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Pen Guides

  • Lamy Safari - Imitation is the Sincerest Form of Flattery

    The popularity of the Lamy Safari in China has spawned a raft of similar models.

    These have developed from sophisticated counterfeits, replicating as much as possible, to models inspired by the Safari, to models inspired by the imitations.

    There is clearly some merit to the design which was launched in 1980 in colourful, but sturdy, ABS plastic, designed to appeal to 10-15 year olds. It even won an iF design award 14 years later, in 1994, and remains a bestseller today. Limited edition colours are produced every year and Lamy have produced a clear ink barrelled Al-Star, which still has the bright coloured body and a fully clear bodied variation, the Lamy Vista, but the core design remains untouched.

    All Lamy pens are tested at the factory in Germany - you might notice a small amount of blue ink in the feed on your new Safari. 5 or 6 nibs at a time are tested on a revolving drum with paper by sound, as you can see in the video below. Those that fail the test parameters are removed, further tested and adjusted.

    So when you can buy a pen which is a design icon, made in a modern European factory where it has undergone individual testing and is available in a huge array of colours, all for less than £15, why go to the trouble of making a clone?

    This has not stopped Chinese pen brands attempting to create a cheaper imitation model of the Lamy Safari. Chinese factories are well known for creating imitation products, fountain pens included - if you are wondering why can China create such cheap fountain pens, Pen Economics has an excellent breakdown of the reasons why - a main point being that some production firms and factories are state owned, which means that these factories are running to provide work for the population. As employees are paid by the state, labour costs are essentially zero, plus factories like this will not have any pressure on them from shareholders to make a profit either, which allows for cheaper production costs.

    There are a slew of Lamy Safari copycat pens available so we’ve put together a round-up of the more notable copies around;

    Hero 359

    Hero, formed in 1931, are a large established pen brand in China and have a history almost as a long as Lamy. They really surprised the fountain pen community when they launched the Hero 359 Summer Colour pen range, which was an almost identical design copy of the Lamy Safari, even down to the branding, lid clip and grip. Hero stated that they were able to use this design as the exterior design patent right of Lamy's Safari series had expired.

    It is only a slightly cheaper than an official Lamy Safari and is not worth the small saving according to Jono at Pentorium’s review of the Hero 359, noting that the plastic body felt thinner and flimsier in comparison.

    hero summer safari fountain pens

    Yiren 566

    The Nanchang Yiren Pen Company was established in 2005 and their Lamy-eqsue offering is the

    Yiren 566 pen which, like the Hero, is an almost identical copy. This one, however, is much cheaper - but is it any better? Pens, Ink & Paper thought that the nib had surface level scratches, screwing out the head section felt friction-y and rough, and again the plastic felt cheap and flimsy. Plus, you have to wait for the parcel to arrive through ultra slow international mail, which can take 4-8 weeks.

    Yiren 566 Fountain Pen

    Jinhao 599

    There are a few differences between the Jinhao 599 and the Lamy Safari, making it more of a design homage rather than a straight copy. The main differences with the 599 is that it has a flat metal clip instead of Lamy’s iconic wire clip, the barrel itself does not have the clear cut out to see ink levels inside the pen and the Jinhao is slightly smaller in size too. The three sided grip is the same as the Lamy along with the brightly coloured plastic body, but there are enough details to easily tell the differences between the two pen designs. Again, these are only sold by international sellers so expect a long delay in receiving your pen.

    Lanbitou 757

    An old Chinese Proverb states “A good memory is no match for a worn pen nib.” In Chinese, “worn pen nib” is translated to lan bi tou, which is how the brand name Lanbitou came to be. The Lanbitou 757 version uses the transparent design of the Lamy Vista, and is almost identical, with exception of the ink feed - in the 757 there is only one ink channel, unlike the feed in Lamy Safari which has two channels ensuring that the pen never dries out, even if left unused for months.

    Lanbitou 757 Clear

    Wing Sung 6359

    Wing Sung was Shanghai's 2nd-largest pen manufacturer, which has been around for decades. The WIng Sung 6359 only started being produced in 2017, which copies the Lamy Al Star design, with it’s transparent grip, along with the classic wire shaped pen clip and the ink window. This pen is so similar to the Lamy pen even the nibs are interchangeable.

    Wing Sung 6359 Pink

    Pen, Inks and Paper put together an excellent comparison of the pros and cons between the Lamy Safari vs it’s design copies, the Jinhao 599 and Yiren 566.

    As we know cheaper does not always mean better. Whilst there are a few other copies, nothing really beats the real thing. The original Lamy Safari fountain pen has a superior build, which goes through plenty of quality control tests to ensure you get the same standard from every pen in the Safari range, and still offers great value at just £14.95 here at Executive Pens Direct.

