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Hero Pens - Why?


Blue_Moon
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Did somebody call a wanbulance?

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The man in black fled across the desert and the gunslinger followed.

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You don't seem to be lacking money, hence, you think that way. Ask the same question to someone that has to struggle to make $10 in th enight shift of a greasy parlor and then has togo home undertjrest of been assaulted. Then the value of a HERO goes up astronomically. If you think so, you should buy them "by the dozen" and give them away to people that will use them and appreciate them. Hey, I even have a pen that cost $5 fom China. I bought two and gave away one. And it is good for drawing and doodling and writing letters. When did $5 of an American product gave you so much?

 

Collecting them is another thing. It has no value an I agree. But then, the thought of collecting something is also weird. You collect things and then look at them every day or display them, touch them, adore them... Yes, you do. Isn't that kind of weird? Makes no sense to me. Things are to be used onless they are a work of art that should be displayed and enjoyed.

 

Indeed, I am lacking in money. The amount of money that I or anyone else has should be irrelevant because fountain pens are generally superfluous, anyway.

 

I even mention in my post that the appeal of Hero is most likely the price point for those starting out in fountain pens!

 

My personal opinion is that if you want a Parker 51 for example, save up and buy a Parker 51 instead of the corresponding Hero version. It may be due to my philosophy of art but I absolutely loathe the idea of having a fake copy of something.

Edited by Tylerjordan
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Hero is the biggest fountain pen maker in China, and have been well known there for decades. They built their business largely on pens that mimicked Parkers, in a culture where that sort of thing is not frowned upon as it is here in "The West". It just doesn't have that stigma in China. So... Somebody had to supply the demand for fountain pens in China, and real Parkers were expensive, so that's why Hero exists.

 

The cheaper Heroes are cheaply made, while the somewhat more expensive ones often work pretty well. My Hero 200A is a near (but not exact) copy of a Parker 75, and it's a workhorse. (And it's not like you can buy a new Parker 75 from Parker anymore either, even if you wanted to.)

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Hero Pens - Why?

 

Uh, because the US doesn't have a mass produced, affordable fp? The assumption in most responses seems to be that US/EU buy more than a negligible amount of their pens. They don't. Asia is the dominant market for these pens, and it also explains why so many different pen companies flourish there.

Asian/Middle Eastern views of copyright/intellectual property are so far removed from Western ideals as to seem none existent. Culturally we are a world apart, and our views don't change their facts.

 

Paul

"Nothing is impossible, even the word says 'I'm Possible!'" Audrey Hepburn

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Why? Because they can, because people love cheap stuff, and because people'll buy 'em.

 

Knock off someone else's highly-recognizable design, and you get the benefit of their positive image, without the cost of developing it, or the QC required to maintain it.

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If you were to visit to a large Chinese department store you'd likely find an aisle that contains nothing but fountain pens and ink. There may be a Japanese brand represented and you'll see Hero fountain pens but also a half dozen other inexpensive brands that you may not find familiar. There will also be ink - typically only in black, blue and red - not in "boutique" colors. Most Chinese neighborhoods have a small shop or two that sell a few fountain pen brands - none of which are Japanese, European or American - and some local inks.

 

Why does Hero copy western fountain pen styles? That probably started when, in 1948, Chinese pen factories operated by western countries, including Parker, were nationalized and the new Red Chinese government turned the Parker Pen factory over to the Shanghai Hero Pen Company. The factories then continued to manufacture pens in the same way they had previously, not so they could sell ersatz pens to foreign markets, but because the country needed writing instruments and there was a cold war going on that precluded buying authentic western pens - which no one could have afforded anyway.

 

China has only been open to world trade for thirty years or so and many in China have experienced affluence for fewer years than that. Hero and other pen manufacturers do not exist because a few tens of thousands of American's choose fountain pens as their hobby but because millions of Chinese people grew up writing with them and many people still do.

To continue on with this topic. In the Parker 51 book by David & Mark Shepherd page 115 this is what is written in the book.

