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Onoto Magna - Vintage Vs New - Thoughts?


ArchiMark
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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..... ;)

FP Addict & Pretty Nice Guy

 

 

 

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I can't comment on any of the new Onoto pens but do own several of "The Pen" plunger filled ONOTOs. The issue I have with them revolves around the shut off. If it is not open enough the pens all write very, very dry while opened too far becomes a blobber and gusher. In addition, that characteristic also varies as the amount of ink remaining and the temperatures change.

 

If you use one long term the constantly adjusting flow becomes second nature and you learn how to fiddle on the fly as needed, but the learning curve is neither short nor smooth.

 

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Just had the M nib on my modern Magna ground a little finer by John Sorowka and it's an absolute beauty now. No experience of the vintage ones though.

The Good Captain

"Meddler's 'Salamander' - almost as good as the real thing!"

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I can't comment on any of the new Onoto pens but do own several of "The Pen" plunger filled ONOTOs. The issue I have with them revolves around the shut off. If it is not open enough the pens all write very, very dry while opened too far becomes a blobber and gusher. In addition, that characteristic also varies as the amount of ink remaining and the temperatures change.

 

If you use one long term the constantly adjusting flow becomes second nature and you learn how to fiddle on the fly as needed, but the learning curve is neither short nor smooth.

 

Thank you for your detailed input, jar....very helpful!.....

 

So, sounds like no experience with the old Magna lever model...

 

I assume that those don't have the ink flow adjustment issue of the plunger model....

 

Assuming that you've got your Magna ink flow adjusted OK, do you like writing with it or do you not use it because of that issue?

 

 

Just had the M nib on my modern Magna ground a little finer by John Sorowka and it's an absolute beauty now. No experience of the vintage ones though.

 

Sounds great....thanks for your feedback....

FP Addict & Pretty Nice Guy

 

 

 

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I have an original Magna, but I've only momentarily handled the newer pens at a show. I suspect that the feel of the vintage pen is 'warmer' (the newer pens felt far more precisely manufactured) and lighter than the modern one, as modern customers prefer more heft for their money. As Jar says the safety cut-off and variable flow are tricky to master, but there are also part of the charm of the older pens.

I would say that if you just want it to work without too much bother, buy a new one, but if you are more of a fettler that likes to have a relationship with your pen, then search out a serviced older plunger pen. The lever fill version would be a compromise (vintage but easily maintained).

"Truth can never be told, so as to be understood, and not be believ'd." (Wiiliam Blake)

 

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I have an original Magna, but I've only momentarily handled the newer pens at a show. I suspect that the feel of the vintage pen is 'warmer' (the newer pens felt far more precisely manufactured) and lighter than the modern one, as modern customers prefer more heft for their money. As Jar says the safety cut-off and variable flow are tricky to master, but there are also part of the charm of the older pens.

I would say that if you just want it to work without too much bother, buy a new one, but if you are more of a fettler that likes to have a relationship with your pen, then search out a serviced older plunger pen. The lever fill version would be a compromise (vintage but easily maintained).

 

Thank you for your feedback....understand your point about new vs old.....

 

And how do you like writing with your Magna? ....assuming you use it sometimes.....

FP Addict & Pretty Nice Guy

 

 

 

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Thank you for your detailed input, jar....very helpful!.....

 

So, sounds like no experience with the old Magna lever model...

 

I assume that those don't have the ink flow adjustment issue of the plunger model....

 

Assuming that you've got your Magna ink flow adjusted OK, do you like writing with it or do you not use it because of that issue?

 

I love writing with my ONOTOs but all are the plunger fill. It usually takes me about a day to get the feel for them again but soon fiddling with the flow becomes second nature.

 

My Website

 

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I love writing with my ONOTOs but all are the plunger fill. It usually takes me about a day to get the feel for them again but soon fiddling with the flow becomes second nature.

 

Thanks for the added input.....I've heard that the vintage Onotos are nice to write with.....

FP Addict & Pretty Nice Guy

 

 

 

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I don't have an original Magna, just a contemporary 6233, and do have a modern Magna Classic.

 

The 6233 is a messy pen to write with. I have yet to find a way of being able to live with it in a modern office. It's either too dry to write with or blobs when I move rapidly. That's a pain. The nib, however, is an absolute dream. It's soft (not very flexy) and absorbs shocks , making writing a sensuous experience. The nib is a Medium Stub (with the original sticker still on the cap finial).

 

The modern Magna Classic is a much larger diameter pen, and weighs about twice as much in the 'light' condition. The nib on mine (steel, BI) is unbelievably rigid in comparison. It is very nice to write with, but not a patch on the sensuous feel of the original nib. HOWEVER, the pen is so much easier to live with, and I do not have inky fingers all the time when I use it. In comparison to other modern 'luxury' pens I have tried (Sonnet, Parker Duofold, Stipula Etruria, Delta Turchese) it is a much nicer pen to write with than those. The problem for the modern Onoto's is how amazing the old pens were.

 

Regards,

 

Richard

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I don't have an original Magna, just a contemporary 6233, and do have a modern Magna Classic.

 

The 6233 is a messy pen to write with. I have yet to find a way of being able to live with it in a modern office. It's either too dry to write with or blobs when I move rapidly. That's a pain. The nib, however, is an absolute dream. It's soft (not very flexy) and absorbs shocks , making writing a sensuous experience. The nib is a Medium Stub (with the original sticker still on the cap finial).

 

The modern Magna Classic is a much larger diameter pen, and weighs about twice as much in the 'light' condition. The nib on mine (steel, BI) is unbelievably rigid in comparison. It is very nice to write with, but not a patch on the sensuous feel of the original nib. HOWEVER, the pen is so much easier to live with, and I do not have inky fingers all the time when I use it. In comparison to other modern 'luxury' pens I have tried (Sonnet, Parker Duofold, Stipula Etruria, Delta Turchese) it is a much nicer pen to write with than those. The problem for the modern Onoto's is how amazing the old pens were.

