I’m a fan of the Retro 51 Tornado Roller Ball pens and the Lincoln version of that pen tops the list. So when I saw there was a fountain pen Lincoln I couldn’t place the order fast enough. My only other Retro 51 fountain pen was a Double 8 which had one of the poorest build qualities I’ve encountered. But since the copper Lincoln was in the tried-and-true Tornado design I wasn’t concerned.
Why I Got It
It’s a fountain pen version of the Lincoln Tornado Rollerball. The only reason I needed.
What I Got
A copper colored metal fountain pen with a medium nib. Retro 51 calls the finish “antique copper”. The pen can use a standard international convertor (and comes with one) or short international cartridges and comes with two cartridges in the barrel. It’s a Schmidt nib.
I bought my pen from PenBoutique.com where it was priced significantly less then other reputable sellers, although they only had the medium nib version.
The “EXT” in the name just indicates that this pen is longer than the original Tornado pens (extended).
- Length Capped: 5.452″ (138.50 mm)
- Length Uncapped: 4.945″ (125.60 mm)
- Length Posted: 6.255″ (158.91 mm)
- Section Length: 0.670″ (17.02 mm)
- Section Diameter (near nib): 0.366″ (9.31 mm)
- Section Diameter (near threads): 0.406″ (10.32 mm)
- Barrel Diameter: 0.468″ (11.90 mm)
- Cap Diameter: 0.518″ (13.17 mm)
- Cap Length: 2.299″ (58.40 mm)
Using The Pen
It’s a heavy pen, it is made of metal after all. The nib was surprisingly smooth out of the box. Not the smoothest ever, but one of the smoothest I’ve had in a pen under $50. The pen is very long when posted and also a bit top heavy. I don’t typically post my pens so I may not be the best judge, but this doesn’t seem well balanced when posted. But unposted, which is my preference, I find the pen to be quit comfortable.
I used the supplied blue cartridge for a couple of days. The pen wrote well with the ink. But I soon swapped it out for a more interesting ink. I picked J. Herbin Perle Noire in a cartridge. (Yes, black is interesting, especially when compared to blue).
The pen was problem free with the Perle Noire for the first couple of days. Then one morning the nib and feed were completely dry. I ended up having to flush the nib and feed with a bulb syringe. The pen returned to normal when I returned the cartridge. So there was probably some debris in the pen.
The nib does often skip on the first stroke after being uncapped for use, but it’s fine after that. This became more common as the ink level in the cartridge fell. The ink does evaporate off the nib a little quicker on this pen than others I’ve used this ink in.
I have been using Iroshizuku Tsukushi in the convertor and the slow starts have been non-existent so far (about 4 days) . The ink does still evaporate from the nib quicker than I’m used to. I have to cap the pen when I put down or pause for more than 30 seconds.
The pen is heavier than many of my other pens, but not so heavy I get fatigued. It would be considerably heavier and less balanced if I posted the cap. It’s a threaded cap which fits securely although sometimes the cap needs a little extra care to line up the threads properly to screw on the cap. It takes about 2 twists to uncap the pen.
Cleaning the Pen
Cleaning was easy. A few flushes of the nib unit with a bulb syringe and it was ink free.
J. Herbin Perle Noire in a cartridge is the ink I’ve used the most in this pen. There was the need to flush the pen but this was probably paper fibers or something else clogging the feed. There were hard starts, just a brief skip on the first stroke. They got more frequent as the ink level in the cartridge went down. This was annoying but not a huge problem since the writing was consistent after that first miss.
Pilot Iroshizuku Tsukushi was used in the converter. There wasn’t any skipping on the first stroke or any other time.
I really like the copper look of the pen and expect it to develop a distinctive patina similar to the rollerball. The nib is good, very good most of the time, but not great. This is a pen I’d be willing to have the nib worked on, maybe stubbed or ground to a fine or extra fine. That would cost nearly as much as the pen but I think it could join the ranks of my favorites after that. It’s already a favorite in the looks department.