     

    Counterfeit Lamy Pens

    Unlike some Chinese brands simply making their own copies, there are also unscrupulous dealers selling counterfeit Lamy pens. You wouldn’t think that someone would make a counterfeit version of a £15 fountain pen, however the reputation of Lamy Safari pens and their limited edition colour range has opened an opportunity for the counterfeit market.

    You can even find counterfeit pens through reputable sites such as eBay and Amazon, due to the fact there are multiple third party sellers of the same item and you are never quite sure where that specific sellers stock has been sourced from.

    Desk of Lori wrote about her experience of a fake Lamy Safari pen which was purchased as a gift from Amazon, at a normal price that you would expect for a Lamy.

    There are ways to spot these unscrupulous sellers - if you find a Lamy Safari Fountain pen for under £10, approach with caution because as the saying goes “if it’s too good to be true, it probably is” and always check feedback for any specific seller online, but don’t forget that it’s possible to pass as the real thing to an untrained eye.

    Goldspot have put together a great video comparison between a real and a fake Lamy Safari pen:

    Benefits of Buying From an Official Dealer

    We source our Lamy pens direct from the manufacturer at Executive Pens Direct. You can expect fast postage, with orders placed before 12pm usually dispatched the very same day in the UK.

    You can be sure to get a quick response if you have any questions or issues plus all of our branded pens are covered by the manufacturer's warranty, so if anything did go wrong we’ve got you covered.

    Plus, by purchasing from an official dealer like ourselves, you can be sure you are getting the real deal and not a poorly built fake.

    We love the Lamy Safari Fountain Pen in Yellow - even better, it's on sale right now at £14.95!

    or view our full Lamy Safari range:Lamy Safari Banner

  • Monteverde Ink Eradicator for Blue Fountain Pen Ink | Product Reviews

    Brand new for 2017, the news of Monteverde's ink eradicator reminded us of those ink-erasing pens we always wanted at school. They were a stationery must-have for young kids but often left you dissapointed when they erased a hole in your page as well as the ink.

    We hoped that this wouldn't be the case when testing Monteverde's version!

    inkeradicatorThe Ink Eradicator comes with an erasing tip on one end and a fineliner for rewriting over your mistake on the other end. It is longer than we had expected at 17cm but still small enough to fit into pencil cases and pockets.

    The ink eradicator only works on the Monteverde blue inks listed below and the inks we used were the G306BU International Standard Size cartridges. The pen used was a Monteverde Invincia Deluxe Carbon Fibre Chrome Trim Fountain pen with medium nib.

     

    Bottled Ink Ink Cartridges
    G308BU G302BU
    G309MU G303BU
    G300MU G376BU
    G306BU
    G304BU
    G372BU

     

    inkeradicatortest

    The images below show the before and after of using the ink eradicator and the third image shows the text rewritten with the fineliner end of the tool.

    The erasing tip is very effective at removing any traces of fountain pen ink and although the stain is visible in the images, after a short amount of time the trace becomes very faint and almost unnoticable. It would probably be less noticeable if you were writing on white or plain coloured paper.

    monteverdetest

    The fineliner does seem to write much darker than the colour of the fountain pen ink, but once again after a short period it does seem to dry and fade to a lighter blue colour.

    We did test whether you could rewrite over the erased section of the paper with the fountain pen but it simply absorbs the ink and so the fineliner must be used to make a mark.

    Overall we were quite impressed with this new tool from Monteverde and would recommend it for those who use Monteverde's blue inks as its affordable price is definitely worth it if it prevents you having any obvious mistakes in your writing.

  • Mad for Metallics - Our Favourite Gold and Silver Stationery

    Just because it is metallic doesn't mean it has to be expensive, right? We have rounded up a whole host of luxury and affordable products that appeal to those with an eye for all things that glisten and shine.

    Here at Executive Pens Direct we have huge range of pens with gold and silver trims and finishes as well as pens that are pure gold or silver in colour. We have chosen just a few of our favourites that we think will satisfy anyone with a love for all things metallic.

    This lustrous offering from Fisher Space Pens is a compact pen, perfect for slipping into a pocket or bag and as shown in the image, when the cap is popped onto the end it creates a full length pen that is perfectly balanced for writing with. This pen also hides a little secret, like all Fisher Space pens it will write over greasy or wet paper, underwater, upside down, in high and low temperatures and of course in zero gravity space conditions.

    An ideal pen for the astronauts among us.

    F400GFrom Parker we have two pens at either end of the price scale but both are equally attractive and a pleasure to write with.

    The first is a pen that has only joined us in 2016, part of Parker's Jotter Premiumisation project. A Premium pen of the collection, this West End Gold Parker Jotter with contrasting gold body and cap writes smoothly and comes in an attractive, new-look gift box. A perfect treat for a gold-lover on a budget.

