Thursday, March 17, 2016

A Comparative Analysis of Rollerball and Ballpoint Pens


People have their own preference over things; one cannot insist others to choose a particular item against their will. But, understanding the value before buying can make a big difference. In the world of writing instruments, most pen enthusiasts choose a writing tool by relying on the outer appearance. Question yourselves “Why would you choose a rollerball pen over a ballpoint pen", you would probably point out that rollerball pens are loaded with smooth gel ink which glides smoothly on the writing surface and makes writing process convenient. But, a single point doesn't conclude the whole decision. There are various other criteria that one has to look into before choosing the correct writing instrument.

Ballpoint Pens

Ballpoint pens are simple writing tools. They were invented around 1950's as a convenient writing device to put an end to the monopoly market of what was at the time the only option - fountain pens. Ballpoint pens quickly made fountain pens dissipate and reigned as the most demanded writing instruments.

Every ballpoint pen includes a small tube (refill) filled with paste ink. The paste ink backs up the small ball tip, and when you roll the ball across the page it draws the ink onto the paper.

Before we move forward I would like everyone to know that ballpoint pens are designed as a utility tool and not for the pleasure of writing experience. The first point that I would like to bring out is versatility. Ballpoint pens can be used with almost all kind of writing papers without the fear of smearing and they leak rarely compared to their counterparts. Though some of the words can be imprinted on the back of the page but it doesn't bloat the paper like fountain and rollerball pens. Another point I would like to point out is its compatibility with left-handed writers. Unlike fountain, rollerball and fineliner pens, words written with ballpoint pens dry very quickly without smudging your hand or paper.

Rollerball Pens

Rollerball pens are upgraded version of ballpoint pens. The working mechanism of a rollerball pen resembles with a ballpoint pen but instead of using paste ink it uses gel based ink. With rollerball pens your words will be darker and uniform, and while purchasing a new refill there are more color options to choose from.

When it comes to consistent flow, rollerball pens stand a notch above ballpoint pens and are considered best by pen enthusiasts who prefer writing experience similar to fountain pens. Unlike ballpoint pens, rollerball pens require less pressure on the paper and are comfortable to write with. Another best part about writing with a rollerball pen is the ink on the paper will be more dramatic and clearer. And without putting much pressure in hand and the writing instrument you will be able to jot down your words.

 Now that we have learned about both ballpoint and rollerball pens, let’s tap into some of the factors that will help us to choose the right writing instrument.

Expenses: Ballpoint tips use less ink compared to rollerball tips, which means with ballpoint pens you will require less refills. And because ballpoint pens include paste ink there is less chance for the ink to dry out when the pen is not in use. Besides, ballpoint pens are comparatively cheap than rollerball pens.

Choice of Paper: Ballpoint pen refills are filled with oil-based ink, with ballpoint pens your words will flow smoothly on the writing surface regardless of the paper quality. But, when it comes to rollerball pens, the ink from its tip may soak into the page depending upon the paper quality. For thin paper its best to use ballpoint pens. Plus, rollerball pens are not the best choice for people with tiny handwriting. Upon writing the ink from a rollerball pen tends to sink into the paper and results a horrible writing experience.

Feel: Rollerball pens are much smoother on paper and offer exquisite writing experience like a fountain pen. With a rollerball pen you don't have to push down hard to jot down your words on the writing surface like a ballpoint pen. Due to this factor, rollerball pens are considered best for pen enthusiasts who are prone to hand injuries like carpel tunnel syndrome and arthritis.

We have discussed much on the benefits and downside of rollerball and ballpoint pens. But what about usability and user preference? A recent study on 100 pen enthusiasts revealed the following stats.

When it comes to user preference rollerball stand a notch above ballpoint pens, but in practicality ballpoint pens are more into action.


Advantages of Using a Rollerball Pen

  • ·         Consistent flow.
  • ·         Reduces hand pressures and fatigues.
  • ·         Ink on the paper will be clearer.
  • ·         Best for people who love to write fast.