 

Hero Company Ltd

The Shanghai Hero Company, formerly the Huafu Pen Factory,

was nationalised by the communist regime and is still making pens,

today, in the original Parker factory in Shanghai. Many of their models are based

on the the Parker 51 design.The two pens illustrated are Hero 616s and bear a striking similarity

to genuine 51's.

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Am I missing something? For the last four years work travel has limited how much I can read this forum. So apparently, I missed some threads about Hero pens! In the previous years, Heroes generally seemed to get praise on FPN. I eventually bought three of them, all patterned after the Parker 51. They performed well and I usually had at least one in the rotation in those days. None of the three have any markings that would indicate they were Parkers. They certainly follow the 51 design but don't look like they are trying to be passed off as Parkers. To me they don't seem any more counterfeit than a popular current American brand that has often mimicked classic designs. Heroes seem to be more subtle than the variety of counterfeits of luxury brands I have come across in Asia and the Middle East...some excellent and some terrible. Imagine a very fat gaudy blingly, poorly enameled, ill-fitting metal pen marked Montblanc ;-)

Edited by Bill
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as an artist, i am not opposed to the concept of intellectual property rights laws, but i don't think they are serving the content creators or the public well at the moment. copyright used to be two 14 year terms, now its 70 years after the death of the original creator before something goes into the public domain. to put that in perspective, if patent laws worked the same way as copyright laws it would be 1971 before anyone else could use the comb feed for a fountain pen. luckily patents are still only 20 years

 

this whole discussion is kind of funny though. the history of fountain pens has been shaped by companies trying to get around the patents of each other, and in many cases, blatantly copying each other.

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The Chinese have used ink and pens (of various types) for a very long time plus they invented paper in about 105 AD. They have libraries containing books and documents written and printed on paper, with ink by hand and print block that are far older than anything produced by Anglo/European culture by a thousand years . Europe "discovered" and stole paper production methods from the Chinese and Muslims via trade, war and early travels to China in 1300 AD and later. The Chinese were and are still just returning the favor. So maybe we need to call a waaahbulance and be marginally humble about pen, Ink and paper "ownership".

I wonder who made the first hexagonal yellow pencil with a pink eraser. I am guessing that it was not the Ticonderoga Dixon company.

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Reading this has inspired me to dig out my only Hero pen (612) for another look.

 

Putting any prejudices aside I decided to put it up against the Parker 17 that I've been raving about lately just to see how they compare.

The first thing I notice in a side by side comparison is that the Parker lid seems to fit a bit deeper and more confidently, but other than that the build and plastic quality seem to be pretty much even (I know the 17 isn't a higher end pen, but it's still very well made, as is the Hero).

The Hero is a tiny bit shorter and thinner, the caps aren't quite interchangeable but it's a matter of less than a millimetre.

 

Surely the Parker will write better. ....well, no actually. They feel identical in the hand, but the Hero nib is just a bit smoother and just a bit wetter than the gold Parker which is my current favorite go-to fine nib (the Hero is also a fine, line width is identical to the naked eye).

 

Then I put pulled out my Waterman Concorde fine. The 18K nib on this will blow them both away.......ahh....no again, if anything it's the worst of the three.

 

All of them are very good writers, used alone I couldn't fault them, but side by side 'shootout' style there's a clear winner, the Hero is the hero.

That, I have to admit, is a surprise.

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This reads to me somewhat along the lines of "I don't want to pay for it, therefore stealing is fine."

 

I agree. The original is expensive, so the "colectors" scratching a broke butt buy fakes and counterfeits and feel it is justified by the high price of the original items.

"Don't hurry, don't worry. It's better to be late at the Golden Gate than to arrive in Hell on time."
--Sign in a bar and grill, Ormond Beach, Florida, 1960.

