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A Proposed Test Of Pen Materials



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Some people say that ebonite feels warmer or somehow better in their hand. Others say that about celluloid. I'd like to propose a test, to be conducted by those of you who have pens of these various materials. (I do not own a single pen of either ebonite or celluloid, so I can't run this test).

 

Here's the test:

 

Assemble some test pens of ebonite, celluloid and resin, hopefully of approximately similar size.

 

Ask blindfolded subjects to comment on the feel of each pen (capped). Do not allow the subject to smell the pen.

 

Blindfold yourself and have a helper hand you various pens and write or record your comments.

 

Report people's comments in this thread.

 

Eagerly looking forward to this.

 

Alan

Edited by Precise
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I do not own a celluloid pen, but I did the test with blind, three times each with an ebonite Noodler's Konrad and an Acrylic Bexley Poseidon Magnum II.

 

The test was done with one finger out on each hand of the toucher, the tester would then rub the pen on the finger tip, along the barrel of each pen, careful not to run the finger across anything that would distinguish the pen.

 

This test was repeated three times with myself, my wife and a friend that doesn't even like pens. Each time, without fail, the blind tester preferred the feel of the ebonite pen.

 

Comments were unanimous that it felt ever so slightly "softer" and "warmer" for lack of better words to explain the feel.

 

Personally, polished ebonite feels better than polished acrylic, to me. Acrylic looks much better, though.

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I do not own a celluloid pen, but I did the test with blind, three times each with an ebonite Noodler's Konrad and an Acrylic Bexley Poseidon Magnum II.

 

The test was done with one finger out on each hand of the toucher, the tester would then rub the pen on the finger tip, along the barrel of each pen, careful not to run the finger across anything that would distinguish the pen.

 

This test was repeated three times with myself, my wife and a friend that doesn't even like pens. Each time, without fail, the blind tester preferred the feel of the ebonite pen.

 

Comments were unanimous that it felt ever so slightly "softer" and "warmer" for lack of better words to explain the feel.

 

Personally, polished ebonite feels better than polished acrylic, to me. Acrylic looks much better, though.

 

Nice I like technical and biological triplicates.

True about the lack of definition- need to seriously tighten this up and possibly intrioduce a Liket scale with the consideration of reintroducing the same pen in a random sequence to account for consistency. Don't know what sample size we would need. Might have to get someone to do some power analysis.

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The "warmth" of a material is related to it's ability to suck heat out of your finger and try to bring it to room temperature. That is the thermal conductivity times the specific heat*. Hard rubber has a thermal conductivity of 0.16 W/mK, while Celluloid is 0.21, while Stainless steel is 16. Both hard rubber and celluloid have similar specific heat, so hard rubber will feel warmer. And Stainless will feed cold.

 

*or maybe some kind of volumetric normalization

 

Oh, there's another thing. Usually celluloid or acrylic is slick and smooth, which maximizes the thermal contact with your finger, while ebonite is often rough, or is patterned like those very old pre-40's pens.

Edited by beanbag

 

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I have an Omas 360 in their funky awesome cotton resin (when it warms up it feels "soft" in the hand, it's hard to explain). I have been eyeing their beautiful celluloid models hungrily, I'm dying to try one to compare. However I have no more fun/indulgence money left, so it's all in vain.

 

I propose this. Someone out there has a celluloid 360 that they just don't use. I can help that person. I will gladly take it off their hand and put it in mine, free of charge! Then I will post the comparison here, in depth. Win/win!

 

Okay, seriously heh - that ain't gonna happen. But this thread really interest me, I have never to my knowledge used a celluloid or ebonite fountain pen. The more information I can get about their tactile qualities, the better. My curiosity knows no bounds.

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When you said no smelling, I was alittle confused. Then it occurred to me - TWSBI Micarta.

I can identify all of these materials by smell.

 

I said "no smelling" because I wondered if people could feel a difference. Various materials have different aromas, but I wondered solely about feel. Some reviewers rave about the feel of the ebonite Sailor King of Pen. It costs much more than the resin versions. I wondered if it was worth the added cost.

 

Some people make similar claims about the feel of celluloid. The celluloid Montegrappa Symphony is more expensive than the Montegrappa Harmony, which is acrylic resin. The pens are otherwise identical. I have the Harmony. I'm a bit dubious that the Symphony is better than the Harmony.

