Saturday, October 16, 2021

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 271

A few weeks ago, I decided to pay a visit to the Opus art supply store in Langley. The last time I was in the shop was back in January 2020, when I bought a nice Faber-Castell 'Basic' fountain pen from them. I'd checked the Opus website to see what pens they were currently carrying, and I noticed that they stocked Kaweco 'Sport' fountain pens. I had two other 'Sport' fountain pens, but I didn't own a version with a gold-plated nib & gold-coloured trim, so I decided to buy a burgundy one from them... 

(photos by Maja ~ please click on image to enlarge)

(Above: the burgundy Kaweco 'Sport' fountain pen I bought, along with an Opus reusable shopping bag made of "rip-stop polyester" that can hold up to 45 lbs--impressive!)

From Kaweco's official website:

"In 1911 something remarkable by the name of Kaweco Sport was created. A pocket fountain pen which could be carried everywhere. It only measured 10.5 cm when closed, but it grew to a standard-sized pen when the cap was mounted on top of the barrel. Back at that time, the pen was advertised to the well-dressed society, and sportsmen were targeted, hence the name Sport.

All nibs are made in Germany and you can choose your favorite nib size to make your pen more individual...Additionally you can choose between the writing systems ballpoint pen, rollerball pen, a mechanical pencil, and clutch pencil. The high-quality writing instruments of the Classic Sport series are produced and assembled in Germany...

Sepp Herberger was among the most famous users. The national German soccer team's former coach wrote down his successful tactics with a Kaweco Sport, which led to the World Championship title in 1954.

As a perfect addition to these writing instruments, we offer suitable refills, eleven colourful inks, as well as clips in silver, gold, bronze, or black. "

The Kaweco 'Sport' is a great little pocket fountain pen that comes in a large variety of colours and materials. A few days ago, fellow pen club member Lawrence reviewed his brass 'Sport' fountain pen here on our blog. Obviously, our two pens are made of different materials, but they are pretty much the same pen in terms of design --they have the same octagonal cap & barrel, the same finial and the same nib. Their price points, however, do differ -- the plastic 'Sport' fountain pens are considerably less expensive than the metal (brass, steel, aluminum) or aluminum+carbon fiber versions. Mine cost $40.60 CAD at Opus, but I see they've dropped their price to $34.51 recently---nice!

The Medium nib on mine wrote smoothly out of the box. The Opus store didn't have other nib options, but you can buy the 'Sport' nibs separately in various nib widths and in different materials (stainless steel, black PVD-coated stainless steel and gold-plated stainless steel). Kaweco also makes some "calligraphy"
nibs for the 'Sport' and they come in five nib widths--1.1mm, 1.5mm, 1.9mm, 2.3mm and Double Broad, but they are only available in stainless steel, not the gold-plated or black versions. Jet Pens has a comprehensive guide on how to swap out the 'Sport' nibs here that's worth watching if you're planning to change nibs.

As mentioned earlier, Kaweco makes clips (which are octagonal, like the pens) for the 'Sport', but they are sold separately. I didn't see the clips for sale at Opus, but I had one in the gold colour at home (purchased from Charals a few years ago); I think it complements the pen's burgundy colour beautifully (photo above). Kaweco also makes clips for their 'Liliput' and 'Supra' models, but these clips will not fit the 'Sport' models, and vice-versa.

There are actually two versions of the 'Sport' clips (but they both fit the same pens) -- the one on my pen (which has a curvy shape and an etched design that resembles a snake) and another clip that is straight and unadorned. The curvy clip is sometimes referred to as the "Sport N" clip - ("N" for "Nostalgia" or "Nostalgic") and it really does make the pen look more like a vintage fountain pen. Of the two types of clips, the "N clip" is my favourite; my parents used vintage Kaweco fountain pens when they were younger (photo here), so the Kaweco brand has a lot of nostalgic appeal to me :)

My new Kaweco fountain pen resting on the little ledge of the ink bottle I also bought at Opus...

...and yes, it's a bottle of J. Herbin ink, specifically the "Bleu des Profondeurs" (which roughly translates to "blue of the depths"--ie. the colour of deep ocean water).

(Above: A quick writing sample, on scrap paper lol)

I hesitated to buy it because it's not a very saturated ink (and I like saturated inks), but it's a nice dark blue colour, and it behaves well in my Kaweco. Opus sells J. Herbin inks (the regular line only, not the '1798'  line) and they had a good selection at the Langley store from which to choose.

