J. Herbin Glass Dip Pen

J. Herbin, founded in 1670, is a company specializing in fountain pen inks and sealing waxes. Although their main focus is ink, they do manufacture some writing instruments, including a series of hand-blown glass dip pens. These come in a variety of different colors and body shapes, all of which are beautiful pieces that are truly a joy to write with.

The J. Herbin glass dip pen comes in three different models: smooth frosted, spiral, and marbleized. Each model differs in shape and size from the others, and each comes in a variety of colors. I am currently in possession of a royal blue spiral pen, and it is truly a work of art. The body is completely made of spiraled blue glass that begins as a thick, four-sided prism fused to the grip section and twists upwards, becoming thinner the farther it gets from the tip of the pen. At the base of this body is the grip section, composed of two transparent bulbs that are connected just as two sections of an ant’s body are. Inside of the top bulb is an orange bubble (only available in spiral model). The tip of the pen is connected to the second of the two bulbs, and is made of clear glass that is spiraled sharply downwards to come to a point (see picture). This spiral shape was designed to hold the maximum amount of ink, as after the pen is dipped the ink rests in the grooves on the tip and slowly flows downwards as ink is used.

This tip design is the same for all three models of pen, although the shape of the body and grip sections differ rather drastically between models. The smooth frosted model has a thin, cylindrical body and one bulb for a grip, while the marbleized model has a similar body shape as the spiral model, though without edges or spirals, and has a colorful pattern near the grip section. Visit this link to see the different pen models.

Now for the packaging. The pen comes in a black cardboard box that is slightly wider and longer than the writing instrument itself, covered with a clear plastic lid. The lid is sealed onto the box with two stickers, one on each side. Both long sides of the box tell J. Herbin’s story in gold print, one side in English and the other in French. The pen itself rests in a plastic tray. Personally, this was not the most impressive packaging job that I have ever seen on a pen, but for the price, it does its job.

Quite frankly, the J. Herbin glass dip pen performs well. It writes smoothly enough for a glass pen, and holds a large amount of ink for a dip pen (a few sentences worth). It is perfect for testing inks, as one simply has to wipe the tip with a wet paper towel to clean it, and it is also fun to use when embarking on short writing projects or when composing a letter. I would not recommend using it for long writing projects, simply because it will have to be dipped multiple times in the user’s ink. The pen sells for $25-$30, and can be purchased here at Goulet pens (in royal blue spiral, other colors are also available). This pen is great for those who need to test new inks regularly, or just for fun (and fun it is!). I give this pen five stars for being everything it should be, and more. It is beautiful, it performs well, and it is great for different uses.

Writing with Robert Oster Fire & Ice

Note: Recent fountain pen recognition! Check out this New York Times fountain pen article right here, published on December 26th.

Signing Out,


Lamy 2000 Ballpoint Pen

The Lamy 2000 ballpoint pen is a luxury pen costing roughly $50 that has served me quite well. It comes as a ballpoint pen, a multi pen, a fountain pen, a mechanical pencil, and a rollerball. Made of Stainless Steel and Polycarbonate, this pen is incredibly light for its size, and the brushed feature feels incredible in the hand. Lamy describes this pen perfectly: “A modern classic.” The Lamy 2000 has been in the market since the mid 20th century, yet it is still one of the sleekest and most modern pens out there. The pen is equipped with a button mechanism. Some like the twist mechanism better, as it feels more expensive, but this button is clearly well made and is very smooth. To unscrew the pen and refill it, you have to unscrew the pen into almost two halves. There is a very clear line where the pen turns from a black Polycarbonate material into stainless steel near the tip of the pen (see the picture below), but the pen does not unscrew there. It unscrews about one inch above that line, which is unusual yet intriguing. The only downside that I found was the clip. The clip moves around in its socket, and I am not sure if this is intended or not, but it feels cheap. Another clip dilemma is that the edges of the clip are very sharp, so if you hold the pen in your hand and allow the clip to rest in between your thumb and index finger, it is very uncomfortable. Other than that, this pen is great. I give it four stars, and it is a nice addition to my collection.

