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I'm curious what you think of pens made in China


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On 5/19/2022 at 12:24 AM, Dan Carmell said:

I greatly enjoyed your post and agreed with much of what you wrote. Parker hasn’t made a good pen since the 75; those historic brand names mean nothing now. Cross and Sheaffer are no different than Monteverde now. The WS 601 is a better 51 clone than any of the THREE different 51 clones Parker has introduced in the last 20+ years. Anyone even remember the Parker 100?
 

I have been dismayed in recent years at seeing steel nibbed cart/converter pens commanding $100 plus prices, sometimes several hundred dollars. I don’t care how nice the design or finish is, I am resistant to purchasing a pen for that much without a gold nib. I’m not pretending a gold nib writes better, just that it adds value. 
 

The pen market in China, probably like many other manufacturing areas in China, is full of innovation at extremely reasonable prices. I’ve been delighted by pens I’ve bought from China because they are so different than many current pens yet capable writers. It’s the first time I’ve been genuinely excited by new pens in a long time. 
 

I will be watching for new introductions from Chinese pen makers even while I become more and more disinterested in the rest of the pen market, which is mostly occupied in introducing new colourways of old models. 

 

Many Chinese have the same view of the old brands of fountain pens in Chinese mainland. However, their decline that began in the late 1980s and the wave of closures in the 1990s are very regrettable. Especially when I read about the various materials and words of that year, I feel very uncomfortable about their current situation. But there is no way, these old brands are the product of a specific era, and when this era passes, they become history.

 

The majority of Chinese fountain pens that foreigners contact with are produced by new factories that have risen in the past decade, although some influences can be seen on them (such as the name "Wingsung" of the fountain pen produced by "Junlai"), but their system is completely different from those old brands. Many of the technologies accumulated in the 50s and 80s have almost been lost, and there is not much embodiment in these new products. However, the nib is an exception, many new factories do not have the ability to produce gold nibs, and can only let HERO do the OEM.

 

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8 minutes ago, TFHS said:

 

Many Chinese have the same view of the old brands of fountain pens in Chinese mainland. 

<snip>

Very interesting perspective, thank you! The information about Hero being the OEM for gold nibs was new information to me, thank you for that in particular. My first encounter with Chinese fountain pens was in the late 1990s, and aside from the Hero 100, which was almost universally admired, the majority of Chinese pens available in the West were not of much quality, although they might have written just fine. The 616 of that time I remember as being exceptionally flimsy, although my very first Hero was a 616 from a previous era and it was a very nice, solid pen. 

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1 hour ago, Dan Carmell said:

Very interesting perspective, thank you! The information about Hero being the OEM for gold nibs was new information to me, thank you for that in particular. My first encounter with Chinese fountain pens was in the late 1990s, and aside from the Hero 100, which was almost universally admired, the majority of Chinese pens available in the West were not of much quality, although they might have written just fine. The 616 of that time I remember as being exceptionally flimsy, although my very first Hero was a 616 from a previous era and it was a very nice, solid pen. 

 

Before the 1980s, the overseas markets of China's pen-making industry were concentrated in Hong Kong, Southeast Asia, Africa, Japan, and the countries of Mutual Economic Association. Its direct entry into the European and American markets was about the end of the 1980s, when China's pen-making industry had begun to decline.

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On 5/21/2022 at 4:40 AM, TFHS said:

 

Before the 1980s, the overseas markets of China's pen-making industry were concentrated in Hong Kong, Southeast Asia, Africa, Japan, and the countries of Mutual Economic Association. Its direct entry into the European and American markets was about the end of the 1980s, when China's pen-making industry had begun to decline.

I didn't know that Chinese vintage fountain pens weren't exported to the West.

 That may be the reason why Chinese vintage fountain pens have a low rating in this forum.

 

 I would appreciate it if you could tell me the identification points of the export version vintage fountain pen.

 The second-hand goods market is a mix of so-called old-stock fountain pens from the 1990s and real vintage fountain pens.

 I have the impression that the export version has gold-plated nibs and chrome-plated filler sack guards.

 Is it correct?

