In my shirtpocket, Jan 2017: Pelikan M120N and Pelikan 400 (1950-54)

Friends,

From a whim I have made this a New Year’s Resolution: To publish a monthly feature “In my shirtpocket” where one pen is going to be exchanged and a new one presented every month. If short of time perhaps only with pictures, another month perhaps with a presentation and perhaps even writing samples. Sometimes I’m willing to sell the presented pen, but definitely not today. (Even if I have a still sealed DHL package with another M120N with F nib, which I myself have never seen…)

Pelikan M120N and Pelikan 400. Copyright: Lennart Wennberg

The M120N is filled with Sailor Kiwa guro black and the 400 with J. Herbin “Terre de Feu”.

The Pelikan 400 needs no further presentation as it is one of most iconic pens in the history of writing instruments and you can find a lot of information elsewhere. Let me just show an old picture from Pelikan.com.

1950-sidebar-M400

Sailor Professional Gear Realo 2010

One Pen to rule them all…

This is my Master Pen, a Sailor Professional Gear Realo. I bought it from www.nibs.com and it is tuned by Mr. John Mottishaw. A pen can’t be much better than this. It writes like a dream. It’s built like a tank. It holds a decent amount of ink. Perhaps it lacks a bit of a personality, but it’s like comparing a Mercedes to a Austin Healey Sprite 1959.

PS: As you can see in the ink window the pen is filled with J.Herbin “Perle Noire”.

 

Sailor PG Realo

Sailor Professional Gear Realo H-M nib

Sailor PG Realo

Sailor Professional Gear Realo, ink window

Sailor PG Realo

My Sailor Professional Gear Realo 2010

Christogram

Parker Vacumatic 1946

If you happen to be one of my penpals you have probably received one or two letters written with this pen, a Parker Vacumatic 1946. It once belonged to a ”MARVIN YATES” of whom I know nothing. I bought the pen from a friend on www.fountainpennetwork.com . I sent it to Mr Björn Arebom in Malmö in Southern Sweden. He installed a new nib, a breather tube and a new diaphragm and voilá, an absolutely gorgeous pen that I use for those special letters. It’s filled with J.Herbin ”Lie de Thé”.

Parker Vacumatic 1946, nib

Parker Vacumatic 1946, black

Pen, Paper, Ink and …Setting

On Fountain Pen Network and other boards you’ll find a lot of discussions on different pens, inks and paper, separately. Some authors though stress the interactions within the triad: pen, ink and paper. That makes real sense to me. What use do you have of a gorgeous and expensive pen if the ink feathers a lot and bleeds through the paper? On the other hand, a cheap Hero could work just fine with a good ink on,  for the ink, good paper. I would also like to add a fourth parameter. I hesistate wether to call it mood, situation or setting. I mean, there is a huge difference between writing a personal letter on G.Lalo “Velin de France” at home a Sunday morning while the rest of the family are asleep, and sitting on a stone in the woods, or on a commuter train, writing in cheap Chinese notebooks. In the first setting I could use my big and expensive Sailor Professional Gear Realo, and on this quality paper I could use just any ink. On the run I have to use small Sailor Sapporos that fit in my shirtpocket and the ink has to be a non-bleeding one , for example J.Herbin “Perle Noire” or Noodler’s BP Black. At work I can’t use pens with screw cap but a Parker 51 will do just fine. Any ink can work for single-sided writing on office paper. (An alternative to a P51 would be a Pilot/Namiki Vanishing Point.) When I’m upset or in a hurry I can’t use my italic nibs as the corners of the nibs will dig in to the paper.  I have to be in peace of mind to do the italic nibs justice. On envelopes I use Noodler’s BP Black, but the drying time and smear factor forces me to let the envelope be in peace for a while. An alternative is to use a non-waterproof ink and rub the text with a piece of a candle to waterproof it. As you can see the main thing is to find a combo that will work for you, and in your types of settings, for writing. Comments are appreciated…

Sailor Fountain Pens

Sailor fountain pens, made in Hiroshima, Japan, are among the best available in the world. This is a fact and not an opinion. Emphasis is on the nibs and their writing properties, and Sailor fountain pens are in quality and “out-of-the-box-performance” second to none in the world. The product range is huge from everyday workhorses to very exclusive pens that are manufactured on special orders. Writing with pen, ink and paper, is serious business, both for me and for the Sailor Company of Japan.

