // Onoto // London // 3" (most others insert "14c" between Onoto and London) this one has "DeLaRue // London // Onoto // 18ct" Has anyone encountered an 18ct nib on a vintage Onoto before? I can not say how it writes because the plunger washer is fossilised, jamming the plunger. In other respects it seems intact, although the slip cap is either a ring-in or again very unusual, having slight knurling around the top edge but otherwise apparently normal in appearance and matching the pen for colour and pattern.
  17. This Onoto, which according to Steve Hull (p253 in his Onoto book) was made about 1949, works on the same principle as all the old Onoto plunger fillers, but it's rather different inside. Note the thin steel rod - that rusted at the end and destroyed the BHR fitting - the one in the picture is my experimental replacement. : And the nib curiously is stamped 99! Since the rod is only about 2mm in diameter, the available corks are too big (normal rod is 3.2mm) so in the end I made a new rod from brass (middle one) It now works nicely and can easily be re-corked if necessary. Cob
  18. I have a couple of plunger fill Onoto pens. The business of filling them with ink is a little unusual, in that the pen's custodian (the very youngest Onoto plunger filler is now about to qualify for its old age pension and free bus pass, so one is a custodian for the next generation!) removes the cap, puts the nib in the ink up to the section (so far, so normal!) and then unscrews the cap at the other end of the pen, pulls it all the way out, and then firmly shoves it all the way home, at which point, all being well, ink flows into the pen's barrel. The custodian then screws up the cap (thereby, allegedly, closing the ink flow valve) wipes the nib, puts the cap on, and that's that. The bit that worries me is the business of firmly shoving the plunger home. With a lever fill, piston fill, button fill, Aerometric or Vacumatic pen, one is holding the pen so that the nib is clear of the bottom of the ink bottle, and not applying downwards force in the direction of the nib, with a plunger fill pen that is exactly what one is doing with the plunger filler - shoving the nib hard towards the bottom of the ink bottle. If the plunger slides smoothly down, as it should, there is no trouble, but if the plunger sticks slightly, or if one continues shoving after the top cap is closed, the downwards shove is transferred to the body of the pen and thus to the nib... I'm always scared of bending the nib - older Onotos are rightly famous for long, delicate, flexible nibs... I want to steady the hand holding the pen on something (not the open top of the ink bottle!) Is there an approved technique?
  19. Aikidoka

    Greetings From Cold London

    Hello from cold London (-5). I like fountain pens, but also have a Yard o Led ballpoint and one from Pelikan. My fountain pens (all broad nibs) are Grand Victorian by Yard-o-Led which is a great pen, albeit have nib replaced, Conway Stewart Churchill Poppy Edition, Conway Stewart Rudyard Kipling, Visconti Bronze oversize Homo Sapiens, Visconti Dali and a bright orange Visconti. I am just about to buy a Onoto Shakespeare. I use Diamine ink :- Royal blue, crimson, green, purple and red. So the collection is quite small and I have only started in the last four years. Any feedback or recommendations are welcome. After the Onoto I am thinking of a Sailor pen with one of their very broad nibs.
  20. I received an Onoto 1822 today. It has a couple of problems, of which one can not be blamed on the restorer (who was not the seller) although it may have influenced the other issues. These two photos of the shank or plunger cap show a manufacturing fault. The first picture shows the end of the rod pin, front left of centre. Note how closely it lies to the end of the cap, closer than I have seen for any other Onoto. The second (sorry about the blurriness) shows a line running to the other edge. You can see it at the back of the first photo as well. It is the pin lying at the surface past the rod, hence my analogy of a splinter under the skin. My problem will be to remove the pin without shattering the thin layer of ebonite on one half, or where it partially encloses the pin at the other end. This is necessary because the rod in this pen is too short so not only does ink cut-off not close but the plunge-fill mechanism barely functions until you screw down the shank, after which the cup washer barely clears the internal barrel lip. Basically, I intend to use heat, a staking tool, and such care and patience as I can muster. Other bright ideas will be welcomed. For example, would you think it would make a difference which end of the pin I pushed, which end emerged, the open end or the thinly covered?