Many thanks to the staff at the Opus Langley store for their friendly, helpful service, and this cool little pen and the nice ink I'm currently using in it :)

(~ Photos and review by Maja ~)

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 270

Today's featured newest acquisition belongs to Andy, and it's a fountain pen that many consider the flagship model for a very well-known German pen company...

(all photos courtesy of Andy ~ please click on images to enlarge)

"Hey pen friends...I’ve been unseen for a few meetings but pen activity at the Wong household has been consistent.

Here’s one from the industry de latest (BMW) break my wallet acquisition...ouch!!!

But it’s so nice though.

Straight from the wonderful folks at Cult Pens...I snagged an incredible deal for one of those delightful bird pens!"

The Pelikan M800

"The pen is a fantastic modern day titan!

An envy of all piston fillers.

Fancy packaging as usual with most Pelikan products.

I’m impartial to boxes/packaging and such.

If a pen comes in a presentation such as this...bonus.

If it comes in a paper bag with bubble wrap...that is even better...I can always reuse a bag and bubble wrap."

The Pelikan M800

"Green Stripe with Gold Trim is recognized as the most iconic color combination associated with the Pelikan line of fountain pens."

The Pelikan M800

"So motherly is this symbolic logo on the top finial."

The Pelikan M800

"A nice close up look at the celluloid stripes, blind cap for the piston mechanism."

The Pelikan M800

"I opted for the “extra fine” nib as reputation for Pelikan’s are known for being on the wetter and broader side.

This is a lovely patterned 18k gold nib. The duo tone really makes me smile."

The Pelikan M800

"Here is a writing sample with J. Herbin Lie De Thé.

My normal printing size is about 2mm and this was a bit of a challenge to maintain legibility.

With minimal adjustment of pen pressure while writing, it is quite a nice writer after all."

"As I mentioned at the start, I couldn’t resist the deal Cult Pens had at the time of purchase.

I used a popular YouTube (Penultimatedave) fountain pen reviewer’s discount code...thank you Dave!!!

*** Use Promo Code PENULTIMATE10 for 10% off your order at Cult Pens ***

And Cult Pens was including free of charge any color Edelstein Ink with any Pelikan pen purchase....rock on OLIVINE!!!

This was exciting...The Pelikan M800



Our thanks to Andy for another great review! If you're interested in the history of this modern classic, there's an excellent in-depth article about it here on 'The Pelikan's Perch' Pelikan fansite :)

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 269

Back in May, Christopher shared a great story of how he found a wonderful vintage Parker' Duofold' fountain pen and mechanical pencil set at a flea market in Eastern Canada (link to post). The set was missing its original box --not surprising, given that it was 90 years old--so Christopher made a box for it.

Flash forward to last week, when an email from Christopher arrived with a little update: "Just the other day, Rene got me an original Parker Duofold case for my Parker Duofold Streamlined Senior set. So at last I have the full meal deal. I was happy with the case I had made for the set but really wanted the right Parker case that this set originally came in to finish things off."

(photos courtesy of Christopher ~ please click on images to enlarge)

What a great gift from (fellow VPC member) Rene, and what a great coda to the story of how this lovely vintage set was acquired! Many thanks to Christopher for sharing it with us.

Sunday, October 10, 2021

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 268

Whether or not you celebrate Thanksgiving, I find it's a good time to try practicing a bit more gratitude...😊

I'm very grateful and fortunate to have so many good friends in my life, especially during this global pandemic which has been a challenge to our collective mental health. One such person is my good friend and fellow VPCer Stuart. We'd been trading emails regularly and back in May, Stuart mentioned that he had his eye on a Narwhal 'Schuykill' "Porpita Navy" Limited Edition fountain pen that he'd just seen at the Vancouver Pen Shop. I'm a big fan of the brand, but that LE flew under my radar for some reason, so I looked it up online right away...and instantly fell in love with the pen. The only problem was that it was selling quickly....very quickly--in fact, nearly every online pen retailer that had it in stock had run out.

In his email, Stuart had mentioned that Van Pen had more than one in stock, but their store was already closed for the day,
they didn't have an online shop, and I was worried about missing my chance to get one (only 800 pieces were made worldwide), so I ordered mine online from the family-owned Vanness Pen Shop in Little Rock, Arkansas that night. I'd heard good things about their customer service and their shipping rates were reasonable, so I didn't really hesitate to order from them, although it was my first purchase from their online store.