From a Sailor catalogue:

A fountain pen in the hand becomes an extension of body and soul and is evidence of a well-developed human culture, with written words not born from a keyboard composition. Raising above the times a fountain pen will forever remain the highest quality means of human self-expression.

  • This blog-post was originally written Dec 2010. During this autumn, 2013, I’m going to edit this post gradually. I have glued it to the top. I’m going to add links and videos etc. I’m also going to stress my own opinions a bit more. This is a work in progress…
  • If you have a comment, please post it in the comments area.
  • If you have a question that you want to put outside the comments area, please e-mail me using the address seen at the bottom of this page.

Disclaimer:

I’m not affiliated with the Sailor Company, or with any of the dealers that are later to be mentioned. I’m just a happy Sailor-user willing to share my experiences, observations and opinions.

Recommendation:

If you are looking for a first serious fountain pen but do not know where to start, look no further:

You can never go wrong with a Sailor Professional Gear Slim (aka. Sailor Sapporo), with H-M nib! It is a medium-sized pen with a perfect 14 K gold nib. If the price seems too high, remember, this pen will last a lifetime. (There are cheaper Sailor fountain pens with steel nibs which are said to be good. I have not tried any of those yet and therefore I’m not going to comment on them.)

Caution:

Do not order any of the specialty nibs, Zoom, Music Stub, Naginata togi etc., unless you know exactly what you are doing, OR are willing to pay the extra money to have the nib exchanged or modified. (I’m absolutely not saying that these nibs are “bad”, but they can be hard to master by a novice, especially if you are writing on non-premium paper as these nibs deliver much ink, which can cause feathering or bleed-through. It is like a Ferrari Testarossa should not be your first car, especially not on bad roads…)

Why you should be very conservative when choosing nib to your first Sailor can be illustrated by this informative video…

In this article I’m going to discuss Sailor fountain pens in the segment $100-500 USD. Above that segment there is nothing making the pen write better, and below that segment you get steel nibs. (I’m not telling that they are inferior in being pens made for writing, but as an investment for life, a nib of gold will give you more satisfaction over the years, at least emotionally.)

Links:

In this post I’m going to show you some of my pens. (If you click this link you’ll find a very beautiful but expensive Sailor that belongs to a colleague of mine in Singapore. Have a look and start drooling! http://ela123a.wordpress.com/2010/06/05/sailor-dragonfly-maki-e-fountain-pen/ )

The first pen is a Professional Gear Ivory with a H-F nib. It’s filled with Noodler’s BP Black and I use it for my edited journal, Quo Vadis Habana.

White Sailor Professional Gear

Sailor PG H-F nib

These two Professional Gear Slim, (also called Sailor Sapporo), one in gold trim and the other in silver/rhodium trim are always in my shirtpocket, filled with J.Herbin “Perle Noire”. Both have H-M nibs. One of them was almost lost some time ago. I had lost it and later found it on the bottom of a paper bag while recycling waste! I think that the Sapporos have the perfect size for wearing in shirt pockets.

My daily companions

When you are flashing with a Sailor Fountain Pen, the admirers will gather!

Here you can see the difference between writing with an italic nib and an ordinary H-F nib:

Sailor Proffesional Gear

Italic nib vs H-F nib

A nice Family picture:

From the left you have first the red Sapporo Mini (Professional Gear Slim Mini) that now is in the hands of a dear friend of mine. Then you have my two Sapporos mentioned above. A couple of 1911M follows. They have Richard Binder italic nibs, ground from Music Stubs. They are filled with J.Herbin “Lie de Thé” and “Perle Noire” respectively. To the right two Professional Gears, the wthite with H-F nib and the black with H-M nib. (Later I have acquired one PG with Naginata-togi NMF nib and one PG Realo Maroon with H-M nib.)

A Happy Family of Sailor Fountain Pens

Pen friends:

The Big and the Portable

The pen and the fly:

My black PG H-M with a domestic fly

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