Thursday, October 28, 2010


Somehow, I stumbled across Jet Pens -- then Strikethu reviewed a pair of their pens, which put them squarely in the "probably good" category.

I'd set a bit of funding aside and last weekend, ordered a few nifty items. They arrived yesterday (free shipping, at my door in three business days, from California), well packed, and all at least as nice as promised. Jet Pens is good!
[click for larger image]
Left to right, top to bottom to bottom:
Kaweco (warning: music) "Classic Sport," a full-size (when posted) fountain pen that, thanks to clever design, is about half-size when capped. Designed as a pocket pen, even the clip is an (inexpensive) accessory. It feels good in my hand and the nib is very smooth. It is a classic-looking pen, even with the unusual oversize cap (not only does that make the short length work, it offers a little more protection than the usual size). Ink for it at right. Despite the name sounding a bit Japanese to American ears (due to syllabic structure, I think), it's made in Germany. Love those graphics! At $15.00, this is an inexpensive pen, excellent value for the money.
Next, the brown pen is a Noodler's aerometric fill, handmade made of genuine ebonite. I said the Kaweco had a smooth nib? This is a step or two more smooth. A very plain-looking pen at first sight, but don't be fooled! Those timeless, 1920-or-this-year looks are no illusion: this pen is as good as any golden age Parker Duofold or Conklin at a third the price (or less).
To the right, three tiny Pilot "Petit1" pens in jewel-bright colors. The ink is well-behaved, doesn't run at color crossings and the nibs are outstanding, especially for a $4.50 pen. They're so small that you just about have to post the cap in order to write with them. I'll be saving up for the full set of 12. One drawback, the ink cartridge appears to be proprietary; they're available at the source, though, and inexpensive.
Back on the left, another Pilot, a "Plumix" with a music nib. I had thought it might be good for handwriting, as they can be run backwards, unlike most "Italic" calligraphy nibs. Yes and no -- my sloppy Spencerian cursive doesn't work well with the nib angle, but it is very good for printing and genuine Italic writing. (I'm trying to remember the style of printing, rapid and fairly legible, I adopted some years ago, can't bring it to mind. Aargh!) (29 October: Got it! Chancery cursive, which is not all that cursive as we know the term. For very pretty examples, look here.
Finally, underneath it all, a Maruman Mnemosyne "Inspiration" note pad, grid-ruled and about 8.5" by 6". I'm evaluating it to possibly replace my current Moleskines field-type notebook (same size, staple bound) once it is filled with notes. (At a page per day, they last three or four months.) The paper is wonderful! It takes ink well, with no bleed-through or running and feels smooth and neutral. I'm not sure how well the ring-binding will hold up in my purse -- I may need to keep a pencil in there to protect the rings from being crushed. (Gotta like the neckless-people cartoons showing the note pad in use, too).


  1. Interesting dissection of such a simple yet important device. I love this article and this blog.

  2. Argh, you must be possessed of the devil or some vile witchery! So many pens, so many colors, so many nibs and brushes to consider.
    And then, evil temptress that you apparently are, you even provided direct links to the most seductive of all.
    What'll thy guys at the range say when they see their targets scored in calligraphic technicolor?
    Doomed! I am doomed!

  3. Noodler's has their own fountain pens!?!?!?!!

    Great, there goes all my free cash again. At least they're pretty reasonable ($25 is very good, if they're any decent quality).

    And today is payday, too. :D

    On a similar note, I would also recommend Pen & Ink Sketch fountain pens. They run about $15, come with a converter, and have pretty smooth nibs (the one I have compares well to my Waterman Phileas). They could easily get away with charging $50 or so, I think.

  4. Jet Pens have a great store. I've dealt with the a few times now. Next thing on the agenda is to try one of those Noodler's pens. I suspect Jake is right about what they could get away with charging.

    It would have to try hard to be any worse than the current production crescent-fill Conklins. I have one of their "Mark Twain" series. Its nib is pathologically wet, by which I mean the miserable thing drools ink like a funnel-web spider drools venom.

    Anyway, nice score! If you get really bored, I've heard of people converting those little Kaweco pens to eyedropper fill.

  5. Any comparisons to the Lamy Safari? I've got a couple with medium and broad nibs, all with the converter so I can bottle-fill. No dribbling. Works fine through airplane flights. (Haven't ruined any shirts ... yet.)

  6. I think the Kaweco nib is a little smoother than my Lamy Safari. The Noodler's is a lot smoother. I haven't owned either long enough to know about leakage but it looks good.

    jbrock, I'm sorry to hear that. Early in the relaunch, Conklins were good pens.

  7. Pendemonium in Ft. Madison has a nib grinder on staff who will put a calligraphic tip onto a
    Lamy broad nib. Nice bold line, with thicks and
    thins for semi-calligraphic writing.
    Anon, Don

  8. Well, Roberta, now you've done it. I just ordered the same Noodler's pen you showed here. You evil temptress, you. :)

    jbrock: I was talking about the Pen & Ink Sketch pen, but I bet Noodler's could also charge that much easily, or even more.

    Speaking of Noodler's, has anyone told JayG about this? Noodler's Brown in honor of Senator Scott Brown. Shiny!

    wv=nessies: No, I don't think nessies use fountain pens. They don't work too well underwater.

  9. FWIW, I'm running Noodler's "Bulletproof" black ink in most of my pens, ph-neutral and highly water-resistant once it dries. It's a pretty smooth ink. I've got one of their (non-fast) brown shades, too (Old Dutch Colony Sepia), but have only used it in one of my older pens.

  10. Same here, except for the Waterman that is my daily pen at work. I use their "Luxury Blue" (also a Bulletproof ink) in that one so I get a contrasting signature color on the original copies of legal documents. One of the reasons I use Noodler's exclusively is the Bulletproof guarantee, since I'm notarizing legal documents.

    The pen I just ordered, though, is going to get their "Bad Belted Kingfisher" ink - part of the new "Warden" series designed to resist newer fraud techniques. It looks like a pretty nice shade of dark blue, too.

  11. Lot'sa goodies from now on their way. Thanks all!

  12. Don't forget to give Noodler's "Dark Matter" a test run. I've been using it in both a Cross ATX and a Lanbitou 866 with excellent results.

  13. Order arrived. Love the Noodler's Pen (and everything else). Thanks for the pointer and reviews!

    Next, I've got to get one of these:

  14. Mine was waiting in the mailbox on Monday, with the ink waiting on the front steps. I've been using it since then, and I love it!

    The Bad Belted Kingfisher is darker than I expected, though. I've ordered a bottle of Bad Blue Heron to try next.

    Time to stock up on Ramen for a bit, I suppose.

  15. Happy to have spread the addiction!