tiny pen, huge heart: platinum pocket pen
It’s a cold morning, it’s even visible from the grey sunshine filtering through the curtains. There is no happy, golden sunshine today. The moment your toes hit the parquet, you want to crawl back to bed. But you don’t. You go and open the curtains, filling the house with bland winter light. You make coffee and you see the woman who walks past your house. She walks across your window everyday, with this purple bag that you remember. While you wait for your mug to get ready, she hurries past towards the station. Some days you wonder if she works at the university; whether she’s a student or a teacher. But today you imagine her catching a train, leaving for an office far away.
Recently I got a very battered Platinum pocket pen. It looks like the more well known Pilot striped pocket pens. In order to find some information on it I had to do a bit of detective work. This pen is probably from 1970’s to 1980’s, made by Platinum. One of the catalog photographs (curtesy of the lovely people of Fountain Pen Network) shows the pen too. As far as I can see, it has the code PKG-4000B (top row, third from the right in the picture below). The white gold nib seems to be less common compared to the silver coloured one with the gold coloured nib. Someone had a similar pen with the name “Platinum Stainless”. I’ll link the places I’ve seen it mentioned below.
With the long-short design, this pen looks like a small-ish pen. It’s longer than a Kaweco Sport, but still shorter than a modern Platinum Century #3776. When it’s posted it’s quite long, much longer than my Gioia Alleria or Pilot 823 -though I use those pens unposted. Since it’s a thin and light pen, the extra length doesn’t feel cumbersome or unbalanced. The clip wiggles, but it has been holding on to everything quite nicely so far.
In the business end of things, the 18K white gold medium nib is amazing. It’s not like any Platinum I’ve ever used. It’s a hair wider than my Platinum Century #3776 with a medium nib, but doesn’t have any of the feedback. It’s as smooth as it gets. It’s not very wet too, that is similar to the Century. The only downside is that it has a sweet spot that you need to get used to. When you can’t find it, the pen will just not write. Not scratchy or skipping, the ink flow straight up stops.
This pen still uses the same Platinum cartridge/converter design, so it’s easy to refill old cartridges to put them in there. With vintage pens, the interesting filling systems are fun, but they also make everything finicky. I’m perfectly fine with a cartridge and a simple ink. The ink I’m currently using in this pen right now is the Pilot Blue. I mentioned that I wanted to try it out, now it’s inked up in this pen. It behaves well. Royal blues and very bright mid-blues aren’t really my thing, so this ink is just faded enough to be lovely, almost a periwinkle blue. A tiny bit of shading is nice too.
Even with its many scratches and dings, it’s a fancy little pen with stripes. It makes me feel fancy too, especially when I whip it out to underline my book. I’m not much of a notes in the margins type of person, but I do underline my books. Funny sentences, mesmerising descriptions, words that I like… They will be underlined. I used to be very precious with my books and don’t let anything touch them, but now I enjoy underlining and leafing through the books I’ve read to see what I liked about that book. Therefore this pen spends most of its time in my book pouch. It might be scratched and chipped, but that doesn’t mean I will not try to protect it (at least a little) from more scratches. I have my Kaweco Sports to throw in with my keys. I’m pretty sure they’ll survive a truck running over them even. Not that I want to try.
Overall, this pen does a lovely job of… well… being a pen. It’s long enough unposted that I can quickly underline stuff or jot something in my journal. When it’s posted it’s comfortable for longer writing. Worn out lines and the tired look of this pen warms my heart, it’s in safe hands now. I generally don’t use vintage pens on a daily basis because the cleaning and maintenance part still scares me a bit, but the regular cartridge converter system removes all of my doubts. This is going to become one of my heavy duty pens. I’m sure it can take another 50 years of use.
Links that I used for this post:
Thank you for reading!