(all photos by Maja except where noted ~ please click on images to enlarge)

A few weeks later, the pen arrived safe and sound... and in a cute Narwhal-branded box!

Narwhal's 'Schuykill' model (named after the river in Pennsylvania) was launched in January 2020 at the Philadelphia Pen Show. It's a nice-sized piston-filling fountain pen with a clear ink-view window that enables the user to see the ink level even when the pen is capped.

The 'Schuykill' is very similar to the Narwhal 'Original' (yes, that's its actual name)--both models are piston-fillers of nearly-identical size and weight--but the 'Original' lacks the ink-view window (it has a lovely engraved barrel band in its stead).

 As you can see, the pen looks quite different in bright light---the blue color really pops!

Even though only 800 were made, the "Porpita Navy" Limited Edition pens are not individually numbered. I've seen many photos of this LE pen online, though, and it seems to me that no two pens look exactly alike (which I think is really cool).

The pen can be posted, but I actually wouldn't recommend it as you could accidentally turn the piston knob when removing the cap (it's actually long enough to be used comfortably unposted by most users)

(please excuse my worn-out bamboo keyboard - its location has the best lighting in the house ;)

Now for some specs, courtesy of Goldspot Pens
Narwhal Schuylkill Fountain Pen Specifications:

  • Finish: Acrylic
  • Trims and Clip: Polished Chrome
  • Nib: No. 6 stainless steel
  • Filling System: Piston mechanism (bottled ink fill only)
  • Pen Length, closed: 5.71 in. / 145 mm
  • Pen Length, open, cap off: 5.16 in. / 131 mm
  • Pen Length, open, cap posted: 6.97 in. / 177 mm
  • Pen Diameter, barrel: 0.51 in. / 13 mm
  • Pen Diameter, section: 0.35 in. - 0.43 in. / 9mm - 11 mm
  • Pen Total Weight: 0.7oz. / 19.8 g

For some reason, I thought the "Porpita Navy" LE was named after a porpoise (the company gives nautical/marine names to all of their pens), but I think it was named after the Blue Button aka Porpita Porpita. What is a Blue Button? Well, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, Porpita is "A genus of small bright-colored siphonophores that float in the warmer parts of the ocean and have a large feeding zooid and a float in the center surrounded by smaller nutritive and reproductive zooids and by slender dactylozooids near the margin". In other words, it's a marine organism that's actually a colony made up of other marine organisms. There's a short video of these graceful creatures in action here (they're not actually jellyfish, but they do sting!).

The pen's gold-plated steel nibs are proudly made in-house by Narwhal and have an engraving of (what else?) a narwhal and some tasteful scrollwork on them. The nib width is stamped on the side of the nib. My particular nib is an F (Fine) and it was very smooth out of the box, with no hard-starting issues, even after several days of non-use. There's very little spring to mine (ie. it's not a flexy nib) but the nib feels "soft" and very pleasant to write with.

A few days after I ordered my pen, Stuart sent me photos of the one he got. As you can see, his "Porpita Navy" LE has more brown shades in it than mine (but I wasn't surprised as I'd seen the colour variation online already):

(photos below are courtesy of Stuart ~ please click on images to enlarge)

I don't know Van Pen's price, but I paid $55 USD (not including shipping) for mine, which I think is a great deal on a piston-filling fountain pen with a very smooth nib...and as Stuart said, the colour of the material is "gorgeous" :)

In addition to the "Porpita Navy LE", the 'Schuykill' model comes in four non-LE colours: Marlin Blue, Asfur Bronze, Chromis Teal, and Rockfish Red. There's also a 'Schuykill 365' LE made of red ebonite, which came out in September 2020. 

Stuart - thank you for your photos for our joint virtual "show & tell", but most of all, thank you for your friendship over the years. May you always use your lovely "Porpita" fountain pen in good health!

(~ review by Maja ~)

Friday, October 8, 2021

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 267

Today we're featuring a very short fountain pen with a very long history (link to excellent Kaweco 'Sport' history document), an immensely popular pocket pen made by the German company Kaweco. It comes in many colourful plastics, but this particular example is metal-bodied and it's owned by Lawrence, who sent in this write-up and photos for our blog:  

(all photos courtesy of Lawrence ~ please click on images to enlarge) 

Lawrence: "This is one of my admittedly non-grail-posse pens. It's the Kaweco Sport Brass and my one and only Kaweco pen."

