Showing posts with label Wuhan. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Wuhan. 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

10 February 2016

Matching (XIX). Dagong 56

There is more to retractable-nib pens that just the Pilot line of Capless pen currently on production. Stipula, Lamy, Visconti, Stypen… even Montblanc has something like a retractable-nib pen… And there are some lesser known companies re-interpreting this style of pen.

One of them is the Chinese company Wuhan Pen Factory, located in Wuhan (Hubei province, PR China). Under its brand name Dagong, it produced the model 56 during the 1980s.

The box of the Dagong 56. Knock-type (push button) fountain pen, by Wuhan Pen Factory.

The Dagong 56 is made of stainless steel and has a gripping section in black knurled plastic. The nib –of gold plated steel— is operated by a push button at the back of the pen. The filling mechanism is an aerometric system integrated in the nib unit.

The empty box and the nib unit. The nib is made of stainless steel, gold plated. The filling system is a built in aerometric.

The pen clearly follows the Capless tradition of Pilot, but it is not easy to pinpoint which particular Pilot model was the source of inspiration. In fact, it looks like if the designers of the Dagong 56 had taken elements from several of the Pilot pens. The result, however, is attractive while keeping it clean and simple.

The Dagong 56, on the front, together with the Pilot Capless from 1971 on. The latest of those shown on the pic, close to the Dagong, started its production in 1998 and, therefore, it could not be a model in any way for the Chinese pen.

The click mechanism looks and sounds sturdy—maybe too much so, as it requires some strength to operate it. Apparently reliable, but less refined than the mechanism of the Pilot pens. Both, Pilot and Dagong, share an important element—a closing lid to prevent the nib going dry. This is not so obvious as there are other Chinese-made capless pens that do not implement such a lid.

The construction quality is decent, but shows some flaws. The steel, particularly on the nose has some obvious imperfections: it has some pores, and its surface is far from uniform. The mouth for the nib is not well finished—the lower edge is not straight and could erode the feed.

This picture shows some of the flaws of the Dagong 56. The steel has some obvious imperfections, and the opening for the nib is not nicely cut. Inside, by the way, there is a white lid to prevent the nib from drying out when the pen is not in use.

The engraving on the nib is very shallow and is barely visible. It includes the logo and the name of the manufacturing company: "WUHAN".

These are the dimensions of the pen:
Length closed: 139 mm
Length open: 144 mm
Diameter: 11 mm
Weight: 16.5 g (dry)
Ink deposit: 0.7 ml

A nice detail: the threads are made of steel on both sides.

Now, is this pen competitive? The Dagong 56 is no longer on production and it is mostly a rarity for collectors. The price at auction sites, erratic as it may be, often reaches EUR 60 to 70. Given the current exchange rates, a stainless steel Pilot Capless seems a much better deal.

Chuanren 3323, Student Pen – Wagner 2008 ink (by Sailor)

Bruno Taut
Shinjuku, Nakano; February 6th, 2016
etiquetas: Wuhan, Capless, Pilot