Here's an old educational film from Sheaffer about writing, the history of writing, and of course, how fountain pens work. I really love these vintage educational films, so much that I own a few (not that I have a projector!) from the archives at SIU-C.
I am starting to get more and more into fountain pens. So far, I've only bought cheap ones that I have heard good things about, things that somewhat write above their price. Platinum Preppy & Plaisir (which is the Preppy in a metal body), Pilot Metropolitan & Varsity...those types. I also just got a Jinhao 159 that I plan on reviewing in the future. This is all to support my Lamy Al-Star, which is the most expensive piece in the collection at $36. Unless something catches my eye at a higher price, I think I would like to sit in that sub-$30 range for a little while, as I still don't use them as my daily writer. The pencil has and will fill that role for the foreseeable future. So you can think of me as the Cheap Fountain Pen Guy.
That being said, I think ink is where it's at. It just seems to be a rabbit hole that will be fun to go down. Today, I'm talking about the Private Reserve Avocado Green ink. My friend Jason at the Art Coop turned me on to this. I was in there and we were discussing my recent cheap pen purchases, and as he was showing my something of his (something from Kaweco, I think) he wrote in this ink and I was blown away. As I said in a previous post, I'm a sucker for dark green, and had bought a few green inks in the past, searching for one that was perfect, but hadn't found anything I liked. The Lamy green ink has a little too much blue tint for me, and the Monteverde Yosemite has an emerald jewel tone to it. When I saw this one, I loved it immediately. It borders on green/black, but is just a bit less black. It's very saturated in color, so there is no thinning out and very little shading differences. Private Reserve is a small company based in Indiana, and their inks seem to have come and gone on some of the bigger online retailers. Their look leaves a little to be desired and the website needs a drastic redesign, so I can see why people haven't gravitated towards their inks. However, it's what's inside the bottle that counts, and count me in for this Avocado.
Available from Anderson Pens, $11.
Happy New Year! This is the first fountain pen review I've ever done, and I am by no means an expert, but I have been dipping my toe into ink recently, so to speak. I have yet to delve into the deep world of fountain pen obsession, and because I am and always will be Pencil First™, don't expect a lot of these. However, the fountain pen world is one that has always interested me, and what a better way to learn about them than to research and review? Thanks for taking this journey with me.
The fountain pen hobby can be expensive, but absolutely does not have to be. A video from Brian Goulet of Goulet Pen Company brought me to this realization. His video, Top 5 Fountain Pens for Newbies, listed 4 pens under $15, plus the Lamy Safari at $30 as a step up.
One of the pens listed was the Platinum Preppy that I'm reviewing today. I had actually purchased this before I had found the video, basically due to the price (sub-$4!) and the deals that were going on at the time from Pen Chalet. I will be buying from Goulet Pens very soon, though, as his videos have been extremely informative and I would like to reward that. Which is not to say my experience with Pen Chalet wasn't any good...it was awesome.
Enough about that, on to the review.
At first glance, you can tell this is a $4 pen. The clear barrel seems to be pretty fragile, like a drop or an accidental step on it would crush it. If it were in your bag that was on the floor of a coffee shop and someone stepped on it, it could ruin your day (and bag). The barrel has the Preppy logo on one side and some UPC / instructions on the other side. This is printed on. At first, I thought the UPC side was a sticker and it could be removed, but no, it can not. That is a shame, because being a clear pen, you can't really get the full affect of seeing the inner workings with all that logo information on it. I did find a site that had some tips about removing it without clouding up the clear plastic, but I'm not so sure it's worth the hassle on a $4 pen.
The nib color is supposed to match the cap color. I got black, but it came with a silver nib. I don't really mind that, but I think had I bought one of the colors and it didn't come with the colored nib, I'd be a little more upset. Again, $4 pen.
I bought the Fine nib, or in Platinum parlance, the 03 Nib. This is a very fine nib compared to the medium nib on my Lamy Al-Star. One thing I'm learning is that Japanese and European nibs have differences, similar to the hardness scale of pencils, but in reverse. A Japanese Fine is finer than a German Fine, and in the pencil world, a German 2B is harder than a Japanese 2B. But I love the nib. I don't really like a super fine line, and this might be as fine as I'm comfortable with. I don't see myself going for a finer nib any time soon.
The ink flows very nicely for such a cheap pen. I bought the converter, which was more expensive than the pen itself, so I could try out a new green ink I bought at the same time. It was my first time working with a converter, but it was a snap to work with and I haven't had any problems. The pen acts just like if I had a cartridge in there.
The Preppy is very light weight, especially for a fountain pen. It's capped length is 5.5 inches, cap off 4.75 inches, and with the cap posted, it's 6 inches. The cap snaps on fairly well and it is spring loaded, so it helps the cap come off once the initial pull is made.
This pen is cheap enough that even the most miserly person can afford to try it out to see if they like fountain pens. It's perfect for a recommendation, because it's cheap enough that they won't feel like they've spent too much, yet it is good enough to get people hooked and simple enough (especially with cartridges) that they wouldn't be overwhelmed.
Here's a writing sample with some Monteverde Yosemite Green ink. Green inks are my favorite and have become something of a trademark for me, or at least, I like to believe that. Maybe at some point I'll post about the ink, but I'm such a noob when it comes to that, I don't feel like I can do it justice.
Thanks for stopping by!