Thursday, March 3, 2011

Pen Review: Levenger True Writer

The Little Pen That Could

From the top: Sea Glass, Ivory, Kyoto

(Please note: all pictures are clickable)

I just jumped over to the Levenger website to take a quick look at what they have to say about themselves, and was surprised to discover the company was founded as late as 1987. I have a leather portfolio, embossed with my name, that I had thought was gifted to me before that date - though it might have been as late as 1990. I was intrigued, also, to find out they started as a lighting company.

Over the years, I've purchased several items from them, and generally been happy with them all. I had heard a lot of not-so-good things about their True Writer pens though - flow issues, nib issues, construction/quality control issues - you name it.

Well, they must have either had a bad batch of pens at one point, or they got their act together, because we now have three of them and we're quite happy with them all.

The True Writers are resin bodied, with rather stiff German made (Schmidt, I believe) steel nibs. The nibs screw in, not unlike an old Esterbrook, and are thus interchangeable. Levenger offers fine, medium, broad and "signature stub" nibs. All three of these have fine nibs. Levenger offers extra nibs for sale individually or as a set of four.

Every one of the three True Writers we have were purchased on the secondary market, either on Levenger's eBay Outlet store as a returned item, or from a private party. They are not inexpensive, but they also don't cost as much as a lot of comparable modern pens do. And of course buying them the way we did makes them less expensive!

The first to join the family was the Sea Glass. The catalog photos of the pen do not do it justice. There is a vibrancy to the colors that is hard to capture; the pen is almost translucent. There is depth to the different blocks of color as well.

The second pen we acquired was the Ivory. This model is no longer offered by Levenger. I had wanted an ivory-colored pen for some time, but hesitated at buying vintage for fear of possible staining. I have not had any staining issues with the Ivory, and I like the vintage look and feel of the material.  I also like the yellow gold (plate, I'm sure) furniture and two-toned nib; again, a bit of a retro look to me.

And the last to join us was the Kyoto. This material is rather interesting; it reminds me a bit of the material that was used for the Sheaffer Balance Aspen. At first glance it looks like a tortoise-shell design, but a closer look reveals accents of blue and purple as well. This, too, is a difficult pen to photograph.

Each one of these has proven to be a reliable, unfussy, uncomplaining writer. The writing sample below was written with the Ivory pen, which currently contains Diamine Evergreen. I haven't used the pen in several days; I just picked it up and started writing with it, with no issues at all.

writing sample

I'm pleased with each of these pens. And I still have that leather portfolio; it's still in daily use, and other than some great age and use patina it's in marvelous shape, some 20-plus years into the corporate game. I have every hope these pens will turn out as reliable.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for the review. I'm a HUGE fan of pens that just "work". These are gorgeous! Time to take another look at Levenger...