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……