Category Archives: pens

Pilot Scholar E

The Scholar E is a marvel for Pilot fans. It combines features from a few Pilot Japanese models and then some.

The pen has the torpedo size and shape of the Custom 74 (and the Custom 67 before it) but with a different cap band and – most notably – guilloche-like chasing on the black plastic.


Under the cap, the pen sports a large inlaid nib – a distinctive design that debuted on the Pilot Elite series of pens, and is available these days only in 18K gold on expensive offerings like the Silvern series or last year’s Elite 95 reissue. This is a steel nib though, just gold-plated.


The squeeze-filler on the pen is unique too. It looks like a larger CON-20 (Pilot’s current production squeeze converter) and it screws into the section housing. The filler is easily unscrewed but the section lacks a piercer for cartridges. The sac is clear plastic – probably vinyl.

The Scholar E was (is?) made in Korea, apparently by a licensee of Pilot that is still in business according to Bruno Taut. The pen can’t be imported into Japan it seems.

Maybe I’ve been spoilt by other pens, but I paid about US$50 for this Pilot Scholar E and I think the weight and materials are just about OK for this price point. Cosmetically, the cap and barrel are a different material and shade of black from the captop and barrel end. The chasing is interesting but cut shallowly. The gold-plating on the nib has flaws too. The plastic for barrel and cap feels a bit too light. The ends unscrew easily as well.

The nib is stiff as a nail. Not scratchy but also not as smooth as a Japan-made steel Pilot nib e.g. on the Prera. And on my pen ink seeps out from the back of the nib. No serious leaking or blobbing, but I do need to be careful not to put my fingers there when I write.

In all, a budget-priced curiosity or treat for Pilot fans.


Capped length: 14.4 cm
Uncapped length: 13.6 cm

201 Hero (“201” 英雄), 1955(?) -1966


This is a well-used 201 Hero ( “201” 英雄 ) from the Shanghai Huafu ( 华孚 ) fountain pen factory. The pen is the nicest copy of the Parker “51” I’ve handled so far. Parts fit well. Doesn’t feel too light or flimsy. Has a gold nib and what looks like a celluloid jewel on top of the cap.

There’re 2 interesting modifications to the “51” design: the faux “clutch ring” comprising a piece of plastic sandwiched between 2 thin metal rings, and a thin metal band with circular cutouts on the inside rim of the barrel (probably to prevent cracking but visually interesting too).



Capped length: 12.6 cm
Uncapped length: 13.7 cm

This pen was very well-used and clearly much-loved. Ink flow is a bit dry and I think the feed could be fitted more closely to the nib. But the nib writes so smoothly regardless. (Worn down with regular use?)

I’ve more questions about this pen. Why was there so much blue ink inside? Why was it left to dry out when it was clearly well-used and so worn? How many people have owned it? How did it leave China in the first place? Where did it spend the decades?


Have been trying to pin down production dates. Based on this source and others it seems the pen was made sometime between 1955 and 1966. 1955 was when the Shanghai Huafu Fountain Pen Factory (华孚金笔厂) launched its “Hero” brand of fountain pens. 1966 was when the factory changed its name to “Hero Fountain Pen Factory” (英雄金笔厂) (possibly due to events during the Cultural Revolution?).

If you’ve more information about this pen, please feel free to post comments. Would love to hear from you 🙂

201 Hero capped

Kaweco Dia2, 2013

Classic styling with lots of thoughtful little details. 

Kaweco was no more by 1976, but the brand was revived in the mid-1990s by the Gutberlet family, who runs a firm specialising in industrial equipment for pen manufacture. 

In terms of design, Kaweco’s lineup is heavily influenced by Kaweco pens of the 30’s. The Dia2 is an excellent example.  

Kaweco Dia2

Design and Materials

I like the combination of pre-war German styling with modern elements. The Dia2 is ultimately inspired by a Kaweco Dia c.1940 (see this FPB thread for some pics — Modern elements include: the barrel design (more on that below); logo inserts on crown and barrel end and the engraved script on the back of the cap. The knurling and gold trim at the barrel end evoke a piston-filler’s turning knob. 

As the name implies, the Dia2 is the latest version of Kaweco’s earlier re-issue of the Dia. That pen followed the vintage Dia design much more closely. You can see pics here —

Kaweco Dia2

The Dia2 has a less monolithic profile and a more slender barrel, designed such that it bulges a little in the middle before tapering towards the end (c.f. Pelikan’s Wonders of Nature models). The section is also simpler, and slightly concave. 

Cap and barrel are plastic, but the pen has a bit of heft due to the metal parts. The inner cap is a metal piece, the clip brass. The inner barrel threads look like brass as well, though that piece doesn’t extend the length of the barrel. Pens like these don’t feel as cold as, say, Waterman’s usual lacquered/painted all-metal barrels.

The Dia2 comes equipped with a steel nib plated to match the trim. The nib is sized for the Kaweco Sport, a much smaller pen, and the units are interchangeable. I suppose this helps keeps costs down but the nib is visually too small relative to the rest of the pen.   

Performance-wise, no problems. Smooth out of the box (which, btw, was a very attractive vintage-inspired tin 🙂 )

Filling System
Cartridge/converter, and Kaweco converters come printed with their logo — a nice touch. If you use international short cartridges, you’d probably appreciate the loose spring inside the barrel which allows you to keep a spare international short cartridge inside without having it slide up and down. 

