Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 241

"Back to School" Pens ~ Part 1

I was at my local Walmart this past weekend and saw a lot of back-to-school supplies on display. There were no fountain pens among them, but it inspired me to make this post, which features a Schneider 'Voice' fountain pen I bought three months ago from The Online Pen Company  for just £4.36 ($7.80 CAD, at the time of purchase).

(please click on images to enlarge)

The 'Voice' is a German-made pen created by a company that has a long history of making affordable writing instruments for all ages. This particular model was marketed towards students, but it can be held comfortably and used by adults who are looking for an inexpensive, reliable, knockaround fountain pen to carry around.

A few months ago, I saw a very similar Schneider model called the Schneider 'Easy' that VPCer Ben R. owned (it was a gift from his mother, purchased overseas). I'd originally intended to buy exactly the same pen as Ben's, but when I spotted my orange 'Voice' fountain pen, I wound up choosing it because I loved the colour and graphics; mine has a cool "connect-the-dots" pattern on its barrel, but the pen is available in other colours and patterns.

My 'Voice' pen also reminded me of another Schneider fountain pen model, the more-expensive 'Ceod Classic' that I blogged about here last year. That pen was a smooth writer, so I decided to take a chance on the 'Voice' and added it to my online order. It arrived safe and sound from the U.K, along with the other two items I ordered at the same time. The shipping was very reasonable and The Online Pen Company's customer service was excellent--highly recommended!

The Schneider 'Voice' is a very light plastic fountain pen, which makes it good for long writing sessions such as note-taking during classes or long meetings. The capped length of the pen is about 15 cm/5.9 inches; uncapped, it's around 13.5 cm/5.3 inches. The weight of the capped pen is 15 grams with no cartridge/converter in place, and uncapped it comes in at 9 grams empty.

The posted length (as shown above) is 17 cm if you push the cap in as far as possible. That's a whopping 6.7 inches posted, but since the pen so light, it's still well-balanced and comfortable to use when posted.

The pen uses short and long standard international ink cartridges, and can also take a standard international converter. My pen came with a Schneider-branded short cartridge filled with erasable Royal Blue ink (for which you need the Schneider "Corry" ink eraser/correction pen). The barrel is long enough to hold a spare short cartridge, which is very convenient for students.


The snap-on cap, like the barrel end of the pen, is slanted and suits the pen's modern, youthful design; the matching cap and barrel ends also create a nice symmetry. The clip is sturdy and yet quite flexible. With this degree of flexibility, though, comes the risk of accidental breakage during use; for this student model, Schneider wisely designed a clip with extra plastic at the pivot point (see above).

The molded ergonomic section is rubberized to enhance the user's grip on the pen, and is triangular in shape, to facilitate proper finger positioning. All in all, it's very comfortable to hold and use. On their website, Schenider states that it's "equally suitable for both left-handed and right-handed users".

The pen's steel nib has no nib width marked on it that I could see, but mine writes like a true Medium. The nib seems a bit too small for the pen (in my opinion) but is engraved with some cool geometric swirls. At first glance, it looks exactly like the nib on the Schneider 'Ceod Classic' I mentioned earlier in this post....

 ...but where is its tipping material??!?

Answer:  It has no tipping!

Unlike the 'Ceod Classic', the 'Voice's nib has no tipping material because it has a "butterfly nib", a nib with a writing surface that was created by folding the tines inwards. These types of nibs were used in cheap vintage fountain pens, but I've seen them on some other modern pens, too (including the Schneider 'Easy'). My pen's untipped steel nib actually writes quite smoothly, but your mileage may vary, as the saying goes. If your nib is a bit scratchy, you could try aligning the tines gently (and carefully) with your fingernail, but exercise caution so you don't damage the tines.

In summary, if you're looking for a light, inexpensive, reliable plastic fountain pen that you can take to school or use in other settings, you might want to consider the Schneider 'Voice'. It's also a handy pen to have around the house; I often find myself grabbing it to make quick notes because it doesn't dry up between uses. If you like the look of the pen, but don't want a fountain pen, it also comes in rollerball form.

~ Review & photos by Maja ~

P.S. One last photo (I used a filter on this one) - my fountain pen laying on a Hilroy exercise book.
This beloved brand was founded in Toronto by Roy Corson Hill and celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2018. I have fond memories of using Hilroy exercise books in elementary school, so I was pleased to see that (a) they're still around, (b) they look very similar to the ones from my childhood (although the Canadian map on the front has been updated with the addition of Nunavut), and (c) they're still being made right here in Canada! Hilroys are considered
the industry standard for exercise books, they've been used by countless schoolchildren over the last century and are a true Canadian classic :)

Best of luck to all students, educators and their support staff in the new school year!

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