Sunday, October 31, 2021

Happy Hallowe'en!

"Radar" & one of my many orange fountain pens...  (click on image to enlarge)

It's a mango-coloured Jinhao '159' that I bought from a fellow Vancouver Pen Club member (thanks, Charles!) a few years ago--a scarily massive fountain pen with a replacement #6 size nib (Goulet Pens steel 1.1mm italic) that I love using. You can find '159's for less than $10 CAD shipped on eBay, and even less on Aliexpress (Goulet Pens replacement nibs sold separately).

(~photo & blog post by Maja~)

Saturday, October 30, 2021

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 278

Here's another great vintage find recently acquired by Stuart! It's an attractive desk set that was part of Sheaffer's "Dry-Proof" desk set line, designed to prevent the set's desk pen from drying out when not in use:

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

Stuart: "Here’s the new baby that was delivered last night! A Sheaffer desk-set, in its original box. This one’s in the 1938 Sheaffer catalog as set F133 GBAZE, and sold for $5.00."( link to 1938 Sheaffer catalog--see page 12).


"The box lid is very frail, with glue holding the top panel on at only one side, and some creasing, but the box bottom is still good for storing the set."

"The base is Pedrara onyx, from Mexico, with a brown plastic disc mounted on top, and a matching brown holder and pen. The #3 pen’s sac is kaput, so I’ve swapped a brown White Dot pen from another set in for the time being. 

The name J. J. Janousek is imprinted on the barrel of the set’s pen, and that name appears on the label on the bottom. Mr. Janousek worked for the Hartford Insurance Co., in the Exchange Building, presumably in Middletown, Ohio, where the set comes from. I like the handwritten date - December 27, 1939! With the pen being personalized, I wonder if the label refers to a work order for the job?"

"I like how Sheaffer packed the desk-pen, with the taper removed and the nib protected by a sturdy cardboard sleeve, a great idea! Even at the lower end of their range of desk-sets, Sheaffer provided handsome packaging.

I’m very pleased with this set! The one in the 1941 catalog has a black pen, holder, and disc, so not quite the same. I like the brown colour scheme - very handsome. Sheaffer used black or brown for its desk-pens and matching parts, I guess because they’re the most formal, dignified colours. I’m impressed with how the disc and holder on mine have retained their polished shine over 82 years - Sheaffer quality!" 

Congrats to Stuart on another wonderful addition to his vintage desk set collection!

For more information on the designs (yes, there were more than one) behind Sheaffer's "Dry-Proof" desk sets, check out Roger Wooten's (archived) article: "The Dry Socket Base"

Thursday, October 28, 2021

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 277

VPCer Stuart paid another visit to the Vancouver Pen Shop (whose annual sale has been extended--see end of blog post) recently and came back with some very cool items---a beautiful fountain pen made by the Narwhal pen company, and a very special "special edition" ink made for his favourite pen store :)

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

Stuart: "I picked up the Narwhal Key West Key Largo yesterday, and a bottle of the exclusive anniversary ink made for the Vancouver Pen Shop by Robert Oster. Together they offer a striking contrast!"

"The pen’s gorgeous, with its vivid blue colour and prominent sparkles, giving it a starry night sky look which is very beautiful"

"The Medium steel nib is smooth, very nice to write with. The acrylic material of the pen is very slick, making it a little slippery in the hand, but the metal thread section helps with the grip. The cap does not post on the end of the barrel."

"It comes in a very cool box, as can be seen, with the pen inside a black vinyl case embossed with the Narwhal name, and having a snap closure - very nice packaging, especially at the price!"

"The ink is a surprise - a light cocoa colour with hints of green. It shades nicely, with good flow. The only other ink like it is MB’s Swan Illusion Plume. It’s a subtle and sophisticated ink, it catches the eye and is very chic. And it’s only at Van Pen!"

Congratulations to the Vancouver Pen Shop on their exclusive Robert Oster ink, made for their store's 35th anniversary! Due to shipments of product being slow to arrive, the Vancouver Pen Shop's annual anniversary sale (featured in this blog post) has been extended until after Remembrance Day, November 11th (per their FB post), so if you're looking for some good deals, check them out!

Robert Oster inks also celebrated an anniversary recently--their 5th! Their inks are proudly made in Australia and have become hugely popular since they came out in 2016. Narwhal Pens are even younger--they released their first products in 2019. They're an American company (I just found that out a few days ago) whose pens are produced in China. 