    19532031858535

    Our second pen is a Parker Ingenuity in Pearl and Gold Metal. The glossy lacquer barrel is completed perfectly by the gold ring design and this pen uses Parker's innovative 5th generation technology for unmatched writing satisfaction. The nib of this pen adjusts and chisels itself when you first write with it, meaning it adapts perfectly to your writing style.

    If silver is more to your taste then look no further than this Laban Slim Line Ballpoint, complete with crystal clip. Made from 925 Sterling Silver and adorned with Swarovski crystals, this pen makes a wonderfully generous gift whether you have someone in mind or simply want to spoil yourself.

    SSLB_1_Zoom_1We can also engrave this pen making it truly unique and bespoke to the recipient.

    Now for something a little different!

    This Gold Feather Quill Calligraphy set makes a wonderful gift for someone or treat for yourself and gives you a taste of traditional writing tools and techniques, it even includes a scroll that tells you the Story of Calligraphy. The only problem you'll have is not wanting to take it out of the box.

    Gold Feather Quill & 5 Nib SetGAM03-CH-2

    We also have this quirky Troika Helicopter Desk Tidy that has a magnetic front to keep your paperclips handy and four removable 'blades' which are actually pens. You'll find three ballpoints pens and one highlighter in this helicopter and they all have a shiny chrome finish to match the rest of the tidy.

    Finally, we love a Sharpie as much as the next person but these Metallic Sharpies are a must in our stationery collection. Ideal for all kinds of activities whether it be poster making, scrap-booking or writing cards, these pens are designed for writing on dull and dark surfaces and their ink is fade and water resistant, making them permanent on almost all surfaces.

    metallicTIP: These Sharpie pens are perfect for adding a shiny, metallic touch to Christmas cards and gift tags.

    Got a favourite piece of Gold or Silver stationery? Let us know what we are missing out on in the comments below.

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  • Platinum Modern Maki-e Collection

    We have some new, beautifully crafted additions to the site in the form of Platinum's Modern Maki-e fountain and rollerball pens. All decorated with intricate details by using a traditional Japanese technique called Maki-e, these pens are truly unique creations.

    To celebrate their arrival we decided to find out a little bit more about Maki-e and what the designs on the pens mean and symbolize in Japanese culture.

    Maki-e Bowl

    The literal translation of Maki-e is 'sprinkled picture' as the process involves Japanese lacquer being sprinkled with gold or silver powder to create the decorative design. With Platinum's Modern Maki-e range, the intricate art is created by combining screen printing and the use of real gold powder by the Maki-e craftsmen.

    To find out more and see the process and secrets of Maki-e check out this video.

    In the Platinum Modern Maki-e Collection there are six pens available, three fountain pens and three rollerballs with three different designs available for the pens.

    Modern Maki-eThe designs showcase two Cranes with Mt. Fuji, a Phoenix and a Bush Warbler in a plum tree, three very traditional and symbolic images in Japanese culture. The Crane or 'bird of happiness' is said to represent longevity, good fortune and the wings of the crane were said to carry souls up to paradise.

    The phoenix is seen as a messenger of good will and is a very positive symbol of high virtue and grace, it is also said to represent the unity of yin and yang and is a symbol of the imperial house.

    A favourite motif in Japanese poetry, the bush warbler is often associated with ume or 'plum' blossom. It is also a symbol of spring and in Japanese tradition the ume is often seen as a protective charm against evil.

    The dedication that goes in to the Maki-e art form is simply amazing and it shows that this traditional, historic craft still has a place in creating awe in the modern world. To shop the Modern Maki-e collection just click here.

  • The Art of Colouring In: A review of Berol pens

    A household name in the stationary world, Berol pens are the ones we remember using at school and wishing we had at home, but when tested against each other which of the Berol colouring pens comes up trumps?

    We got together four different types of Berol pens and did a little colouring in to find out.

    The competitors were Berol Colourbrush, Colourfine, Hand Huggers and Colourbroad and first up to the test were the Colourbrush pens.

    These pens are designed with a brush style fibre tip, similar to that of an artists' paint brush so that fine lines can be achieved when using the tip but when used at an acute angle a much broader line is produced. The line width on the Colourbrush pens is 1.5mm making it bigger than the Colourfine pens but smaller than the Hand Huggers and Colourbroads.

    Berol ColourbrushWhen using these pens we found you have to be gentle when wanting detailed lines and slightly firmer for a thicker block of colour where more colouring in is required. This makes the Colourbrush quite versatile and economic as you can achieve both detail and general colouring with just one pen.

    Berol ColourfineFor more detailed colouring and writing the Berol weapon of choice would often be the Colourfine pens. These were great for controlled colouring such as trying to stay within the lines but also effective for larger areas of colouring despite some initial doubts. Colouring more substantial areas does take longer with the Colourfine pens but it does generally look very neat and there aren't many white gaps showing through the ink.