  21. http://www.ebay.com/itm/322790449481?ul_noapp=true Anyone got an opinion on this lever? I haven't been able to find Stephen's book in the US but I had never seen this lever on an Onoto before and wonder why or how -or mainly if - DeLaRue were using it (or anything so complex, possibly to get around the Watermans box patent?) so early in their l/f production? In her un-illustrated book THE HISTORY OF THE ONOTO PEN, Eileen Twydle says that DeLaRue (for which company she sounds authoritative, using the term "we") started making l/fs in 1922 in response to market pressures: but their earliest lever seems to have been a straight Sheaffer-type one (known in UK as the Swan/Valentine style) and not the lever in a box Watermans style they adopted later. But this ebay-appearance is neither?? I wonder if they patented this curious design or did this lever just come out of someone's parts stock in the mid 1920s? But I have also never seen a generic version of the 1920s Pilot lever without a P or an N in it? I suppose, in its symmetry, it looks a bit like the early 1920s lever which MontBlanc used for about ten minutes, - shown in the 'Fountain Pens - Their History and Art' book [http://www.ebay.com/itm/322561277801?ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1555.l2649].
  22. Introduction: Up for review is a brand-new 2017 Onoto Magna Classic Tortoiseshell fountain pen. In almost every way, this pen significantly impresses me. Onoto is certainly back, and they are not messing around. Onotos inception took place in England in 1905, and the company had a good run through 1958 when they had to shut their doors. About 50 years later, a British man purchased the brand and re-launched the storied and quality Onoto name. Retail price for this pen as equipped was $581 after currency conversion on the Onoto website, where one can pay in CNY, USD, Euros, or GBP. There is a price range on these pens as one can select a gold or steel nib, custom ground nibs, an interchangeable rollerball kit, and an optional brass-weighting insert. I selected the 18kt gold medium nib by Bock and a weighted barrel insert. More on this to come. In short, this pen has become one of my favorites; and, its not merely I just got it! syndrome. I have recently acquired other quality and long-sought-after pens (some highly rare!) that are still un-inked and shelved because this new addition to my collection has captured my time and attention. My assessment of this pen is as follows: Appearance: 9.5 Disclaimer: I deeply enjoy all things tortoiseshell. If you dont, this may be an even more subjective category than usual. I am also somewhat subconsciously scoring the unprecedentedly beautiful display box into this unusually high score. Its a package deal that emotes fun! The box solicits my attention from across the room every time it catches my eye. Then, I typically open the box just to look. Then, the opened box yields the beauty of the pen and I just have to hold it. And then, I just have to write with it. Schedule ruined. Not all shiny things easily sway me. For example, I store this pen next to a far more expensive and stereotypically over-the-top Montegrappa luxury pen with its bright red lacquered oversized box. Thats beautiful, too, but I havent paid any attention to it since I got this Onoto pen. When I am not busy playing with the Onoto pen and box, I find myself reading the included literature and pamphlets; this pen came with the most fun stuff to read I have ever received with a new purchaselet alone just a pen! The engraved barrel is a very nice touch that reminds me of the engraving on my Conway Stewart Wellington. Some may resent brand-engraved barrels and see them as an unwelcomed conquest into your pens lines. However, Omas has legend status and they did it on a lot of their precious celluloid pens. Just saying. The Onoto engraving reads: ONOTO THE PEN MADE IN ENGLAND. They are not hiding that their longstanding roots with this marquee. There are three gold cap bands that are evenly spaced and laid flush with care. These are a really nice touch because it carries the gold through the design from the cap to the finial rather seamlessly. The top of the cap displays proudly the Onoto logo in a beautiful and truly eye-catching way. Whoever designed the logo should be complimented, often. It reminds me of BMWs propeller logo (since BMW used to be more known for plane engines). I like that its not just a boring O like on some of my Visconti pens that have just a V on the top. This is again appreciated on the functionally-tight clip, where the full logo is displayed again and not just an O. I also really, really like that there is a flat gold-plated metal surface on the finial instead of a boring rounded or flat plastic surface. This is a somewhat unique feature (not rare, but unexpected). The solitary reason I did not score this pen an even 10 is that Onoto