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Crown Mill of Belgium - Pure Cotton

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For some time my standard correspondence paper has been Cream Laid Vergé paper from Original Crown Mill™. After reading about the OCM “Pure Cotton” line, I was eager to try some of their 100% cotton stationery. My local fine paper retailer had a luxury box of 100 A5 sheets and 50 lined envelopes in stock, or they could order me the 50-sheet A5 pads. I decided to splurge on the luxury box set. :)


As soon as my nib touched the surface of this paper, it was love - heavy and smooth with high opacity and excellent ink hold-out (meaning the surface resists much ink absorption). This was the paper that could make a sloppy-wet M nib write like a Needlepoint.


Some time later, I bought two of the Pure Cotton 50-sheet pads - and got a nasty shock. Even though these papers are marketed in identical packaging, they are quite different!


Sheet PaperPad Paper
Color:Creamy WhiteOff White
Weight:~110 g/m² (29lb)100 g/m² (27lb)
Watermark:None.PURE COTTON down right-hand side.
Surface Behavior:Pens write dry, surface resists ink, long drying times.Pens write normally, ink dries normally.

For me, the differences were most definitely a nasty discovery. (My M nibs were back to writing like M nibs!)


I have no idea why the paper changed, but it definitely did. For most people, the change in Pure Cotton paper was probably great – because the coated / sized surface of the sheet paper will cause many pens to writer too-fine lines and feel very dry. The pad paper is far more user-friendly and appealing.


So, putting my personal disappointment aside, what follows is a discussion of both papers – I highly recommend either, as they are excellent for FP use.


(Because the papers behave so differently though, I may get a bit wordy as I try to explain said differences.)


Paper Characteristics

  • Weight
    The sheet paper is approximately 110 g/m² (29lb). The pad paper is 100 g/m² (27lb).
  • Paper Color
    Pure Cotton is only available in White - which is actually more of a pale, creamy off-white color. As noted above, the pad paper is slightly lighter. Because of the neutral color, inks retain their vibrancy and true tone very well on either paper.
  • Surface Finish
    Both papers have an eggshell finish, with the Pure Cotton pad paper having a slight edge in smoothness. There is no difference in the side of the page - both sides feel the same, look the same, and behave the same.
  • Opacity
    (Printed Opacity)
    The sheet paper has a high printed opacity - the paper has been specially coated / sized, creating some ink resistance. The upside is very fine lines, but the downside is that this means a very long drying time for certain inks. This is because the ink sits on the surface and dries by evaporation and oxidation, rather than sinking in and drying by absorption.
    The pad paper has a medium printed opacity which ensures no feathering or bleeding. Most of the papers we consider to be FP friendly have a medium printed opacity.
    (Visual Opacity)
    The sheet paper has a high visual opacity, meaning both sides of the paper can be used as there is no show-through of ink. (The high visual opacity does not affect the use of a ruled guide sheet beneath the page.)
    The pad paper has a medium visual opacity, but both sides can still be used at a pinch.
  • Archival Qualities
    None noted.

Nib & Ink Behavior

  • Nib Behavior: Extra Fine nibs and dry Fine nibs may drag on this cotton rag paper.

  • Ink Behavior: On the sheet paper, inks show quite beautiful variation and shading. Variation on the pad paper is noticeable, but less impressive. No feathering - EVER!

Some brief notes about the differences and similarities between the Pure Cotton A5 Pad Paper, and Crane & Co. Ecruwhite 6 3/8 x 8 1/2 Sheets:

- Some ink and pen combinations show very slight feathering on the Ecruwhite, but not on Pure Cotton.

- Ecruwhite is heavier paper at 120 g/m² (32lb).

- Both papers have a slightly textured "eggshell" surface finish which upsets some nibs. Overall, I feel the Pure Cotton provides a smoother writing experience.

- Ecruwhite is a little too yellow for my liking. Inks display their colors better on the Pure Cotton.

- Ecruwhite envelopes are unlined.



Pure Cotton envelopes are lined with white silk tissue and have a traditional pointed flap. They are available in packs of 25, C6 size and retail for ~$10US. Pure Cotton A5 50-sheet Pads retail for ~$10US. The “Pure Cotton Luxury Box Set” consists of 100 A5 sheets, 50 C6 envelopes and retails for ~$50US. In comparison, you can buy three Crane Ecruwhite sets of 40 sheets and 20 envelopes for ~$45 retail. That would give you 120 sheets and 60 envelopes - making the OCM a little pricier in the fancy “Box Set” configuration.


AU folk can purchase this paper online from The Source or Monograms. The A5 Pads are ~$14AU.



Overall, I really like the Pure Cotton range from Original Crown Mill. It is a little expensive, and the surface will not be for everyone, but this is generally the case with 100% cotton papers anyway.


I am not spoilt for choice when it comes to paper (I can’t purchase papers like Rhodia or Clairefontaine locally), so I was really happy to find *any* 100% cotton paper in Australia. So for me, Original Crown Mill has met my personal stationery needs very nicely. :)

Edited by Phthalo

Laura / Phthalo

Fountain Pens: My Collection

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Thank you for the awesome review Laura! I have not tried the 100% cotton OCM paper but was curious about it. I am glad you wrote such a nice, detailed review. When (if) I run out of letter sheets I will definitely try the cotton line out.





Make peace with God and make peace with yourself

'cause in the end there's nobody else

---Point of Grace
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Wow..... that was the most informative review of a paper product I have ever seen here on FPN. Thanks so much for taking the time to write it. I have seen Crown Mill paper at Bertram's in White Flint, and have wondered what it was like. Now I know. I may buy one of the pads if they have it in stock.



"The moment he opened the refrigerator, he saw it. Caponata! Fragrant, colorful, abundant, it filled an entire soup dish, enough for at least four people.... The notes of the triumphal march of Aida came spontaneously, naturally, to his lips." -- Andrea Camilleri, Excursion to Tindari, p. 212

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I have to agree with Charlie on this one even though i am not too fuzzy about paper! It is an amazing review, and having seen and felt the paper myself i have to agree with you Laura, nibs seem to love it :happyberet:


Thanks for taking the time to post such a nice review



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I enjoy the slick feeling of Clairefontaine, as it really is gorgeous - but I do prefer to feel feedback from my paper and nibs.


Also, a bit of surface texture slows my writing down a little... which always improves the appearance of it. ;)

Laura / Phthalo

Fountain Pens: My Collection

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I enjoy the slick feeling of Clairefontaine, as it really is gorgeous - but I do prefer to feel feedback from my paper and nibs.


Also, a bit of surface texture slows my writing down a little... which always improves the appearance of it. ;)



I got a few boxes from Katie's paperie when they were clearancing it and you have to love the way that a textured paper makes a fountian pen line look like a line written by a fountain pen :thumbup: you just can't get the same thing from a ballpoint or rollerball. It is not feathering but that the line has character. :bunny01:




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