This is actually Stuart's third Narwhal fountain pen--his 'Original' and 'Schuykill' models (released in 2019 and 2020, respectively) were both reviewed earlier on our blog. Whereas those two are piston-fillers, the 'Key West' model (featured in today's blog post) is Narwhal's first cartridge/converter-filling fountain pen (all three pens, however, are in the sub-$75 CAD category). Both the Vancouver Pen Shop and Charals pen & gift store (also in downtown Vancouver) carry Narwhal writing instruments.

Stuart--thanks so much for the photos and reviews...and thank you to everyone in our club who' has contributed to our little virtual "show & tell" since we started it eighteen months ago :)


Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 276

It's currently the top-selling fountain pen on right now, so it has a ton of online reviews already, but I thought I'd share my own thoughts on my new Amazon Basics fountain pen in this post...

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

Amazon Basics is Amazon's private label brand for household goods, electronics, office goods and many more categories. I find it amusing that the brand's one and only fountain pen is described as the "Amazon Basics Refillable Fountain Pen" on their website & pamphlet... as if the average fountain pen user would assume it's not refillable :)


The pen came in a very simple black plastic clamshell presentation box with no manufacturer's name on it. I thought it odd that Amazon didn't put the Amazon Basics name and/or logo on it, just to jazz it up a bit. On the other hand, some buyers might appreciate the lack of branding, in case they want to reuse it as a gift box.


Though the box is simple, it cushioned the pen inside very well -- there are even cutouts for the two spare ink cartridges!

According to YouTuber Pen Boy Roy, the pen was made by the Shanghai Qiangu Stationery Company, a Chinese manufacturer that also makes Jinhao writing instruments, among other brands.

It is a narrower fountain pen, but I still find it comfortable to hold. The barrel and cap are made of lacquered brass, and the pen is a very glossy black colour. In fact, the pen is currently only available in black, which reminds me of Henry Ford's quote about the Model T automobile -“Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it's black."


Dimensions (my measurements): 13.5 cm capped, 11.8 cm uncapped (nib tip to barrel end), and 15 cm posted. The weight of the pen is 32 grams (according to my kitchen digital scale) with no cartridge/converter in place.


The pen comes with an unadorned #5 steel nib with only the nib size ("M" for Medium, in this case) stamped on it. It's also available with a Fine nib, but I chose the wider nib as I knew it was a Chinese-made pen and suspected that the Fine would run a little narrow. The Medium nib on mine does, in fact, write like a Medium-Fine, so I'm glad I got a pen with a Medium nib.

At the time I bought it, the Medium-nibbed pen was slightly more expensive, but today the Medium is cheaper. Go figure. The nib on mine is a bit "toothy" and has some audible feedback, but I like that. It has also a bit of spring to it, but no real flex.

It came with three "Amazon Basics"- branded ink cartridges filled with black ink-- two nestled in the presentation box and one in the barrel. The cartridges are branded with the Amazon Basics logo, and although they resemble short standard international cartridges, they have a slightly longer "chimney" (as reviewer Pen Boy Roy calls it). For this reason, standard short international cartridges might not fit the Amazon Basics' section "nipple" properly, leading to ink leakage. Oddly enough, you can't buy the Amazon Basics ink cartridges separately on Amazon (!), but, apparently, Jinhao ink cartridges will fit (not surprising).

As for converters...The pen didn't come with one, so I tried a German K5 international converter (seen in photos above and below) I had at home to see if it would work...


...and it fits perfectly, with no apparent leakage!

The clip has the Amazon Basics logo (which incorporates Amazon's famous smile/arrow) stamped on it. Interestingly, the top of the clip (not shown) doesn't have "China" stamped on it, unlike some of the same pens reviewed on YouTube. It's quite a stiff clip, but I've seen worse on other pens. The cap is a snap-on, and it caps with a pleasant, reassuring click.

The pen posts very securely, with no wobbling at all, and I find it to be well-balanced when posted. One complaint I've heard from some reviewers is that the polished chrome section is a bit slippery, but I wasn't bothered by it. There is one tiny detail that does bug me, and that is that the cap top is slightly different than the barrel end; the former has two rings, whereas the latter has three rings. It's a very small detail that isn't very noticeable (unless you look for that sort of thing...which I do :) but hey - I like symmetry!