    Next up in our test were the Hand Huggers which are designed with young children learning to colour and write in mind. These are also available as pencils and have an ergonomic shape to encourage the correct grip when writing and drawing as well as reducing any hand strain. The Hand Huggers have a line width of 1.7mm just like the Colourbroad pens so the colouring experience with both was quite similar, the only difference being less hand strain when using the Hand Huggers.

    Berol Hand HuggersMoving on to the Colourbroads, these quickly coloured in larger areas on the page but it was quite difficult trying to fill in smaller, more detailed parts of the picture and trying not to go out of the lines often resulted in white gaps on the page. One thing we did find interesting about the Colourbroads was that the ink can be worked with a wet brush in order to create a subtle wash of colour.

    Berol ColourbroadOverall, the Berol pens we found best value for money and easiest to use are the Colourbrush and Colourfine pens. The Colourbrushes as they allow variety in creating thin and thick lines and the Colourfines as they allow for detailed colouring and provide a more opaque ink coverage on the page. Next would be the Hand Huggers which only exceed the Colourbroads because of how comfortable they are to hold, making them ideal for longer colouring sessions. Finally are the Colourbroads which are great for colouring, but we would recommend them for large colouring tasks or poster making as their thick line width is great for making words stand out. A larger colouring area would also allow you to fully embrace the technique of using them with a wet brush to create more subtle areas of colour.

    Berol pen comparison

    All of these Berol pens contain washable ink which will wash out of most fabrics and the Colourbroads, Colourfines and Colourbrushes can all be left uncapped for up to 14 days without drying out, making them perfect for at school and at home.

  • Troika Pens – Innovative, Functional Design for the Digital Age

    Troika pens are taking the world by storm through a dedicated desire to create writing implements that embody equal measures of functionality and streamlined elegance. Troika pens appeal to a broad spectrum of users including everyone from artisans and tradesmen to executives and everyday people needing a reliable, well-constructed pen that still reflects their individual sense of style, personality and purpose.

    Troika

    Great ideas and humble beginnings

    Troika GmbH, like so many innovative companies, began life in 1992 in a residential house in Hattert, Germany with just five employees. Liudger Bӧll, the founder of Troika, had a vision to create a line of high-quality executive gifts and accessories for professional clientèle and corporate identities, with an additional focus on functional gifts such as pens and desk accessories.

    A focus on exclusive writing instruments

    Troika extended their design philosophy to a product that had already existed for hundreds of years and challenged themselves to come up with new and innovative writing instruments that would re-ignite the imagination of the user. True to their name, Troika pens are available in three variants: traditional and elegant fountain pens, utilitarian ballpoint pens and the modern compromise of the rollerball pen.

    A few of our favourite pens

    Unlike other pen brands where the pen is, well, just a pen, Troika have incorporated multiple-functionality into a single design, making their brand of pens the envy of other, simpler designs.

    Consider, for instance, the clever functionality of Troika’s “Construction” ball point pen, designed expressly for men who need to measure or fix things at a moment’s notice. The clever design features a ruler etched along the pen barrel, not just for decorative purposes mind you, the ruler is accurate and can be used in a pinch when nothing else is at hand. The pen is constructed from brass and steel and has the weight of a tool. The pen also features a spirit level and a built-in screwdriver, cleverly hidden beneath a capacitive stylus that can be used with tablets and other touchscreen devices. The hexagonal barrel is also available in a range of colour options.

    Troika Construction PenThe “Hanging Pen” is a great example of Troika’s ability to move with the times with a combination ballpoint and stylus in one. The perfect solution for executives who need to be able to utilise digital media just as quickly as signing a contract in real ink, this model is available in elegant carbon and steel complete with a silver chain. Of course, it’s not always about functionality and design economy, sometimes it really is all about looks. Troika understands the importance of individual style and have created a range of pens that epitomise this ethos.

    Troika customers enjoy a choice of finishes, timeless colours and clever art-pop designs such as the “Cassette Tape” pen or “Goethes Signature”. Other trendy and whimsical designs, guaranteed to capture the heart of anyone looking for a pen that resonates with their personality, are also available here.

    Troika Music Tapes Troika Goethes Signatur

  • Calligraphy Sets for Wedding Invitations

    Planning a wedding is notoriously hectic, with a million and one things to think about it can be a nightmare to keep track of everything.

    Making personalised wedding invitations yourself is a great way to avoid one of the stresses of planning weddings: worrying about whether the invites will be delivered in time and if they will be as you wanted.

