Pen Class: Economy ($25 and under)
Street Price:: $14
Body Material: Resin (celluloid derivative)
Nib Material: Stainless Steel (tipped with a hard platinum group metal alloy)
Nib Size: #2 Fine-ish Medium
Cap Type: Screw On
Filling Mechanism: Piston Filler
Ink Capacity: 0.6 ml / 0.02 oz
Overall Weight: 12 g / 0.42 oz
Cap Weight: 4 g / 0.14 oz
Body Weight: 8 g / 0.28 oz
Overall Length Capped: 132 mm / 5.2 in
Overall Length Posted: 137 mm / 5.4 in
Body Length (not including nib): 102 mm / 4.0 in
Nib Length: 15 mm / 0.6 in
Body Length (including nib): 117 mm / 4.6 in
Cap Diameter w/o Clip: 12 mm / 0.47 in
Cap Diameter w/Clip: 14.5 mm / 0.57 in
Body Diameter at Ink Window: 11 mm / 0.43 in
Body Diameter at Blind Cap End: 8 mm / 0.31 in
If this pen were a movie, it would be…
Fast, Cheap & Out of Control (1997)
Eric: 3 – The pen arrives in a heavy paper box that is decorated with typical Noodler’s art. A thin plastic bag “protects” the pen in the box. Also in the box is a bit of Noodler’s advertising, as well as filling instructions and piston o-ring replacement instructions. The box itself is not ghastly, but it’s going in the recycling bin.
Dan: 3 – There’s nothing exciting about the way this pen is packaged. For fourteen bucks I was surprised it even came in a box.
Eric: 7 – What can I say? This Economy Class pen scores major points in my book simply because it’s a piston filler. The piston mechanism isn’t the smoothest in the world – about the same feel of a converter – but it certainly gets the job done in some semblance of style. I filled the pen with Noodler’s La Couleur Royale.
Dan: 7 – I don’t really think I have to point out what type of filling system the Noodler’s Piston Fill fountain pen utilizes. I prefer a piston filler over any other filling system because of its ease of use, durability, and capacity. While other filling systems may be better than the piston in individual aspects, no other system can compete overall.
Eric: 5 – The first thing I noticed is that the nib literally glides across the Rhodia paper. I can detect no traction whatsoever. I’m surprised. The pen itself is too thin. I’d have to call it dainty – which might be great if you have very small hands, but I prefer something more substantial. The Test Drive is short, but I’ve noticed no skipping. Right out of the box, the pen just works.
Dan: 8 – Eric and I certainly received different versions of the same pen. I filled the Noodler’s Piston Fill with Pilot Iroshizuku Asa-gao and started scribbling in my Rhodia notebook. Immediately the pen laid down a consistent fine/medium line that was smooth and actually very pleasant. The nib in my pen was not uncontrollably smooth like Eric experienced. Mine was smooth, but provided good feedback so you could feel the texture of the paper. To say the least, I was surprised and impressed.
Eric: 6 – The nib is stainless steel. I can manage to get just a hint of flex, but not without serious risk to gouging the paper. It’s not a flex nib. Again, the nib just glides across Rhodia paper. It’s a wettish nib, which may explain why it’s not revealing any toothiness.
Dan: 6 – While I was impressed with the way the nib wrote, I certainly wasn’t impressed with the way the nib looked. It’s a cheap, little steel nib that does its job and does it well. The one thing I do like is that “Noodler’s Ink Co” is stamped into the nib. Not silk screened or lasered like some more expensive, custom pens.
I also noticed on my pen that the nib was not centered over the feed. Theoretically, this will affect flow, but I didn’t notice it. It just annoyed me every time I looked at it. The one thing I do appreciate is the simplicity of the nib. There’s no cheap scroll work or squiggly lines *caugh*Aurora*caugh* to try to make the nib look like more than it is.
Eric: 4 – The pen filled as it should. It began writing the instant I asked it to. I’ve not yet had a skip or leak of any kind. Letting the pen sit (with the cap on) over night made starting extremely difficult.
Dan: 6 – I was surprised when Eric mentioned the pen was hard to start after sitting over night. I checked mine by letting it sit for 2 days. When I picked it up it wrote right away without hesitation.
When I first started using the pen, I was testing the flexibility of the nib. Or the softness, rather. I know the Noodler’s Piston Fill fountain pen isn’t supposed to flex. I just wanted to test the deflection of the nib. While I was doing this a large glob of ink spewed onto the paper.
I looked at the feed and it seemed very saturated. like when you first take the nib out of the ink bottle after filling it. But this wasn’t the case. I had wiped the nib and used a paper towel to soak up any excessive ink. But the feed was still very saturated. My only conclusion is that the heat from my hand was causing the air in the barrel to slightly expand.
Now, this whole ink blob incident happened while I was testing the “flexibility” of the nib. Once I stopped doing that, I never experienced it again. Although, I still do notice the very saturated feed from time to time.
Eric: 7 – It’s a piston filler! The ink window could be clearer, but hey – there’s an ink window! The upper cap unscrews allowing you to remove and/or replace the pen’s clip if you like – a nice feature in my book. Again, I would describe the pen as dainty. So dainty, in fact, I don’t believe I could write anything but sappy poetry with this pen.
Dan: 8 – The Noodler’s Piston Fill fountain pen is designed very well. The cap is simple with a strong, prominent, chrome plated clip and cap band. The section features a plated metal band near that nib that provides an eye-catching stopping point before getting to the nib.
The cap screw securely to the body taking about 1 and ¾ turns to completely close. The body has several windows to easily see the ink level and the piston knob blends perfectly into the body. This pen is designed very well and is very pleasing to the eye. I would really like to see this pen super-sized.
Eric: 6 – I find the pen simple and pleasing. I have the red version and consider the color sophisticated – not that “in your face” red, but something classier. The metal ring at the bottom of the cap spins/can be turned, which does not instill confidence that it will remain in place. My pen came with a small black stain on the cap, suggesting a need for a bit more quality control. The nib seems just a bit too small for the pen, but it works like a champ (once re-started after sitting over night). I have to give Noodler’s extra credit for designing this pen with a user serviceable piston (in that the o-ring can be easily replaced). I doubt many users will need to replace an o-ring, but it’s nice to have the option.
Dan: 5 – The pen seems solid and very well built. On my pen I noticed some wear of the plating on the band at the end of the section. I’ve only had this pen for a week. There shouldn’t be any signs of wear anywhere on this pen.
Eric: 3 – If I never write with this pen again, it will be too soon. After only ten minutes of writing, my hand was belly-aching, “Are we there yet?” I found the pen difficult to control and I’m sure this was due to it being so thin. The pen never skipped and was never slow to start. It kept up and gave me all it had to offer. Unfortunately, it mostly offered hand cramps.
Dan: 4 – After what seemed like half an hour, I looked at the clock and I’d only been writing with the pen for about 10 minutes. The pen is so thin and light that long writing sessions start to become painful. Unless you have very small hands, I can’t see anyone using this pen for more than short notes. The pen wrote well and I had no troubles with ink flow, but the pain from writing with it took me out of the experience of writing with a fountain pen.
- Piston Filler
- Comes in a Variety of Colors
- Too Thin
- Quality Control
- Availability (several colors were sold out at the time of this review)
Famous Last Words:
Eric: For fourteen dollars, this pen has some very nice features. I won’t be reaching for it again, but I can see it pleasing those who like thin pens.
Dan: If you work with that annoying person that always asks to borrow your pen during class or in a meeting, hand them this pen. Their hand will be so sore after several minutes of writing they’ll either stop taking notes or never ask to borrow a pen from you again.