Advantages of Using a Ballpoint Pen

  • ·         Good for writing in low quality papers.
  • ·         Eliminates bloating issues.
  • ·         Less leaking problems
  • ·         Best for left-handed people.

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Tuesday, March 15, 2016

An Introduction to Fountain Pens

An Introduction to Fountain Pens
If we analyze the current scenario, most pen aficionados prefer ballpoint/rollerball pens over fountain pens. With the increasing popularity of ballpoint and rollerball pens, fountain pens have been labeled as a retro nostalgia that's unable to serve the real purpose. It’s true, ballpoint pens have paved an easy path for writers. With ballpoint pens, you don’t have to worry much about stains, refills and maintenance. Just tuck the writing instrument into your pocket as long as it runs, and dispose it after it stops. Quite easy isn’t it!!!!

But, when it comes to fountain pens things are different. Writing with a fountain pen is an art which constantly evolves with every stroke. To operate this writing tool one needs skill, attention and dedication. Fountain pens are exclusively designed to offer vivid line variations based on the direction and speed of your stroke - delivering a human touch to whatever you write. And it’s one of the best things you can expect in this age of computers. 

So, if you really want to plunge into the world of fountain pens this article will provide you a brief insight to get started. 

History of Fountain Pens

History of Fountain Pens
The history of fountain pen goes way back to 10th century, but the fountain pen we know today were not introduced till 18th century. 

In 1884, Lewis Waterman introduced the first fountain pen with an ink reservoir which filled from an external source. There were various other models before Waterman’s version but all of them had issues related to airflow and ink spills.  As we all know, fountain pens operate via gravitational mechanism. To efficiently use a fountain pen you have to hold the pen vertically so the ink from the reservoir streams towards the nib. Upon writing, the used ink from the reservoir has to be replaced with air to stop the unnecessary spilling. And, this was one of the mammoth issues that most fountain pen manufacturers failed to deal with before Waterman pens were introduced. 

Waterman did solve the issue, and introduced the first fountain pen which offered consistency and smooth penmanship experience. He created a layered feed which wrapped the spilling issue of fountain pens. The innovative idea of Waterman provided a distinct platform to fountain pens, and soon these fine writing instruments took their place as a favorite writing tool in every pen enthusiast’s pocket. Hence, the modern fountain pens were born. 

Waterman’s innovative feed did sort out problems related to spilling and staining, but filling the pen still remained a grueling affair. To refill a fountain pen, one had to use an eyedropper and fill the reservoir drop by drop. But at the dawn of 19th century, many pen manufacturing company introduced fountain pens which enabled users to dip the nib into the ink bottle and fill the pen through a piston fill mechanism. 

Fountain Pen Parts

A normal fountain pen usually comprises of three different sections.

The Nib 
The Feed 
Reservoir or Filling Systems

The Nib

Nib is the part of the fountain pen that imprints your thoughts on a piece of paper. At the initial days, most of the nibs were crafted from gold due to the element’s flexible nature. But today, most of the modern nibs are composed of either stainless steel or gold alloys. 

Stainless steel nibs are sturdy and durable. But when it comes to performance, stainless steel might be the last option for pen enthusiasts who love smooth and delicate writing. The tip of a steel nib is scratchy by nature and doesn’t offer fine line variations.  

Another one on the list is gold alloy nibs. These nibs are preferred by most pen aficionados because they share similar flexibility as gold nibs. But due to the elements flexible nature, a sturdy tip (platinum or iridium) is featured on these nibs.  

Every nib comprises of a central slit which helps the ink to reach all the way to the tip. And, at the end of the slit there is a breather hole to bring back air into the reservoir to replace the used ink. The breather hole also acts as a pivot which prevents the nib from damages caused by continuous flexing. 

Based on the design, nibs are entitled with three different labels.

In the world of fountain pens Italic nibs are regarded widely put into action, while the stub and calligraphy nibs are commonly used for calligraphy.



This may sound quite awkward but the feed is considered as the most important part of a fountain pen. The feed is located at the back of the nib, and it acts as a transit through which the ink from reservoir travels to the nib. 