    With our range of calligraphy sets and fine stationary you can stay in complete control and create a beautiful wedding invite that is designed exactly how you want with a unique personal touch.

    wood pen ink well

    We also have a stunning range of wax seals that could be used to seal the invitation by using a wax that matches your wedding colours for an even more personal approach, this works especially well if you are hand delivering your invites.

    By hand making your wedding invitations you can also personalise them further than you could if you bought them in bulk. You could add a personal message to your close family and friends, letting each of them know in your own way how much you want them to be at your big day.

    Our Original Crown Mill Paper is the ideal tool for writing on and there are plenty of haberdasheries around to buy ribbons, flowers and other accessories that you might need to achieve your desired design of wedding invitation.

    crown mill paper

    Not only is this a great way to relieve stress, it is also a nice way for you and your partner to spend some time together and will give you time to discuss other important details that can so easily get overlooked.

  • New Paper Mate pens added to the site!

    Great news for any Paper Mate lovers, we have just added some new products to our Paper Mate range and we are sure that there will be something to suit everyone.

    Papermate bannerThe first product we have to introduce is a retractable ballpoint version of the Paper Mate Inkjoy 100, a little twist on an already popular product. A classic looking Paper Mate pen these new Inkjoys have a transparent colour-tinted body and are available in many colours in this stylish multi-pack.

    We think these pens are perfect for writing and drawing as the 1.0mm nib is small enough for the most precise details. Their triangular shape also makes them comfortable for longer periods of use making them a practical, great value product.

    InkjoyIf pencils are more suited to you then fear not, we have just added some of Paper Mate’s mechanical pencils to the site! With no need for sharpening, these pencils are great for children who love colouring and their strong lead makes them an excellent product for at school and at home. With the same shape as the Inkjoy pens, these pencils are built for comfort and are a great tool for children learning to hold and use a pencil.

    Mechanical pencilsAnother new addition for you to browse is the Paper Mate range of Gel Silkwriters. We have single pens available in black, blue and red or a multi-pack of 4 fun colours – blue, orange, purple and pink. These pens write very smoothly because of their pigmented gel ink making them ideal for all kinds of tasks, whether you use them at school or work, for doodling or journaling.

    SilkwriterYour main problem with these pens will be trying to keep other people’s hands off them!

    Lastly we have the Paper Mate Replay Erasable Gel pens which allow you to write and then erase what you have just written right before your very eyes. An excellent choice if you love crosswords or puzzles, your mistakes will be a thing of the past when you can erase and rewrite with ease.

    Available in four bright, bold colours – pink, turquoise, orange and purple, they are great for adding a bit of colour and erasable magic into your life.

    Replay ErasablesWe also have a special offer running until the 30th November where with any Parker pen set purchase you receive a pack of Paper Mate Replay pens for FREE. Find out more about this offer on our Facebook.

    To browse our complete Paper Mate collection, simply click here.

  • Write with a Classy Personalised Visconti Pen

    A pen that signed the agreements at the Nato-Russia Summit on May 28, 2002, marking the end of the Cold War carries a huge amount of weight and credibility. The venue was the Pratica di Mare Airforce base, near Rome, Italy and the pen was an iconic Visconti Fountain Pen.

    For over twenty five years the name ‘Visconti’ has defined extraordinarily beautiful and elegant writing instruments. They are crafted from only the finest materials using the highest standards and epitomise superior craftsmanship at the peak of its abilities.

    ViscontiIf you are about to become the proud owner of an iconic Visconti Pen, we are offering you the fabulous opportunity to have it personally branded with your initials. Perhaps you are buying one as gift? Let us use the initials of your loved one or the intended recipient.

    Every Visconti Pen features a metal, circular Visconti Logo on the top of the pen cap. It is held in place by a powerful magnetic force. Using a strong magnet, the logo can be removed and replaced with your personal initials creating a writing instrument to treasure for a life time.

    This unique process is known as Visconti MPS, representing the stylish patented My Pen System. We craft your initials into two half spheres, one initial on each sphere. They then join together perfectly to form a full circle that fits exactly onto the top of the pen cap in place of the logo.

    Imagine how magnificent it will be to write with a pen adorned with your initials in this impressive style! Or how equally charmed a friend will be to receive a gift with their initials on it.

    If you already own a Visconti Pen, you don't need to miss out! Send us your initials and for a small fee, we will have them made and send them off to you. Using a magnet at home, you can easily replace the logo. If you don't feel comfortable with doing this process yourself, send us your pen and initials. Ensure that you use a reputable tracked service. We will then have the initials made, position them onto the pen and send it back to you.

    Not familiar with the Visconti range? Their collection includes something for all tastes and occasions so have a look at the magnificent designs they have to offer.

    From the gloriously brightly coloured Divina Desert Spring Pen

    Divina Desert SpringTo the simply elegant Divina Black Medium Rollerball Pen Divina Blackand the fabulously ornate Christian Bible Vermeil Fountain Pen Christian Bible Vermailyou are certain to find that something special!

