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Rugged fountain pens?



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Brian Miller

I'm a masonry contractor and I work in a hot, dusty, sometimes very cold, wet enviroment. I'm a newbie, so this may be a dumb question, but is there a fountain pen made specifically for a tough enviroment? 

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langere

A number of them are good for a tough environment.  Any Kaweco Sport (German pen) is great - they have them in plastic but also different metals.  A Delike Alpha (Chinese pen) is an homage of the Kaweco Sport and is also very hardly (and less expensive).  I find that Retro 51 makes really tough pens too.

 

Hope this helps!  I am sure others will chime in with more suggestions.

 

Erick

 

Using right now:

Penlux Masterpiece Grande "F" nib running Pelikan Olivine

Wancher Seven Treasures "F" nib running Noodler's Cayenne

Waldmann Xetra "F" nib running Aurora Black

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A Smug Dill
1 hour ago, Brian Miller said:

... is there a fountain pen made specifically for a tough enviroment? 

 

Designed and built specifically for use in a tough environment and/or to withstand expected physical 'abuse'? Probably not; to do so would be to invite a big cost in covering warranty. 

 

However, as suggested the Delike Alpha with a brass body is very tough; as is the brass Delike Element. Karas Kustoms makes some similarly tough pens with brass and copper bodies, if I recall correctly. Fine Writing International says the acrylic in the barrels of (some of?) its pens is almost unbreakable, and its Bronze Age models have tough metal caps and end finials.

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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TgeekB

Yes, a ballpoint.

 

Stick to home and other places for your fountain pens. 

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IThinkIHaveAProblem

If you insist on a fountain pen at work:

 

Kaweco AlSport.

 

I only have experience with the regular plastic "sport" but for a rough environment? go with the metal one.

 

 

That said:

When I worked a field job, it was a fisher space pen and a pencil as a backup (which i just about never needed) 

I wore the chrome off of part of a space pen, so it has a LOT of miles on it, I also ran it through the wash at least a dozen times, never worse for wear

You can also put a fisher space pen refill into a flighter (all metal) Jotter ballpoint, but that makes it less pocketable 

 

Between hot, dusty and sometimes cold and wet?... a fountain pen will do poorly in all of those settings.

Knowing a tiny bit about your work environment, I would NOT recommend a fountain pen, not on the job site.

That's just courting disaster.

 

Just give me the Parker 51s and nobody needs to get hurt.

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sirgilbert357

No matter how tough the pen is, the nib is very delicate. One drop and you could ruin the nib. I'd get a good - but cheap - rollerball.

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Aelfattrum

A space pen (maybe a Zebra modded space pen) is a practical choice for lots of environments. But there are a number of inexpensive pens mentioned here (in addition to the metal Delike, the unbranded 'clones' of the Delike, perhaps also the HongDian 517S discussed here on FPN) that one could carry in addition, in case of a quiet moment when a fountain pen might be preferable, and one wouldn't be out much money if it did fall nib-downwards onto concrete, or get dropped into an incinerator or vat of acid or whatever.

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The Karas Pen Co. Fountain K v2 is machined from your choice of aircraft-grade aluminum, brass or copper and can withstand being thrown across a parking lot and run over by a car. I own one in the tumbled aluminum finish and use it as an EDC pocket pen. If you don't mind rolling the dice against Bock nib quality control (mine came with a bad case of baby's bottom), they're great little carry pens.

 

Nowadays they can only be purchased direct from the company website. If a pen retailer carries it, it's probably the older version.

Life is but a dream.

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Some years ago Rotring made a pen called the Altro.  It used normal ink cartridges, but the tubular nib was quite unlike  a classical fountain pen.  It resembled a beefed-up version of Rotring's technical pens, and could take quite a lot of abuse.  Unlike a technical pen the tip of the nib capillary was rounded, so it was reasonably smooth and could be used for writing as well as drawing.  Sadly no longer in production.  I know of no other fountain pen that could withstand being dropped on its nib.

 

768287985_RotringAltro.jpg.ae619a1445938ade5c951376705e4640.jpg

 

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sirgilbert357
3 hours ago, tim77 said:

Some years ago Rotring made a pen called the Altro.  It used normal ink cartridges, but the tubular nib was quite unlike  a classical fountain pen.  It resembled a beefed-up version of Rotring's technical pens, and could take quite a lot of abuse.  Unlike a technical pen the tip of the nib capillary was rounded, so it was reasonably smooth and could be used for writing as well as drawing.  Sadly no longer in production.  I know of no other fountain pen that could withstand being dropped on its nib.

 

768287985_RotringAltro.jpg.ae619a1445938ade5c951376705e4640.jpg

 

 

These can be found on eBay for 50 to 70 bucks...I'm intrigued, but not enough to take a chance on one. Also, not sure what kind of converter they would take...standard international, I'm guessing?

