Sunday Notes and Links – February 07, 2016

Sailor Pro Gear Imperial Stripe and Platinum Carbon Desk Pen

Sailor Pro Gear Imperial Stripe and Platinum Carbon Desk Pen

What I Used

My favorite fountain pen and ink combination of the past week was a surprise, at least to me. It was the Platinum Carbon Desk Pen with Carbon Black ink. I picked the combo with the intent to only use it to address my glossy postcards. The ink is waterproof so well-suited for that task. I figured I’d use another pen/ink for the text itself. But this combo worked so well on the glossy paper that I’ve used it for the entire postcard. I also used it for the occasional note when the pen is within reach.

Speaking of postcards, and InCoWriMo, I’m averaging nearly two postcards a day (11 in 6 days) and have written at least one a day so far in February. I’m probably not sticking to the rules since I using postcards and mailing them in batches rather than daily. But I am writing them daily and more importantly, finally responding to the Fountain Pen Day giveaway entries.

A close second was my Sailor Pro Gear Regency Stripe with Sailor Jentle Black ink. This was the pen I carried in my shirt pocket all week. And yes, I still love the Bronze Age and used it at least once a day.

What Others Are Using & Doing

Ian at Pen! Paper! Pencils! shares his journaling habit.

Matt at the Pen Habit shares his perfect pen, he hasn’t bought another pen since getting this one six months ago. Well, not since his last LB5, he has more than one.

The Unroyal Warrant shares a loadout for traveling in SE Asia.

The Purl Bug reviews a Field Notes County Fair notebook she’s about to finish.

The Palimpsest shows us the pencil case used by E.H. Shepard.

A Fool with a Pen shares his favorite blue inks.

Jenny, at the Finer Point, shares her February Loadout.

Paul at Gorgeous Ink shares his February Loadout.

Website Spotlight

This week’s website is one I’ve enjoyed for a long time, although it’s been silent recently. It came back this week. Write To Me Often is from a fountain pen enthusiast in Turkey. The blog posts are in both Turkish and English. The photographs are great.

The reviews are based on real world usage, the latest of which is of the Clairefontaine Roadbook.

Pen Shows & Other News

The Los Angeles International Pen Show is less than a week away and runs from Feb 11 – 14.

My knowledge of European Pen shows is limited but the next one I know of is in Paris on Feb. 20th, called the Rendez-vous Of Collectors. If you know of one before then feel free to mention it in the comments.

From The Pen Case: Conway Stewart Marlborough Vintage

Conway Stewart Marlborough Vintage with a medium stub nib and Sheaffer Peacock Blue ink bottleThe Conway Stewart Marlborough Vintage has the distinction of being the most expensive fountain pen in my accumulation. It also has the dubious distinction of being my only fountain pen that has broken during normal use. This pen has done it’s best to make me hate it. So time for a review, although you’re probably guessing that it won’t end well.

Conway Stewart no longer exists, having gone out of business (for a second time) with the pieces being sold off to others. The brand will probably be resurrected for a third time. Bespoke British Pens is selling some Conway Stewart Models although it’s confusing (at least to me) as to whether they are maintaining the brand or just selling off old stock or pens made from old stock. The Marlborough Vintage is still available from them although with different branded nibs and only a cartridge/converter version.

This is my second Conway Stewart fountain pen, the first being the FPH Anniversary Edition. I liked that pen enough to spring for the more expensive Marlborough Vintage In June of 2012.

I’ll get this out early – vintage is part of the model name, it is not even close to a vintage pen. I hate it when pen companies do this.

Why I Got It

I liked my first Conway Stewart and this one was a similar size. Plus, it was ebonite which I like the feel of. Lastly, I could get it as a lever filler and I really liked the look of the woodgrain ebonite. I ordered mine with an extra fine nib (more on this later).

What I Got

Conway Stewart Marlborough Vintage engraved barrelThis is a limited edition fountain pen and I received number 41 of 300. I received a medium nib, rather than the extra fine that I ordered, but in my impatience I didn’t notice until after I inked it up. After some internal debate I decided to keep the medium nib. I liked the way it wrote, it wasn’t too wide, plus I had the idea of getting it stubbed.

I love the feel of the ebonite and I like the woodgrain finish. I’ll stop short of saying it reminds me of real wood but I like the black “grain” on the brown “wood”. Combined with the lever fill it give the pen a nice vintage aesthetic. The furniture is gold which isn’t my favorite choice, but as with other brown pens, it works in this case.

