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Do you HATE See-Through Pens Too?



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Well, maybe "hate" is too strong a word for innocent pens. Other than the convenience of seeing how much ink you have left, why go for the see through, transparent varieties? Even the expensive ones look ugly, I think. And cheap... (even though I only own cheap pens!) Some TWSBIs look almost nice, but for this newby, see-though is a dealbreaker.

What am I missing?

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I know many people don't see the appeal of demonstrators, and I don't like c/c demonstrators either, they are ugly in my opinion. However, I find non c/c demonstrators visually appealing for a few reasons: I like how the pen takes on the color of the ink inside it, I like to see the ink sloshing in the barrel, and it is fun to see the ink level slowly dropping as I write. I also enjoy seeing the internal mechanisms (piston, vacuum, or anything else) work as I fill the pen. As you mentioned, it is also practical, as it is easy to see the ink level - though c/c pens and anything with an ink window also have that advantage. 

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I see... so it IS about convenience and aesthetics...  Thank you!

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I do, with a few exceptions. Pens with an interesting filling mechanism (such as the Wing Sung 601 and/or 618) are pretty neat to watch. It can also be useful to learn about how opaque pens work (if you're planning to tune them) by looking at demonstrator versions of the same pens. 

 

And the Moonman C1 is just a work of art...

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Checklist

I don't like demonstrators, either; I don't have any and won't buy any.  I can't really put my finger on it, but I think it's similar to you; seems cheap or unattractive.  I don't really get anything out of seeing the filling mechanisms on piston or vacuum fillers.  Don't have a problem with a small ink window, like on the Lamy Safari or 2000, though.

 

An opaque barrel also hides unsightly stains and small leaks past the seal.  No airing of the pen's "dirty laundry" keeps it looking better.

"Nothing is new under the sun!  Even the thing of which we say, “See, this is new!” has already existed in the ages that preceded us." Ecclesiastes
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VillersCotterets

You don't have to like demonstrators. It's perfectly normal if you don't. You are not alone. Me too, I find them rather lazy designs, especially when, inside both the opaque and the transparent versions, the innards of the pen remain exactly the same, with absolute no special care given to their appearance : same boring piston, same converter, same 5¢ screw to hold the clip, etc. Even the most luxurious pen start to look like a cheap Preppy if all that is done is a switch from a opaque resin to a transparent polymer. That said, a vast majority of buyers must like them since they are sold in large quantities. 

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I love demonstrator pens, ink windows or semi transparent pens like gorgeous Parker Vacumatic line. I feel some hypnotic attraction about to watch inks inside the pen and mechanism working.  

Best Regards

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inkandseeds

It is a matter of taste.  I personally like demonstrators and own quite a few.   Simplicity of design.  The ability to see the components appeals to my engineering/mechanical side.  Seeing the ink is also an attraction.

 

My distaste runs to fancy and glitter, which other people love.  Just a matter of taste.

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22 minutes ago, inkandseeds said:

It is a matter of taste.  I personally like demonstrators and own quite a few.   Simplicity of design.  The ability to see the components appeals to my engineering/mechanical side.  Seeing the ink is also an attraction.

 

My distaste runs to fancy and glitter, which other people love.  Just a matter of taste.

Agreed that it's mostly taste.  I prefer at the minimum, an ink window or see through barrel for my pens with built-in filler systems, i.e., piston or vac fillers.  A full demonstrator can be nice but it's definitely down to taste.  The Conids are my favourite since I do believe that their transparency is a part of the design so the internals do appear attractive to look at.  I love my Minimalistica that has a clear barrel with a black cap.  I can also watch as I fill the pen.

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mizgeorge

I also like demonstrators - but again, really only for pens with interesting filling mechanisms or eyedropped designs. I don't like cc versions - but I'm not that keen on cc pens to start with... 

 

For other pens that don't rely on sacs, I do like to have at least an ink window, partly to be able to gauge ink level, but also so I can see the seal is holding (which given the age of most of my pens is pretty important!

 

 

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Both of my Conids have see through ink reservoirs, but the rest of the bodies are black. I like that combination. 

the Danitrio Fellowship

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I agree with the OP. I don't like the innards of the pen to be on display. Pretty pens are more to my taste. Pens give lots of opportunity for artistry. Sometimes I paint boring pens with acrylic paint, especially the really cheap ones I have which write nicely.

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LuckyKate

Aesthetically, I'm not crazy about demonstrators because I like pens with interesting materials that age with a hint of wabi sabi: ebonite, urushi, copper, brass, silver, some celluloids. No one can say clear plastic is a beautiful material. I don't study Twsbis' intricate designs or admire their artistry. And if I'm going to spend a lot of money on a pen it's not going to be a demonstrator. 

 

But I still just love my Twsbis. I love seeing the ink inside them. They are not high art, just fun, especially filled with bright inks.  I use them every single day.

 

 

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I like demonstrator piston fillers especially, but also dropper-filled ones. I guess seeing the ink in the barrel, and slowly creeping through the feed to the nib and making it to the paper, illustrating the working of the pen, is what tickles me.

That said, a demonstrator with a converter or possibly a cartridge - nope, that messes up the visual pleasure.

And transparent sections and caps enhance it for me.

a fountain pen is physics in action... Proud member of the SuperPinks

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1 hour ago, Doug C said:

Both of my Conids have see through ink reservoirs, but the rest of the bodies are black. I like that combination. 

