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Vintage Indian Pens With Hand-Crafted Gold Nibs



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Prologue

Long before the likes of Romilo and Scriptorium reintroduced and popularized the concept of hand-crafted gold nibs customized to individual tastes & needs, there has been a set of small dedicated Indian handmade pen-makers who have been diligently doing the same out of there small workshops located mostly around South India.

 

Today I want to share pictures of a trio of such pens from my collection. All these pens are vintage, were bought by me as used pens and are made by artisans who are no longer with us or else are too old to be active themselves although the institutions they have set up are still active and still manufacture handmade pens mostly using steel nibs sourced from nib manufacturers.

http://i1097.photobucket.com/albums/g346/prithwijitchakiPrithwijit/Fountain%20Pen%20Reviews/IMGP2306_zpsgzqvekso.jpg
From Left to Right – Ratnamson, Guider and Ratnam

http://i1097.photobucket.com/albums/g346/prithwijitchakiPrithwijit/Fountain%20Pen%20Reviews/IMGP2308_zpscwd4rmqe.jpg
From Left to Right – Ratnamson, Guider and Ratnam

 

Guider

The most interesting pen out of these three is a vintage celluloid pen with a handmade conical gold nib. It is hard to put an exact date of manufacture for this pen but according to Mr Laxman Rao the current proprietor of Guider pen works this particular writing instrument is at least fifty years old. Such specimens are very rare to come across and even he doesn’t have access to any.

http://i1097.photobucket.com/albums/g346/prithwijitchakiPrithwijit/Fountain%20Pen%20Reviews/IMGP2295_zpsry9fc6gl.jpg

http://i1097.photobucket.com/albums/g346/prithwijitchakiPrithwijit/Fountain%20Pen%20Reviews/IMGP2296_zps81jyeqvk.jpg

http://i1097.photobucket.com/albums/g346/prithwijitchakiPrithwijit/Fountain%20Pen%20Reviews/IMGP2302_zpsjhz6u0dp.jpg

http://i1097.photobucket.com/albums/g346/prithwijitchakiPrithwijit/Fountain%20Pen%20Reviews/IMGP2310_zps628aw4rf.jpg

 

Ratnam

The next pen in the collection is another conical nib but this time manufactured by Ratnam Pen works of Rajahmundry. I do not know the exact model number but the trims on this pen are in exceptionally good shape. This is a huge nib and side by side, it dwarfs the #8 nibs I have from Jowo or Bock.

http://i1097.photobucket.com/albums/g346/prithwijitchakiPrithwijit/Fountain%20Pen%20Reviews/IMGP2298_zpsjp10sw3e.jpg

http://i1097.photobucket.com/albums/g346/prithwijitchakiPrithwijit/Fountain%20Pen%20Reviews/IMGP2297_zpstjhsrilo.jpg

http://i1097.photobucket.com/albums/g346/prithwijitchakiPrithwijit/Fountain%20Pen%20Reviews/IMGP2303_zpsctiz06fc.jpg

http://i1097.photobucket.com/albums/g346/prithwijitchakiPrithwijit/Fountain%20Pen%20Reviews/IMGP2312_zpsqykmci1r.jpg

 

Ratnamson

The third pen in the trio is a Ratnamson 302 with a handmade gold nib made circa 2007. I believe it is still possible to get such pens commissioned albeit being manufactured by the next generation. The interesting thing about this pen is that it has a bold nib which is quite unusual for Indian pens and is an extremely smooth writer.

http://i1097.photobucket.com/albums/g346/prithwijitchakiPrithwijit/Fountain%20Pen%20Reviews/IMGP2299_zpsa6az8khh.jpg

http://i1097.photobucket.com/albums/g346/prithwijitchakiPrithwijit/Fountain%20Pen%20Reviews/IMGP2300_zpsuv7gbpco.jpg

http://i1097.photobucket.com/albums/g346/prithwijitchakiPrithwijit/Fountain%20Pen%20Reviews/IMGP2301_zpsst4ji1ht.jpg

http://i1097.photobucket.com/albums/g346/prithwijitchakiPrithwijit/Fountain%20Pen%20Reviews/IMGP2311_zpsefppydp7.jpg

One thing that is common to all the three pens (apart from 14K nibs) is that each of them come with custom hand cut ebonite feeds.


Epilogue

Shortly after taking these pictures I came to the realization that my personal enjoyment of fountain pens did not come from being a collector and certainly not from being a collector of vintage pens. At the same time I was acutely aware that this set that I had built up was historical in significance and wanted it to be maintained properly even if I was not the right person to do so. I started making a few discrete inquiries amidst our small fountain pen community and I am happy to let everyone know that fellow FPNer Sudhir (@Sudhir-ThePenPerson) is the new custodian of these pens. Sudhir is a passionate collector and a consummate gentleman. I am sure that the pens will be taken care of very well in his safe hands.

Hope you guys liked reading about this part of Indian Fountain pen heritage and the pictures were enjoyable.

Regards,

Prithwijit

Click here to check out my reviews

 

Fosfor Rajendran | ASA Santulan | Ranga Sugarcane | ASA Sniper | Fosfor Heather | ASA I-Will | Hero Glorious | ASA Azaadi | Fosfor Islander | ASA Halwa | ASA Macaw | ASA Namenlos | ASA Bheeshma

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A rather melancholy story of these three pens and their hand-crafters. Beautiful pictures of two rather straight-forward pens enhanced by their nibs and then the vintage Guider! The Guider meets and exceeds the visual expectations of a vintage pen ... it is a beautiful example of the art without artifice.

 

Why melancholy? The Ratnam is dated 2007! How quickly demand has changed. Or is it the lack of artisans capable of producing products?

 

The happy ending ... your entrusting the three to a caring collector.

 

Thank you for this post.

