Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Unbeatable Yellow

Been some time since a new fountain pen has come my way, and posts focusing on fountain pens lately have been second looks at one or another of what I have here already. Looking at the pens on my desk and on shelves elsewhere anybody would surely agree that there are pens enough around here to satisfy even the most critical enthusiast, and while a new Pelikan or Montblanc would be welcome, for now I am happy enough to scratch scribble and diddle with what I have. The past few days one particular Sailor fountain pen has been my regular sidekick, one that I ordered from Classic Fountain Pens in Los Angeles about five years back. It’s the Sailor Full Size 1911, a joy to write with from the first words that flowed onto the page from its high quality nib.


According to Nibmeister John Mottishaw at Classic Fountain Pens, The nibs on these Sailor pens are among the best quality of any made in the world today. In my experience there is a lot of truth to that because the quality of Sailor nibs is directly related to their longtime master craftsman, Nobuyoshi Nagahara. Mr Nagahara’s work has elevated the art of nib design and production at Sailor to something that goes beyond even first class. But back to John Mottishaw, indisputably a top-ranked nibmeister himself, I credit him with taking the stock M 21k gold nib on the 1911 Full Size pen and customizing it to my preferences perfectly, giving me a pen that never fails, never disappoints. Let me quote another Mottishaw description: ‘Because of the large-bore opening on the Sailor converter, ink starvation problems, common to many other brands of cartridge/converter pens, are avoided.’


Further description of the Sailor 1911 Full Size on the Classic Fountain Pen website tells us that the overall design has its origins in the 1931 Sheaffer Streamline. No question it is an elegant design of clean lines with minimal distraction. There are four gold bands and a simple, almost plain gold pocket clip. The pen measures 5½ inches capped and a little under 6¼ inches posted. Good choice of colors to choose from: black, burgundy, blue, red, transparent and yellow. I chose the yellow, which resembles the 1928 Parker Duofold Mandarin. If the pen didn’t write like a dream I would still love it for its bright yellow.


I used to work with a Japanese man, someone I still call a friend who came around at least once a week wondering if he could borrow that wonderful yellow fountain pen, that he had a particular document that required the look of a good fountain pen, hopefully with a conservative dark ink. I never hesitated to lend him the Sailor 1911 because his handwriting was such a pleasure to see—a smart calligraphy-like hand, but neither too studied nor too fancy. I always marveled at how casually he dashed off such character rich lines always easy to read. He told me that half of it was the fountain pen, the Sailor 1911 Full Size.


Little need to pretend this Sailor 1911 is anything less than expensive, but it is one of those indulgences when value comes with every penny paid. I’m not sure what’s available on eBay or elsewhere, but the chances are good there is a 1911 Full Size somewhere out there at a price not too intimidating. It’s a fountain pen that any enthusiast will come to treasure.


Photo credit to Classic Fountain Pens for the two photos of the 1911 Full Size.

3 comments:

  1. I don't know fountain pens, but I do love this pen. I love love love the beautiful yellow color. It is so bright and beautiful that one would imagine that the words that flow from it would be the same. Reading this early in the morning assures me of a bright and beautiful day.

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  2. Beautiful pen. The 1911 is one of my dream pens but I don't think I'll ever be able to justify buying it. I also have a fetish for yellow fountain pens so I like this one even more.

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Oak Hill, Florida, United States
A longtime expat relearning the footwork of life in America