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Chang Hong aka Rainbow


Stefan-Ionut-Marius
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Anyone have more informations about Chang Hong aka  Rainbow pen company !

Anything beside the fact that it's a defunct Tianjin-based maker and iit was started by a team from Hero. The original factory was acquired by Sea-Gull and later the factory ground was used as house development area .

I love Fountain Pens, with hooded nib in the classic style, Parker 51/61 type .



Ionut - Marius

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Hmm, now that would be a long story or rather a story pretty much only old guys like me remember I suppose , to understand the history of this pen brand or for the matter the multiple brand that survive the war and those that just sprung into existence in the 50's is a story of noting short of a feat ...

 

Long story short , After the turmoil of the war and then the civil war, and a few year of picking up the pieces , early / mid 1950's is the time when the PRC start looking at civil matters in country and one of the major one they identify that need to be addressed ( and in fact was identified way before the war and was considered one of the primary task the ROC government need and want to address also but had not been able to do anything about and the Communist party actually made it one of the most pressing issue on hand even before 1949). Its down to one word - literacy

 

Believe it or not, despite a culture known for its , well culture , even at time of PRC finding ( 1949 ) the statistic shown only fewer than 5% of the population actually is really literate , and if you discount the urban population that figure drops dramatically. It does not take any genius to figure this need to be addressed and thus there goes the great Literacy program ( 扫除文盲运动 ) which dated from early 50's to late 50's but many carried on into the 70's .. which ultimately end up with more than 85% of the population now able to read and write( at least to the daily living usable level ) and further into the mid 90% by early 80's . Now though I do not agree with the ideology nor the regime, I had to give credit where credit's due , its one of the greatest educational achievement the world had ever seen and practically unknown ( even among many Chinese themselves ). I must say though similar program had been seen in other countries , both side of the iron curtain after the war and they had their own success and accomplishment, even though not quite on the scale and speed the Chinese had. And those people, whose out educating really should get their deed respected and remembered 

 

And what do we need when we need to learn , yeah , stationary, the basic pen, & paper to write onto & write with. Traditional brush and ink are never consumer commodity in its days and still could not be ( in the 50;s ) and in any case their use is limited by their nature of usage. Ball point is great technology but a technology the population and the country cannot afford at the time.  Pencil is great and was indeed widely adopted, but it had its limitation so you guess it Fountain Pen actually made the grade real good, its mature technology, it can be made with the limited technological know how the country had and indeed could tie in with the need to go industrialization ( starting with light industries on local / regional level ), Ink is also already in production in China since the 30's and well known ( and most of all CHEAP ).

 

Thus the country had a need for a large volume of pens, ink, paper, in short period of time , tied in with the need to provide employment, need to go industrialization.. well .. there goes the program to set up all the new brands and revive the old brands , and then the industrial restriction on previous metal ( against limited supply the country can had ) , these new brands ( and old ones ) are tasked with providing this hugh demand in very a short period of time to a wide mass population. And there give birth to Rainbow and many others with models that can be produced economically, in volume and produced locally ( regional vise ) thus service and support can be given without limitation of geographical distance. And the rest .. as the saying goes, is history. 

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Fascinating story, Mech-for-i. Thankyou for sharing it. That is indeed a feat of education to be admired.

It's all about the greys...

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Part 2 : Rainbow the brand

 

長虹鋼筆 was the brand used by Tinjin Gold Pen Facory ( 天津金筆廠 ) for their mainstay product, the factory was set up via a group of engineers send out from Hero upon the party's command to set up local / regional supply / factory of said products & production ( Hero also send out other team to other region and even abroad to other countries ) , established 1956 in the said address 河北區養魚池路 region ( at the time its mostly field and sub urban housing ). Primarily producing fountain pen of all grade, and mechanical pencils.

 

The factory and brand go defunct sometime in the mid 90's due to insolvency , and the factory was torn down and the real estate re-developed into housing project in the early 2000's

 

The brand itself had very little fanfare during its existence , most of its models are proven design taken off Hero ( and others ) , but the brand always like to infuse its own tweak, with styling and so .. so the 616 based Rainbow 202 would be one of the first 616 variant ( and slimmer than the 616 standard ) with an inlaid on the hood and the first to offer specialist Fude nib specific models ( Rainbow 202B ) as early as mid 70's. The notable part of Ranbow fountain pens is that they also produce their own nib and their steel nib is known to be softer than most others and their gold nib known to be firmer than others. Among its time Rainbow is know as one of the better 2nd tier brand manufacturing fountain pen and their pen's quality are considered a match against ( and sometime exceed ) that of those from the major names. The most note worthy model is the distinguished model 800, a 12K/14K gold nib equipped variant of the 202 , itself a variant of the Hero 616, and then the 815 , which is one of the first Chinese hooded nib fountain pen model that actually use a C/C filling  ; but it was handicapped by its aerometric converter with a build in breather tube. The model 811 pioneer the all steel styling among all brands. The other distinguishing feature of Rainbow pens ( hooded nib ) is that their economic / entry level model always had an unadorned hood and the mid range / up-market model always had a hood inlaid

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Thanks  Mech, for this fascinating pen story and like always you are the best, when it's comes to the Chinese fountain pen history ! 

I love Fountain Pens, with hooded nib in the classic style, Parker 51/61 type .



Ionut - Marius

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Tianjin fountain pen factory was founded by uniting 8 factories in Tianjian.

But I only know some of their brand.

It was said it learned something from Wolff.

Tuoniao/Osterich was the first brand for Tianjin to produce Parker 51-style fountain pen and later it became Rainbow.

Si Hua and Jin'gang were made by Golden Horse in Hefei.

 

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I do remember then there was actually a brand just call Tianjin but its AFAIK, had no affiliation with Rainbow nor the others. I had in my collection some of their pens

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