failed to polish the finial on my pen prior to shipping. This was their only lack of attention to detail. Very minor, but unfortunate. Photo included. By the way, when looking at the finial micro-scratches, please also note that no engraved numbering is present. Internet searches revealed that some of these pens have a number out of 100 engraved on the finial. Mine does not have this; however, there is a marking on my paperwork that indicates I have number 4 out of an edition of 200. Does this mean Onoto will make (or has made and/or sold) another 196 of these? How many of these pens exist and how many editions of the same pen have been made or will be made? Whats the point of having a numbering system just to start over and use the numbers again in another edition of the same pen? Perhaps Onoto did this, or perhaps it didnt. Its altogether a mystery to me. I am not unhappy about it, but I am perplexed. Design: 8 I was going to score this pen a 6, not because there is anything wrong with it, but simply because if pens are shaped a certain way and of a functional size and weight for writing they are all somewhat the same and underserving of higher than average scores. Unless there is something new or innovative involved, like how the Kaweco Supra allows the user to quickly change the length of the pen barrel, I dont think pen designs are generally groundbreaking very often these days (Conid bulkfiller excluded?). Average is not a bad thing. Side note: We might consider teaching our kids this instead of giving them a trophy for walking across the room without tripping. Its fine to be average! However, I ended up giving this pen an 8 because of how impressed I was by five things: 1) The effortlessly customizable nature involved in the ordering process allows numerous options at varying price ranges (including an interchangeable rollerball kit for $100). 2) The weighted option is really wonderful. I chose the 7g weight addition and it makes for an awesome feel in the hand. The rolled brass shank is firmly nestled and secure in the barrel and I think it was custom made when I placed my order. I say this because there was a very small amount of water on the brass inside the barrel, like the metal work was just done before shipping (in a good way). 3) The acrylic material is wonderfully thick and hefty in my opinion (as can be seen in the brass-shank barrel photo and the side-by-side photo with the Platinum pen). 4) The tortoiseshell materials were wisely chosen for appearance. Also included for reference in this regard are some preliminary photos of a brand new Platinum Tortoiseshell Celluloid pen. The Platinum pen was about $325so considerably cheaper. And, though a steal for a new celluloid pen from a Japanese big three manufacturer, the Platinum i¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬s far lighter (in a negative way), uses less material, feels overall weaker, and has an inferio¬¬r finish to the Onoto. Am I bashing the Platinum? No. I just got it. I may do a review. It deserves its chance, and I like the gold ring on the end of the section by the nib unitOnoto should do this! But from a head-to-head first impression standpoint, the photos tell the story pretty well on why the Platinum is less expensive and less impressive than the Onoto. 5) The flat gold-plated metal finial is cool. Construction/Quality: 9.5 I have no reservations scoring this a 9.5. I will come back and blast this pen if the rings get loose or if the cap breaks, etc. I find this to be the easiest category to score as something is either well-made or not well-made. The thick material was a big factor here as Onto didnt skimp on material. According to Onoto (who I contacted directly for some of the technical information relayed in this review), they source the raw high density acrylic sheets (not starting with rods) from Italy and then process and turn them into pens in England. I was informed that all silver plated items (clips, bands, and other aesthetic metal pieces) are currently being phased out in favor of solid sterling silver pieces (which in the case of my pen are then 23kt gold-plated). I wanted to score this pen a 10 but I am still annoyed that the finial was not polished. There is nothing loose on this pen and it posts and closes securely. The nib has not dried up after sitting unused (finally) for three weeks. The nib is another big quality factor, but this category is yet to come. Weight/Dimensions: 7 Sourced from the Onoto Website: Dimensions: Capped (closed): 139mm Uncapped including nib: 122mm Posted including nib: 161mm Barrel diameter: 11 13.2mm Cap diameter: 14 15.8mm Cap length: 67mm Weight: 25gms or 32gms (if you select the optional weight addition) Nib/Feed: 9 I, too, am shocked that I am scoring a usually plug and play canned medium Bock nib as a 9. After my initial Wow, this nib is nice moment, my very next thought was, Why does Visconti