Posts filed under A.G. Spalding

A.G. Spalding & Bros Brass Ballpoint Pen Review

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(Jeff Abbott is a regular contributor at The Pen Addict. You can find more from Jeff online at Draft Evolution and Twitter.)

The A.G. Spalding & Bros ballpoint pen has been around for a while, and I've recently had the opportunity to try one out. I've been using the Brass version of the pen for the past couple of weeks, and while it looks and feels great, I'm not sure I can recommend it for most people.

The brass version of this classic design has a tumbled and aged finish that looks great on any desk, and the balance of the pen when handling and writing is fantastic. And when you consider the price (less than $20), it's an even greater value. But, for me anyway, it all falls apart with the refill they've chosen for this pen: the Zebra F-Refill. While this isn't a bad refill in its own right, it's a severely limited choice. With the number of fantastic ballpoint, hybrid, gel and rollerball refills available today, it's a true shame to lock a pen into a refill format that is so unyielding. It's so similar to the ubiquitous Parker-style refill, but just different enough to make them unusable in this pen without major modification.

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Sure, you can probably find a suitable alternative if you're also game for cutting, filing, or possibly ruining another refill to make it fit in this pen. To me, it seems like the designers of this pen lost a great opportunity. To most people, it's fair to say that most writing instruments have 3 major factors that influence purchasing: writing feel, aesthetics, and ink options. In the case of the A.G. Spalding & Bros Brass Ballpoint, it definitely has great writing feel and aesthetics. It could easily have fantastic ink options as well if some minor changes were considered during the design. What a shame!

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Aside from my major disappointment in the refill choice, I've really enjoyed this pen. Like I said, the Zebra F refill isn't a bad refill at all — it's just limited to three colors in the same tip size (black, blue, and red in 0.7mm). If the Zebra F refill is a favorite of yours, this is a great option.

The size of the pen is very comfortable; it's a bit chunky compared to your standard ballpoint pen, but not too thick to make writing uncomfortable. It also lacks any texturing on the grip area, but I haven't had a problem holding onto it when writing. According to the JetPens description, only the nose cone is brass, while the rest of the body is aluminum with an aged brass-like finish on the outside. I'm not a metals expert, but this looks right to me. Either way, the extra bit of weight in the cone makes it easy to control when writing and doodling.

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The click mechanism is smooth and sturdy, making a noticeable, but subdued noise when operated. The rounded top of the nock feels good on the thumb and features an A.G. Spalding logo on the top. Apart from the nock, you'll find branding along the clip band and on the side of the pen barrel. Even though branding exists in three places on the pen, it's all very well done and non-intrusive.

I'm not sure how they've achieved the finish on the barrel, but it looks fantastic in person. It pairs nicely with leather.

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You can also choose from a copper version of this pen (which has more of a red/pink tone), a silver version, and a hexagonal navy body.

Overall, I really want to love this pen, but the limited refill options will probably mean this pen doesn't see as much use as I'd like. I guess I can keep my fingers crossed that someone might manufacture an aftermarket refill for this size at some point!

(JetPens provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)


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Posted on November 22, 2017 and filed under A.G. Spalding, Pen Reviews.

A. G. Spalding & Bros Notebook And Cover Review

(Jeff Abbott is a regular contributor at The Pen Addict. You can find more from Jeff online at Draft Evolution and Twitter.)

The A. G. Spalding & Bros notebook and Notebook Colder are a new entry into the pocket notebook space that offers some good paper and a unique paper case compared to other similar products. The 3.5" x 5" format is a compact, easy-to-carry, and fun to use. It's a great product, but it could also be better.

Since we are talking about two separate products, let's start with the notebook cover. The cover comes in a dark brown that looks great. The elastic band that holds the cover shut is a bit loose if you're carrying only one notebook, but the cover was designed to hold two notebooks. I'd like the elastic to be tighter, but it's not that big of an issue.

The cover has one piece of branding on the front, which is a small A.G. Spalding & Bros embossed logo. It's small and tasteful. The inside of the cover has two flaps that hold the notebooks, and the covers are stitched around the edge of the cover to create pockets.

The elastic closure is attached in the middle of the back cover using a knot on the inside of the cover. In practice, this knot introduces two problems. One, it makes it difficult to slide a notebook into the right side pocket because the knot is obstructing most of the opening. It takes some effort to make it slide in properly, and you might end up bending the notebook in the process. The other major problem with this knot is that it creates a lump in the middle of the page when writing on the right side of the page. I found it pretty uncomfortable to use when on a flat surface.

Overall, the cover looks nice and is an affordable non-leather option for holding your notebooks. At just under twenty bucks, I can't say it's a good deal, however. It offers protection and a convenient way to carry two notebooks, but the knot in the back got in the way too often. Ultimately, I enjoyed the notebook more when the cover was removed.