 

 

 

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it might not be always so, but export version of those old models tend to had one or multiple the followings ( but not always )

 

  • individually packed ( paper box, vac form pack etc etc .. ) mostly
  • Sac protector in brass and usually chrome plated , heavy duty vs home version which usually are of thin stamp formed without any plating finish , just sand blasted or just plain )
  • Legend in English where most home version had legend , branding in Chinese ( of course )
  • Logo , many models had no branding / logo on the pen where on export model this is pretty common , but there are reverse of that ( example , Hero 59 )
  • Packaging , most export had included with the pen an instruction sheet with English or both English and Chinese , and for some exporting to other countries which speak primary a language others , the local version , say I've seen Polish export version with an instruction sheet in Polish and Chinese both
  • QC tag come with the pen , where home version usually do not had that , cause the QC are stamped on the tray box instead of individual paper tag per pen
  • Specific models' finishing , say Wing Sung 233 , notably identified by its 2 tone nib vs home version's TigP or Polished steel single tone finish nib , or in the case of Hero 59 , a distinct export version only clip together with barrel band as well as Home version only finishes vs Export version only finishes
  • Specialized OEM or export only models , there are models that are simply ordered right from the start as export order and remain export order ONLY ( but they can end up stock NOS )

 

There might be others but that's what I had right off memory ..

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24 minutes ago, Mech-for-i said:

it might not be always so, but export version of those old models tend to had one or multiple the followings ( but not always )

 

  • individually packed ( paper box, vac form pack etc etc .. ) mostly
  • Sac protector in brass and usually chrome plated , heavy duty vs home version which usually are of thin stamp formed without any plating finish , just sand blasted or just plain )
  • Legend in English where most home version had legend , branding in Chinese ( of course )
  • Logo , many models had no branding / logo on the pen where on export model this is pretty common , but there are reverse of that ( example , Hero 59 )
  • Packaging , most export had included with the pen an instruction sheet with English or both English and Chinese , and for some exporting to other countries which speak primary a language others , the local version , say I've seen Polish export version with an instruction sheet in Polish and Chinese both
  • QC tag come with the pen , where home version usually do not had that , cause the QC are stamped on the tray box instead of individual paper tag per pen
  • Specific models' finishing , say Wing Sung 233 , notably identified by its 2 tone nib vs home version's TigP or Polished steel single tone finish nib , or in the case of Hero 59 , a distinct export version only clip together with barrel band as well as Home version only finishes vs Export version only finishes
  • Specialized OEM or export only models , there are models that are simply ordered right from the start as export order and remain export order ONLY ( but they can end up stock NOS )

 

There might be others but that's what I had right off memory ..

Thank you very much.

 Great information.

 

 In Japan, most of the used products are sold only with pens, but it will be helpful.

 I think the easiest identification point is whether the sack protector is chrome-plated heavy duty.

 

 By when did they manufacture and sell the home version and the export version separately?

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That goes back way to the 50's .. while many of the Chinese pens then never go to the then western market , they were still none the less exported to a lot of other oversea customers ( say Warsaw Pack countries , South / South East Asia , and notably Hong Kong , thus by extension to commonwealth )

 

There were some old thread on this forum people showing vintage pens that dated to the 50's and 60's clearly exported , I do know there were effort to export to Korea and Japan since the mid to late 70's ( when the so call Economic Reform period start ) and wide export effort when privatization and de-nationalization of many pens brand during the 80's and 90's

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1 hour ago, Mech-for-i said:

That goes back way to the 50's .. while many of the Chinese pens then never go to the then western market , they were still none the less exported to a lot of other oversea customers ( say Warsaw Pack countries , South / South East Asia , and notably Hong Kong , thus by extension to commonwealth )

 

There were some old thread on this forum people showing vintage pens that dated to the 50's and 60's clearly exported , I do know there were effort to export to Korea and Japan since the mid to late 70's ( when the so call Economic Reform period start ) and wide export effort when privatization and de-nationalization of many pens brand during the 80's and 90's

Most conscientious Japanese cellars explain and sell pens from the 1970s to the 1980s.

 This all comes together as it started when China and Japan signed a friendship treaty.

 I don't know if it exists in Japan, but I'll try to get a pen from the 1950s to the 1960s before that.

 And the vintage Hero 616 that I haven't found yet.

 

 Thank you very much for the valuable information.