 

Regards,

 

Richard

 

Thank you Richard for all your detailed input....very helpful...

FP Addict & Pretty Nice Guy

 

 

 

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While I've heard the original Magna from 1937 to be one the best pens ever made, I have only owned the modern Onoto Magna Classic. The pen itself was way too large for me, posting at over 6.5". That put the balance point too far to the top for my comfort. I ordered a Fine nib and the nib did say F but wrote every bit like a broad. This had the effect of making every one of my closed letters look like big blob dot of ink. I paid 360.00USD for it, hardly worth it for a steel nibbed c/c filler when a Pelikan M600 can be had for 280.00USD. The fit and finish was OK, the pen just did not work for me. I must tell you I had very high hopes for this pen and wanted so much to love it.

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While I've heard the original Magna from 1937 to be one the best pens ever made, I have only owned the modern Onoto Magna Classic. The pen itself was way too large for me, posting at over 6.5". That put the balance point too far to the top for my comfort. I ordered a Fine nib and the nib did say F but wrote every bit like a broad. This had the effect of making every one of my closed letters look like big blob dot of ink. I paid 360.00USD for it, hardly worth it for a steel nibbed c/c filler when a Pelikan M600 can be had for 280.00USD. The fit and finish was OK, the pen just did not work for me. I must tell you I had very high hopes for this pen and wanted so much to love it.

 

Thanks for your input.....sorry to hear that you had such an experience....

 

If Magna is too large, then why post it?....FWIW, I don't post any pens.....for variety of reasons....

 

Seems a bit odd that a F nib would write like a broad....wonder if it just needed ink flow adjustment, ie, it's too wet now.....also, you could try a 'drier ink'....can sometimes make a big difference in way a pen writes by changing ink....

FP Addict & Pretty Nice Guy

 

 

 

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While I've heard the original Magna from 1937 to be one the best pens ever made, I have only owned the modern Onoto Magna Classic. The pen itself was way too large for me, posting at over 6.5". That put the balance point too far to the top for my comfort. I ordered a Fine nib and the nib did say F but wrote every bit like a broad. This had the effect of making every one of my closed letters look like big blob dot of ink. I paid 360.00USD for it, hardly worth it for a steel nibbed c/c filler when a Pelikan M600 can be had for 280.00USD. The fit and finish was OK, the pen just did not work for me. I must tell you I had very high hopes for this pen and wanted so much to love it.

I am surprised that you have that feeling about the new pen. When I got hold of mine, the feeling I had was astonishment over the sheer precision of the manufacture and how light such a big pen was - 25g is a 'Use all day' weight in my book. The way the inscription, nib and cap line up on all the pens is amazing (as an engineer I have tried to get plastic threaded items to line up and it's far from easy to ensure it happens on every single article). Then the chasing was so precise that on the first couple of days it was actually slightly unpleasantly sharp and snagged tint skin tags on my hand. However, after a few days it smoothed off.

 

I do not post mine, as I rarely post pens. I wear 'XLarge' gloves, so my hand isn't small, and find that it's very comfortable when not posted. The only pens I use posted are my P17 Lady pens. These tiny pens are the same length as my middle finger, so are a bit small to use when unposted.

 

The Onoto is a UK manufacture pen, so the point sizes tend to be a bit wider than US sizes, but a fine behaving like a broad seems wrong. I would suggest you contact Onoto about it and see if they will do something - provided you have tried things like using sensible paper and experimented with a dryer ink first.

 

Regards,

 

Richard

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I would suggest you contact Onoto about it and see if they will do something - provided you have tried things like using sensible paper and experimented with a dryer ink first.

 

Regards,

 

Richard

 

I would agree with Richard. Send it to back to Onoto to be checked in their workshops. I've found their customer service to be exemplary.

 

Good luck,

 

Tim

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  • 3 years later...

I have had a vintage Magna for some time and it always works well, but do have feed problems with my 560. After writing for a short time the ink dries up (I have several N series pens and a couple of those suffer from a similar problem)

I thought that perhaps the washer was too big and was blocking the ink flow, I replaced with a smaller diameter one but the problem persists. The inside of the pen must be spotless now, I have cleaned it so often, but still it dries up. Has anyone had this same and found an answer to it.

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  • 2 weeks later...

No, I've not solved it with my 3000's.

I have a suspicion it's due to an air lock created by the ink meniscus between the washer & barrel (sometimes happens in c/c pens, where a load of ink stays at the top of the c/c, starving the nib of ink). Can I suggest a little trial with a drop of washing up liquid in some ink (eyedroppered into the pen, maybe). I have not tried this on mine, but thought about it, preferring instead to go onto a less messy pen instead. In my 3000, shaking it didn't help a lot either, despite getting splatters everywhere - I was not popular!.

 

Regards,

 

Richard.

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Some of my Onotos do, some don't. My techniques for the latter include running a tongue-wetted little finger down the nib slit, turning over the pen for a couple of short strokes with the back of the nib (have not thought a lot about how that helps, but it does) and a little tap on a spare pad to break any blockage.

 

On one of my 4601 Onotos, the ink shut-off does not work -- I can pick it up and write while never needing to adjust the end cap from its closed position. That one is among those which is never hard to start, yet I have no problems with leaking into the cap. Some others like to be used to stay ready for action.

 

I have a notion that after an extended period of non-use, on most of them one should open the cap quite wide to start writing then immediately close it down to its normal adjustment, which varies by pen. Testing needed.

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