May 2023 – Zoom meeting minutes

Eleven people attended the zoom meeting.

Reminder:  Pelikan hub “Save the Date” registration ends May 15th!

Reminder: registration signup is open.  Boy golly, July 8-10 is not that far away!

Next meeting:  Sunday June 11th, in-person planned.

Topic discussed:  PenBBS pens (and some inks) – Bryan sharing his experience.

PenBBS started with a Chinese chat group on pens, where some of the members were also in manufacturing, marketing…they got together and started putting out inks.  This started in 2005.  Since then, they have put out over 500 inks!  They do their inks in “seasons” – over 20 of them.

PenBBS then moved to pens, which are sold through their storefront on Etsy, and are mostly acrylic pens. Bryan has seen something like 27 different models.  He’s found his pens to be of very high quality, especially considering the price (sub $50 range, and in some cases sub-$20 when he bought them).  Examples – they come with o-rings in several places that make them easy to eyedropper, and he has not found them to have any burping problems. 

Model 309 – piston filler – seals very well.  The bulk filler (355) can fill almost the entire barrel.  They have a touchdown filler (489) – same kind of mechanism as Shaeffer, but this one you can completely take apart if you need to do more extensive cleaning.  A vacfiller (456)?  Yes, that too.   And very cool – a double-ended pen (469), which eyedroppers two different inks!

They also sell packets of parts – o-rings, feeds.  Many different kinds of customizable nibs (can be difficult to get ahold of – the FB page apparently has a list of >40??? Nib types).  The gold nibs are well priced – for a gold nib – and apparently are being sent out to jewelers for engraving.

Also one of the attractions for some is they have a “pen of the year” (Year of the Tiger is 2023)

The pens he would not recommend – the 350 which is basically a clone of another pen (Namisu?), originally in brass, now in aluminum.  And there’s one with a magnetic fill which is another vintage style mechanism that has some cons.  Air in the barrel can make the piston hard to move with just the magnet.  They magnet can pick up metal filings and then when you use the magnet in the cap to fill, you can abrade the barrel.

One of the concerns many folks have around Chinese pens is that they are predominantly copies.  Not so with Pen BBS (with the exception of the 350) – they are their own design for a particular filling mechanism – so they are leveraging the concept but not cloning.