 

 

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The first 2 or 3 that I had either purchased or gifted to me were pretty much junk in my opinion and were given away. I have three right now that I feel are pretty good pens. My favorite is the Asvine Skelton.

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On 5/15/2022 at 12:37 PM, jw20147 said:

Because of the Chinese language, many Chinese use the most EF/F nib (0.38---0.5mm). Few people use M nib, so manufacturers will not try to make broad nib. As far as I know, WingSung629 provides B nib, this is the widest nib I know of a Chinese fountain pen

 That is a fallacy. Like saying most Chinese pens were modeled after the Parker 51.

 

There were many different models, and one can still find them sold as really vintage items, some of them very attractive.

 

Then, I normally write with an EF to take quick notes, and I am European. That's my personal "style". But if we were to take only the most popular options, then only F and M would be sold in Europe. Yet, many non-Chinese makers still produce nibs up to 2.5 and even 3mm width. Not just deploying a line, but trying to provide some line variation / flex / feedback / flair / whatever, and flat wide lines (italic, stub, architect/fude) for different calligraphic styles.

 

I refuse to accept (but may be so if that's the Country's institutional rule) that nobody tries to write larger, and when doing so, everybody resorts to a brush and nobody thinks of using a fude nib, or an italic, and that nobody writes in any size other than the standard institutional size (at least inside the intimacy of their houses).

 

That takes me to the original question.

 

Most Chinese pen brands, in my experience, seem to go for "grab a quick buck, run away quickly and hide out as fast as possible".

 

I say so because instead of developing novel, innovative models/technologies, most (not all) makers seem to just look at which non-Chinese models become popular and make cheap clones with little change, quality control seems nonexistent, which means there is usually no consistency, you can get as well a great pen as a badly done (machines, assembled...) one, often they make some clone for a limited time and quickly abandon it to pursue a new successful non-Chinese model to clone (I suppose to see if with the new one they can get more profit). In general, there seems to be some lack of design and imagination, with most improvements being using cheaper materials, cutting on manufacturing/quality costs, aiming for safe quick bucks and selling cheap with no warranty. Rarely do you get an address where you can complain or send the pen back for repair.

 

There are exceptions, both in brands and models, but one has to be careful to identify and pick them. I've decided not to use names in this post.

 

That is not inherently bad, it allows for fast economic growth and becoming rich quickly. But IMMHO, in the long run it drives customers away and will likely fire back, and smear the market perception good ones by the behavior of the not so good ones.

 

What it actually means is that you may be lucky and get a great pen, or you may get great pens that age badly, or great pens that need extensive fixes, or "non-Chinese-looking" pens at "non-Chinese prices" (or even more expensive) that are not any better than their counterparts. In a word, the only added value seems to be the lower price, which every year is becoming higher, further reducing their added value.

 

I know I shouldn't, but by comparison, my perception of Indian pens is that they are well made, often hand crafted by proud artisans (I'm not saying they are, but that's the image one gets), and while they tend to stick to their local cultural traditions and materials, they are continuously on the lookout for client satisfaction, searching for beautiful materials, exploring new nibs (the first modern "flex" nibs came from India through FPR or Noodler's), designs and always willing and open to adapt their product to individual customer demand or give personalized service while keeping competitive prices.

 

Japan, by comparison, is orders or magnitude away: they produce high quality products, from the most basic and cheap to the most expensive pieces of art.

 

I could go on and on on other Asian makers. So, let us leave it here.

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9 hours ago, Number99 said:

I didn't know that Chinese vintage fountain pens weren't exported to the West.

 That may be the reason why Chinese vintage fountain pens have a low rating in this forum.

I tend to think that many people don't know clearly about Chinese vintage fountain pens before the mid-80s, and the poor quality of recently produced Chinese vintage fountain pens and ready-made Chinese fountain pens makes them preconceived stereotypes about the earlier pens. Not only foreigners, but also many Chinese collectors.

The group of collectors about Chinese vintage fountain pen may also account for only 10% of all fountain pen collectors in Chinese mainland, or even less.

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9 hours ago, Number99 said:

By when did they manufacture and sell the home version and the export version separately?

The Hong Kong friend has explained it in more detail, but I would like to add an example: many Chinese mainland collectors have bought a lot of 1960s "Hero 329" in Japan, so it is reasonable to believe that from the 60s or even earlier, Chinese fountain pens were exported to Japan. They may be exported directly to Japan or re-exported through Hong Kong.

