Saturday, October 27, 2012

The smallest size - Conway Stewart Dinkie

Personal Best of, Part 7

Today I'd like to show you a pen that's on the "Best of..." list because of its size, or the lack thereof. It is small. Petite. Tiny! I'm not really sure if it really is the smallest pen I own because there is still a Stipula Passaporto, in any case the Dinkie's size isn't something that makes it an especially unobtrusive pen but something that calls attention to it.

On my pen tray without something to compare it to it almost looks like a full size pen.

Conway Stewart Dinkie.

Now why does somebody like me, someone who likes her pens on the heavier or at least on the larger side, who doesn't post the cap and for whom the hefty "Homo Sapiens" is exactly the right weight, buy - and like - such a pen? Well, to be honest it was mainly the colour, the curiosity factor and it being cheap.

It might well be not only the smallest but also the oldest pen of my humble collection, I'm much too little of an expert to be sure about these things, but to be sure this one has seen a lot of life and it's not always been good.

The green marbled casein plastic body is heavily scarred by scratches and a crack near the lever. Apparently this can happen if you try to force the lever and the ink sac has gone stiff, which they will naturally do over time. So if you encounter a lever filler with rather a lot of resistance, don't force it, your pen could meet the same fate. Luckily enough it's still functioning. It also arrived with me with quite misaligned nib tines which John Sorowka fixed for me.

Pelikan M1000 - Conway Stewart Dinkie - Montblanc 149

Next to a Pelikan M1000 and a Montblanc 149 - yes, that's unfair, but that's the kind of pen size I usually prefer. Astonishingly enough the Dinkie still stands its ground. From what I've heard this was, by the way, not a woman's pen but designed to be carried in a Gentleman's vest pocket.

It was the first time I came across Casein as material for pen cap and barrel and I think this is another fact making the Dinkie rather unique among my other pens. I couldn't really care less about the material until it showed that Casein has the rather astonishing property of being able to absorb a bit of water, thus swelling like a sponge. I learned that one the hard way after a good soaking - though "hard" is not the right word, "the wobbly, enlarged, can't screw the cap back on because the barrel is too big" way would be more exact.
After a good night's rest in a dry environment the barrel was back to its firm self.

David & Goliath: Conway Stewart Dinkie, Montblanc 149

Small pen, small nib: Next to a Montblanc Meisterstück 149. It is, however, a very nice, smooth and soft (though not really flexible) writer with generous ink flow and makes you forget that it is attached to something that, in size, feels like a Bic Stick. Though the amount of ink the sac holds would probably make your novel-writing project a little annoying, it is more than sufficient for everyday use and won't dry out soon either.

A writing sample with Diamine Ancient Copper, a very pretty ink but certainly not the right choice in this pen.  Why?

Ancient Copper is prone to producing a lot of "crud" - consisting of crystallized dye particles - around the nib in the right conditions and the conditions my Dinkie provides seem to be flawless. This crystallizing doesn't mean that the ink is spoiled but is a property of a certain dye, supposedly yellow, which is why this phenomenon occurs with some orange, red and green shades under certain conditions.
I still didn't change the colour yet though since, well, a thorough cleaning is unavoidable and I don't want to meet Mr. SpongePen again. So for now it keeps writing - and crudding - with Ancient Copper, and I keep writing - and wiping the crud off.
Old pens are allowed to have quirks.

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