 

 

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I am getting a bit tired of people who make up Intellectual Property Law and then insist that everybody follow their own made-up rules. Especially when it comes to Asian companies. The last discussion on this topic gave lots of details why it is not illegal/immoral to copy details of an out-of-date design. And since the 20 years of protection for the Lamy Safari has expired, the design is no longer protected. The fact that Lamy continue to make the Safari doesn't extend the protection. And Parker haven't made a 51 for some 50-something years now.

if you are going to complain about people copying design, then look up the law first.

 

Last time this came up I gave the example of Ruger copying the essential elements of the Colt Peacemaker. I have yet to see anybody suggest a boycott of Ruger.

fpn_1412827311__pg_d_104def64.gif




“Them as can do has to do for them as can’t.


And someone has to speak up for them as has no voices.”


Granny Aching

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Everyone needs a 'Hero' ! :)

Hahaha. :lticaptd: (no sarcasm)

I guess you are right.

-William S. Park

“My two fingers on a typewriter have never connected with my brain. My hand on a pen does. A fountain pen, of course. Ball-point pens are only good for filling out forms on a plane. - Graham Greene

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I wonder how many FPNers are running some bootleg software.

Walk in shadow / Walk in dread / Loosefish walk / As Like one dead

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This same old topic turns up all too frequently and never once it ends up well. :(

Edited by Seele

No, I am not going to list my pens here.

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While I may choose not to buy a Hero pen, I see no problem with the existence of Hero pens as everyone should be able to buy and use fountain pens. The ability to use fountain pens should NOT be limited to those who have money and can afford to spend money on expensive pens. Not everyone can afford a Montblanc pen, a Parker Duofold, a restored Parker 51, or a Caran D'Ache Hexagonal series pen to name a few and not everyone wants to spend a lot of money on an expensive pen.

 

When I was in grade school, middle school, and high school, I was blessed to have what many of you would consider a cheap ($1 - $2) or even unacceptable Sheaffer fountain pen as this pen -- wonderful to me -- used cartridges. However, it was a fountain pen and a joy with which to write. Then, prior to college I bought another Sheaffer (looked like a Legacy, made of plastic, and took only cartridges) fountain pen which I used throughout college. This pen cost me about $5 - $7 which was a lot of money for a struggling college student with scholarships and no money. I was grateful to have these pens and delighted to be able to use these pens during their respective years.

 

During graduate school, I purchased three restored Esterbrooks for no more $10 each as well as three Senator piston-fill fountain pens for $10 - $20 each; I felt very rich to be able to purchase these fancy pens at the time. Spending such money was a lot for a graduate student with a teaching fellowship and, of course, no money, and I still have these Esterbook and Senator fountain pens today. I was grateful to find some lovely pens that I could afford and delighted to be able to use them for my studies. I would have been grateful to have Hero pens back then as they would have not cost me a lot of money that I did not have.

 

Why quibble about the existence of Hero pens when such pens make it possible for many to afford to buy fountain pens? Why should others be denied the joy of writing with fountain pens because they do not have a lot of money? Why should they not have the pleasure of the forms (Parker 51, Safari, ...) of pens that others enjoy????? If Hero wants to make pens in forms that function for the enjoyment of many then more power to them!!!

 

If the existence of Hero pens bothers you then you do not have to buy them. Let those who enjoy Hero pens buy them! Let those who appreciate Hero pens buy them! Let those who buy Hero pens enjoy them, be grateful for them, and take pleasure in their use! Do not pick at Hero pens as they serve a purpose: everyone should be able to afford a fountain pen and everyone should be able to use and enjoy fountain pens!

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While I may choose not to buy a Hero pen, I see no problem with the existence of Hero pens as everyone should be able to buy and use fountain pens. The ability to use fountain pens should NOT be limited to those who have money and can afford to spend money on expensive pens. Not everyone can afford a Montblanc pen, a Parker Duofold, a restored Parker 51, or a Caran D'Ache Hexagonal series pen to name a few and not everyone wants to spend a lot of money on an expensive pen.