The Amazon Basics fountain pen with Medium nib is currently (10/26/2021) priced at $8.08 CAD on and the Fine-nibbed version is $11.04 CAD. Both are backed by a 1-year limited warranty from Amazon Basics. I've found Amazon's return policy to be very good and hassle-free, so the warranty is a big "plus" in my book. Yes, it's a pretty nondescript fountain pen, but it feels good in the hand and writes well. Your mileage may vary, as the saying goes, but at $8/$11 CAD with free shipping, I think it's worth trying out.

(~ all photos & review by Maja ~)

Sunday, October 24, 2021

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 275

A couple of weeks ago, VPCer Stuart sent in some photos of a new pen-related acquisition for our club's virtual "show & tell". It's the newest addition to his ever-growing collection of vintage desk sets--a simple yet elegant example made by a pen company that made many beautiful desk sets...

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

Stuart: "This arrived last night from Michigan! It’s an Eversharp desk set from the 1940’s, with a solid glass base, 7 inches in diameter, and a pen with a 14K Fine point nib."

"The base is heavy, and shows no sign of ever having had felt attached to its bottom - I suspect the designers wanted to showcase the beautiful qualities of the glass."

"The pen’s sac is good, and flushed residue of green ink when I cleaned it. The nib is a beautiful writer, silky-smooth with an even line. The original box came also, but it’s in ugly condition so I didn’t photograph it.

I’m delighted with this set, especially as it was only $28 CDN before shipping! It looks as though it didn’t get much use, everything is clean and shiny."

What a great deal on a great desk set! Our thanks, as always, to Stuart for his ongoing contributions to our pen club's blog :)

Friday, October 22, 2021

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 274

From vintage to modern we go with this beautiful fountain pen made by the Sailor Pen Company in Japan! Stuart was kind enough to send in a few photos of his brand-new Sailor that (according to Sailor's official website) was only sold overseas...

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

 Stuart: "Here are the pics of the Sailor Pro Gear Slim “Sunset Over The Ocean” SE (Special Edition)."

"The bright light brings out the sparkles in the blue of the barrel..."

 "...and the iridescence of the red end caps - so beautiful!"

Stuart, thank you so much for sharing your lovely new pen with us---it's a real looker!

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 273

From one wonderful gold pen to another! This is another one of Christopher's recent vintage acquisitions...

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

Christopher: "As with so many vintage pens I have run across, the original source on this particular pen was just not available. A thorough going-over with a 20x magnifying loupe produced no clues on either the barrel or cap. And the nib, as fine as it is, only carries the imprinting Warranted and 14K, which I do not think relates to the pen's origin either. Still, a magnificent gold overlay and well worth having. Collectors of vintage pens, for the most part, are usually impressed enough to not pass up on the likes of gold overlays, even without id markings.

This pen is of good size and in just brilliant shape overall. Better still, when filled, it lays down the ink most responsibly. I could not pass up on the opportunity of tying its style and make up in with at least one manufacturer, and what I found with my research is that it seem to be well-connected, at least in part, with Wahl Eversharp in the early nineteen twenties."

There are a couple of nice articles on Wahl's All-Metal" fountain pens from the 1920s on
-- Wahl Art Deco Metal Pens 1921-1929
-- Wahl Art Deco Machine Engraved Patterns 1921-1929 (the photos are stunning!)

Our thanks, as always, to Christopher for his contributions to our little virtual "show & tell" :)

Monday, October 18, 2021

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 272

Today we're shining a spotlight on a wonderful vintage fountain pen belonging to Christopher (who has no shortage of wonderful vintage pens ;)

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

Christopher: "Every once in a while, after a decade of serious vintage pen collecting, even I am surprised at what comes my way. Case in point, a somewhat rare Waterman’s 594, and what makes this writing instrument stand apart is the fact that the entire finish is solid 14K Gold, including a rather large Waterman Ideal number 4 nib. But what really captures the eye regarding this fine fountain pen, is its simple elegance and quality. I believe it was Waterman who first invented the capillary action feed, which delivered the ink to the nib and created what we know now as the fountain pen. And in turn, he founded the company which many years later, just prior to the second world war, brought this pen to life.

The 594 model number relates first to the solid 14K gold overlay complete casing finish with the numeral 5. Next, the number 9 refers to the overall size or diameter of the pen, which is quite stocky and finally, the numeral 4 is in regard to the size of the nib."