"It looks beautiful and very compact. It's one of those pens that I do need to post when writing or it will be too short:"

"It's a bit heavy but I don't really mind it. I don't really write with this pen for extended periods (unlike my grail posse) so I can't say very much about how comfortable it will be for long writing periods. Also, just to add to the novelty even more, I got a 1.5 stub. It's actually my first stub-nibbed pen. I like this quasi-"formal" writing feel to the stub and this pen got me interested in them (I have since then gotten a few stub nibs because of this pen). This Kaweco sport comes in a more or less complete range of nibs from ef to stubs, and there are gold nibs available also (18k, I think). This one is stainless steel and has the usual Kaweco nib design."

"Because of its size, it takes smaller cartridges. I think cartridges are the way to go for this pen. I assume that this pen is meant as a "travel pen" of some sort. I did end up getting a small converter for it; it comes it two forms: a squeeze / dropper type and a conventional type. I got the conventional type:"

"It is not a twist but a pull up type (similar to some of the Parker ones):"

"However after using it, I would say that the converters are not the most practical. They are too small to fiddle around with and of course they don't hold too much ink. It would be better to use a cartridge (and maybe fill up that cartridge manually or something).

This Kaweco Sport line comes in all sorts of colours and materials. It's a good size to bring around and easy to store. They sell the pen clip and a pen sleeve separately, which I may consider getting eventually.

The pen writes well, the nib glides smoothly (but then it's a stub so it's not scratchy). However it sometimes burps and creates ink puddles on paper (the only pen that did that for me is a TWSBI that I own), perhaps because the nib is easily switchable, I may have accidentally loosened it up while writing. Being small and of the 1.5 stub, I don't really use this pen too much, but it is quite nice to look at. I may eventually switch the nib to an 18k fine or extra fine.

That's it from me. I'm not too familiar with the Kaweco brand so I don't have much to compare to and it's not fair to make judgements on a pen that I got mainly to "look at" LOL. But once I switch to a finer nib, maybe I will use it more."

Many thanks for the nice write-ups & pics, Lawrence! The Kaweco 'Sport' is a great fountain pen :)
For more info on the current Kaweco 'Sport' lineup, check out this JetPens' article -
Kaweco Sport: A Comprehensive Guide

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 266

A couple of days ago, I got an email from longtime VPC member Christopher saying "Again, a really nice Parker 51 has come my way and gone straight into my collection after restoration and servicing." The email was accompanied by a photo and a nice write-up about it, and Christopher said I was most welcome to share them on this website, so without further ado...

Christopher: "My first big pen stretch was for a vintage Parker 51 and, ever since, I have never admittedly looked back. Parker spent years developing and designing this line of their pens to get them just right, so I think it is safe to say that the original ticks all of the boxes. But after many years of vintage pen collecting, I have become a lot more discerning about the vintage Parker 51s I want to retain in my collection. Of course, being totally addicted to Parker Vacumatics of any kind, the 51 Vacumatic is right out there in front. Not to say that the 51 Aerometric is any less in its perks, but when a vintage Parker 51 Vacumatic comes my way like this one, I consider it both a joy and a privilege to add it to my collection."

(photo courtesy of Christopher ~ please click on image to enlarge)

Christopher: "So what do we have here? Well this is an early Parker 51 single jewel Vacumatic finished in the Parker Cedar blue. It was one of the original colours for the 51 and is smartly offset with a Heritage 1/10, 12K Gold filled Signet cap. Signet being nine grouped chased vertical lines with gap, and engraved on the gold cap band a chased chevron design (similar to the Parker Vacumatic Major, which was being produced at the same time). The cap also sports a solid 14K gold Parker Arrow Blue Diamond warranty clip. The cap screw (Jewel), which is held in place by the cap bushing that secures the clip onto the top of the cap, is aluminum while at the other end of the pen, the Parker Vacumatic filler is the clear plastic button style. As for the nib, it is a fine writing 14K sold gold tubular style, which is 90% covered by a hooded grip section matching the barrel finish

As for dating, the Parker date code on the barrel reads 5. Or translated, the third quarter of 1945.This is also further qualified by a matching Parker date code on the side of the nib (if you remove the nib from the section, as I did to restore and service this fine pen, this code is clearly engraved). The overall condition is very fine and, better still, after an good R&R and polishing, inked up it works like a charm. Definitely a pen I will enjoy for many years to come." 

Christopher, congratulations on another great vintage find, and thank you for sharing this handsome vintage fountain pen with all of us!