    For more Visconti pens have a browse here.

  • New Visconti pens have just arrived

    For all the Visconti pen lovers out there we have some new additions that we are sure you are going to love.

    Say hello to two new Visconti Limited Editions, the Speakeasy and the Rainbow and a new collection that has given 2003 Opera pens a modern, metallic look, the Opera Metals collection.

    If you long to own something truly unique then there is no greater feeling than purchasing your first Limited Edition Visconti pen, making both the Visconti Speakeasy and Rainbow fountain pens an investment that you can enjoy for many years.

    The Speakeasy fountain pen is a red and blue coloured pen that gives homage to a period of rebellion and indulgence in 1920's America and Canada.

    The SpeakeasyA speakeasy was a somewhat code word for a place that secretly sold alcohol during the prohibition period, so named because you were not to talk too quickly or act nervously in case you arose the suspicion of law officials or the government. Passwords were often needed for access into a speakeasy and alcohol was given code names such as 'horse liniment' and 'coffin varnish' to keep the activities going on inside a secret.

    To incorporate this period of history into a pen, Visconti have crafted an attractive and classic looking pen but it also hides a secret of its own as within the pen is a hidden sanitised compartment which perfectly fits a shot of your favourite alcohol. A small window in the pen can also be revealed which lets the user know which alcohol is kept within the pen, a perfect gift idea for someone who loves luxury crafted pens and the odd tipple.

    The Speakeasy pen comes in a Visconti gift box along with a red hip flask that compliments the pen and completes the gift set.

    Visconti Speakeasy Fountain Pen with Liquor Stash Visconti Speakeasy Fountain Pen

    Speakeasy gift set

    Our next Limited Edition is the Rainbow fountain pen, part of Visconti's "Millenium Arc" collection.

    This stunning, iridescent pen showcases seven bright colours of the rainbow that all glisten in the light and are accompanied by a slick palladium trim.

    This pen is equipped with Visconti's advanced crescent filling system, so to refill your ink level you simply press the crescent mechanism on the barrel and when it is released, ink will be sucked from the bottle into the inner sac of the pen and you are ready to write.

    Rainbow open

    Both the crescent mechanism and the clip are arc shaped signifying the unity of the arc of history with the arc of time, this combined arc representing the continuity of time from the past to the future. A universal message that without our past there is no future as nothing can be created, nothing can be destroyed and what goes around comes back around.

    Finally we have Visconti's Opera Metals collection, a 2015 twist on a 2003 design.

    Opera MetalsThis new Opera design was created with the idea of combining the square and the circle which has resulted in a pen that is ergonomically shaped and perfect for comfortable writing. The unique squaring of the circle design of the pen is symbolic of the two laws which created and which preserve the universe: movement and stability.

    Made from anodized coloured avional, a strong aluminium alloy used in aeronautics for lightweight but highly stressed parts, this Opera Metal collection is available in four sleek finishes. Monza - a black design highlighted with cool red trim, Roadster - black with a yellow trim, Silver Shadow - silver with graphite trim and Speedboat - silver with vibrant blue trim.

    This new take on the iconic Opera collection is eye-catching, bold and perfect for the modern writer, available as both a Rollerball and a Fountain pen.

     To shop all of our Visconti pens including these new additions, simply click here.

  • Fountain Pen Day 2015

    Calling all Fountain pen lovers and aficionados, get ready to celebrate Fountain Pen Day 2015!

    The countdown to Fountain Pen Day on 6th November has long begun and people all over the world are gearing up to celebrate the well-loved fountain pen. If you aren't a fountain pen user you might not know the beauty of using such a pen, so we have gathered some facts and information so that everyone can embrace and enjoy Fountain Pen Day.

    Fountain pen

    As well as being an elegant looking, fountain pens are perfect for beautifully smooth writing, cost effective, have the ability to add style and character to your handwriting, have variable nib sizes and cuts, allow for the use of a variety of inks in a spectrum of colours and if you write with a fountain pen you are embracing and ensuring a future for an item of history.

    Whether you buy vintage, modern, decorative or basic there is a fountain pen out there for everyone and it is never too late to begin a rewarding hobby of improving your handwriting and learning about this pillar of the writing world.

    To celebrate Fountain Pen Day we are offering 15% off our Fountain Pens from the 3rd-7th November, simply use the code: FOUNTAINPEN15.

    To see our Fountain pen range VIEW HERE. We have a great selection of Parker fountain pens and pens from other top brands.

    We also offer an engraving service for all of our pens. Engraved fountain pens are an excellent present idea for fountain pen enthusiasts.

    If you want to get involved, wherever you are, you can explore by visiting the Fountain Pen Day website where you can find celebrations near you, sponsors of FPD and ideas of how to celebrate.

