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best demonstrator fountain pen
Conklin All American Demo Gunmetal Fountain Pen Review
In this 4K video I review the Conklin All American Demo Gunmetal Fountain Pen. This fountain pen features a full size demonstrator body with matching gunmetal trim and a #6 Jowo nib.
Conklin All American Demo Gunmetal Fountain Pen
Conklin All American Fountain Pen
The Conklin All American Demo Gunmetal fountain pen is the first modern Conklin I have had in over a decade. I’ve been using the All American Demo the last couple weeks and I have really been enjoying it. It has a nice full-sized body made of a thick clear resin.
This Demo version is a limited edition model with only 898 pens produced. They selected this number because Conklin was founded in 1898 in Toledo, Ohio. The original Conklin company went out of business in the middle of the 20th century and the current brand is now owned by Yafa (the company behind Monteverde). The original All American was a budget model that was produced in the 1930s and in truth, doesn’t much resemble this modern version. The original was a celluloid level filler with two gold plated cap rings and had a very simple looking gold nib.
The modern All American that we see here is a larger pen and better looking pen. The gunmetal trim is very nicely done. They matched the nib, the clip, the section threading, and even the converter in this gunmetal finish. The result is a striking full-sized demonstrator pen. The pen is quite comfortable to write with and while it can be posted it becomes quite long and doesn’t always post perfectly straight onto the barrel.
I do not know where these pens are made because the materials that come with the pen do not say and I cannot find this information on the Conklin website. I emailed Conklin and did not get reply. Previous modern Conklin pens were made in Italy. The product description for this pen states that it is “Crafted from handmade European high-grade resin”, so perhaps these pens are still made in Europe. I find this somewhat disappointing for a historical American brand, let alone a model called the “All American”.
The nib is a steel Jowo #6 nib. These nibs are made in Germany and are excellent performers. I have the 1.1mm stub nib and it’s writing performance if flawless. I really like that these nibs are very nicely branded and feature a Crescent shaped breather hole. A lot of pens with Jowo nibs just use their stock decoration with an etched brand logo (Opus 88 and Wancher come mind). I also like that they give you lots of a nib options all in the matching gunmetal trim. You have EF, F, M, B, Stub, and Omni-flex options.
In the box you get a converter, two international short cartridges (a black and a blue), as well as an eyedropper. You can use a cartridge or converter or you can use what Conklin calls the “direct filling” method, essentially you just remove the converter and fill the barrel with ink. You can hold a massive 5ml of ink when filled this way. I am not a huge fan of using this pen as an eyedropper because the threading on the section is metal and I would worry that ink might corrode the metal, I am not saying that it will happen, but I think best practice to not to have metal where ink is stored. If you do go for the direct fill, I would make sure you have a tight seal to avoid leaks and it might be useful to use a bit of silicon grease on the threads to really make sure ink cannot escape.
In terms of overall building quality, I think this pen is pretty good but not flawless. I really like the quality of the finish on the gunmetal parts and the rocker clip is particularly nice with the Conklin logo. The European resin is thick and feels quite nice in hand but just as a summer suit doesn’t have a lining to hide loose threads, a demonstrator fountain pen with all clear parts cannot hide any imperfections. With the All American, I do see air bubbles on the inner metal ring just below the finial. There is also a grease or adhesive on the inside barrel just below threading. None of these “issues” bothered me while I was using the pen almost non-stop the last two weeks but upon initial inspection I did notice them and these are things I have not seen on similarly priced demonstrators from TWSBI and Opus 88.
Overall, I am quite happy with the All American Demo. I’ve definitely enjoyed using it and it feels like a premium pen. I think $115 retail is definitely on the higher side for this pen when you compare it to the Taiwanese alternatives from Opus 88 and TWSBI, that said, this pen does have a historical American brand name, an omni-flex nib option, and a more attractive design.
I received this pen free of charge from Pen Chalet for the purposes of this review. I was not compensated monetarily for my review. All views and opinions in this review are my own. The links in this review are not affiliate links.
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