One of the pleasures of student life, especially if you had been a school student in Calcutta in the 70’s of the last century, was the colourful fountain pens that you were allowed to use in your high school days. So fountain pens make me nostalgic and till this day I have not been able to ignore them. Indeed I fall in love with one fountain pen or the other almost every day. The pens I refer to here are not expensive at all. These are all fountain pens made in India with brand names like Artex, Flora or Camlin. In my student days these pens used to cost a single Indian rupee while now you can get a pen for a price of below fifty rupees.
So, it felt marvellous when this morning, on visiting the local stationery and pen shop in Garia, Calcutta with the specific purpose of finding what fountain pens they have in their stock, I was offered a Chinese Hero for Rs. 75 and then several Artex pens for Rs. 25 (or 40 cents) each! I spent Rs. 75 and brought three Artex fountain pens with me back home.
These are eyedropper fountain pens made of plastic except the clip, the cap ring and the nib and feel quite lightweight when you take one in your hand. But the ink tank has quite a large capacity. The tip or sometimes the entire cap and the extreme bottom portion of the barrel are usually black in colour.
The clip and the cap ring as well as the bottom of the cap are golden and “ARTEX ® 1120” is written in gold just above the golden ring at the bottom of the cap.
The barrel is fire brick red or gray-blue in these two pens while the bottom of the barrel in one pen is black.
The nib is made of stainless steel and is medium tipped although the words ‘ARTEX Fine Tipped” are engraved on it.
Still, I believe, this medium would be more of a fine line width compared to western pens. My Artex writes smoothly (no skips, no restarts!), the nib is smooth and I reckon it is an excellent buy considering its decent price and smart appearance.
I must say I have not seen Artex fountain pens for a long time, certainly not in the last two decades and it was a pleasant surprise to find them again. It can’t get cheaper than this, can it?
I bought these Artex fountain pens in Kolkata this year for a price of Rs. 30 each. These are made entirely of plastic with some metallic parts, especially in the caps. The pens have steel nibs and they write well and are quite durable compared to their price!