keeps sending me mediocre Bock nibs when this glorious Onoto experience is possible? This pen came with one of the best nibs I have ever used or even seen directly coming from a seller (retailer and manufacturer alike). The tines were 100% perfectly aligned, something I have never seen on a Visconti (or any other new pen!). The slit is neither too wide nor too small. There is no babys bottom. There is zero scratch when writing, just the slightest hint of feedback as it glides across paper. The pen writes smoothly and with an extra fine line upside-down. There is a small around of spring to the nib, but not enough to warrant a label like semi-flex. In this sense the nib performed just as expected for a Bock nib. I like big and buttery nibs with some flex (not that this #7 nib is small and nail-like) so its not a 10 for me, but for many people this pen would be a 10. But seriously, I have quality nibs from every major brand, and some local artisans, too. Only my factory-direct Sailor King Eagle nib is more enjoyable than this nib. I am completely befuddled. I had to investigate. My investigation revealed somewhat conflicting information, but all positive. Onoto first said they rely on Schmitt to assemble, test, and service their nib units from Bock before they arrive at Onoto. Later, Onoto told me they also inspect and align nibs in-house before shipping them. Regardless of if its one or both, its working! KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK, ONOTO! I hope they hear me. Dont skimp on the processes that make sure the end user actually gets a great product from start to finish. Well done, Onoto. On a tangent, it is perplexing that we in the pen community have come to generally accept that really expensive pens may arrive with mediocre-writing nibs right from the manufacturers and retailers. So many of us love our pens only after seeing the nibmeister. We should not be buying luxury Rolex watches that look pretty but dont tell time, so to speak. Better to buy a $0.49 Bic pen and have it work properly than to endure the nibmeister malarkey we have grown accustomed to on oh-so-many occasions with our brand new pens (specialty grinds excluded). We deserve and must demand proper behavior from all sellers and makers of fine pens when it comes to functional nibs! Rant over. The feed appears to be ebonite and iswell, a feed. It flows normally and doesnt clog or drip. Im not sure how much the feed is helping with the overall great writing experience; it appears to be a normal feed that encourages great capillary action. Filling System/Maintenance: 6.5 In 1905 Onotos claim to fame was their plunger-filled fountain pen that was guaranteed not to leak. In 1923 they released a lever-filler. In 2017, my pen has a boring cartridge converter. I wish Onoto had returned to its roots in this regard. If this pen had a piston filler it would probably be my favorite pen. I am 50-50 on converter pens, only liking them 1) when I need to clean them, or 2) when I need to draw ink from those dreadful 30ml Diamine ink bottles that most nibs wont fit into (come on Diamine!). I probably should score this category a 5 for being average, but it works well and smoothly and I like how snugly the converter fits. There is a missed opportunity here by Onoto, but theres nothing negative to speak of functionally with the converter. The pen also takes a standard European cartridge per their website. Cost/Value: 9 This pen is a good value. Fully equipped it gets a little pricey, but one can have this pen $155 cheaper without a gold nib, and another $23 cheaper without the extra weights. Factor that in and this beauty can be had for about $400. Bear in mind there are other Magna color options in the line beside the tortoise if you hate turtles, lol. There is a blue one I have my eye on, too, but budget-wise I may have to pass. Side note: After I purchased the tortoise pen it appears to have disappeared from their website altogether, leading me to believe they may have discontinued it or simply make one at a time? I suggest emailing them if youd like one to see if they can whip one up for you, or perhaps they will post it again. This is as of 6/9/17. This pen is a very good value for the quality provided. I initially planned to score this pens value at an 8 because it is still somewhat pricey for not being made of silver or celluloid, but then I went with a 9 because the buyer can basically pick his or her price range and features. Onotos excellent customer service rounded off the great experience. They write back quickly for being on the other side of the pond from the U.S. I consider good service to truly be part of the value category. Conclusion/Score: 8.36 I truly enjoy this pen. I cannot imagine selling it. I am thrilled that Onoto is back! I wish I didnt wait 12 years to try their new offerings. I must also give a shout-out to the customer service team who