69 Dude!

This may be my last entry…

No reading at all today – it’s a Saturday so there is so much more to be done.

First port of call for us was the last day of the Birmingham Hidden Spaces event. We were allowed into the Old Municipal Bank and it’s vaults. The point of the event is to allow people into disused or previously inaccessible locations to get an idea of what happens in the restricted areas of the city.

The bank was opened in 1933 and closed in 1998. Since then it has very occassionally been used for exhibitions and the like but has remained closed for the majority of the time. It turns out it’s a bit of a steamy treat for the poor (like me) to look inside Bank vaults and check out Safety Deposit Boxes. I was aware of their existence of safety deposits from movies and reported heists but had never seen one in real life before.

On the way home we discussed the merits of getting a new bbq but decided against it. We stopped off to get some groceries and I noticed a stationery shop I hadn’t seen before – this opened the possibility of Fountain Pen and notebook shopping! As it turned out the shop was a bit low-brow but stocked a few Sheaffer pens at reasonable prices. My eye was caught by something else though – something I had to buy immediately: a 69p fountain pen!

I could hardly believe my eyes. Surely this couldn’t be a viable option? Not only was it a quite nice looking pen, it came with 6 free ink cartridges. That just seems ridiculous to me. Surely the metal in the nib is worth more than 69 pence? I couldn’t leave it there – I had to have it.

On closer inspection I discovered it was made by a company called Club – a brand I can find no reference for anywhere, if you have any information on them please let me know.

Finally at home I gave it a test drive. To give it the best possible start in life, I avoided the cartridges that came with it and instead used a J Herbin Lie de Thé cartridge. J Herbin produce good quality inks that have a decent flow and slight lubrication that would most likely be missing from the supplied cartridges. In all honesty I prefer bottled ink and converters but even the cheapest converters would be more expensive than the entire pen in this case.

I have to say I’m hugely impressed. It’s all plastic apart from the nib which is steel. The plastic is flimsy and I can see the whole thing cracking and dying horrible death if dropped or if too much pressure is applied when screwing the component parts together. I wondered whether the nib and feed would be integral and was hugely surprised to find that it was friction fir with quite a nice looking feed. The best bit though – it writes brilliantly. There are no hard-starts, no burping, bleeding or leaking nor is it excessively scratchy. I have used much worse pens at a much higher price point than this.

I don’t like that the lid has safety ventilation – I can imagine that the shop sells a number of these pens to school children and they could be a choking hazard but the ventilation will only help to dry out the nib and gunk it up. For this reason and the fact that the plastic is just too fragile for me to throw it in a bag, it won’t be an everyday pen for me. I’ll be happy to use it at home though.

When I have a moment I will add photos of the pen and a writing sample.

Thanks for reading, now don’t push too hard!

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