The ink capacity is painfully small and is my main complaint with this pen. Either the cartridge/converter or eye dropper options would provide a larger capacity. I get a little over four pages of solid writing on a 8.5“ X 11” piece of paper. For awhile I thought there might be a problem but, after further research and checking I found that this was to be expected. I just didn’t uncover it in my initial research.

The pen feels well made and has a solid fit and finish. As I mentioned, the pen is broken but it does feel well made.

Getting the wrong nib and the small ink capacity really turned me off to this pen early on. When the Long Island Pen Show rolled around the following March I brought the pen with me and had Richard Binder stub the nib. This gives the pen a little more personality and made me warm up to the pen. At the time it was one of my few stub nibs and the first in a pen I could comfortably use for longer writing sessions (even if it did need a refill midway through). I ended up being happy with my choice to stub the nib rather than tryng to get the extra fine that I ordered. I might have gotten a little more writing from each fill with the thinner extra fine nib, but it wouldn’t have been enough to turn this pen into a daily carry.

The stub nib makes the pen enjoyable to use and the small capacity means I don’t feel guilty about needing to flush the pen. I can write it dry in an evening or two.

The Numbers

  • Length Capped: 133.52 mm
  • Length Uncapped: 25.11 mm
  • Length Posted: 180.34 mm
  • Section Length: 19.20 mm
  • Section Diameter (near nib): 11.11 mm
  • Section Diameter (below threads): 11.39 mm
  • Section Diameter (mid-section): 10.18 mm
  • Cap Diameter: 15.04 mm
  • Barrel Diameter: 13.15 mm
  • Weight: 22 g (w/ink)
  • Weight (body only): 12 g (w/ink)

Writing With The Pen

Conway Stewart Marlborough Vintage medium stub nib with Sheaffer Peacock Blue inkRemoving the cap takes one full rotation and then the pen is ready to write. The cap does post securely but not deeply. This makes the pen look freakishly long when it’s posted. It also feels unbalance, but that’s from someone who doesn’t post his pens when using them.

The factory medium nib was smooth and had a good flow. I never experienced any hard starts or skipping. Needless to say the nib also flowed fine after being stubbed by Mr. Binder.

The fountain pen is comfortable in my hand, being similar in size to the Pelikan M805 and a tad smaller than the Visconti Homo Sapien. The ebonite is light making this a light pen, especially when it’s not posted since nearly half the weight is in the cap. The pen is not quit perfect in my hand, but better than most. The Pelikan M805 is a little heavier (about 22g) so feels more solid which I like these days and the slightly bigger Bronze Age is a perfect size for my hand. My fingers do touch the threads just a bit when I grip the pen, but that aren’t sharp so I don’t even notice them.

I’ve never had problems with any inks although being a lever filler I pick inks I know are easy to clean out and that I will like. I tend to give the pen multiple fills of each ink, due to the small capacity, and I don’t want to be forced to flush an ink I don’t like or has problems.

This is a pen I almost always use at home and for casual writing. By that I mean when I’m concentrating on the writing, rather than taking notes, and I plan to do it for awhile. Plus, I’m willing to be interrupted should I need to refill the pen. I have taken it out and about at times and it’s one of the few pens that has drawn comments in public. The lever and wood grain finish catches people’s attention.

Cleaning The Pen

It’s a lever filler, so cleaning takes a little longer than pens more easily flushed. It’s not any harder to clean than other lever filler. The nib unit does unscrew should you want to flush the pen with a syringe but I avoided doing that and just worked the lever.

This is when the pen broke. I was cleaning the pen in order to use another ink before this review. The lever snapped during cleaning. I could feel it come loose in the pen. While I did work the lever a lot while cleaning the pen I never treated it roughly. The pen probably would have lasted longer if I removed the nib for cleaning.

Inks Used

Conway Stewart Marlborough Vintage with a medium stub nib and Sheaffer Peacock Blue ink bottleFor this review I used several fill of Sheaffer Peacock Blue. The nib gives the ink some nice line variation. It’s probably been my favorite ink in this pen. Although, I do have a tendency to consider anything I’m currently using a favorite.

I recently used Montblanc Leonardo Red Chalk. While I like the ink, this pen didn’t seem to do much for it and I flushed it out the first time I wrote it dry. This is the one ink which I liked less in this pen than in previous fountain pens.

I’ve also used various Waterman and Pilot Iroshizuku inks, all of which performed well. As I mentioned, for lever fillers I pick inks I already know I like and which perform well. None of them disappointed in this pen.