A good feed with a higher ink flow will lubricate the nib very well resulting to a smooth and skip less writing.  On the other hand side, a feed with a drier ink flow may result to scratchiness and can portray signs of skipping and skidding. However, with a drier feed you will have to rely totally on the quality of the nib. 

Reservoir or Filling Systems

Reservoir or Filling Systems

Different pens come with different filling mechanism. Converter, cartridge, piston, lever, the list can go on and on. Each year pen manufacturing companies bring out innovative ideas regarding the filling mechanism, and it’s a good thing. With every new idea they avail us with a new option, and every filling mechanism offers a different flow. 

Most of us believe the performance of a fountain pen is defined by its nib and feed. But, there are other factors that need to be overlooked before concluding the final results. 

Gripping Style: Gripping Style is a key factor which influences your writing. Fountain pens are meant to be used in a special way. The tip should come in contact to the paper at an angle of 40 – 60 degrees, and shouldn’t be twisted left and right. 

Here are three different gripping styles preferred by most fountain pen enthusiast. 

Tripod Grip: This is a precise gripping style to use fountain pen. It offers a delicate balance and ensures the placement of nib at an angle of 45 – 60 degrees. 

Forefinger-Up Grip: Like the Tripod grip, this style of gripping also ensures the placement of the nib at an angle of 45 – 60 degrees. Plus, the forefinger on the top of the pen allows a distinct control of pressure while writing. 

Thumb Wrap Grip: Unlike the Tripod and Forefinger-Up grip, this style of gripping is not recommended for fountain pen users. In this method, the pen is vertically aligned with the surface which may distort the control and balance resulting to a nasty penmanship experience. 

Paper Quality: Horrible paper is a major element which results to horrible writing experience. If the paper is thin and rough, even the finest pens will perform ineptly. Bleed through is also a common problem with cheap and thin papers. These kinds of papers soak maximum amount of ink and bloat your writing. If you are using a fountain pen, it’s best to use genuine papers from companies like Rhodia and Letts of London

Ink: Low graded watery inks are another factor that results a nasty writing experience. So, to enhance your joy of writing it’s best to use lubricated inks from genuine companies like Diamine Ink and Noodler’s Ink. Lubricated inks will reduce nib friction, and offer you a better feel while jotting down your words on a piece of paper. 

Fountain Pens for Starters: 

I know there are lots of fancy pen on the market, but I would not recommend them for starters. For pen enthusiasts who are ready to plunge into the world of fountain, here are few options to start with. 

Lamy Safari: After stalking through different pen forums and grabbing suggestion from pen enthusiasts, I came to know Lamy Safari resides on the top of the chart when it comes to fountain pens for beginners. The cost of the pen is below $30 and is definitely the best price for its value. 

Pilot Namiki Retro Collection: Stylish, classy and trendy the Pilot Namiki Retro Collection offers a versatile array of fountain pens designed for beginners. The pen features classic cigar shaped profile accompanied by a sturdy steel nib that glides perfectly without any sign of skips. Easily available in the market below $20.

Noodler’s Konrad: From my personal perspective, Noodler’s Kornrad is a unique array of fountain pens for beginners. The pen costs less than $40 and offers a premium penmanship experience. Each Konrad pen includes a sturdy steel nib and a balanced profile which slips perfectly between your fingers. 

How to Take Care of Your Fountain Pen

• Always cap your pen after you finish your writing. If left open, the nib might dry up and may cause scratchiness.

• I would probably recommend you guys to flush your fountain pens at least once a month. By doing so, you can get rid of the ink clots building up inside the cavities of nib and feed. 

• Personalize the pen. The writing mechanism of a fountain pen is different than that of a ballpoint pen. With continuous writing, the nib will adapt your writing style. If you let someone borrow your fountain pen for a long period of time, they might wreck the nib and it may not perform as well as it used to.