Monday, October 4, 2021

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 265

A few weeks ago,  I got a little surprise in the mail--a parcel from my friend (and fellow VPC member) Candice! In it were an assortment of cute stationery-related goodies ... and this cool pen - the HYL demonstrator fountain pen:

(all photos by Maja ~ please click on images to enlarge)

(My HYL fountain pen + the Pen & Ink "India Black" fountain pen ink in it)

The HYL is a clipless, torpedo-shaped demonstrator fountain pen made in China...and yes, it's a clone of the Moonman M2! At first glance, you might think they were actually the same model, but they do have some differences --the HYL is made of injection molded plastic (vs. the turned acrylic of the M2), the HYL and M2 inner barrel ends are different, their metal cap bands are marked with different manufacturer names, and -- most obviously (most importantly, perhaps, for some people??) -- the HYL is available with sparkly caps, sections and barrels (like mine), whereas the M2 barrels are all transparent, as of this writing :)

I don't own a Moonman M2, so this info was gleaned from the "University of YouTube")

One of the things the HYL and Moonman M2 do have in common are their filling systems - both pens are eyedropper-fillers; my HYL pen actually came with a flexible plastic pipette to draw up bottled ink---very handy! I thought that was a nice touch, especially for an inexpensive fountain pen.

The HYL does have a slightly larger barrel volume; because of its injection molding
manufacturing process, the end of its barrel is "hollow" vs. the "filled-in" clear barrel end of the Moonman M2. This means that the HYL can hold a bit more ink than the M2 - a good thing, if ink volume is important to you. A drawback of this manufacturing process, however, is that the HYL barrel end might be more prone to breaking or cracking than its Moonman counterpart; I personally can't see this happening with normal usage, though. As for aesthetics...some people may prefer the M2's solid clear plastic barrel end over the hollowed-out barrel end of the HYL pen...or vice-versa (it's nice to have a choice, though, isn't it?).

(With the black ink inside, the HYL's sparkly barrel looks like a dark night full of stars - lovely!)

Interestingly, one YouTube commenter said that the HYL's material was inherently less prone to cap-cracking during posting than the M2's. When posted, it's around 15 cm long, but because it's so light (13.3 grams), it's still well-balanced. Without its cap, the HYL is about 12 cm long from nib tip to barrel end, so it can be used comfortably unposted. At 13.5 cm capped, it makes for a decently-sized pocket pen (if your pockets are a bit on the large side). 

The step-down from barrel to section isn't big (and the section isn't skinny), so I find it very comfortable to hold lower down the barrel, even though I'm usually a "high-gripper". The plastic surfaces of the HYL are shiny, very smooth and feel nice to the touch, which make for a pleasant writing experience.

Its gold-plated steel #5 size nib is marked "Iridium Point" and "F" (for Fine) and is very smooth--a real joy to use. The HYL is available in three different nib widths---Extra-Fine (0.38mm), Fine (0.5mm) and "Fine Art Pen 0.7mm" (not sure what that means).  The Fine nib on mine is as stiff as a nail---no flex at all--and I only mention this because some folks might be looking for an economical flexy-nibbed fountain pen. You won't find it here, though! 

The nib lays down a nice, wet line, and the ink flow is excellent--the pen hasn't dried out once since I filled it three weeks or so ago. According to one of the YouTube videos I saw, the HYL and Moonman M2 fountain pens have identical nibs, feeds and sections (made by the same OEM - Original Equipment Manufacturer), so the writing experience should be the same, theoretically. 

Price-wise... Well, my pen was a gift so I don't know how much it cost to acquire, but I did find some other HYL fountain pens on Aliexpress (I was checking to see if they came with different cap band colours... and yes, they do!). There might be other sellers on Aliexpress or eBay who sell HYL fountain pens, but suffice to say, you can get one for less than $6 CAD including shipping.

The Pen & Ink "India Black" fountain pen ink above (also shown in the first photo) was made by Art Alternatives in California. I picked it up recently at an art supply store in Tsawwassen and I like it a lot. It shows some feathering on cheap newsprint, but dries very quickly.

All in all, I really enjoy using my new HYL fountain pen---it's a great little demonstrator pen and a reliable writer with a nice smooth nib.  I've had it inked up since I got it and it always starts up without hesitation and lays down a nice, smooth line on any paper I use. Thanks again, Candice, for your thoughtfulness and generosity! :)

~Photos & review by Maja ~