Wrapping Up

As I mentioned, the Conway Stewart Marlborough Vintage is the most expensive fountain pen in my accumulation. From that perspective the pen was a disappointment even before the lever broke, I don’t consider it worth the money I paid. After the very rough start the pen did grow on me and I do like it. It’s a pen I would ink up for occasional use but it never really grabbed my attention.

Is it a keeper? The lever fill option was a huge mistake. The capacity is too small for me and well, the lever broke. It’ll be around until it get fixed. But assuming it wasn’t broken, I would be seriously considering selling it off to fund a future pen purchase. While I wouldn’t typically try to repair such an expensive pen myself I’ll probably consider it in this case, after some research and practice with other pens. The Conway Stewart Marlborough Vintage isn’t worth pouring more money into it.

Additional Reading

Black Lever Filler reviewed on FPN


The pen broke before the draft of this review, which I typically use as a writing sample. So the writing sample is just an index card.

Currently Inked

I’m starting February 2016 with 9 fountain pen inked up, down from the 13 that were inked as January began. One new pen has joined the rotation and one pen stayed but with a new ink.

The new (to the rotation) pen is the Platinum Carbon Desk Pen. I put a Platinum Carbon Black ink cartridge in it. The pen is too thin for me to use as a regular writer, I would quickly tire of holding it, but I plan to use it to address post cards and letters since the ink is waterproof.

To say thin nibs dominate the list is an understatement. The widest nib is a fine and even that one is more like an extra fine.

I broke my rule when I flushed out the Sailor Pro Gear Imperial Black. The rule is I don’t flush a pen until I write it dry unless it gives me problems or the type of ink requires it. Despite infrequent use this pen has been problem free, but it has two competitors for my attention so I know I won’t use it. For red ink I reach for the F-C Model 02 and for a Pro Gear sized pen I reach for the Regency Stripe, both of which have been getting a lot of use.

As usual, the pens are in the same order as the writing samples. Links are to a review or ink notes if they exist, or a “This Just In” post if there’s no review.

Fountain Pens inked up as of February 1, 2016

Fountain Pens inked up as of February 1, 2016 (uncapped)

Writing samples for fountain pens inked up as of February 1, 2016

Visconti Homo Sapien Bronze Age (extra fine)Montblanc Bordeaux // Edison Huron Grande (extra fine) – Montblanc Bordeaux // Franklin-Christoph Model 66 (extra fine) – R&K Blau Schwarz LE // Pelikan M805 Stresemann (extra-fine) – Pelikan 4001 Blue-Black //  Sailor Pro Gear Regency Stripe (extra fine) – Sailor Jentle Black cartridge //  Edison Menlo Pump Filler (extra fine) – Athena Sepia // Franklin-Christoph Model 02 (needlepoint) – Pelican Edelstein Garnet // Parker Vacumatic Maxima c.1942 (fine) – Montblanc Albert Einstein (Grey) // Platinum Carbon Desk Pen – Platinum Carbon Black (cartridge)

Sunday Notes and Links – January 31, 2016

What I Used

Sailor Pro Gear Regency Stripe against a Nockco Fodderstack XL

Sailor Pro Gear Regency Strip in front. A Retro 51 rollerball in a Fodderstack XL was my shirt pocket carry all week.

My favorite fountain pen and ink combination of the past week was the Sailor Regency Stripe with an extra fine nib and Sailor Jentle Black ink in a cartridge. I didn’t use my pens too much this past week but this was in my pocket every day.

I did write a couple pens dry, my Franklin-Christoph Model 20 along with the Conway Stewart Marlborough Vintage and the Bronze Age got a refill of the same ink.

What Others Are (or Aren’t) Using

Matthew, of Nib and Ink, tells us why the Lamy 2000 is his EDC Pen.

Jinnie, of Three Staples, shares the planners and journals she’s using this year.

Todd, at That One Pen, tells us what he doesn’t like.

Bob at My Pen Needs Ink tells us what pens he loves to use.

(No) Website Spotlight

Sunday came around before I could pick a website for this week, so there’s no website in the spotlight this week. InCoWriMo (International Correspondence Writing Month) starts tomorrow. Here are a couple links if you’re interested – A Fool With a Pen has 10 Suggestions and there’s a five page thread on FPGeeks which includes potential correspondence.

I plan to catch up with post card responses to those who entered my last giveaway, I’m way behind. If you want to send me a post card or letter you can send it to

Ray Newbery
PO Box 176
East Berlin, CT 06023
United States

I can’t promise a full letter but will add you to my postcard list and will get one out eventually.