    Simply click the logo below!

    FPD Logo

     

     

  • Spotlight on: Lamy Pens

    Lamy pens have a reputation today as fine writing instruments, from their popular Lamy fountain pen range to the lesser known rollerball and ballpoint pens.

    lamybannerLamy was founded in 1930 by Josef Lamy, who had worked for an American writing instruments manufacturer. The company was formed in Heidelberg, Germany and was initially called Orthos Füllfederhalter-Fabrik.

    During the was the company had to take on armaments work for the war effort, but still managed to produce 200,000 ORTHOS and ARTUS fountain pens. After the war Josef Lamy changed the name of the company to C. Josef Lamy GmbH to appeal to a wider audience as the German economy suffered post-war.

    Lamy's breakthrough came in 1952 with the Lamy 27, which boasted a 'tintomatik' system that ensured a smooth ink flow. This Lamy fountain pen was what put the company on the map and made the industry take note of their achievements.

    As well as achieving recognition for their fountain pen, Lamy also produced the Lamyexact ballpoint pen, which was Germany's first ballpoint pen with a stainless steel cap and large capacity ink refill. The Lamyexact's success became a major player in the success and marketability of the company.

    In 1966 a partnership with a former B-Braun designer created the Lamy 2000 which challenged the conventional idea of a ballpoint pen. The 2000 incorporated more stainless steel into the design and with technical innovations like the spring clip it was the foundation of the distinctive Lamy Design that their pens are known for today.

    In 1980 the first Lamy Safari fountain pen was created, targeting schoolchildren aged between 10-15. The Lamy Safari was made from olive green ABS plastic and was extremely popular amongst the students, creating the foundation for the huge success of the Lamy Safari range.

    Lamy pen set

    In 1987 Lamy continued to innovate for school aged children, creating the Lamyabc which was designed to meet the needs of children learning to write. This Lamy pen was a collaboration with teachers and professors to help make the process of learning to write more enjoyable.

    In 1994 Lamy's profits reached the 100million German Marks goal for the first time, proving to the world that use of ecological materials can be the foundation for a successful business. In 1996 Lamy launched a protracted, targeted marketing campaign across Europe to establish themselves in key markets and secure their future.

    2001 saw the introduction of the Lamy Pico, which was created with flexibility in mind and to be carried around in your pocket. Measuring just 9cm, it used a refined lift mechanism to transform into a full sized writing instrument and was innovative enough to bag Lamy the Design Award of the Federal Republic of Germany - the highest design accolade in the country.

    2005 brought the introduction of the Lamy Studio, a full range of pens that was born from the success of the Lamy Scribble in 2000 amongst designers and creative workers. The Lamy Studio quickly became popular with designers again with it's full range offering a Lamy pen for all industries.

                 Brushed Steel    Lamy Platinum    Lamy Black

    Lamy pens continue to be a driving force in the creative industry, regularly winning design awards and being commended on their commitment to economically viable products. When you buy one of their pens you can be sure that all of Lamy's experience and design knowledge will come along with it.

    See our range of Lamy pens in our online store including the Safari and Studio ranges.

  • Montegrappa Pens and Their History

    Founded in the prosperous North-Eastern area of Italy in 1912, Montegrappa was Italy's first pen manufacturer.

    Their factory sits on the banks of the river Brenta in the town of Bassano del Grappa, where the company first began trading under the name of ELMO: a 'Manifattura pennini d’oro e penne stilografiche' - a manufacturer of gold nibs and fountain pens.

    In the First World War Bassano was a key position of the Southern Front, as a result seeing much fighting and conflict. One benefit of this was that there were many war correspondents and writers in the area who would use ELMO pens to write home or write reports. Ernest Hemingway was working as a volunteer ambulance driver on the front and sent many of his communiqués with writing equipment produced by ELMO in Bassano.

    Throughout the next few years Montegrappa pens came to be recognised as leaders in fountain pen design and style. They were the first company to use celluloid and galaith in their pens and their craftsmen were able to produce original and technical solutions to the manufacturing designs, elevating Montegrappa pens to the prestigious level they still maintain today.

    Montegrappa's pens have their own place in history, with many world leaders and figures known to use them. Benito Mussolini is just one famous Italian known for his use of pens from Montegrappa, along with Russian President Boris Yeltsin who symbolically passed his Dragon pen to current President Vladimir Putin to transfer power to him. In more modern times there have been many celebrities who use Montegrappa pens, from Royalty such as Pope John Paul II to Al Pacino and Bill Cosby, putting you in a very special club if you use one too. Sylvester Stallone likes the brand so much that he is now a shareholder and a Director of the company!