answered my questions quickly and accurately. Shipping time is acceptable as well from the (previously? Brexit?) United Kingdom. If this pen were celluloid and a piston filler it would be a 10 and my favorite pen most likely. Be that as it may, I do think this pen actually earned its solid score. I came in quite skeptical because this is my first Onoto pen and there was no brand affinity affording them mercy points. Well done, Onoto. Enjoy the photos! A few of them are not posting with the proper orientation despite an identical process for each. I also would like to respectfully gripe that I had 30 photos and FPN wouldn't let me post them all. So I had to scale back. A nifty chemical-treated polishing cloth was included sporting the Onoto logo. I might have preferred no chemicals, but it's very cool! I would have enjoyed a more crisp and legible stamping here for the precious metal indicators, etc. Below is a photograph of the unnumbered and unpolished finial mentioned in the review. The alignment of the tines is spot on! The optional weighted brass insert can be seen inside the barrel in the photograph below: Here are some photos of the Onoto Tortoiseshell next to a Platinum Celluloid Tortoiseshell Fountain Pen: Side-by-side, one can really see the difference in the amount/thickness of materials used by each company. The Onoto, on the left, scores bonus points here in my book. Left To Right: Danitrio Tame-Nuri Genkai, Visconti Homo Sapiens Maxi Size Lava Steel 25th Anniversary, Onoto Magna Classic Tortoiseshell, Mont Blanc 149, Stipula Etruria Titanium Flex, Faber-Castell Ondoro Wood.
  23. pieemme

    Vintage Onoto Repair Help

    I have been through a long process of restoring a vintage Onoto 6233. It took me longer than expected mainly due to my trial & error learning process. I had to order my spares twice through Roger Wolfe's custompenparts.co.uk. I also am most grateful to Richard Binder for his instructions, both from his book and website. In spite of this guidance, I am not entirely at ease with this plunger mechanism, which I find in Onoto pens unnecessarily complicated in design. I replaced the rod, which I had broken in my learning process and followed Roger Wolfe's instructions in identifying the proper position for drilling a hole through the rod. With the section opened and the plunger in working order, I hear a sharp pop when the pluger reaches the end position, therefore I believe than air tightness is not an issue. What I am not too sure about is the correct position of the plunger tip, once the plunger knob is screwed in. Should it rest against the feed assembly or should it leave a gap? I've read somewhere that the Onotos have some safety feature to prevent leakages and that one needs to partly unscrew the plunger knob when writing. I hope some Onoto expert is reading my message and willing to help.
  24. I am progressing with repair of an Onoto 6233 which arrived solid with ink, with a fossilised cup washer, and the rod broken at the blind cap. My last tasks in disassembly are to remove the pins in the plunger and in the blind cap. Trying to punch them out has proven difficult. I was using a dowel with a short length of stiff 0.8 mm wire embedded in its end, and light taps with a small hammer. Before I get a bigger hammer, I was wondering whether I might not be better off simply drilling them out, using a drill press? I have not tried heat at this point, being a little doubtful of how useful it would be. I could also try the USC as a loosener except the blind cap is BHR which I do not want to immerse too long in water. Of course, I could simply re-use the existing rod by gluing its end into the cap (thus not having to disassemble that part) but the pen would then become difficult to disassemble again without worsening problems. The purist in me does not like that but the practical in me wants a working pen. So, at the moment I am leaning toward drilling out, as I will have new pins anyway. Any thoughts or suggestions on that, or effective things to try which do not require quite the same precision?
  25. Greetings Onotoistas! Don't want to start a big brewhaha.... But would like to hear comments from you Onotoists out there in FPN land regarding some of the virtues and cons of the vintage Magnas (lever and plunger fill) versus the new modern Magnas produced now. There's the obvious differences of having an old used pen vs a new one with warranty....so, besides those differences and assuming that the vintage Magna is in good condition (has been restored or repaired), I'm interested in the user experience of picking up a vintage one to write with vs a new one. Which one would you like to use and why? Does that make sense? Thanks for any and all comments... Mark Waiting impatiently for his Onoto Magna Tortoiseshell to arrive, so, making posts like this.....





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