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txomsy

I have to disagree with those who claim an FP has no place in rough environments. I have carried a Montblanc with me for 30 years and it's been to dumpsters, tropics, glaciers, deserts (Sahara and Atacama), high lands (Andes), toxic dumps, and of course to top-tier political meetings. As those models are no longer made, it's little use recommending them. Plus they are standard size. They were what I found way back then, but nowadays I would favor a metal, pocket fountain pen.

 

But I concur, a Kaweco Sport (specially the AL or Brass ones) or even a Liliput, are nice options. Their Delike clones are similar. There are even clones of the Delike clones costing about 5 USD. The Karas Kustoms are reputed as nice, sturdy pens too. So are the Traveler's Company Brass fountain pen. A Pilot Vanishing Point may also fill the dots, although I'm less sure about this.

 

What I like of the Kawecos and clones is they seal well once capped, are sturdy, have never leaked on me and have never failed to write (as long as they had ink). I've carried a clone of the Delike clone of the Kaweco Sport Brass on a jeans pocket over three years now and, besides being well battered down it works as well as ever.

 

Added: look also for metal EHCO, several metal Lamys (the Makrolon Lamy 2000 may be another choice), and many more.

 

Of course they don't write upside down, for that you need a Fisher Space (according to reviews) or similar. But for a rugged FP, just search the forum for "Tactic", "Rugged", "Metal" or "Pocket" fountain pens.

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IThinkIHaveAProblem
1 minute ago, txomsy said:

 

 

Of course they don't write upside down, for that you need a Fisher Space (according to reviews) or similar. 

I can absolutely attest that a Fisher Space Pen will write upside down.

 

They will write. period. full stop.

 

Absolutely dead reliable. But horrible to write with WRT to feel on paper :P 

 

Also a note to the OP, a fountain pen will not work on Write In The Rain paper, a space pen or pencil will

 

Just give me the Parker 51s and nobody needs to get hurt.

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N1003U

I concur with txomsy.

 

I will also put in a word for the Kaweco Supra, in brass, steel, or alumin(i)um which I have even used as a small hammer to knock a piece of rock loose in a mine (ironically also in the Atacama). It is in my experience an almost indestructible pocket pen and sometimes a handy non-writing tool. Because of its similar design, not personal experience, I would probably recommend also the Schon DSGN Pocket Six. Of course an exposed nib is subject to damage, but in my experience, it takes a little bit of effort and/or bad luck to render a nib unusable the field.

 

Most fountain pens will also write upside down, as least for as long as it takes to deplete whatever ink is in the feed, which, in my experience is enough for the very rare times I need to write something upside down.

 

Edit: I can now confirm that a Kaweco Supra will, indeed write upside down.

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langere

I think we have an emerging consensus (well, majority opinion) about Kaweco and Delike. I agree.

 

As to Karas, they are incredibly sturdy pens, but unlike the ones above, my Karas Custom had the bad habit of unscrewing its top. The metal-to-metal threads was simply too inflexible, making it hard for the cap to stay put when jiggled around.

 

Erick

 

Using right now:

Penlux Masterpiece Grande "F" nib running Pelikan Olivine

Wancher Seven Treasures "F" nib running Noodler's Cayenne

Waldmann Xetra "F" nib running Aurora Black

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3 hours ago, sirgilbert357 said:

 

These can be found on eBay for 50 to 70 bucks...I'm intrigued, but not enough to take a chance on one. Also, not sure what kind of converter they would take...standard international, I'm guessing?

Ironically the plastic is probably quite fragile by now.  I used one for years and years during my school days (long since broken and lost) and I think it used ordinary standard international cartridges.

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Detman101

I vote for the OPUS-88 Demo.
Thick clear acrylic, good design, tough pen!

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Mannyonpil

I would recommend the Karas pens. I have one in copper, one in brass, and one in aluminum. They are quite tough. The copper and brass are really heavy though.

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txomsy

Yeah, @N1003U, the Supra is also a great option, specially if one prefers longer pens. Thanks for bringing it up, I had forgotten it.

 

Generally, there are many sturdy pens. When looking at metal pens, it may be worth paying a bit of attention to the section, some people complain when it is too soft as it may be difficult to hold.

 

In any case, a diligent search on sturdy/EDC/pocket/etc. pen threads and reviews here should help get a picture of what is available and the corresponding advantages and disadvantages of each.

 

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JosephKing

There are a number of impact resistant pens (assuming cap closed: Namisu, Karas, Tactile Turn, Ensso, Michael's Fatboy, Kaweco, etc...) but the concern I have is: "dusty" and "wet".

 

If dust were to get on the feed or nib while writing, that seems like a bad recipe.
And how does a nib perform on damp paper, or with water on it?  I'm not sure about OP's conditions, but I can imagine some frustration if it were dropped into a puddle of something.

Has anyone written in either of those two conditions?

 

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