The Chinese Are Coming, The Chinese Are Coming!

5 01 2009

Wake up America, the Chinese are coming. Actually, because of the internet, they’re already here. Parker and Sheaffer are no longer a mainstay to those of us seduced and enthralled with the most elegant of writing instruments, the fountain pen. I don’t mean to offend any of my fellow pen enthusiasts, in fact, given a choice (and the money needed) I’ll take a Parker Duofold or 51 any day, over almost anything else in the offering (Sheaffer’s fall into this statement too, I just couldn’t fit them into the sentence where it sounded right). But given the fact that, for me, money does usually come into play, Chinese-produced pens have recently become very popular.

In the past couple of months, I’ve purchased about 6 of these little jewels for anywhere from $2 to $20 US. Yes, quality has varied, but only 1 has been what I would consider sub-par. One of the cheapest, a Fuliwen, was a $5 pen, and rivals the quality of any other pen I own, Parker, Sheaffer, Pelican, Waterman, Mont Blanc – any of them. All of them (so far) have stainless steel nibs in common. And all of these nibs have also been BUTTERY smooth! Each has been a fantastic writer. And for me, at the end of the day, how they write is my most important criteria.

A lot of these pens, tend to fall into the more gaudy category, at least to my tastes, some far more so than others. But some, such as the Hero-Parker 51-knock offs, closely mirror the utilitarian looks of the ‘classics’. If they ever start making faithful reproductions of a Balance, a Duofold or other truly classic pen, I’ll go broke buying them. Maybe it’s best then that they don’t.

Here’s a couple of pics of some of these most recent acquisition:

From left to right, a Huashilai 3000, Fuliwen, Bookworm and a Lanbitou 211 (the quality of this one sucked)

So, in the new pen category, I would encourage anyone to check out some of these often ridiculed jems of the orient. You just might be surprised, and get hooked……

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6 responses

5 01 2009
wtisaac

A Post Script, besides eBay, Norman, at HisNibs.com is a GREAT source for many of these pens. Another source is ISellPens.com, which I understand is good as well, though I have had direct dealings with Norman and can feel good about recommending him. No he didn’t pay for this statement…….. 🙂

26 02 2009
Jonel Burge

I’ve been bitten by the cheap pen bug too, partially because well, if something costs $2.89 and writes as well as something that cost $100 or more, why not get the pen that costs $3?
I also love cheap paper that takes fountain pen ink fantastically. I have an entire stack of composition notebooks in my closet because of this.
CURSE YOU EBAY!!!
Also, eventually, I might buy a hero 329 or 330 from ISellPens.com

26 02 2009
wtisaac

I’ve got a 329 & 300; both fantastic pens imho.

7 04 2009
Saimir Cela

Hi! I find that Fuliwen very beautiful, I’d like to have one too, but can’t find it (exactly like yours, I mean, in yellow resin or celluloid or whatever it is). Where can I find it?

Thank you!
Saimir Cela

13 02 2015
Dick Davies

My favorite(s) are two Kaigelu 316s, one I ground to a cursive italic, one had a perfect ball nib. Why 2? Because Duofold.

13 02 2015
wtisaac

Dick, I couldn’t agree more! In fact, today, the same day you left this comment, I just got in the mail my 2nd Kaigelu 316, this one in Amber (I’ve also seen it called Tiger Eye). AWESOME pens!!

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