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“First look” Review: Radius1934 Superior Primissima Monterosso Introduction Radius pens were made in Italy from 1934 until sometime in the 1950’s. Very little is known about the history of the brand, even by such authorities on Italian fountain pen history as Letizia Jacopini. Here is a link to her brief article: Radius - FountainPenwww.fountainpen.it › Radius. Apparently, Radius was the top of the line brand of its parent company, S.A.F.I.S. And the Superior was Radius' top of the line model. It was made in Turin, as is the Radius1934. The Radius1934 company was established quite recently, and has just issued their first product, named “Radius1934 Superior Primissima” after the founding date of the original company and their best-known model. I believe the founder of the new company is a collector of Radius pens. I do not know if he has any connection with the historical company. This pen was released in 5 resins, each named after a different one of the Cinque Terre villages on the Ligurian coast of Italy. Each color was limited to only 12 pieces. I was fortunate to be able to secure one in the Monterosso (marbled red) color. I ordered mine with a broad nib which I had custom ground to cursive italic. First Impression, Appearance and Design The Radius1934 Superior is a standard tapered cylinder with conical ends. It is about the same size as a Pelikan M800. I was impressed with both the look and feel of the pen. The materials and fit and finish exude quality. The section is tapered with a flare at the end. It is very comfortable for me. The cap unscrews in about two turns. The clip is the same design as the vintage Radius Superior. It goes into a shirt pocket easily and holds securely. Size comparison: Left to right - Pelikan M800. Leonardo Momento Zero Grande. Aurora 88 (with custom binde). Radius1934 Superior. Nib and Performance The 14 Kt nib is reported to be made by Bock, but the feed appears to be a custom ebonite feed. The feed appears identical to that made by Leonardo for their Momento Zero Grande pens. The nib has rather long tines and is just a little flexible and springy. My nib was custom ground by the “nib whisperer” (his self-designation) who works for the vendor. It is moderately smooth and very crisp, loaded with the Radius-branded ink that came with the pen. With this ink, the nib seems on the dry side but with consistent flow and quick starting after an overnight rest. Feed comparison (All with Bock #6 14Kt nibs): Top to bottom - Standard Bock Feed. nib. Radius1934 Superior Feed. Leonardo MS Grande Feed. Writing Sample Filling system The Radius1934 Superior is a piston filler. The pen fills in 10 turns of the piston. The piston appears to be stainless steel and feels very solid. It turns smoothly. It seems to hold just about 1 ml of liquid. Cost and value This pen is priced at around USD500. It is at the high end for a resin pen, yet less than many pens of similar quality with gold nibs and piston filling. I judge it to be fairly priced. Conclusion Radius1934 is a new pen company producing pens modeled after those of the historic Radius pen company. Their first release is a very limited edition of 60 pens in 5 resins - black, amber, red, green and blue - each named after one of the Cinque Terre villages. On first encounter, this seems to be a top quality pen. It is well made with attractive materials and high-end features. I am happy to find another new Italian pen maker of fine writing instruments, and I am looking forward to what other pens they will release. I will update this first look after I have used the pen for a while, if further experience dictates a need. David
Today, I am reviewing the Conklin All American Limited Edition Courage Red pen. First of all, in my opinion Conklin get a lot of unnecessary bad press. While brands like Edison get wonderful reviews for their pens which often are around 170 bucks that come with a steel nib, and Conklin which also offers cast resins for sometimes over 100 cheaper, and they get horrible reviews. Now I am not saying that Edison pens aren’t great, because they are, I’m just saying that they are pricey for what they are, and, in my humble opinion, Conklin pens are a steal. If you don’t like the nibs, then you can get a Goulet nib or an Edison nib, and if you want a good nib, you can get an Edison gold nib or a JoWo gold nib from fpnibs.com (who offers the JoWo 14k gold nib at just $115!) in the #6 size. Sorry about that, now let me get back on track. This pen is a limited edition of 1898 pieces (Conklin was founded in 1898) and I personally have #0693. So be sure to get it while you can! Design and Build Quality (8.5/10) This pen is huge. It’s about the size of my hand. Granted, I have relatively small hands, but nevertheless it is huge. I can’t imagine anyone ever posting this pen. I personally don’t like reds and pinks a lot, but this pen really spoke to me because it reminds me of a betta fish I used to have when I was younger. Without that though, I don’t think I would have gotten it. It is medical themed, and it is called the Courage series because of the incredible amount of courage shoes by first responders during the pandemic. The clip has the medical snake around a pole, and then the cap band has a heartbeat in the front with another heartbeat on the back which is used to spell “COURAGE”. The body tapers down to the end. The swirls in this pen are magnificent. The material has such a depth to it, and it has pearlescent whites and thin streaks of black all throughout the semi-translucent red resin. It is just gorgeous and a sight to behold. When you unscrew the cap (which takes about 1.75 turns), it reveals a JoWo steel nib, in my case a 1.1 mm stub. It doesn’t have a lot of decoration, just the Conklin logo and Toledo, U.S.A. . The reason that it is a 8.5 out of 10 is because it’s just so huge. Nib and Writing Experience (7.5/10) The writing experience is pretty good. You can’t write incredibly quickly, or else you’ll get skipping. Otherwise, it works great. Relatively dry, but that can be fixed. Reverse writing is not recommended. Has pretty good line variation. Adds a nice bit of character to your writing. I have nothing wrong with this nib, it’s just like a lot of stubs where you have to be more thoughtful how you are writing. In fact, I like it quite a bit. Thank you for reading this review! As this is only my second review, please leave some constructive criticism! I would appreciate very much. Or, just tell me what you thought if the review! Just please leave a comment so I know what to keep doing and what to improve upon. Here are the pictures:
Purchased my first Japanese fountain pen yesterday, a Pilot Vanishing Point with a fine nib. Used it last night to take notes at the Washington Calligrapher's Guild meeting and I just loved writing with it. Will be in daily use from now on. ETA: The ceramic figue is 19th century Japanese scholar Yoshida Shoin. Bought it during a trip to Hagi while stationed in Japan many years ago.