Sunday, May 29, 2022

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 378

Aren't second chances wonderful? In this case, it was my second chance at acquiring a discontinued pen that I'd passed on, a long time ago...

I first spotted the pen at Nikaido
quite a few years ago, but didn't buy it because of its smaller size (and the fact that I had my eyes on so many other pens in their wonderful store!). In the ensuing years, I acquired several other pens made by the same company and enjoyed their nibs, so I decided to look for the pen on which I'd passed. Unfortunately, it was sold out at Nikaido ... and discontinued by the manufacturer. Happily, one of my fellow Vancouver Pen Club members (Melissa) decided to sell hers a few weeks ago. I had some birthday money left over from my Dad, so I jumped at the chance to finally acquire it.

And here it is --my new Online "Highway of Writing" fountain pen:

(please click on photos to enlarge)

The Online writing instrument company was founded in 1991 and according to their official website, their headquarters are located in Neumarkt, Germany (which is about 35 kilometers SE of Nuremberg, where Kaweco writing instruments are made). I'm not sure when this model was released, but it appears in the 2010 Goldspot Pens catalog
as a "new" product.

The 'Highway of Writing' model came in multiple writing forms (fountain pen, rollerball and ballpoint) and in several attractive colours -- Red, Ivory, Blackberry (dark purple), Raspberry (light pink), Peppermint (mint green)-- as well as Black. The retail prices in 2010 were: $48 USD for the fountain pen, $46 for the rollerball and $42 for the ballpoint.

The pen came in a sleek metal box with the manufacturer's name, model name and a retro-styled illustration of a stylish young woman riding a Vespa --with the Eiffel Tower in the background-- on it. The 2010 Goldspot catalog showed two different metal boxes with the pens -- one with an illustration of a vintage car (a Chevrolet?) on it, and the other with an abstract geometric design. I don't know if my pen's box was part of the original packaging lineup or not, but it looks cool and fits the nostalgic theme well.

I've heard some people say that the pen's design was inspired by classic vintage American cars. I did some digging and found a red 1952 Chevrolet Bel Air that definitely reminded me of my pen.

After I posted this review, Stuart mentioned that the pen's design was even more reminiscent of the "fleetback"-bodied automobiles of that era. I found an ad for one such car--a 1949 Chevrolet 'Fleetline' DeLuxe 4 door sedan...

..and I think Stuart's right!

The weight of this small, all-metal pen (with no cartridge/converter in place) is 19 grams, with the cap accounting for 10.6 grams of the total weight.
Because of its metal barrel, the pen would not be a good candidate for conversion to an eyedropper-filler. The pen takes short international ink cartridges, but will also accept the Kaweco mini converters that fit in Kaweco's 'Sport' fountain pens. I tried both styles of Kaweco mini converters (the piston type and the squeeze type) in my Online pen, and they both fit perfectly.

It's definitely a smaller pen -- 12 cm long capped, 10.1 cm uncapped (nib tip to barrel end) and about 12.7 cm posted -- but it feels sturdy and substantial in the hand...

The metal section is subtly flared and goes from 0.9 cm (nearest the nib) to 1.0 cm in width at the section threads. The maximum barrel width is around 1.1 cm.

I find the pen far too short to use unposted, so I always use it posted. I actually find it very comfortable to use that way--the cap posts securely and
doesn't make the pen as unbalanced as it would if it had a longer barrel. I like to use the pen with my fingers gripping it just above the section threads. When held this way, the cap rests comfortably between my thumb and index finger, and feels well-balanced.

The metal rocker clip is very shiny and complements the bright, glossy red of the pen's lacquered metal body.
The pen's thin metal trim rings are equally shiny, and I love how the cap ring comes together with the barrel ring when the cap is screwed on (shown above). Those two rings at the cap end are balanced by a matching metal ring at the barrel end (not shown). You can't see it in this photo, but there's a thin raised line running down the top part of the clip that reminds me of the decorative chrome trim on classic cars from the 1950s. I love those little stylistic touches.

As for functionality, the c
lip attaches securely to fabrics and papers, but it is on the tight side. I find the pen to be more suitable as a true pocket pen, though, as opposed to one that you'd clip onto a shirt pocket.

The ONLINE company name is discreetly silk-screened onto the back of the cap. The cap screws onto the barrel tightly, and I've had no drying-out issues with the nib at all since I acquired the pen.

My pen came with a single-tone steel 1.4mm italic nib, which writes smoothly. It's a great nib width for signing documents or writing out greeting cards, but my smallish handwriting requires a narrower nib so I switched it out with another Online nib and feed of the same type. It's now one of my favourite everyday writers.


All in all, I'm extremely happy with my purchase. It's a great little German-made pen -- stylish, well-made, and fun to use. Many thanks to Melissa for selling the pen to me, and to my Dad for the birthday money!

(photos and review by Maja)

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