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 because this one is a classic, you can't found them anymore.

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 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. Because of the snap cap the fountain pen is ideal for taking notes. Because the section is smooth you can hold it how it feels comfortable to you. I tend to use a high grip on it.
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. It has 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 very popular. After looking at more modern Parker 51 style fountain pens I was very happy to see that modern Chinese hooded nib fountain pens use converters. I will probably try one of those soon.

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 them. 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 smoothly 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.

2 comments :

  1. Thank you for this review. I was gifted one of these in the 80's and Just became curious if I could find out a little background on it. I haven't used it consistently because I have several options to choose from. We've grown out of the habit of using fountain pens here in the United States of America. Preferring to use ball point pens. Fountain pens harken back to a more civil society. Sadly, those time are gone. Civility is in short shrift these days. But I digress.

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  2. It is very cool that you still have it after such a long time, and still use it from time to time.
    You are right, more people choose ball points over fountain pens and I think this is true for most parts of the world. I stopped using fountain pens for a very long time. After 4th grade in school fountain pens were not mandatory anymore, and I was happy to switch to ballpoints (I actually preferred using mechanical pencils but they were not allowed in school. Homework, tests needed to be done using a writing instrument that is not "erasable").
    I remember my main problems with fountain pens back then were: the fact that pens were messy or maybe I was clumsy :) I would keep the pen in the backpack and I don't think I was particularly careful with the backpack (jumping, running, throwing it...) it was an accident waiting to happen every time I would take the cap off the pen
    and because I was writing a lot I had to refill the fountain pen every evening which felt a chore.

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