 

Alan

Edited by Precise
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Or......you can measure the heat capacity and thermal conductivity of each material.

Yeah, I'll just grab the flux capacitor out of my junk drawer and get right on that.

Fountain pens forever and forever a hundred years fountain pens, all day long forever, forever a hundred times, over and over Fountain Pen Network Adventures dot com!

 

- Joe

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When someone says a given material feels "warmer", they mean that it doesn't cool their skin as much as "colder" materials.

 

In that regard, wood is much better than any plastic or hard rubber. So, my fellow pen aficionados, do you love the feel of your wood pens?

 

Cheers,

 

Alan

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I do not own a celluloid pen, but I did the test with blind, three times each with an ebonite Noodler's Konrad and an Acrylic Bexley Poseidon Magnum II.

 

The test was done with one finger out on each hand of the toucher, the tester would then rub the pen on the finger tip, along the barrel of each pen, careful not to run the finger across anything that would distinguish the pen.

 

This test was repeated three times with myself, my wife and a friend that doesn't even like pens. Each time, without fail, the blind tester preferred the feel of the ebonite pen.

 

Comments were unanimous that it felt ever so slightly "softer" and "warmer" for lack of better words to explain the feel.

 

Personally, polished ebonite feels better than polished acrylic, to me. Acrylic looks much better, though.

I hear that acrylic does look better but does not feel better in the hand.

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Yeah, I'll just grab the flux capacitor out of my junk drawer and get right on that.

Or you can search the internet for the measured quantities. NIST (the National Institute for Standards) has enitire documents devoted to such quantities. It is their job after all.

Edited by AltecGreen

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I can identify all of these materials by smell.

 

I said "no smelling" because I wondered if people could feel a difference. Various materials have different aromas, but I wondered solely about feel. Some reviewers rave about the feel of the ebonite Sailor King of Pen. It costs much more than the resin versions. I wondered if it was worth the added cost.

 

Some people make similar claims about the feel of celluloid. The celluloid Montegrappa Symphony is more expensive than the Montegrappa Harmony, which is acrylic resin. The pens are otherwise identical. I have the Harmony. I'm a bit dubious that the Symphony is better than the Harmony.

 

Alan

There is definitely sufficient difference in feel between Montegrappa's celluloid and resin to feel the difference in addition to the visual gulf that separates the two. But I have a hard time telling the difference between celluloid and ebonite.

 

I would not say that the celluloid is "better" than the resin but there certainly is visual and tactile and aromatic differences.

 

resin Classica between two celluloid Classicas.

http://www.fototime.com/BDCD60D9C0C135F/large.jpg

 

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Yeah, I'll just grab the flux capacitor out of my junk drawer and get right on that.

I can lend you some plutonium if you need it.

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When I thought of a proposed test its silly I would sent it to blendtec and see if they blend well

Because will it blend that is the question

NOOOOOOOOOO

My Vintages:

Sheaffer Triumph, Saratoga, Targa Slim and Targa Standard; Waterman 3V and 52 1/2V; Mabie Todd Swan Self Filler x 2; Eagle Unbreakable in sterling silver; Eversharp Bantam; Parker Duofold Lucky Curve BCHR and Duofold in red hard rubber; Spors Co. glass nib pens x 4; Conklin 2NL and 20P.

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Do keep in mind that many modern pens advertised as celluloid are in fact cellulose acetate. Different materials, different feels. And when a material is advertised as "cotton resin", all that means is that it is a cellulosic plastic, which can be either cellulose nitrate plasticized with camphor (celluloid), or cellulose acetate.

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Do keep in mind that many modern pens advertised as celluloid are in fact cellulose acetate. Different materials, different feels. And when a material is advertised as "cotton resin", all that means is that it is a cellulosic plastic, which can be either cellulose nitrate plasticized with camphor (celluloid), or cellulose acetate.

unless you probably give it a sniff and or drop the pen? and check if it explodes
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I have a Vaco brand "nut-driver" set that I've owned for 60 years. The transparent case is likely cellulose-acetate-butyrate and still has an unpleasant smell. The cellulose handles have absorbed that smell. But the cellulose handles on other screwdrivers don't smell.

 

Alan

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