    To celebrate it's first century, Montegrappa released a range of pens to celebrate events and iconic figures that were present during these times. Montegrappa pens ion this range include tributes to Muhammad Ali and Bruce Lee to name but a few.

    Montegrappa continue to release limited edition Montegrappa pens and new ranges of all kinds of pens including fountain pens and rollerball pens. They even have a range celebrating DC comic characters including Superman, Batman and Wonderwoman.

  • Fountain Pens - The First Waterman Fountain Pen to Ballpoint Pens.

    The fountain pen is today associated with prestige. It is seen as a more sophisticated pen than the humble ballpoint or rollerball and is often given as a gift to mark a special occasion.

    Before the days of prestigious Lamy fountain pens and engraved fountain pens that are used on special occasions or as gifts, the fountain pen was the everyday writer across all classes.

    lamy

    The earliest historical reference to a fountain pen comes from the 10th Century, when Al-Mu'izz li-Din Allah - 4th Caliphate of the Fatimid Dynasty that founded Cairo in 969 - demanded a pen that would not stain his hands or clothes. No examples or specifications have survived to this date so it cannot be confirmed if it existed in reality.

    The first example in Europe was in the 17th century, where German inventor Daniel Schwenter produced a design made from two quills. One quill held the ink inside the second quill, utilising cork to hold the ink in place which was squeezed through a small hole to the nib. This design was improved on and Samuel Pepys mentions in his diaries a 'metal pen to carry ink' in 1663.

    In 1828 a cheap, slip-on steel nib was invented by Josiah Mason in Birmingham, England. Mason and colleagues found a way to mass-produce them, causing a boom in the Birmingham pen trade, with over half of the world's pen nibs being made there by the 1850s.

    Progress in developing a reliable fountain pen was slow due to a lack of understanding of how pressure worked and that most inks were of poor quality, often containing sediment that would clog the nib or being highly corrosive which would degrade the cork or stopper.

    It took until the mid-19th century for more progress to be made, with the invention of hard rubber for a stopper, iridium-tipped gold nibs which were much more reliable than their steel counterparts; and free flowing ink which prevented blockages.

    Canadian Duncan MacKinnon created stylographic pens with a hollow nib and wire as a valve in 1875; causing the mass-production of fountain pens to begin and take off in the 1880s. The Waterman fountain pen was one of the first to be mass produced in the United States and they quickly became the market leader, out-performing their competitor Wirt with their higher quality Waterman fountain pen. Waterman remained the market leader until the 1920s.

    waterman fountain pen

    The problem of ink-filling was addressed in the early 20th century, with many inventors and companies coming up with quicker, less-messy ways of refilling the fountain pen. These included Waterman's twist-filler and Parker fountain pens had a button-filler which was seen as more contemporary.

    Throughout the first half of the 20th century, Waterman fountain pens, Parker fountain pens and other popular brands of fountain pen continued to improve their design and quality. Such innovations as cellulite were involved, as this meant that the pens could be created in more colours. Ballpoint pens were in their infancy and were unreliable - just as the fountain pen was at first - but by the 1950s they were beginning to overtake the fountain pen as a casual, everyday pen.

    Fountain pens are still used in many countries today, including India, Germany, France and the UK. Usually they are used in schools or as a status symbol amongst executives, as opposed to a regular everyday writing pen. One of the most extravagant fountain pen manufacturers today are Visconti. Their pens are distinctive in their design and prestige, many of their pens are limited edition collectors pieces, and they continue to push the boundary of innovative design.

    pininfarina

  • The History of the Platignum Pen

    The Platignum Pen Company have been revolutionising writing since the early 1900's, here is brief history of the Platignum Pen and their long standing rise to success.


    1919 The Platignum Pen Company revolutionises the world of pens with the self-filling, gold plated nib fountain pen, the first of it's kind.
    Platignum Fountain Pen

    Platignum Fountain Pen
    1925 The Platignum Pen Company creates the worlds first replacement nibs.

    1939-1945 Platignum goes a way to supporting the war effort after being commissioned by the MOD to create spy pens which could be use to conceal compasses and maps.
    Platignum Spy Pens

    Platignum Ballpoint Pen
    1950 With another inspirational breakthrough in pen history the Platignum Pen Company invents the first retractable ballpoint pen.

    1965-1998 Platignum Pens introduce ink cartridges to the UK and for over 30 years they becomes synonymous with education.
    Platignum Ink Cartridges

    Platignum Calligraphy Pen
    1992-2005 Platignum produces a collection of calligraphy sets to add to it's extensive pen range.


    2007 The Platignum Pen Company new signature style is released.
    Platignum Ink Cartridges
    platignum studio

    2013 Out with the old and in with Platignum's newest designs. More colour and a fresh new look. Check out the Platignum Studio Ballpoint Pens and the Platignum Voyager Pens

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