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A month ago I got a pack of 7 Marlarkey pens on amazon. Here is a link:


<A https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B01FIRVY6I?qid=1479092969&sr=8-1>


They are cartridge pens, with a white body in fairly soft plastic. The nib is semi-flex and wrap-around, that is to say it wraps around the feed, but does not extend into the section. I don't remember ever seeing anything like this before.


The cap is rather ugly, but I think perhaps I will be able to find some pretty metal caps for them somewhere. More seriously, there is a hole in the end of the cap, apparently intended for jewel which the company never got around to adding. Some people complained that the pen dried out after a few days, almost certainly because of this. I just glued some of my doll-jewels over the hole that I had left from making a chess set years ago, and the pens don't dry out.


The nib is fine point, and like many fine points, more than a little dry, but it is semi-flex, so I had no trouble quickly and easily adjusting it to make it wet enough for my taste. It is also pretty smooth for such a cheap pen less than $3 apiece including shipping.Naturally I smoothed it further on a copper penny's 'ladder' , that is to say the columns of the Lincoln Memorial.


I think these are about the best bargain I have seen in currently produced pens. They are lightweight, and do not tire the hands.


I don't like the black-background logo printed on the side. It doesn't easily come off, even with acetone-free nail polish remover (methyl acetate), and acetone of course ruins the plastic finish.


All in all, this is a surprisingly good fountain pen. I will try to find a converter to fit it, as I don't much care for cartridges.

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I haven't heard of these before. The nib reminds me somewhat of Lamy Safari nibs in how they attach to the feed. I've never heard of smoothing a nib on a copper penny! How did you come up with that?

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Who could resist a pen named Malarkey? Disposable pens are not a bad idea.

"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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It's not exactly disposable; you can refill the cartridge with a syringe of course.


I believe I started a thread about smoothing nibs with a copper penny some years back. Most people were very skeptical, but they tried it, and as I recall, just about everybody admitted that it works. Of course, it takes at least a few minutes to have any effect, and some people prefer a quicker method; who wants to polish a nib for five or ten minutes? Still it does work.


A brass or zinc penny does not work very well; use a real copper penny. Turn the penny over so that the colums on the Memorial form a perpendicular ladder. Run the nib up and down the ladder for several minutes, applying no pressure. If the pen is inked the ink that soon coasts the ladder seems to help the polishing process.


I have not posted on this site for some years, partly because I have been very busy translating Kafka into English verse, and partly because I finally found my Perfect Pen, the Universal Scolastica made in Turin some decades ago, and so I sort of lost interest in working on pens so much.

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I should not have said a 'brass or zinc' penny. the US copper is itself in fact a brass penny, as I believe it contained some zinc already before 1982. Nowadays it is just zinc. I doubt it has ever had tin, that is, has ever been bronze.


It also helps to fun the point down the ladder, but down, that is to say toward you, not up or away from you, or you might splay the tines.


Certain pen repairmen now recommend this on their web sites, at least for the general public, whose nibs don't need a thoro going over, just some smoothing. So far I have only heard from one fellow who claims it hurt his pen. I have heard from perhaps a score of people over the years who said that it helped. So that is a pretty good average.


I sshould say I have never bothered to try to polish a so-called iridium nib on a penny, so I can't say whether it would have any effect or not.

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It occurs to me that perhaps the hole in the barrel was intentional, as on some vintage pens, where it prevents leaking from body heat. I suppose if the pen were always carried upright this might make sense, but it is still a poor idea, given the risk of drying out the nib.

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  • 4 weeks later...

No luck in finding a converter for the Malarkey; even the smallest international size converters from China are still too big.


The pen is generally disliked on amazon, probably because of the poor ink that comes with it and the hole-in-the-barrel issue, which may well explain people's complaints about the pen drying out.


I put some good Black Quink in the cartridges, with about 4 drops of Ivory Dish Detergent per bottle as an additional surfactant, and around 20% distilled water, and the pen writes perfectly, tho even so, as I say, the nib needs a little work.


Could be a really excellent pen, if the makers would just hire ME as a consultant...


Ought to drop the ugly black logo and replace the cap with something prettier...

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