Monday, November 21, 2011

Day Seventeen: Merlin Osmi with Diamine Wild Strawberry

For day seventeen, I chose a rare Merlin Osmi that I bought from Allard Borst on the Fountain Pen Network. Merlin pens were made in Germany for the Dutch market. Although Allard lives in the Netherlands and collects pens, this is the only Merlin piston filler he has ever seen. Since it is made of plastic and not celluloid, it is probably a postwar pen, but as it has a cork piston, it was likely made no later than the 1950s. To fill it up, I selected Diamine Wild Strawberry.

The Merlin Osmi is an intriguing little pen. Although the model name suggests a connection with Osmia of Germany, I am not sure that is the case. After all, there is also Osmiroid of England, and osmium is an element that is employed in alloys used for fountain pen tipping, so it is not clear why this model was named as it was. The piston knob is set beneath a blind cap, a safety feature to prevent turning the piston thoughtlessly while using the pen and thus expelling ink.

The pen filled easily enough, and even though it is a small pen, held enough ink for a day's writing and more. This is one of the smaller pens I own, and I found it slightly difficult to use for that reason. On the other hand, the nib was smooth, with more than a trace of response and character. This pen isn't the equal of the Merlin Perfect I raved about, but it is more than enough to persuade me Merlin made excellent pens.

Despite feeling too small for my hand, I quickly grew to enjoy writing with this pen, and regretted the need to set it aside when the day ended. If it weren't for its rarity, I would urge any writer who likes smaller pens to hunt down one of these. It is an excellent writing tool, and pleasant to use even for someone who is usually more comfortable with a larger pen. The fact that I consider it among the most "fun" pens to use even though the size not ideal for me says something about just what a nice little pen this really is.

Diamine Wild Strawberry is a colour they introduced just this year, and I hope they continue to make it. It is a nice, wet ink that flows well and looks nice on the page. It is a somewhat darker red, but still a clear, pure red that does very much evoke a ripe strawberry. A damp palm after washing my hands did cause ink that had dried for an hour or so to run, so this isn't an ink to use if spills might be a problem, but I really enjoyed using it.

It is dark enough that it could be suitable for the right manuscript, assuming you like red, and yet red enough to be perfect for markup. I've actually just begun trying Diamine inks, but the Denim and the Wild Strawberry I tried this month are enough to persuade me the company makes inks worth using. In fact, I've already ordered a bottle of another Diamine colour, which just shipped today, so I hope to use that later in the month.

I had a lot of fun this day, with the pen and the ink that I chose, and together that helped me write 2,659 words, despite other distractions, for a total of 36,943 words so far. Although I dare not grow complacent, I am closing in on my goal with time to spare, and things are looking hopeful. Poor George is wrestling with all sorts of problems, which should make for an interesting story in the end.

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