Pen Shows & Other News

The next U.S. pen show is the Los Angeles International Pen Show on Feb 11 – 14.

My knowledge of European Pen shows is limited but the next one I know of is in Paris on Feb. 20th, called the Rendez-vous Of Collectors. If you know of one before then feel free to mention it in the comments.

Much of the fountain pen community was all abuzz about the just announced Visconti Homo Sapien Dark Age. Maybe I’m subconsciously trying to justify my recent Bronze Age purchase, but while nice, I still prefer either the Bronze or Steel Age pens. I used to really want dark pens, black with rhodium or similar trim, but the novelty seemed to wear off quickly. Now, I may change my mind if I see one in real life.

The Pen Addict podcast has launched the Kickstarter for the live Pen Addict at the Atlanta Pen show, now branded RelayCon Atlanta: The Pen Addict Live. Rewards include notebooks and a video of the live show.

Classic Fountain Pens tweeted that Pelikan Pen Prices are about to go up.


Ink & Pen Notes: Franklin-Christoph Model 20 with GvFC Moss Green

Franklin-Christoph Model 20 with a medium stub nib and GvFC Moss Green ink bottleI’ve yet to decide what I really think about the Franklin-Christoph Model 20 Marietta with its stub nib. It’s a nice little pen that has a vintage vibe. There’s a lot to like about this pen but this is the second time there’s been excessive ink in the cap and this kind of ruins it for me. This time there was a potential cause, although other pens subjected to the same events survived fine. The pen did bounce around in my computer bag for a couple of days (well protected in a Nockco Sinclair, but it would have been jostled around) which could explain some of the splatter. The two other pens sharing the case were just fine, although with considerably thinner nibs. I’ll have to ink it again and handle it with kid gloves to see if it leaks or splatters with normal use. I said the same thing last time and then promptly forgot when I inked up the pen.

This time around I picked Graf von Faber-Castell Moss Green as the ink for the pen. The Model 20 is the vintage green finish so this was a bit of color matching. I inked it up back on December 4th, so it lasted nearly 8 weeks. This is a rather long time for a pen that isn’t stingy with ink which meant I wasn’t using it much. It had some intense competition from other pens I had inked up whenever I was looking for a fountain pen to write with so there were very few long writing sessions.

The converter was down to less than 1/4 full, plus whatever was in the feed when I decided to carry it around in order to give it more attention. Unfortunately after a couple days of travel more ink made it into the cap than down on paper.

The GvFC Moss Green ink was easily flushed from the pen, and the cap, without and residual staining. The cartridge/converter fountain pen was flushed with just a few squirts of the bulb syringe through the feed.

This Model 20 has the Mike Masuyama medium stub nib (steel nib) which is quit nice. I like thin nibs for my everyday writers but like using a stub nib for longer writing sessions. Considering the source it should come a no surprise that the ink flow was smooth and I didn’t have any hard starts or skipping.

The pictures don’t include any nib closeups because I had cleaned the pen before I realized I didn’t get pictures. You can see nib closeups in an earlier ink & pen notes.

Franklin-Christoph Model 20 with M. Stub nib and GvFC Moss Green Ink

Sunday Notes and Links – January 24, 2016

What I Used

Photo of the Edison Menlo Pump Filler with Athena Sepia Ink

My favorite fountain pen and ink combination of the past week was the Edison Menlo Pump Filler with an extra fine nib and filled with Athena Sepia ink. I’ll still claim the Visconti Homo Sapien as my favorite, but if I’m honest I did use the Menlo more this past week. The ink makes all the difference. It flows nicely, even with the thin nib.

I did write two pens dry last week, the Sheaffer Balance and the Pilot Vanishing Point. With 11 fountain pens still inked up I had no need to replace these.

The Pen Addict reviewed the Bic Cristal Ballpoint Pen which brought on waves of nostalgia. I remember buying 12 packs of these before the school year (many, many years ago and technically my parents bought them). I think they also contributed to my hatred of blue ink since they were always blue. I used one this past Friday when I paid the bill to get my car out of the shop. (Not something to connect good memories with the pen.)

What Others Are Using

Tim at Nib Creep shares his tale of woe when a working Parker 50 turned into a non-working Parker 50. How to Ruin a Vintage Pen in Less Than 2 Hours.

