Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 328

I first heard of the Ranga pen company on the Fountain Pen Network about ten or eleven years ago, and knew it was a long-established family business in India that created handmade writing instruments of very good quality. Last May, the company offered an international group buy for their Ranga '9B' fountain pens but since I'd already overspent on pens that month, I passed on it. 

Flash forward to a few weeks ago when I saw a video made by one of my fellow pen club members, singing the praises of the Ranga '9B' fountain pen he got for a great price (via the group buy that I passed on 🙄) - you can see the review on his excellent YouTube channel. I checked online and found that Ranga were also selling their fountain pens on, so I went ahead and placed an order for the big brother of the '9B' model there (Amazon link)....

Pinchy the crab getting a real workout with my new Ranga 'Giant 9B'  fountain pen

 (~please click on images to enlarge~)

Shortly after I ordered it, the seller contacted me to ask what ebonite material I wanted for my pen. I chose the orange & black premium ebonite (one of 14 different premium ebonite colour choices) with a "mirror" (polished) finish. I paid $115 CAD (including $22 CAD shipping) for my pen, which was the clipless eyedropper version with a Ranga steel nib. The seller then sent me a message asking if I wanted to upgrade my pen (for an extra $36 USD) to the version that took a converter/cartridge and had a screw-in JoWo nib. I thanked him for the offer, but turned it down as I wanted the Ranga nib on my pen.

The seller's communication was excellent throughout, and the pen arrived via DHL from India exactly two weeks after I confirmed the features I wanted. Oh, and I didn't even have to pay DHL for any duties and/or processing fees, which was a surprise (the first of many, as you'll see).

The pen came in a nice Ranga-branded snap-fastening box....

...and inside the box were several items, in addition to the Ranga pen....

...namely, a plastic eyedropper (for filling the pen with bottled ink), a spare ebonite feed, a steel Wality nib, and a free fountain pen! The free pen isn't branded, but it's a smaller piston-filling demonstrator. I haven't tried it yet--I've been having too much fun with the Ranga pen---but I will. Many thanks to Ranga for the freebies!

The back of the Ranga business card (above) has photos of the various models they make. This is very handy if you're like me and have problems remembering fountain pen model numbers lol.

Ranga says their pens are "completely handmade" (there's a great YouTube video that shows exactly how they make them--from scratch-- here) and mine is very well-made. The cap and barrel threads are carefully hand-cut (the cap screws on & off smoothly and in less than one turn), the ebonite material is beautifully shaped and polished, and the whole pen feels great in the hand. The pen does post, but at 7 inches unposted, there is absolutely no need to post it. Despite its size, the pen isn't particularly heavy--about 35 grams uncapped when completely filled with ink, and 52 grams capped & fully inked. Uncapped, it is so well-balanced that when I use it, I don't feel like I'm holding a baton-sized pen.

Ranga model 'Giant 9B' fountain pen (data from

Capped Length: 7 inches.

Cap Dia : 18.75mm dia

Barrel Dia: 18.75mm dia

Section Dia: 14mm at thickness part , 12.5mm at holding part.

Feed: Ebonite

The parcel's packing material was a simple, coarsely-woven white cloth bag that was hand-stitched shut, with the sender and recipient's addresses hand-written on it (photo above). 

The pen came with a monotone gold-coloured steel #6 Ranga nib stamped with a stylized crown made of nibs, the Ranga name in cursive font, and the letter M (for medium). I chose the Medium nib option, and I'm happy to say the nib writes very well (there's no flex to it, but I wasn't expecting any). A big "Thank you!" to Ranga Pens for putting a nice, big nib on this giant of a fountain pen; I own some moderate-to-large fountain pens with nibs that are far too small for them. This Ranga is not one of them :)

Tip: I highly recommend a YouTube video by Fountain Pen Revolution (a seller of many Indian pen brands, including Ranga) called 'How to fill an eyedropper fountain pen' . It tells you how to prevent hard-starting issues in eyedropper-filling fountain pens by priming their feeds (that bit starts at the 2min 55sec mark of the video). I haven't used up all the ink in my Ranga (it holds A LOT of ink), so I don't know if my pen will develop "burping" issues as the ink supply in its barrel dwindles; if it does, I'll post an update here. A very late addition to this review---several months after this review, I noticed that the barrel tube only extends a little over 7cm, meaning that the /entire/ barrel isn't hollow.

I have only one complaint about the pen, and it's a very small one...literally. The pen came with a tiny hole drilled into the side of its cap; I knew this was done by the manufacturer to equalize the pressure in the cap, thus preventing ink from flying into the cap when it was removed. The hole, though, had very rough, raised edges, which I noticed as soon as I picked up the pen (I actually felt the hole before I saw it). The rest of the pen was glassy-smooth, so it was a bit of a shock.

I emailed Ranga to let them know, after I'd carefully sanded the hole's rough edges down with some very fine Micromesh (the end result is shown in the photo above). Mr. M.P. Kandan--the son of Ranga's owner, Master Penmaker M.S. Pandurangan--promptly replied and thanked me for my feedback (which also included praise for their fine craftsmanship)This small issue won't deter me from ordering another Ranga pen, but I thought I should mention it in my review for the sake of completeness.

All in all, I am extremely pleased with this beautifully-crafted handmade fountain pen. If you're not into fountain pens, Ranga also makes handcrafted ballpoint pens and rollerballs in both ebonite and acrylic in a wide variety of colours, shapes and sizes. Many of their writing instruments offer both clipped and clipless options, so there's plenty from which to choose.

(photos & review by Maja)

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