Showing posts with label Lily. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Lily. Show all posts

05 April 2018

Back to China. I. Capless

This blog does not really have a lot of readers, but sure are they knowledgeable. So much so that sometimes they write some texts on their own.

Such is the case of Tefolium. He is the author of the blog “Brown Rice” (茶米(デ—ビ—)ノブログ), a great source of information on pens made in China. Tefolium passed by and shed a lot of light on the origin of some Chinese pens that showed up on these Chronicles.

According to Tefolium, the Chinese got their hands in the Pilot Capless as early as in 1967, but the political turmoil of the times –the Cultural Revolution and all that followed— prevented them from producing any capless pen until the 1990s.

The two capless pens made in China: a Lily 910 on top, a Dangong 56 on bottom.

Eventually, three Chinese companies filed patents of uncapped pens: Wuhan Pen Factory, Heifei Pen Factory, and Anda Group. However, only the first two produced any such pen.

In 1990, Wuhan Pen Factory made the Dagong 56. And in 1991, Heifei Pen Factory made the Lily 910 (where 910 points out at the year of production). The Anda Group never came with a capless pen.

My thanks to Tefolium, who is the actual author of this text.

Pelikan M200 Cognac – Diamine Graphite

Bruno Taut
Nakano, April 3rd 2018
etiquetas: capless, Pilot, Lily, Wuhan, China

20 January 2017

Matching (XXII). Lily 910

The Pilot Capless is one of the modern icons in the world of fountain pens. We know there is over 50 years of history behind that particular brand, and that there are a number of other pens with a similar structure: Lamy, Stipula, Visconti… Some, of course, are better made than others.

I have already shown a Chinese capless pen of acceptable quality named Dagong 56. It has a number of flaws, but it does its job.

The Lily 910.

The Lily 910 is another such example of Chinese capless. At first sight, this is an attractive pen of very clear lines. The steel body is well polished, the connection between body and gripping section smooth and beautiful, the clip is sturdy and flexible, the release mechanism is smooth and reliable… However, a closer inspection reveals an interesting feature that could compromise the actual functionality of the pen.

The filling system is aerometric.

This capless pen has no shutter whatsoever. There is no internal lid on the nose of the pen. The nib, therefore, is constantly exposed to the external environment; it is never confined inside the pen. Two are the consequences, of this simplification of the design. First, in case of an ink leak on the nib, there is no barrier and the stain on the shirt or on the carrying bag is almost certain.

Steel nib, gold plated.

The second issue is that an uncovered nib will be prone to becoming dry and to having very slow starts after some time unused. But, is this the case?

To my surprise, this nib is very resistant to dryness, and when dry, it does not take much to re-start it. This is in fact a very reliable nib, and a very reliable pen.

These are the dimensions of this pen:

Length closed: 144 mm
Length open: 151 mm
Diameter: 12.0 mm
Weight: 28.5 g
Ink deposit: around 1 ml

The writing quality is more than acceptable. Some might say that the nib is too rough, or that it has a lot of feedback. That is always a personal appreciation, and I find it very usable if not pleasant. That lack of smoothness might be the price to pay for a nib to be very resistant to drying.

Writing sample of the Lily 910. Sailor ink, copy paper.

This Lily 910 is one of the better known Chinese capless pens, but there is very little information about its maker. The absence of documentation about Chinese pens in startling and we are bound to rely on the small bit of anecdotal information that now and then arrived in the Net.

Lily 910 and Pilot Capless C-400SS (1971).

Apparently, this pen was made in the city of Hefei, in the province of Anhui in PR of China. But based on this city there are at least two companies producing stationery products: Heifei Wentai Hexagon Co. Ltd. and Hefei Reiz Stationery Co. Ltd. Nothing have I found, though, on the production period of this pen, although some sources mention year 1992. (My best guess is that it belongs to the 1970s or early 1980s.)

On top, the Pilot Capless from 1971; then, the Lily 910; nib unit of the Pilot; nib unit of the Lily.

The noses of both pens. The Pilot pen implements an internal shutter to keep the nib wet when not in use.

If compared to the gamut of Pilot Capless models. this Lily 910 strongly reminds of the Capless model of 1971 (C-400SS).

The conclusion is that the Lily 910 is an interesting and reliable, despite its obvious flaws. However, it cannot really compete with the current more inexpensive versions of the Pilot Capless. Pilot’s is a lot more refined and their prices are quite similar around JPY 10000. The availability of the Chinese model is, on the other hand, quite erratic.

Lily 910 – Wagner’s 2008 ink (by Sailor)

Bruno Taut
Nakano, January 2017
etiquetas: Lily, capless, Pilot