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Thread: Presentation Pens

  1. #1
    Senior Member Scrawler's Avatar
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    Default Presentation Pens

    There was a time when many Chinese made pens were made to be presented to people, not to actually work. They were quite literally made to look good, then be placed in a drawer and forgotten. The pen reflects aspirations of education and is symbol of literacy. Many were made with feeds that would successfully sign a name when first filled, then dry up. It was the appearance, not the general function that mattered. This is reflected in peoples common complaint of "quality control" issues. Such pens were made to look nice and were a part of a culture of congratulatory gift giving. To this end manufacturers have used the finest western pens as examples. The important thing was that the presentation item looked as good as the congratulation it was meant for. The materials did not matter as long as they looked good. To this end pens were commonly built on a brass tube and covered in all sorts of lacquers. A significant departure from this started to happen a few years ago when people actually wanted their pens to work and pen clubs started to exert influence. Now you can buy such pens with a reasonable expectation that you will have a fine writing instrument, that looks nice, but but does not cost the earth.

    Although the majority of my pens are plain black plastic or hard rubber, I am a sucker for pretty things and sometimes need a pen that has "flash". So I bought a Kaigelu styled after Montegrappa. As a result I got quite good at adjusting feeds and flossing nibs, and mine now works quite well, though does need the nib wetting to get it started after lying for a while. That does not make it very good for signing ceremonies.

    I have an interesting problem with mine. If I fill the C/C, then not use the pen for a while, the ink disappears. I do not know where it goes. It is not in the cap. There must be a some dried in the feed, because if I draw water into it, I have ink again. I cannot see how the ink is evaporating. There are no holes in the cap. This is in complete contrast to my everyday pen, which is a simple plain black one ring early 1940s Waterman Confuser. That is always ready to start, and does not seem to evaporate the ink.

    I would like to solve this if I can, because my public use of fountain pens has attracted a few people to using them, and this particular pen attracts attention, such that people have asked to try it. I will not let newbies and inexperienced people use my Waterman, despite its plain unadorned appearance, because the nib is soft and gently flexible, and anyway its appearance is not so attractive. I would however happily let anyone try even the flashiest looking Chinese pen, because the stiff nibs are nearly indestructible.

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    Jon Szanto (February 2nd, 2014), kia (February 2nd, 2014)

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    Senior Member kia's Avatar
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    Default Re: Presentation Pens

    I'll be interested in the answer, myself. My Chinese pens also dry out quickly, no matter the ink. I have taken to the Pilot Metropolitan, now. So far, as long as it isn't BSB, ink seems to flow when I need it. BSB is just a high maintenance ink, regardless of pen.

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    Senior Member Jon Szanto's Avatar
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    Default Re: Presentation Pens

    Scrawler, that is fascinating, and - if a solid history - explains a lot about contemporary Chinese pens. Can you tell me where you have come about this information? I would be interested in reading more.
    "When Men differ in Opinion, both Sides ought equally to have the Advantage of being heard by the Publick;
    and that when Truth and Error have fair Play, the former is always an overmatch for the latter."

    ~ Benjamin Franklin

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    Senior Member Scrawler's Avatar
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    Default Re: Presentation Pens

    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Szanto View Post
    Scrawler, that is fascinating, and - if a solid history - explains a lot about contemporary Chinese pens. Can you tell me where you have come about this information? I would be interested in reading more.
    I used to live in China and became immersed in the culture. I became the recipient of a number of items like this. When I explained that I actually used my pens and that flash was less important than function, I was presented with a plain black NOS 1954 button filler not dissimilar to a Duofold. That pen was made with higher ranking officials in mind, and their necessity to sign documents.

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    amk (May 30th, 2022), dr.grace (February 4th, 2014), Jon Szanto (February 2nd, 2014), kaisnowbird (February 2nd, 2014), kia (February 2nd, 2014)

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    Senior Member kaisnowbird's Avatar
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    Default Re: Presentation Pens

    Fascinating, and makes a lot of sense to me.

    Those oversized Chinese pens that came in full bronze body with 8 horses or a team of dragons on them are certainly not intended for writing, especially not for Chinese calligraphy.
    Kai

    "Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished." -- Lao Tzu


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    Senior Member dr.grace's Avatar
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    Default Re: Presentation Pens

    Quote Originally Posted by Scrawler View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Szanto View Post
    Scrawler, that is fascinating, and - if a solid history - explains a lot about contemporary Chinese pens. Can you tell me where you have come about this information? I would be interested in reading more.
    I used to live in China and became immersed in the culture. I became the recipient of a number of items like this. When I explained that I actually used my pens and that flash was less important than function, I was presented with a plain black NOS 1954 button filler not dissimilar to a Duofold. That pen was made with higher ranking officials in mind, and their necessity to sign documents.
    Interesting. I've been puzzled about the generally poor quality and heaviness of the Chinese pens I've owned, considering that there are many things in China that are well-made, functional and beautiful. Gift-giving is such a big deal there, so this makes some sense.

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    Default Re: Presentation Pens

    This is interesting, but I would not trust the Chinese quality of pens, especially at the moments of some important events such as a presentation. By the way, I found Premium Thanksgiving Pattern Images - MasterBundles for preparing a cool Thanksgiving presentation. Design professionals will love this. And in general, this is a very useful site with the most modern and cool ideas for creative projects.
    Last edited by Mık Joger; May 30th, 2022 at 02:06 PM.

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    Senior Member calamus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Presentation Pens

    How weird that a congratulatory gesture would be all appearance and no substance. Makes no sense to me; actually seems like more like an insult than anything else.
    Quid rides? Mutato nomine de te fabula narratur. — Horace
    (What are you laughing at? Just change the name and the joke’s on you.)

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