AC8DFB604A4D0AA92FA3ED80FC4CD195.jpg.869cbd72951b9409d0bba14417935ef1.jpg

 

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46 minutes ago, TFHS said:

The Hong Kong friend has explained it in more detail, but I would like to add an example: many Chinese mainland collectors have bought a lot of 1960s "Hero 329" in Japan, so it is reasonable to believe that from the 60s or even earlier, Chinese fountain pens were exported to Japan. They may be exported directly to Japan or re-exported through Hong Kong.

AC8DFB604A4D0AA92FA3ED80FC4CD195.jpg.869cbd72951b9409d0bba14417935ef1.jpg

 

AFAIK , those are batch re export through Hong Kong which then is a pretty common business practice

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2 hours ago, txomsy said:

 That is a fallacy. Like saying most Chinese pens were modeled after the Parker 51.

 

There were many different models, and one can still find them sold as really vintage items, some of them very attractive.

 

Then, I normally write with an EF to take quick notes, and I am European. That's my personal "style". But if we were to take only the most popular options, then only F and M would be sold in Europe. Yet, many non-Chinese makers still produce nibs up to 2.5 and even 3mm width. Not just deploying a line, but trying to provide some line variation / flex / feedback / flair / whatever, and flat wide lines (italic, stub, architect/fude) for different calligraphic styles.

 

I refuse to accept (but may be so if that's the Country's institutional rule) that nobody tries to write larger, and when doing so, everybody resorts to a brush and nobody thinks of using a fude nib, or an italic, and that nobody writes in any size other than the standard institutional size (at least inside the intimacy of their houses)

 

.. snipped

 

Well that part is partly correct , Actually most Chinese home market models do offer fude nibs and customers with a need for really big sized writing can and would likely go for that.

 

The absence of anything not fine or EF is simply a matter of both penmanship need and inability of a typical M / B / stub nib producing stroke and language specific writing . Thus once off the regular size writing people just goes for the fude nib which handle the need quite well.

 

The other part is simply the nature of how customer and Mfr perceive how a product be .. while many home models might had only F or EF , which cater to the most general writing need ; the motto shared by customer and Mfr alike is that if one really need something else one can just go buy a nib specific for that and swap it in .. much like tyres for a car or the typical HB lead coming with most mechanical pencil , if you need 3B in your mechanical pencil you go out and buy yourself a pack and refill likewise.

 

 

 

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3 hours ago, txomsy said:

 That is a fallacy. Like saying most Chinese pens were modeled after the Parker 51.

 

There were many different models, and one can still find them sold as really vintage items, some of them very attractive.

 

Then, I normally write with an EF to take quick notes, and I am European. That's my personal "style". But if we were to take only the most popular options, then only F and M would be sold in Europe. Yet, many non-Chinese makers still produce nibs up to 2.5 and even 3mm width. Not just deploying a line, but trying to provide some line variation / flex / feedback / flair / whatever, and flat wide lines (italic, stub, architect/fude) for different calligraphic styles.

 

I refuse to accept (but may be so if that's the Country's institutional rule) that nobody tries to write larger, and when doing so, everybody resorts to a brush and nobody thinks of using a fude nib, or an italic, and that nobody writes in any size other than the standard institutional size (at least inside the intimacy of their houses).

 

That takes me to the original question.

 

Most Chinese pen brands, in my experience, seem to go for "grab a quick buck, run away quickly and hide out as fast as possible".

 

I say so because instead of developing novel, innovative models/technologies, most (not all) makers seem to just look at which non-Chinese models become popular and make cheap clones with little change, quality control seems nonexistent, which means there is usually no consistency, you can get as well a great pen as a badly done (machines, assembled...) one, often they make some clone for a limited time and quickly abandon it to pursue a new successful non-Chinese model to clone (I suppose to see if with the new one they can get more profit). In general, there seems to be some lack of design and imagination, with most improvements being using cheaper materials, cutting on manufacturing/quality costs, aiming for safe quick bucks and selling cheap with no warranty. Rarely do you get an address where you can complain or send the pen back for repair.