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Woww Very Beautiful Fountain Pen Prithwijit sir. :)

 

Images are also fantastic.

Thanks for Sharing sir. :)

Regards

Ahmed Abubakar Jariwala.

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Yes thanks for the great post! The world of pens is much larger than i think i can imagine!

It's a small world......but I'd hate to paint it. -Stephen Wright

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Really enjoy the nib macro shots, Prithwijit.

Reviews and articles on Fountain Pen Network

 

CHINA, JAPAN, AND INDIA

Hua Hong Blue Belter | Penbbs 456 | Stationery | ASA Nauka in Dartmoor and Ebonite | ASA Azaadi | ASA Bheeshma | ASA Halwa | Ranga Model 8 and 8b | Ranga Emperor

ITALY AND THE UK

FILCAO Roxi | FILCAO Atlantica | Italix Churchman's Prescriptor

USA, INK, AND EXPERIMENTS

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I'm no expert but doesn't it look like the lettering on this is hand engraved?

http://i1097.photobucket.com/albums/g346/prithwijitchakiPrithwijit/Fountain%20Pen%20Reviews/IMGP2312_zpsqykmci1r.jpg

"It's funny; in this era of email and voice mail and all those things that I did not even grow up with, a plain old paper letter takes on amazing intimacy."  Elizabeth Kostova

 

 

 

 

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Thank you Dick, Mark and Ahmed for dropping by and leaving your comments. Glad you guys liked the post.

 

Regards,

 

Prithwijit

 

A rather melancholy story of these three pens and their hand-crafters. Beautiful pictures of two rather straight-forward pens enhanced by their nibs and then the vintage Guider! The Guider meets and exceeds the visual expectations of a vintage pen ... it is a beautiful example of the art without artifice.

 

Why melancholy? The Ratnam is dated 2007! How quickly demand has changed. Or is it the lack of artisans capable of producing products?

 

The happy ending ... your entrusting the three to a caring collector.

 

Thank you for this post.

 

 

Fantastic pens. Thank you for sharing with us.

 

 

Woww Very Beautiful Fountain Pen Prithwijit sir. :)

 

Images are also fantastic.

Thanks for Sharing sir. :)

Click here to check out my reviews

 

Fosfor Rajendran | ASA Santulan | Ranga Sugarcane | ASA Sniper | Fosfor Heather | ASA I-Will | Hero Glorious | ASA Azaadi | Fosfor Islander | ASA Halwa | ASA Macaw | ASA Namenlos | ASA Bheeshma

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Yes thanks for the great post! The world of pens is much larger than i think i can imagine!

 

Hi Robert,

 

The world of fountain pens keeps throwing newer and interesting surprises. That is precisely the reason why I decided to collect these over a two year period and create this thread. Unfortunately this is also a craft form that is facing extinction. Guider for instance, has neither this quality of materials nor the ability to make such nibs any more. Others too are just about hanging by.

 

Regards,

 

Prithwijit

Click here to check out my reviews

 

Fosfor Rajendran | ASA Santulan | Ranga Sugarcane | ASA Sniper | Fosfor Heather | ASA I-Will | Hero Glorious | ASA Azaadi | Fosfor Islander | ASA Halwa | ASA Macaw | ASA Namenlos | ASA Bheeshma

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Really enjoy the nib macro shots, Prithwijit.

 

Hi Bob,

 

Glad you liked them. Sometime back, I had created a separate thread on macro shots of some nibs from my collection. Do drop by and take a look if you like this kind of stuff.

 

https://www.fountainpennetwork.com/forum/topic/298897-close-up-pictures-of-assorted-nibs-bock-jowo-ambitious-sheaffer-jinhao-kaigelu-montblanc-etc/

 

Regards,

 

Prithwijit

Click here to check out my reviews

 

Fosfor Rajendran | ASA Santulan | Ranga Sugarcane | ASA Sniper | Fosfor Heather | ASA I-Will | Hero Glorious | ASA Azaadi | Fosfor Islander | ASA Halwa | ASA Macaw | ASA Namenlos | ASA Bheeshma

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Yes indeed! I have a 'thing' for conical nibs. What filling system do these pens use?

 

Hi,

 

All these pens are eyedropper filled.

 

Regards,

 

Prithwijit

Click here to check out my reviews

 

Fosfor Rajendran | ASA Santulan | Ranga Sugarcane | ASA Sniper | Fosfor Heather | ASA I-Will | Hero Glorious | ASA Azaadi | Fosfor Islander | ASA Halwa | ASA Macaw | ASA Namenlos | ASA Bheeshma

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I'm no expert but doesn't it look like the lettering on this is hand engraved?

http://i1097.photobucket.com/albums/g346/prithwijitchakiPrithwijit/Fountain%20Pen%20Reviews/IMGP2312_zpsqykmci1r.jpg

 

Everything about these pens including the nib and the engraving on these are done by hand using the most simple of tools. Back when they were made, even the lathes were foot powered.

 

Regards,

 

Prithwijit

Click here to check out my reviews

 

Fosfor Rajendran | ASA Santulan | Ranga Sugarcane | ASA Sniper | Fosfor Heather | ASA I-Will | Hero Glorious | ASA Azaadi | Fosfor Islander | ASA Halwa | ASA Macaw | ASA Namenlos | ASA Bheeshma

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  • 4 months later...

They are lovely.Ratnamson still make 14k gold nibs but trying to buy a pen from them is sadly a real headache. They are still being made by the chap who made your pen though. Dr Ramanamurthy who is 80 odd. His workmanship seems ok but he is a nightmare to nail down.

 

Ratnam (gets confusing) refuse to sell to foreigners. So Guider does not make gold nibs anymore? I wonder why as their ebonite finishing is I think superior to Ratnamson.

Edited by matteob
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