Summing Up

There you have it!!! I have conveyed the basics required to dig into the world of fountain pens. A fountain pen is always an ideal companion to have; it serves as a long term friend and adjusts to your own style of writing. Besides, fountain pens are cost effective. Unlike ballpoint pens, they are not meant to be thrown away after the ink runs out. And, there is something amusing about fountain pens that compels us to take good care of it. So, if you have an immense desire to embark your fountain pen journey, then now would be the right time to start. 

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Wednesday, March 9, 2016

A Lifelong Companion - Napkin Primina Inkless Pen

Napkin Primina Inkless Collection
I'm sure all of us have heard the famous statement "nothing lasts forever", but some innovations have proved this statement partially wrong.
Over the course of time Napkin Pens have changed the notion of pens and altered the world of writing instrument with their Forever series. A recent addition to Napkin's treasure trove is the new Napkin Primina collection. The Napkin Primina series share similar design with Napkin's Pretiosa and Prima models but are comparatively shorter in size, making them an ideal writing instruments to carry on the go. Though small in size, this chip off the old block includes every little quality of an ideal writing instrument and delivers the promising theme of the brand.

Unlike other pens, Napkin Writing Instruments work with a different technology, these fine writing instruments use a  special tip called ethergraf. For pen enthusiasts who are not familiar with the term ethergraf, it is a special metallic alloy designed for writing purpose. Ethergraf tips are free from hazardous elements like lead and graphite, and are popular among pen enthusiast who prefer inkless writing instruments. The lines drawn by ethergraf tip resembles with pencil lines but are not erasable. The functionality of these sturdy tips are quite different from nibs and ballpoint tips. When these tips come in contact with paper, the special metal alloy creates a permanent line via oxidization. The caliber of the tip depends upon the quality of paper, so if you prefer darker lines then it's best to go for high quality papers from authentic brands like Rhodia and Filofax.
The new Napkin Primina is available in nine bold colors; Yellow, Orange, Red, Magenta, Purple, Blue, Cyan, Turquoise, Green. Each of these fascinating writing instrument will make a great companion and will never leave you halting in the middle of your writing journey. However, the tip does wear out overtime but the effects will be microscopic, and most of the users won't even notice the change.

Upon writing, the minimalist profile of the pen fits perfectly between your fingertips and its tip leaves smooth and clean result on the paper. The ethergraf tip is as smooth as melting butter and glides perfectly on paper without getting spots of ink tattooed on your hand.

The Napkin Primina collection of writing instruments are exclusively available at Pen Boutique but are flying out of our stores fast. So, get your favorite Napkin Primina pen today and embark an inkless writing journey.

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Friday, March 4, 2016

Cross Peerless Citizen Special Edition

Cross Peerless Citizen Special Edition

Just when we start to think, "This is it!!!! pen manufactures should be out of innovative ideas by now."A luxurious brand steps in to steal the show, and introduces a writing instrument that sweeps us off our feet. And at the first glance, a quick thought pops up in our head, "this is going to be the next addition to my collection". But what can we do, as pen enthusiasts we cannot separate ourselves from the mesmerizing magic of fine writing instruments.

A recent release that caught my eye was the new Cross Peerless Citizen Special Edition. These special pens are an extension to classic Peerless 125 heritage, equally elegant but are garnished with a dash of modernism. The Cross Citizen collection is available in three special design, each decorated to reveal the allurement of three different cosmopolitan centers of the world; London, New York and Tokyo. Each pen features a traditional cigar shaped silhouette with etched motifs of these out worldly monuments and a Swarovski faceted cut crystal mounted on the top of the cap. This artistic collection from cross is sophistically designed to surpass the word "perfect" and offer a distinct penmanship experience.

Cross Peerless London: The subtle design of the Cross Peerless London replicates timeless elegance of the Elizabeth Tower. The intricate detailing on the cap and the barrel of the pen brings out the charisma of the ancient monument and unveils the meticulous craftsmanship of Cross artisans. In fountain pen, a sturdy 23kt gold nib is fitted to offer a joyful writing experience, and to ameliorate things even more decent amount of space is separated between the nib and the barrel of the pen. The 23kt gold nib is available in fine and medium, and can be easily replaced according to user preference.

