Thursday, August 22, 2019

Wing Sung 612 Fountain Pen

chinese fountain pen wing sung 612
Wing Sung 612 fountain pen
     Today I will share with you my very old Wing Sung 612 fountain pen, which is a Chinese Parker 51 look alike fountain pen. The one I have features a plastic body in teal, a hooded nib that is not perfectly centered to the body, a metal cap and the trim that are plated in gold color. The filling system is an aerometric sac. And the most important thing is that you can get it for peanuts, or a similar one similar as this one is a classic.


But this is not all to it. It is actually the fountain pen I had and used during the first years of school when writing with a fountain pen was mandatory.
I found it recently in a drawer and inked it up for a test drive.

The pen looks really good if you take into consideration it was used by a young boy 6 - 10 years old about 25 years ago. It has scratches on the cap, and on the body. The ones on the cap show more because of the finish. Also, the clip has a slight bend to it, and the trim on the end of the barrel is a bit discolored.
The cap is a friction style, with no snap. But it stays well on the pen and there is no risk of falling off. Ideal for taking notes. Because the section is smooth you can hold it anywhere. I tend to use a high grip on this fountain pen.
The clip is hinged and is secure, but the tip of it is a bit sharp and scratchy. I have carried it for a short time in the same pouch with my Faber Castell Loom and it managed to scratch the body of the Loom.
The filling system is not a very good one. You have a bladder that you squeeze to push the air out and let the ink in. I don't like it and I feel a converter or cartridge would be better. But at that time this system was the popular one. After looking at more modern Parker 51 style fountain pens I was very happy to see that modern Chinese hooded nib fountain pens use a converter. And I will probably try one of those.

What I like a lot is the cap, which is held in place by friction, and for an office environment is the perfect cap. You can take it off very fast and just take a few notes and then put it back on. Also, you can leave the fountain pen uncapped for longer with no drying issues.

If I do not write with it for a couple of days it can have hard starts or if left unused for longer it can dry out.

For me, the pen feels thin, and for longer writing sessions is uncomfortable. Also, the pen is very light and if you write more you have to use force to put the ink down, or at least this is the sensation I get when writing more. On the other hand, a heavy metal fountain pen like the Faber Castell Loom sticks to the paper due to its weight, I just have to steer it.

Looking with the 20x loupe at the tip I have noticed that the sweet spot is a bit asymmetric. I mean the sweet spot is 2/3 on the right tine while the left one only has about 1/3 of the sweet spot. This makes me curious if it was a "defect" or this was caused by the many pages written and the way I used to hold the fountain pen.

Image from the internet, I haven't kept the package
When I was in school, the diversity of fountain pens available was a lot smaller than today. So these fountain pens were the go-to pen, 99% of my colleagues were using it. Wing Sung, Hero and other similar Chinese brands that were imitating the Parker fountain pen. The only diversity came from their colors.
Every time I pick it in hand it amazes me how good the fountain pen writes. You do not have high expectations for a cheap old Chinese fountain pen. But this is proof you can spend less than 5 $ and get a great writer that will last you for a very long time.
I would say in terms of economics this fountain pen can rival any cheap ballpoint on the market in the long run.

But in the end, I have to give credit where credit is due. It is a cheap fountain pen that can last a lifetime, that writes good, it puts down a steady wet line, no skips, no hard starts.
I have found a lot of reviews of Chinese fountain pens where people say that the Chinese are learning to make better fountain pens, that can write smooth at an accessible price.
I would like to say that they were making them a long time ago.
So wonder no more, just a few dollars can get you a fountain pen that will last you for a lifetime. It is incredible how accessible these fountain pens are.

Friday, August 9, 2019

Bic participates in Tour de France

 It was very nice to find out that BIC the well known stationary producer is part of the Tour de France since 1952
Then and now

Thursday, August 1, 2019

A Tour de France Opinel or two

After this special tour, and the stages in Savignon I just had to buy a new Opinel knife. On the last day of the Tour, I made a visit to Decathlon and got the t
raditional No7 Opinel with a Carbone blade.
First thoughts about the new Opinel are similar to the ones I had with the No8 I already own. Even though back then I didn't think I would buy a second one, here I am.
The first impression is a bit discouraging, it is hard to open the blade and rotate the locking ring. But now I know it's limitations and what is good for, and I am not as harsh with it. It is a 100 year design so it is normal to have some limitations. So with the confidence gathered from the previous Opinel, I started tinkering with it and broke it, as I didn't take notice that Opinel had changed the design of the locking ring. Now it only locks clockwise and the new ring has a slot in which it turns.

The nice part about the Carbone is that the blade came very sharp out of the package, while the stainless needed a lot of sharpening.
Even though the blade is shorter with only one centimeter the feel in hand is totally different. The knife is not only shorter but thinner. It is more suitable as an EDC knife and I like this size 7 a lot.
If you plan on doing food preparation I will still carry the number 8 as it is more versatile.

So I have 2 memories from this Tour, 1 damaged no 7 Opinel and a second no 7 Opinel that I didn't destroy yet. But for 7 $, or 6.3  is not a tragedy.