Yafa pen

Once, while laid over in the Philadelphia airport on return from a business trip, I ran into a nice guy who was running a pushcart selling fountain pens. His inventory consisted mainly of lacquered brass pens, many of them "knockoffs" of Montblancs, Cartiers, Duofold Centennials, and other prestige items. Most were selling for around $50 or less, and most of them had the same basic nib and section design, which the gentleman explained to me were manufactured by a big OEM in Germany named Schmidt.

My guess would be that brass pens, even with good lacquer jobs like the Yafa above, are less expensive to make in small runs than good quality plastic pens, which accounts for the flood of no-name or new-name pens on the market with these specifications. Once I had one of these that was made in screw-apart sections, which when disassembled looked like a pile of really fancy bathroom plumbing.

There are lots of pens on the market like this Yafa; I suppose people correlate weight with quality (contrasting these pens with the featherweight stick pens they routinely "borrow" from the office), but my guess is that most buyers fiddle around with these pens for a bit and then put them aside, either because they write poorly or are too heavy, or both. This one has a big brass lump on the end of the cap which makes it hideously overbalanced to write with.

I see from the catalogs that Yafa does indeed make nicer (and more expensive) pens, but chary as I am of new pens these days, I probably won't get around to sampling them.

This file last posted on:
2005-Jan-20 17:50:26 CST
MCMVIII, the red network