 

There are exceptions, both in brands and models, but one has to be careful to identify and pick them. I've decided not to use names in this post.

 

That is not inherently bad, it allows for fast economic growth and becoming rich quickly. But IMMHO, in the long run it drives customers away and will likely fire back, and smear the market perception good ones by the behavior of the not so good ones.

 

What it actually means is that you may be lucky and get a great pen, or you may get great pens that age badly, or great pens that need extensive fixes, or "non-Chinese-looking" pens at "non-Chinese prices" (or even more expensive) that are not any better than their counterparts. In a word, the only added value seems to be the lower price, which every year is becoming higher, further reducing their added value.

 

I know I shouldn't, but by comparison, my perception of Indian pens is that they are well made, often hand crafted by proud artisans (I'm not saying they are, but that's the image one gets), and while they tend to stick to their local cultural traditions and materials, they are continuously on the lookout for client satisfaction, searching for beautiful materials, exploring new nibs (the first modern "flex" nibs came from India through FPR or Noodler's), designs and always willing and open to adapt their product to individual customer demand or give personalized service while keeping competitive prices.

 

Japan, by comparison, is orders or magnitude away: they produce high quality products, from the most basic and cheap to the most expensive pieces of art.

 

I could go on and on on other Asian makers. So, let us leave it here.

 

I am very very much in line with this, practically every word.

The overall perception I get is that there is no love behind Chinese penmakers, while I wish there might be perhaps somewhere.
 

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On 5/15/2022 at 8:37 PM, jw20147 said:

Because of the Chinese language, many Chinese use the most EF/F nib (0.38---0.5mm). Few people use M nib, so manufacturers will not try to make broad nib.

3 hours ago, txomsy said:

I refuse to accept (but may be so if that's the Country's institutional rule) that nobody tries to write larger, and when doing so, everybody resorts to a brush and nobody thinks of using a fude nib, or an italic, and that nobody writes in any size other than the standard institutional size (at least inside the intimacy of their houses).

 

@txomsy With due respect to your prerogative of opinion and thought, you can refuse to accept that line of reasoning all you want; but you're arguing against something other than what the O.P. asserted.

 

Of course some Chinese will (try to?!) write larger — but rarely, if ever, on notepaper and journals with ‘modern’ ruling heavily influenced by Western conventions (some of which may be re-exported from Japan), in horizontal lines spaced 6mm to 9mm apart, and with the text running from left to right. There is still (plenty of) paper and notebooks produced with ruling for columns of square cells (of up to 12mm wide) separated by narrow strips of whitespace for traditional Chinese vertical layout of text moving from right to left across the page, but they are used predominantly for (in-class or homework) assignments and exam answer books for Chinese language or Chinese subject matter (e.g. Chinese history) classes, not for note-taking for subjects such as mathematics, economics, or biology even where Chinese is the teaching language, and not in the workplace.

 

Stiff pointed pen calligraphic writing (硬筆書法) is ‘a thing’ in Chinese culture, too, but once the requirements go beyond the capabilities of a Medium nib (in typical Chinese fountain pen nib ‘sizing’, not Japanese as if it was representative of the Far East, and thus easily as broad as, say, a Pelikan Medium nib), the appropriate tool is then a bent ‘art’ nib or ‘fude’ nib, or these days more experimentation with Naginata Togi style grinds. There is very little call for round-tipped Broad, much less Double Broad, nibs for the mass market to which the vast majority of Chinese pens are marketed and will be sold. Italic nibs are not particularly useful unless you're trying to produce (i.e. ‘draw’ or ‘print’) Chinese writing that has a Songti or Mingti (reminiscent of traditional block printing, and replicated as the quintessential ‘serif’ font type in modern digital publishing) flavour to its appearance.

 

Therein comes the rub: there is no money to be made producing and stocking Broad nibs because Westerners and a very small minority of Chinese fountain pen users may want them or enjoy them; they just don't buy enough.

 

3 hours ago, txomsy said:

Most Chinese pen brands, in my experience, seem to go for "grab a quick buck, run away quickly and hide out as fast as possible".

 

Even PenBBS has been around for long enough. HongDian is relatively recent as a brand with less than five years of history, but the manufacturer behind it started as an OEM back in 1997. Hero, Jinhao, Wing Sung, etc. have all been around for a long time. Kaigelu and Kaco are still producing and selling pens, as far as I'm aware. None of them have “run away” or is “hiding out”, whatever the latter means.