"But there is more available on this pen in the way of identification. During the 1920s, Waterman came up with a number of coloured cap bands, each different coloured band identifying the type of nib to be found in the pen. This colour nib id was also to be found engraved directly on the nib. In the case of this 594 pen, the word ‘Red’ can be found well engraved into the 14K gold of the nib. This word Red refers to a Standard Point, for home and general use with a medium flex. And in restoring and servicing this pen, that medium flex is more than apparent."

"The style or design of the pen is a Waterman 94 from the late 1930s and early 1940s, which was available in many different finishes at that time but, again, this pen has a unique feature in its personalization, on the 14K gold barrel, which ends with a date of 7-28-44. This date is totally in keeping with the pen model’s first release in 1938. I am sure this lever filler writing instrument was ordered and acquired for its gifting in the days just before that date was prime. 
It is a good size at 6 1/2 inches posted, but caps back to a reasonable 5 inches, closely comparable in length to a Parker Oversized Vacumatic pen. And may I mention yet again, that it has a healthy girth but sits extremely well balanced in the hand. Both the cap and barrel ends are flat, but the barrel end does sport the model branding of 594. The clip is beautifully designed with an attractive tapering and just a hint of a flattened ball end. The condition I would have to say is very fine and with a velvet and silk lined jeweler’s pen display box from the period compliments this fine piece perfectly.  In closing, a superb addition to my vintage pen collection."

What a gorgeous writing instrument...and what a find! Congratulations, Christopher, on your beautiful fountain pen, and thank you so much for sharing it with us here on our pen club's blog.

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; the store is quite far from where I live, but I had an appointment in Cloverdale that day and their Langley store wasn't far away. 

Anyway, I'd recently checked the Opus website  to see what pens they were currently carrying, and I noticed that they stocked Kaweco 'Sport' fountain pens. I own two other 'Sport' fountain pens, but I didn't own a version with a gold-plated nib & gold-coloured trim. I had an appointment in the area, so I decided to drive out to Langley and 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 X-Compact' reusable shopping bag. The bag is foldable--with snaps--and is made of rip-stop polyester that can hold up to 45 lbs--impressive for just $2.50!)

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. "

**For an excellent, in-depth look at the long history of the Kaweco 'Sport', I'd highly recommend this document:'Kaweco Sport History' document (34 page PDF)

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 did a nice review of his brass 'Sport' fountain pen here on our blog. Though our two 'Sport' fountain pens are made of different materials, design-wise, they're pretty much the same pen --same octagonal cap & barrel, same nib, and same medallion-like finial with the Kaweco logo. 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.

Because the 'Sport' has such a short barrel, it can only accommodate short international ink cartridges (it came with one with blue ink it) or one of two types of short Kaweco converters. In his review, Lawrence mentions the two types of
short Kaweco converters that fit the 'Sport'---the squeeze-type and the plunger type. Kaweco also makes a full-sized converter, but it won't fit the 'Sport' models.

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 (EF, F, M, B and BB) and in different materials (stainless steel,
gold-plated stainless steel, and black PVD-coated stainless steel). If you want to upgrade your 'Sport', you can even buy spare nibs in 14K gold and rhodium-plated 14K gold (for a premium, of course). To give you even more choices, 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 "regular" stainless steel (ie. not gold-plated/black).

**Jet Pens has a comprehensive guide on how to swap out the 'Sport' nibs here that's worth reading if you're planning to change nibs, because the nibs on the metal 'Sport' pens are removed in a different manner than the plastic versions.

As mentioned earlier, Kaweco makes clips (which are octagonal, like the pens) for the 'Sport' that are availabe in four colours - gold, silver, bronze and black. The clips are sold separately, but I didn't see any for sale at Opus (I have seen them at other local pen shops). I had one in the gold colour that I purchased from Charals a few years ago, and that's the one you see in the photo above; I think it complements the pen's burgundy colour quite beautifully. 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 (they fit the same pens, though) -- the clip you see 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 latter clip only comes in two colours- silver and gold; the curvy clip comes in all four colours. 

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, the "N clip" is by far my favourite, more than likely because my parents used vintage Kaweco fountain pens when they were younger (photo here) 😊

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). Bit of trivia from the J. Herbin website: the 30mL J. Herbin bottled inks with the little pen rest are known as “D bottle" pen inks, the “D” referring to an old French unit of measure - “la Demi Courtine".

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

I hesitated to buy it because it's not a very saturated ink (and I prefer 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, attentive, 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 ~)