 

I love these -- the half demonstrators -- especially when you have a neat filling mechanism.  I plan to order a CONID half demonstrator as soon as they reopen.  

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inkstainedruth

While I do have some transparent/translucent pens, I've decided that I don't really care for the look all that much.  I especially balk when they get pricy; most of mine are inexpensive, except for the TWSBI-580-AL and 580-ALR (and I find I dislike those two pens for other reasons, particularly the 580-ALR).

I don't mind the translucent barrels on the Noodler's Charlie pens; they were all freebies with bottles of ink, and one of them has become the BSB-exclusive pen because I can eyeball the fill up to about 80% and then top off with distilled water to cut down on the horrid feathering I get with my bottle of the stuff (and since that stuff stains like crazy, I know that's the "BSB-only" pen so I don't have to be even more OCD about flushing than I normally am.

But on the whole, no, I don't really care for "demonstrators".  I don't mind ink windows, but the whole pen?  Not so much.  

It's easy enough to tell when a non-translucent pen is running out of ink just by how it starts writing....  But I know that there are people who do really like them, and it's, IMO, a case of "Whatever floats your boat".  I know people that don't like metal sections, or hooded nibs, or non c/c pens.  And it's all good.

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth

 

"It's very nice, but frankly, when I signed that list for a P-51, what I had in mind was a fountain pen."

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I myself do like some demonstrator style pens. I enjoy seeing a beautiful blue ink sloshing around it a lovely clear pen!

PAKMAN

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I-am-not-really-here

They are useful for shimmer inks to show settling.  And any ink that stains is made obvious.  But demonstrator is a misnomer.   Look, the ink goes in.  And then what? End of demonstration.

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inkstainedruth
1 hour ago, PAKMAN said:

I myself do like some demonstrator style pens. I enjoy seeing a beautiful blue ink sloshing around it a lovely clear pen!

Well, you got me there -- I kept refiling the 580-AL last fall with Noodler's Baltimore Canyon Blue instead of trying inks I'd had around way longer.  Just because the ink was SUCH a lovely color and did look good in the barrel (I have one of the Pink ones from a few years ago, which I thought was a nicer color than the more recent Rose).

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth

"It's very nice, but frankly, when I signed that list for a P-51, what I had in mind was a fountain pen."

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A Smug Dill

I don't hate demonstrators with either colourless or single-hued see-through bodies, but I do think that characteristic makes a pen present as cheap (unless the body is made of lead crystal hand-cut expertly with intricate designs). That's perfectly OK and befits a pen such as a three-dollar Wing Sung 3008 piston-filler or Paili 013 vacuum-filler, or even a ¥2000+tax Sailor Profit Junior, but for a gold-nibbed Aurora Ottantotto or Sailor Professional Gear, I expect them to be priced no more expensively than their plain opaque black siblings in a ‘rational’ world. Then again, this is a hobby, much of it is about ‘art’ and personal taste — perhaps more so than writing function and technical geekery — so I understand why prices are ‘irrational’ but simply reflects what someone in the market is prepare to pay.

 

But, for what it's worth, I'm glad that cartridge/converter-filled demonstrators exist; in fact, looking at the market (including but not limited to Chinese, Japanese and Indian makes), most demonstrator models are c/c-filled. There is no less engineering, or principles of physics, or intricacy of internal operations exhibited by a c/c-filled pen than a piston-filler that uses half the cavity of the pen's barrel as the ink reservoir. I get to show kids and beginners in the hobby, “Look, this is a demonstrator pen, and it show you how everything works getting ink from the reservoir through the feed to the nib and then the page, in what defines a fountain pen,” without their forming the erroneous impression that ‘demonstrator’ implies pen-barrel-as-reservoir.

 

I personally find no pleasure in seeing ink sloshing around inside a pen, but I will happily agree there is utility in that — specifically, when I'm using shimmer inks, so that I can see if the shimmer particles have all settled in corner or side of the ink reservoir, and need agitating for best writing effect. That is also where I value piston-filled pen-barrel-as-reservoir demonstrators most; there is simply more room in the reservoir to allow for agitation and ‘mixing’ of the particle ink by shaking the pen. I have twenty or so Wing Sung 3008 demonstrators dedicated for use with as many different shimmer inks; cheap, expendable, but competent writing instruments that can be easily and fully disassembled for cleaning as necessary.

 

Part and parcel of seeing it all is to observe when things are imperfect — streaks or globs of creeping into gaps and joins in the pen, ink thickening or even drying out and clinging to the top/walls of the reservoir instead of flowing freely. If someone didn't want to see any of that, for visual interest or problem diagnosis, but instead want it to pass beneath his/her notice, I'd have imagined the rational choice would be to go for an opaque pen, either one that is plain if the user subscribes to the philosophy that using a fountain pen is all about the function (or all about the writing that comes out on the page), or with patterns either built into the opaque material or carved into it if he/she wants the pen to also be a beautiful object at which to look.

I endeavour to be frank and truthful in what I write, show or otherwise present, when I relate my first-hand experiences that are not independently verifiable; and link to third-party content where I can, when I make a claim or refute a statement of fact in a thread. If there is something you can verify for yourself, I entreat you to do so, and judge for yourself what is right, correct for valid. I may be wrong, and my position or say-so is no more authoritative and carries no more weight than anyone else's here.

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