Length (capped): 13.3cm
Length (uncapped): 12.2cm

Kaweco Dia2

Majestic flat-top, pearl and black


Found another charming Majestic — one I’ve never seen before. Looks just like a Waterman 52 especially with the riveted clip. Comes with a Warranted 14K “2” nib. I still half-expect to find a number stamped on the barrel end. It’s probably older than the Majestic I posted earlier.

Incidentally, Jon Veley has pics of Majestic pencils in similar pearl and black celluloid, with riveted clips on his site.

Swan Safety Pen eyedropper, 1948-1952

Swan Safety Pen

The cap on this one caught my eye with its guilloche-like chasing.


Fortunately it polished up very nicely, and straightening the clip was easy. The pen was an eyedropper and a cinch to clean. Sharp imprint, barrel mostly clean. Its Swan #1 14C nib is a fairly stiff medium stub.


This pen was made 1948-1952 according to “The Chronicle of the Fountain Pen” by Martins, Leite and Gagean. (Lambrou’s “Fountain Pens of the World” mentions that 1948 saw Mabie Todd offer pens with #1 nibs for sale, though it’s unclear whether the nibs first appeared in 1948.) By this period Mabie Todd’s fortunes were well in decline and one is tempted to link that with the pen. Overall it feels a bit too light and the cap, though brilliant, is thin-walled. The tines are balanced but the nib slit is just slightly off the centre of the breather hole. The feed is straight but the sides leading up to the tip are not evenly ground. The knurling at the end of the barrel is cosmetic and probably meant to make the pen look like a Leverless model. There was no number or model name given to this pen, though it was probably made for export and shared many components with other pens — possibly including the 3160.

Capped length – 5 inches / 12.7 cm
Uncapped length – 4.5 inches / 11.4 cm

Thanks to Deb Gibson ( and “Hugh” on FPB for the info. Brian Anderson has the same model and he shared pics of it on Pentrace –

Majestic fountain pen, 1930s?

Majestic pen

A short pen – about 4.2 inches / 10.7cm long capped – but the celluloid is unique and attractive: pearlescent browns, greys and translucent parts ambered with the years. For fun, here’s a shot of the barrel and cap lit up from inside:


Much of the gold wash on the furniture had worn off over the decades, typical of third-tier pens.

This pen took some time to clean up. The nib had glossy black marks around the edges and the slit, and there was some kind of hard shiny crud at the tip of the feed and in the fins. Maybe someone had tried using India ink in this pen?

The marks on the nib wouldn’t come off with water, and because they looked like shellac I tried rubbing alcohol on Q-tips. It worked but the gold wash came off too. I trimmed and scraped most of the crud and rough bit off the feed. Cleared the channels with a safety razor and a craft knife.

I salvaged a J-bar from an equally small Ambassador with a split barrel end, then resacced the Majestic with a silicone sac to prevent the celluloid ambering further. The pen had come to me with a plastic sac (from a Hero?) installed using rubber cement, and a plastic strip in lieu of a J-bar. To finish off I polished the barrel and cap a little.

The steel nib – a Fine – writes nicely with a little tooth. Good amount of gold wash and tipping left and not flimsy at all.

Based on what I found online, “Majestic” was a brand of pens from the Majestic Pen Company (originally J. Harris & Co), which also made “Harris” and “Ambassador” pens. Regardless of brand, models resembled each other very closely and were of the same third-tier quality.

More links:
– J Harris pens –

Parker Vest Duofold, Pearl and Black, 1932

Parker Vest Duofold

Parker introduced these little Duofolds in 1930. The pen was meant to hang from a chain – note the little ring on top of the cap – and stored in a vest pocket – hence the tiny size.

The cap looks much less discolored than the barrel. It’s common to find discoloration in this “pearl and black” celluloid, used by Parker in other Duofold models as well. The discoloration was likely caused by exposure to gases released from the rubber sac inside as it aged.

Vest Duofold disassembled

Didn’t realise how cute this little pen was until I disassembled it for a resac. Took the opportunity to clean the inside of the barrel as well, picking off remnants of some long-gone sac and swabbing out old ink with Q-tips. I installed a silicone sac. Decades too late, but at least the sac won’t worsen the discoloration.


This pen dates from late 1932, when the three-ring cap band was introduced in vest Duofolds. It was made in Canada and sports an unusual nib — an springy 18K broad stub! This pen couldn’t have held much ink but it’s fun to write with. Hope the new owner’s enjoying it!

Remington lever filler, modified

Sometimes you see third-tier pens with intriguing plastics, like this Remington. Diamonds of metallic foil under a layer of clear plastic, slightly iridescent against a black background. Someone commented to me that it looked like urushi.

When I received the pen I discovered that nib, feed and section all had problems. The feed had a large crack, the tips of the nib tines were awry, and the section had distended.

I’d like to say that I fixed all of these, but I thought it would be more interesting and worthwhile to modify an Esterbrook section to fit the barrel 🙂

So there you are – an attractive Remington that can take any Esterbrook Renew-Point nib.

Length (capped): 13 cm
Length (uncapped): 11.6 cm (with a 9314-M nib)
Girth: 1.25 cm

Waterman 56, Ripple red hard rubber

Waterman 56 in Ripple red hard rubber. The 56 was the second-largest of Waterman’s lever-fillers produced in the late-1920s (the largest was the 58), and the Ripple ebonite was unique to the company.

This pen is really nice for regular writing: taller and fatter than the 52/54, with a large #6 nib that’s also the softest, flexiest I’ve ever had the good fortune to own – though I hesitate to call it a “full” flex nib.

Length (capped): 14 cm
Length (uncapped): 13.7 cm
Barrel girth: 1.3 cm