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Cross ATX

The Cross ATX  ballpoint pen is perfect in all ways. First of all, the feeling is unbelievably wonderful in every way, shape, and form. I have the matte chrome version, which is a grayish color. The matte feeling is incredible, and it is so comfortable to hold. The pen is about 1/2 inch in width in the middle and around the clip section, but as you get closer to the tip of the pen it gets very thin. This creates an absolutely great grip section, and is non-slip. The pen is also the perfect weight, about an ounce, (28.3495 grams), which makes the pen feel even better to write with. The Cross refill is about as smooth as ballpoint refills get, so writing with the ATX is easy and fluent. It is a twist pen. I found two incredibly small downsides to this pen, which are: 1. To access the refill, you take off the part that twists (same as all twist ballpoints), and when you put it back on this pen, it doesn’t push on fully. You need to push it about five or six times before it goes back onto the pen. 2. The clip is great in all ways except that when it meets the top of the pen, it creates a small cliff like overhang over the body that is simply unsatisfying. (See in the picture.) Otherwise, this is a great and affordable pen, costing about $25 on Amazon. I highly recommend this pen to collectors out there, and I give it a five star rating.DSCN2418.JPG

Cross Century II ballpoint

The Cross Century II is a Cross pen that exceeded my expectations in all but one way. It feels very nice in my hand, (it is the classic black ballpoint) is a perfect weight, looks good, and writes very smoothly. The one downside for me and all of the left handed people in the world is that since it is not a fountain pen or rollerball, the user cannot tilt it very much to write. Therefore, if the user is a lefty, their hand drags on the ink. Usually this is not a problem with ballpoint pens because the ink is not liquid based, but for some unknown reason, the ink in this one smudges. I have another Cross ballpoint that works perfectly well and does not smudge at all when I am using it. It is filled with a Cross medium refill, and the other pen is loaded with the same thing. I don’t know what the problem is with the smudgy refill, but it is, in fact, smudgy. Other than that, it looks good with a matte black body and gold colored clip, and it feels nice in my hand when I write with it. It is a perfect weight for me, which is medium/heavy. It is a twist pen, not a click. Overall, I highly recommend this pen to people who are willing to spend a considerable amount of money on a luxury pen and I recommend it to luxury pen collectors. It is roughly $90, and I give the pen 5 stars. The refill is 3 stars, at it is kind of a mix between a ballpoint and a rollerball. It is a nice addition to my collection.FullSizeRender (19).jpg

Tombow Sharp Zoom 707

The Tombow Sharp Zoom 707 is super thin. It is almost too thin. When I write with it, it can be very hard to hold because of how thin the body is! This pen comes as a ballpoint pen or a mechanical pencil, and from personal experience, the ballpoint pen also draws a very thin line. It is about the length of the Rotring Rapid Pro, which is perfect. To extend the tip, you twist the springy looking thing on the back. The spring will come together and get smaller and the tip will come out of the front of the pen. Overall, the appearance of this pen is great. The clip looks really cool, with a sphere on the end and a black body (of the clip) to match the body of the pen. The twist spring on the back also looks great, and the thinness also contributes to this factor. It writes very well for me because I have smaller handwriting. If you have larger handwriting, it is not the best pen for you. The thinness of the body, though, does not make it pleasant to hold. The grip is nothing special but does make it easy and comfortable to hold around the grip part of the pens. The cost of this pen is about 15-72 dollars (sorry for the huge range, but I found both prices). Overall, I give this pen four stars because it is great in all ways except for the fact that it is super thin.                  fullsizerender-17


Retro 51 Copper Tornado

The Retro 51 Copper Tornado rollerball pen writes very thickly. The tip does not appear to be very thick, but the more you tilt the pen as you write the thicker the line that comes out. This pen comes in an upright cylindrical box that says “Yeehaw, Retro 1951. Life is too short to carry an ugly pen!” When you open the box the pen is revealed. You twist the button on the back to reveal the tip. There is no grip where one should be, but there is a clip and the copper is beautiful. The price ranges from $25 to $75. There are two downsides to this pen. Personally, having small handwriting, this pen is not the best. Since the line that it creates is fairly thick because of the liquid ink, it is perfect for people with larger handwriting. Also, if you have sweaty hands, this pen is incredibly slippery on the grip portion. Overall, I give this pen 3.5 stars because of the slippery grip and the thick line. If you don’t have sweaty hands and you write larger, though, this a a great pen for you.