 

It's a different thing to assert that Chinese brands are willing to cease production of particular models, even the ones that sold well on initial release. They don't need to be interested in establishing flagship models or core product lines the way Sailor has the Profit and Professional Gear lines, Parker has Duofold and Sonnet lines, Lamy has the Safari and the 2000, etc. that will “stand the test of time” and still be available to keen newcomers to the fountain pen market/hobby in ten or twenty years' time who want to select prospective purchases by solid reputation and a long history of being reviewed. Producing an endless stream of flavour-of-the-month models is probably a better way of stimulating more spending from the consumer base, and generating a continual stream of “quick buck” revenue; but that's not the same as running away or flying by night as brands or as manufacturers.

 

They don't need to subscribe to being ‘inclusive’ and cater to everyone's wants and sensibilities. They just need to sell as many pens as possible, and that means reading the target market and catering to the majority of the day. If people who want Broad nibs, or models with proud ‘heritage’, or particular personal tastes catered to are left out in the cold by that sort of commercial imperative, that's perfectly alright; as for-profit enterprise, these pen manufacturers are not in the business of serving as wide a consumer base as possible, if being more focused in how they deploy their assets, resources, and capabilities give them better return. They're not there to support or ‘respect’ some Joe Random's world view or values with regard to what would make the hobby landscape ‘better’.

 

4 minutes ago, sansenri said:

The overall perception I get is that there is no love behind Chinese penmakers, while I wish there might be perhaps somewhere.

 

Because it isn't about love to them. It's hard-as-nails business. It makes commercial sense to spend all your resources cater to the 80% of the consumers in the target market that matters, and decline to throw the remaining 20% a bone, so to speak.

 

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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6 hours ago, TFHS said:

The Hong Kong friend has explained it in more detail, but I would like to add an example: many Chinese mainland collectors have bought a lot of 1960s "Hero 329" in Japan, so it is reasonable to believe that from the 60s or even earlier, Chinese fountain pens were exported to Japan. They may be exported directly to Japan or re-exported through Hong Kong.

AC8DFB604A4D0AA92FA3ED80FC4CD195.jpg.869cbd72951b9409d0bba14417935ef1.jpg

 

I was surprised. I've never seen a filler sack protector with the inscription "329".

 

 As a guide for the Japanese export version, I chose and purchased the one with the inscriptions "中国制造"(Made in China) and "英雄"(Hero) in Mandarin.

 This is because only Japanese and Koreans understand the text of "中国制造" outside of China.

 So I guessed this was the Far East export version.

 These "中国制造" and "英雄" inscriptions are common to 329, 330, 334.340 etc., so these products were started in the 1970s for export to Japan and South Korea. I guess it is.

 

 Some have the inscriptions "Made in China" and "英雄", 

 

 Pens with the "329" inscription on the filler you showed me are very rare and I think they probably won't be available anymore.

 

The theme of the thread has been separated, but I read it with great interest.

 We Japanese probably use "brush pen" or "felt pen" when writing large letters.

 In that case, I think it is polite to use a "Writing brush".

 

 

large.20220526_065842_HDR.jpg.e9f186b0fd3e596b28a7d8d83e5c484f.jpglarge.1122311498_20220526_065848_HDR3.jpg.6efb496a1a7db3f9f473a4267564d99b.jpg

 

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The others all spoken well , both sides of the arguments had merits and only by being inclusive of both can one start to get the better bigger picture whole ..

 

And let me add my own , one of the misconception is of that Chinese fountain pen Mfr only making cheap copies, of course this is not true , I've had numerous in my cache that's their own and can stand their own .. but with a catch and not help by general lack of info regarding Chinese fountain pens

 

One must accept and recognize the technical limitation the Mfr and industry face at time the pen were manufactured. We can judge today's production on a more or less universal set of standard cause we know the Mfr there in general hold the technical know-how , machinery that can do the job and can had access to materials etc etc. That though is not the case with pens manufactured before Y2K cause most of the basis thus mentioned were not imported until mid to late 90's and was only really get placed into the manufacturing during the Y2K period but those were tough time for Chinese fountain pen Mfr when fountain pens goes out of style both as a tool and as THE writing means in the home market