 

When I was in grade school, middle school, and high school, I was blessed to have what many of you would consider a cheap ($1 - $2) or even unacceptable Sheaffer fountain pen as this pen -- wonderful to me -- used cartridges. However, it was a fountain pen and a joy with which to write. Then, prior to college I bought another Sheaffer (looked like a Legacy, made of plastic, and took only cartridges) fountain pen which I used throughout college. This pen cost me about $5 - $7 which was a lot of money for a struggling college student with scholarships and no money. I was grateful to have these pens and delighted to be able to use these pens during their respective years.

 

During graduate school, I purchased three restored Esterbrooks for no more $10 each as well as three Senator piston-fill fountain pens for $10 - $20 each; I felt very rich to be able to purchase these fancy pens at the time. Spending such money was a lot for a graduate student with a teaching fellowship and, of course, no money, and I still have these Esterbook and Senator fountain pens today. I was grateful to find some lovely pens that I could afford and delighted to be able to use them for my studies. I would have been grateful to have Hero pens back then as they would have not cost me a lot of money that I did not have.

 

Why quibble about the existence of Hero pens when such pens make it possible for many to afford to buy fountain pens? Why should others be denied the joy of writing with fountain pens because they do not have a lot of money? Why should they not have the pleasure of the forms (Parker 51, Safari, ...) of pens that others enjoy????? If Hero wants to make pens in forms that function for the enjoyment of many then more power to them!!!

 

If the existence of Hero pens bothers you then you do not have to buy them. Let those who enjoy Hero pens buy them! Let those who appreciate Hero pens buy them! Let those who buy Hero pens enjoy them, be grateful for them, and take pleasure in their use! Do not pick at Hero pens as they serve a purpose: everyone should be able to afford a fountain pen and everyone should be able to use and enjoy fountain pens!

 

 

The argument here seems to be that "if not for the counterfeit Hero knockoffs, there would be no affordable pens for the masses." That's just not true. There are plenty of affordable options out there, and Hero is one of the few that I know of that blantantly rips off others' designs.

 

No one is entitled to own a fancy/expensive pen. Fountain pens, really regardless of price tag, are a luxury, so for me the "robin hood" argument just doesn't hold.

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I am getting a bit tired of people who make up Intellectual Property Law and then insist that everybody follow their own made-up rules. Especially when it comes to Asian companies. The last discussion on this topic gave lots of details why it is not illegal/immoral to copy details of an out-of-date design. And since the 20 years of protection for the Lamy Safari has expired, the design is no longer protected. The fact that Lamy continue to make the Safari doesn't extend the protection. And Parker haven't made a 51 for some 50-something years now.

if you are going to complain about people copying design, then look up the law first.

Nicely said.

 

Another point to ponder and to keep in mind is that many pens have common characteristics and design elements. The pen makers share/borrow ideas all the time just as car makers, clothing designers, fiction writers, chefs, architects, ... do.

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The argument here seems to be that "if not for the counterfeit Hero knockoffs, there would be no affordable pens for the masses." That's just not true. There are plenty of affordable options out there, and Hero is one of the few that I know of that blantantly rips off others' designs.

 

No one is entitled to own a fancy/expensive pen. Fountain pens, really regardless of price tag, are a luxury, so for me the "robin hood" argument just doesn't hold.

 

I did NOT make a "robin hood" argument.

 

And, why must all pens be fancy and expensive?????????????

 

Not everyone wants to buy a Bic or a disposable Pilot Varisity. If Hero can make a pen that folks with little money can afford then good for Hero!!!! There should be affordable pens that are not disposable. After all, Montblanc, Parker, Sheaffer, Waterman, Caran D'Ache, and others are NOT making affordable non-disposable pens for the masses! Even Elysee did not make any pens that I could afford to buy during graduate school!

Edited by elysee
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I wonder how many FPNers are running some bootleg software.

By the standards some are trying to apply here, everyone running a computer with a graphical user interface with windows and mouse/other pointing device (other than Apple kit ...).

 

.

Edited by GeneralSynopsis

--“Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people.”
Giordano Bruno

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