Yongsheng 025 Fountain Pen.
As far as I could determine, the Yongsheng manufacturing company from Shangai has been manufacturing pens and stationary since the 1990’s. They can therefore be regarded as a relative newcomer to the ranks of pen manufacturers.
The fountain pen I chose was a bright, rich yellow with chrome clutch ring, engraved with the name “Yongsheng 025”. I am always attracted to hooded fountain pens, and this pen has its own special interpretation of the hooded design. Besides that, I love colour, and this pen is a bright, rich yellow. Enough to drive away any Monday morning blues at work. Especially now in winter… It is available in three pleasant colours (red, yellow and black).
The section (grip) area as well as cap and barrel ends are also chromed. Both cap and barrel ends have black plastic ”jewels”, and the very end of the grip area, is also black plastic. The rest of the pen has a painted metal finish of quite a high standard. The pocket clip is also chrome, and quite stiff, making it hard to slip over the thin leather edge of my pocket organiser. It does provide a positive hold though, and won’t fall out easily. This clip is “stapled ” to the cap, having a few sharp prongs that protrude through the cap and are bend over on the inside.
The total length of the pen is 121mm, capped- 140mm, and posted (cap on end of barrel), 155mm. When using the pen without posting the cap, the balancing point is very close to the centre. The weight is given as 28 gram, on the heavy side for my liking. If you like a slightly heavy pen, I would certainly recommend it as an entry level fountain pen.
The medium, hooded Iridium nib, writes a 0.7mm line. Compared to some of my other pens, and true to the general standard found in Chinese pens, this “medium” can probably be better described as “fine”. A fine nib sometimes has definite advantages, such as for filling out forms, accounting or simply if you have a small handwriting.
A removable piston type ink converter is standard issue, but it also accepts short (38mm) International Standard disposable cartridges. The ink converter uses a slider mechanism, virtually identical as found on Parker pens, though somewhat smaller. It was easy to fill up completely.
Capping and de-capping takes place, with a positive, audible “click”. The chances that the pen will lose its cap in your pocket or handbag and ink everything , is very slim.
I found the nib slightly scratchy, however not to a point that it distracts from the writing pleasure. My handwriting is very large, and someone that writes smaller may not have the same experience. As with most fountain pens, the writing experience improves with the quality of paper you use. Familiarising yourself with the feel of a new pen, also improves the writing experience.
Right from the start writing was in nice, wet lines, using its own piston type converter. Unfortunately, this nice wet writing experience quickly deteriorated until the pen started to skip lines and sometimes totally failed to write. A quick shake would get it underway again. This looked like a case of ink starvation. However whether it was because of a blockage, or some other factory fault I could not tell without taking the section apart.
I decided to open the section by soaking it in lukewarm water, as I have often done with other pens, however after a few unsuccessful attempts, I decided to give it away in fear of damaging the pen. It was simply too tight. Then followed a series of tests and close up examinations using a 10X LED watchmakers loupe and compressed air and water under pressure. I found the inside of the section where the ink converter slides over the collector tube to be coated in a clear adhesive, probably to provide a better fit for the converter. I found that strange in a pen where the converter is likely at some stage to be exchanged with a cartridge. I suspected some of this adhesive could have got stuck in the feed somewhere. I cleaned away all the glue I could find with watch makers tweezers. I then soaked it overnight in a soapy solution. The process was completed by gently force water from the nib backwards, in case any particles was dislodged by the soapy water.
This time I took an unused converter from one of my few remaining Sedona pen kits. Compared to the Yongsheng converter, it appeared to be of much greater quality. The fit was very positive, and with mixed feelings I filled it with Quink. It wrote immediately, nice wet lines like never before. I wrote half a page, just to be faced with the same problem again. All I can suspect is an internal blockage caused either by some external matter or by factory fitted faulty parts. The reason why it writes for a short time after filling-up is probably from the ink that is present in the section, but as soon as that is used, there is nothing coming from the converter, and the nib runs dry.
A personal criticism I have against the pen is that I often have trouble getting it in my favourite pen grip. Picking it up and rotating it into the correct grip, using only the fingers of the writing hand, was a bit of a challenge. The grip area is very smooth and the shape is such that my fingers keep slipping down towards the nib, needing constant readjustment as I write. The weight of the metal body of this pen definitely adds to this problem.
This pen costs me about 7 Australian dollars, postage included. In this price range it can probably be expected to find a dud from time to time. Based only on the external appearance, I like the pen. It is unfortunate that my pen did not work. Who knows, maybe in the future I will get another one.