When I’m collecting fountain pens, there is a certain type of fountain pen that I think is interesting. And that is the obscure pen. While it’s nice to find a well-known good pen (I’ve found several Parkers and Crosses) and some rare pens (see those Parkers), there are several pens that I’ve found through my collecting that I can’t find any information on beyond that the pen exists.
This used to be the case with many Chinese pens, like Hero and Jinhao brand, but recently those pens and facts about them have become more well known. But there are still a great many pens with an unknown history behind them. Some are even obscurely being produced today. Like the Camel (camali)1968 pen which was “discovered” by my brother in our Aunt’s possession. A lot of internet hunting later I found the pen on eBay from a seller that apparently had loads of them, so I bought 10 for what would be the price of a decent western pen. Later, I even found a green one floating around from the same seller. But now there are none there.
Beyond the examples my brother and I have, I haven’t seen or really heard of this pen (there is a thread on the fountain pen network that was posted around the same time as I was looking for the pens that doesn’t contain any more information, just that they are indeed pens for sale). The pen has no backstory, and unknown manufacturer, and is only available some of the time, and for that reason it fascinates me. I love it.
Another pen like this that I just found recently is a Marksman pen (there is a modern brand called Marksman, they are not the same) The pen simply says Marksman and Korea (which I assume is the country it was made in). The nib says nothing, but it does have an archer stamped into it. It appears to be a fine, and maybe even an extra-fine, but again, I have nothing to go on. There is a thread on this type of pen (apparently there were a few more models) but again, it just shows that the pens exist, and no one at the moment seems to know where they came from (other than Korea) and what happened to them. From the thread I learned one thing: that I am lucky my pen still has a center ring that can easily come off when taking the pen apart to refill it, as the other pen I saw that was similar to mine didn’t have this part.
Both of these pens have no manufacturer that I know of (well, I can’t figure out if the names are the manufacturer or the model), no history that can be easily found, are found intermittently, and are both surprisingly good writers.
To some people this lack of detail may be infuriating, and others just might not care, but for me it makes me want to dive deeper into pens, to find out more about what these pens are and where they came from. These little mysteries don’t so much bug me as they make me want to move forward, because if someone does know everything about these pens that there is to know, they aren’t telling anyone right now, and finding the answers will still be just as rewarding.