Now, on to the notebook. The one I have is the graph variety, but you can also find them in lined and blank versions. The front outside cover contains some really nice branding along with an obvious "G, P, or R" to indicate the ruling type on the inside. It's a beautiful notebook on the inside and out. Apart from the front cover, there is no other branding on these books.

The paper is good quality, but not the best. It handles fountain pen and wet inks like a champ, but exhibits quite a bit of show-through on the reverse page. If you're using fountain pens, the back page might be unusable. Aside from that, the paper is really nice and is fun to write on. It's smooth, the ruling is light enough to stay out of your way, and it's thick enough to be durable against accidental rips and bends.

One minor gripe with the build quality of the notebook is that the binding stitching on my notebook has some loose threads. This makes me worry that it may begin to unravel at some point, but it's been stable so far.

Overall, it's a great notebook that works well with fountain pens as long as you don't mind the show-through. The pocket notebook market is vast, and you can probably find notebooks that are either more affordable, more durable, or more fountain-pen-friendly, so the major draw of this notebook for me is the design of the front cover. For me, I like using the notebook, but don't often use the cover. The cover looks nice, but detracts from the writing experience.

You can find the A.G. Spalding & Bros. notebooks from JetPens for around $7.00 in graph, lined, or blank varieties. The separate notebook cover is around $20, and only available in brown.

(JetPens provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)


Enjoy reading The Pen Addict? Then consider becoming a member to receive additional weekly content, giveaways, and discounts in The Pen Addict shop. Plus, you support me and the site directly, which I am very grateful for.

Membership starts at just $5/month, with a discounted annual option available. To find out more about membership click here and join us!

Posted on November 2, 2016 and filed under A.G. Spalding, Notebook Reviews.

A.G. Spalding & Bros Bullet Roller Review

(Jeff Abbott is a regular contributor at The Pen Addict. You can find more from Jeff online at Draft Evolution and Twitter.)

Liquid ink roller ball pens seem to be more difficult to find than your average gel ink or ballpoint pen – even fountain pens are more plentiful. That's why I always enjoy trying out a new roller ball pen. I like roller ball pens because they're typically very smooth and lay down thick, dark lines that look so good on the page. Sometimes they disappoint, but other times they become new favorites. The A.G. Spalding Bullet easily became a favorite for me – right up there with the Retro 51 Tornado.

To be honest, I've looked at this pen on JetPens many times. It just never caught my eye. It looked boring, and I had other more interesting things in my wish list. For some reason, I decided to give it a go this time, and I'm really happy I did. I have a new favorite with this pen.

Like every pen, it has some downsides, but it's an overall great writer that looks good too.

Aesthetics

The Bullet (I keep shortening the name because it's so long to begin with) is incredibly simple in style. It's sleek, slim, and unique. I love the way the cap lines up flush with the body of the pen no matter which end it's clipped to. Capped or posted, it's still very sleek and slim.

I don't know what material the body is made of – some type of metal – but there's a clear coat on top of the metal that gives the entire body a nice shine and 3-dimensional look. It's really nice to look at, which is surprising for such a simple design. It just works really well.

All of the parts feel like they're made of high-quality materials. The tolerances in the threads and the cap are tight and feel great. Either I got a really great example, or there is a lot of care put into the quality control on these pens.

One thing I do miss on this pen is a clip. It rolls around very freely on a desk, and I've lost it several times for that reason. An optional clip (similar to Kaweco or Fisher's Bullet pen) would be a great accessory for this pen as long as it was equally stylish and sleek.

Writing

The real secret with this pen is in the refill. It's a Uni Mitsubishi refill, and it's absolutely fantastic. I love the Retro 51 Schmidt refills, but now I've found another go-to refill. I like it just as much as the Schmidt refill, and it's a different shape as well, so maybe I'll have luck transplanting it to other pens that aren't so well-endowed in the refill area.

The writing experience is smooth and consistent. The lines are dark and crisp. No starting or pooling issues that I've seen. I think this might be because the ink is a liquid gel, which might make it less runny than most liquid inks. Honestly, I really don't know what kind of ink is in this pen. The descriptions on JetPens lean both ways. Does it really matter, though? It's a great refill that I'm glad I discovered.

Downsides? Sure. I've noticed one downside when writing: the grip. It can become a bit slippery when writing for a while due to the finish on the body. It looks great, but it's not good for strenuous writing sessions.

Brad reviewed this pen way back in February of 2008, but it's definitely worth another look for anyone that wants to expand their roller ball collection with another beautiful pen and excellent writer.

Posted on November 19, 2014 and filed under A.G. Spalding, Pen Reviews.