 

The misconceptions really stand cause the Mfr themselves also made zero effort to market , as @A Smug Dill had mention it's not worth their effort to market to the 20% , especially when the Mfr's know they are bumping into very stubborn preoccupied conception

 

This all change with something call online retailing , e-commerce, and we can see broader reach of the market and customers who sees Chinese fountain pens in a wider but still their own niche kind of perspective , in niche am talking how those pens are spec , say the inclusion of only F, EF and fude , it's just how they are ; say how they spec their C/C ( mostly Hero's 2.6 opening form factor )

 

I know some want B nib or Stub and indeed Chinese Mfr do actually produce and market the nibs , read this I say the nibs not the pens. As I've mentioned before the majority of their customers sees nothing wrong about going out and buying a nib to swap it in if and when needed

 

And yes all are correct that the Mfr are aiming for business volume and return but this is not always a bad thing .. no one accuse of Zebra making more Gel pens or Uni making more mechanical pencils or ... The same logic here , these Mfr sees their pens as well, pens , not hobby item , and do not aim for that either bar a few exception like PenBBS 

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42 minutes ago, Number99 said:

...

 We Japanese probably use "brush pen" or "felt pen" when writing large letters.

 In that case, I think it is polite to use a "Writing brush".

 

 

 

I used to work in Japan for several years and vividly remember my Japanese friends and colleagues surprise when they saw me writing large Chinese / Kanji text using my no.6 fude on my Hero / Wing Sung 

 

It just got to show how languages and how specific language writes can dictate what to be employed as the writing means and what not

 

And then there it reminds me of the few occasion that I find writing the Chinese or East Asian language using a B nib , notably when I fill out those multi part form on site engineering report that I had to do , a firm B nib do really good 

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11 hours ago, TFHS said:

I tend to think that many people don't know clearly about Chinese vintage fountain pens before the mid-80s, and the poor quality of recently produced Chinese vintage fountain pens and ready-made

Which just comes to show the problem in perception,

 

Vintage, while not clearly defined, means something that is old and of good quality. Where old, for many means usually made 20-30 years ago if not more, and often 'older than me' (for whoever "me").

 

So, saying recently produced Chinese vintage fountain pens is a contradiction that creates a terribly bad image, that of a scammer trying to sell something as what it isn't.

 

I mention it because it is the most common term I find in low-quality Chinese products at closely or higher than non-Chinese, bona-fide vintage ones.

 

I agree it may be lack of knowledge of the language or different meanings of similarly translatable terms, but yet, that does not reflect well on the whole.

 

As a comparison, I know many examples of other brands (and products) from other origin, that have started selling something on different local markets with names that would sound offensive, disparaging or just not-good and promptly changed the names as soon as they discovered the issue.

 

Also, I already said that going for a quick buck is not necessarily bad. It allows for quick growth. But it also reflects a naïve, outdated, simplistic view of business, that only looks at immediate gross income. And that, I fear, may backfire in the future. I'm not saying 赔了夫人又折兵 (1), but -IMMHO- aiming for a quick buck now harms long-term success.

 

贪多必失 (2) and 天下无不散的宴席 (3)

 

(1) Lose a Lady and suffer military loses (from 三國演義 "Three Kingdoms", used -I think- to imply using a seemingly clever but bad strategy)
(2) Who wants everything loses everything

(3) No feasting in this world lasts forever

 

My free translations, I can't say for sure if I fully caught the correct meaning of these or if my use of it is appropriate, it's been too long since I went -very shortly- to Hong Kong and Beijing to lecture at HKU and PKU, so please do accept my apologies for any mistakes; and whenever reading any of my opinions, do not forget that 愚者千虑,必有一得 (among a thousand statements from a fool --that's me--, there must be an acceptable one) --same disclaimers apply to this last (free) translation. Please feel free to correct me (my Chinese is only very elementary) if I got the translations or the use wrong, 他山之石,可以攻玉 (the stones from other mountains may help polish the jade from this -fool me- one)

 

I stop here for others to comment...

且聽下回分解

 

(From "Outlaws of the Marsh": If you want to learn more proceed to next comment :) )

 

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