Cross Peerless New York: Whether you are in a meeting, seminar or conference, if you have the new Cross Peerless New York you'll be the center of attraction. This elegant writer from Cross borrows its look from the architectural design of the New York’s Chrysler Building. The intricate details of the buildings are carefully etched on the body of the pen. This fine writer includes a conical cap with premium Swarovski crystal mounted on top. Its unparallel design is embellished with an  18kt rhodium plated nib and platinum plated trims to exhilarate the joy of writing. The nib option is available in fine and medium.

Cross Peerless Tokyo: The new Cross Peerless Tokyo exhibits the sophistication and Modernism of Japan's tallest structure and center of broadcasting and communications, the Tokyo Skytree. Its hefty satin black profile encapsulates the eternal beauty of the building, and presents it in the form of a pen. Each pen is adorned by an 18kt rhodium plated gold nib that adapts to the users unique touch. So, as tough as the appearance of the pen is, the mechanism is smooth sailing and it doesn't take a lot of hard work to make it perform.

For pen enthusiasts it will be hard to choose between these three mesmerizing series of writing instruments. Each pen in the Cross Peerless Citizen collection manifests the distinct beauty of three important cities of the world. So, what Cross pen are you going to buy today? Choose the one that suits you the best and embark a new writing journey with these subtle writing instruments.


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Thursday, March 3, 2016

Montegrappa Copper Mule Collection - New with FREE MUG!!!!!

For most of us, a refreshing quaff is all it takes to drive away anxieties. And, what could be better than a mix of your favorite vodka with ginger ale and pinch of lemon to lighten up taste buds? Yes, I am talking about Manhattan's famous Moscow Mule cocktail. Considered as the cocktalian masterpiece of early 50s, Moscow Mule was first introduced by John G. Martin - an executive at the Heublein drinks company.

Montegrappa Copper Mule is an excellent series of writing instruments inspired from the reputed Moscow Mule cocktail. Everything about Montegrappa Copper Mule is refreshing, its design and functionality will offer you a smooth writing experience, and take you away from what we know today as "Pen Problems".

Curvaceous yet contemporary, its classic copper look is a reminiscent of the Copper mug in which the famous cocktail is served. Plus, its vintage Montegrappa profile will remind one of the piping and tubing concepts implied in the process to produce Grappa.

The barrel and cap of the pen is crafted from copper – a hygienic element that eliminates germs and reduces their growth. The sophisticated design of the pen is further adorned by brushed silver-plated trims and cap band that reads Montegrappa - bringing out the discerning artistry of Montegrappa experts.

The Mule series of writing instruments are crafted from the same elements used to design the famous Fortuna pens. In short, the Mule series is an extension of the Fortuna heritage. Being inspired from a famous spirit, it still reflects the persona of Fortuna Goddess and embodies her sheer beauty onto it.
The Mule series is available in 3 writing modes: fountain, ballpoint and rollerball pen. Each Montegrappa Copper Mule comes in a beautiful gift box with a matching copper mug that carries the spirit of the Moscow Mule.

The cleaver construction of the pen features a swift screw-on cap. The cap comes off with a slight movement of wrist - within two rounds. The elegant clip on the cap has a convenient roller wheel at the bottom, which helps to pull the pen out from pockets without the fear of tearing fabrics. Inside is a sturdy steel nib with an etched name of Montegrappa highlighted by Montegrappa's traditional filigree pattern. The fountain pen is available in Fine, Medium and Broad, and takes either a cartridge or converter as refill.

The rollerball version of the series shares similar dimension with the fountain pen and includes a screw on cap. The ballpoint pen features a convenient twist-action mechanism, and includes the same clip featured on the fountain and rollerball series.

The mesmerizing charisma of the Montegrappa Mule series is derived from its finesse construction that amalgams timeless elegance with functionality. The refreshing Mule series will definitely take you away from the pens that lead to a scratchy writing experience. And for pen enthusiasts who are constantly in hunt for fabulous writing instrument the Mule series will add up as a great collectable in their pen arsenal.

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