Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Day Twelve: Reform 1745 with Pelikan Brilliant Brown

For day twelve, I chose a German "school pen", a Reform 1745, and decided to fill it with Pelikan Brilliant Brown. This Reform was made probably in the 1980s, and was a very inexpensive piton filler which made an obvious effort to evoke memories of the old Pelikans, in its design and colours. School pens, meant primarily for students, are usually very basic pens.

Although the plastic is lighter, and the piston feels a bit flimsier than I'm used to on a Pelikan or TWSBI, the pen worked well, filling with no trouble at all. The nib was a real surprise. It was smooth, although not exceptionally so, but it also seemed to possess a slight degree of flex. At least, under the normal pressure of writing, I saw some line variation. It also, in spite of being a smaller pen, easily held enough ink to last me the entire day.

It is a light pen, and might not be the best choice to use day after day, since it might not hold up forever to constant use. However, it is also slender, well designed, and works surprisingly well. It would slip easily into most pen loops in briefcases or notebooks, costs little, and is another pen every serious writer should consider as a cheap option to carry around anywhere. Among pens costing less than ten dollars, this is one of the absolute best performers I've ever used. Although it isn't up to the standard of vintage pens, it is another example that shows just what can be done when a manufacturer tries to make a good product at a reasonable price. In the process, Reform puts most modern pen makers to shame.

To anyone used to the more vivid inks of Noodlers or Diamine, Pelikan Brilliant Brown appears a little "washed out" at first. It is a drier ink, although in a good nib it is no problem to use. And once you grow used to it, the more transparent brown has a charm of its own. I'd say the shade is almost a chestnut colour. As this is a lighter ink, oranges and lighter reds used for markup might be easily overlooked, but a black or any other dark, contrasting colour would serve well.

The one drawback for a writer is that this is the only ink I've noticed permanence issues with in ordinary use. One of my hands must have been a bit damp at one point, and a small section of the text actually ran, even though the paper didn't appear wet. Since it was a small area, this won't be a problem when transcribing the manuscript - but I'm sure that if the page had actually gotten wet, I would have lost everything I wrote. On the other hand, I do know from prior experience that Pelikan inks behave a bit better than that once they've had time to dry.

I was able to write 2,758 words in all, for a total so far of 26,805 words. That is an encouraging burst that will serve me well if I get stuck, although I would prefer not to rely on it unless I have no other choice. It is much easier to sit back and wait until I can validate my word count than to struggle through the last few days writing as fast as possible.

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