InCoWriMo is coming up in February. Paul at Gorgeous Ink shows us the postcards he will be using. I’ve never participated in InCoWriMo but I may copy Paul’s idea to use postcards. I still haven’t replied to all the entries for my giveaway. At the very least I’ll use February to get caught up. As it turns out I bought some of the same postcards as Paul when my first selection of postcards turned out to be fountain pen hostile.

Eivind at The Ink Smudge tells us about his ink rotation and shares his January load out.

John from Pensive wrote about the Pilot 82G that he’s been using for the last six months.

Website Spotlight

Pens! Paper! Pencils! is in the spotlight today. My favorite feature of the site has nothing to do with fountain pens, it’s the sketches that Ian does and posts on a regular basis.

Ian gives his fountain pen ink reviews a unique spin by including an inkling and often include a video of him making the inkling. Naturally there are fountain pen reviews too. His stationery interest extend beyond fountain pens so you’ll find non-fountain pen reviews to. As much as I’d like to, I can’t say these non-fountain pen reviews are a waste of time since they do contribute to my favorite feature.

Ian also writes about some general pen related topics. This week it was about Pilot’s UK Pricing, which sparked some good debate both in the comments and on Twitter.

Pen Shows & Other News

The pens show season kicked off in the US with the Philadelphia Pen Show this weekend. Snow kept at least a couple vendors away, while others successfully traveled great distances to be there. If your stuck in snowy Philadelphia enjoy the pens and the company of pen people. If you’re stuck in snow somewhere else I recommend you follow the advice of former Buffalo Mayor Jimmy Griffin, given during the especially harsh (even for Buffalo) blizzard of ’85, “Stay inside, grab a six-pack and watch a good football game.”

The European pen shows kicked off today with the Southwest Pen Show in the UK.

The next U.S. pen show is the Los Angeles International Pen Show on Feb 11 – 14.

My knowledge of European Pen shows is limited but the next one I know of is in Paris on Feb. 20th, called the Rendez-vous Of Collectors. If you know of one before then feel free to mention it in the comments.

Is this the most expensive fountain pen ever (excluding jewel encrusted specimens)? A Vanishing Point competitor? Fountain Pen + Watch Guts = $105,000 CEO Switchblade. No mention of the filling system. Is it your new Grail Pen?

Looking for Links?

With the revised format for my Sunday post there’s far fewer links than I had last year. If you still want to get your link fix I’d recommend these sites which publish regular link posts. There are other sites that post links, but I think of the fist two as the ones with both a regular schedule and a large number and variety of links in each post.

On Fountain PensSunday Inklings every other Sunday.

The Well-Appointed Desk publishes Link Love every Wednesday.

Gorgeous Ink and Gentleman Stationer both have started doing more curated Sunday Link posts on a regular basis. The Penman Post has also pen regularly posting a small listing of links since the new year began, they appear on Saturday,

Lastly, thanks to automation, most of what I read gets pushed out to Fountain Pen Links as a link, so if you want a firehose of links it’s there.

Ink & Pen Notes: Sheaffer Balance Oversize with Montblanc Racing Green

Sheaffer Balance Oversize c. 1935 Marine Green with a stub nib and Montblanc Racing GreenThe second fountain pen to go dry on me this week is my vintage Sheaffer Balance Oversize (c.1935) in a gorgeous marine green with a custom stub nib and Montblanc Racing Green ink. Montblanc Racing Green used to be on of my Favorite 5 Inks although it was dropped from the latest list. The ink’s appeal to me grows and diminishes over time but I do still like the ink. I find the more time between uses and the more I like it. Maybe I’m just trying to psychologically prepare myself for when I run out of this discontinued ink or make it last longer.

I inked it up back on December 27th so it lasted just over three weeks. The nib isn’t thin and I did use this pen more than a little, but I suspect I only got a partial fill from this lever filler.

Thin nibs are my preference for everyday writers and this nib isn’t thin. I do like stub nibs and this is a nice one, but it’s not a pen I use everyday or when I want to write quickly. I mainly use it at night when I’m writing to relax. It’s not a factory stub, but it was stubbed before it joined my accumulation.

The fountain pen and ink performed well right up until it went dry. There was some nice variation between the horizontal and vertical strokes but there’s not really a lot of shading from the Montblanc Racing Green.

Cleaning a lever filler is never quick and easy, but as far as lever fillers go this as quick to clean up. It was less than 10 minutes of tedium to remove all traces of the Montblanc Green.

The Sheaffer Balance Oversize will be returned to storage since I have plenty of other pens inked up. The pen is fun to use and looks great, but it’s not a daily writer.