Posts filed under Pen Reviews

Retro 51 Tornado JetPens California Republic Edition Review

Retro 51 Tornado JetPens California Republic Edition Review

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

In my brief stint living in California, I quickly fell in love with the California state flag. I'd seen it before, but when you're in the state of California, you definitely see it a lot more often. I have my fair share of mugs, shirts, stickers, and other trinkets that sport this iconic symbol. When JetPens unveiled a limited edition Retro 51 Tornado that used the same design, I knew I had to have one.

The California Republic Edition Tornado from JetPens is a perfect example of why some people are such loyal fans of the Retro 51 brand. It's the same pen, but the unique designs that borrow meaningful symbology keep people coming back for more and also suck in new people who don't already spend a lot of time in stationery circles.

Retro 51 Tornado JetPens California Republic Edition

At $40, this Tornado is priced on par with other limited editions. It's a limited edition in the sense that only JetPens sell it, but according to the description, "quantities produced will be determined according to demand," which implies that this isn't a limited production. That being said, if you want one of these pens, snag one while you can!

Before we get in to look at the pen, there's also another special feature of this limited edition pen. For every pen sold, JetPens will donate $5 to the California Fire Foundation. This is a worthy cause to support, and one that I'm glad JetPens have decided to set up. Fires are tragic disasters that are impossible to control, and the damage they cause can go far beyond what any monetary support can provide. Still, monetary support always helps when battling these natural disasters, and I appreciate JetPens setting this up.

Retro 51 Tornado JetPens California Republic

Now, if you're familiar with the Retro 51 Tornado, then you already know this pen. It features the deliciously smooth P8126 refill from Schmidt, which glides over paper like butter in a hot pan. It's a delightful writing experience, and I believe everyone should own at least one. The pen is on the short side overall, but it manages to keep a comfortable weight and shape for long writing sessions. From the top of the pen down to the tip, there's a pleasant taper that provides visual design and a great writing grip.

Retro 51 Tornado JetPens California Republic Edition Refill

The pen is extended and retracted by twisting the top finial. The twist motion is smooth and quick, but you'll never have to worry about the tip extending by accident. The front section of the pen also unscrews so that you can replace the Schmidt refill.

The best part about this pen is the barrel design and finial. The California Republic flag wraps around the barrel, providing a fantastic view of the walking bear. The color scheme of the barrel is borrowed directly from the flag, but the metal accents match the color scheme perfectly. The aged bronze bits add a lot of visual interest and warmth to the pen.

Retro 51 Tornado JetPens California Republic Edition Number

The top finial has a lovely red star on a white background to compliment the star on the flag. It's one of my favorite elements on this pen. Also, the section that holds the knurled twist mechanism contains some light Tornado branding along with a unique serial number.

Overall, I'm extremely pleased with the Retro 51 Tornado California Republic Edition. I knew exactly what I was getting when I first saw the pictures online, and it delivered in person 100%. At $40, the price is a bit higher than the regular Tornado line, but this is a special edition and this price range is normal for special Tornado editions. If you like the design, the flag, or just the general look fo this pen, you won't be sorry you picked one up!

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


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Retro 51 Tornado JetPens California Republic Edition Comparison
Posted on December 19, 2018 and filed under Retro 51, Pen Reviews.

Franklin-Christoph Pocket 20 Fountain Pen Review

Franklin-Christoph Pocket 20 Fountain Pen Review

I’m going to use a term to describe the Franklin-Christoph Pocket 20 fountain pen that I don’t use often enough in product reviews: Useful. This pen is useful, for many reasons I’ll get into below. Useful is a positive term in my mind, although some may not consider it very exciting. Stationery goods being useful is what keeps me coming back to them time after time.

My first F-C Model 20 was the full-sized Marietta, which was launched before this pocket-sized version. It has a classic, clean, shape and design, with its main feature being a slip cap, as opposed to the more common threaded cap. For those who don’t like threaded acrylic barrels, this keeps the grip section clear of any interference from threads while allowing for secure capping and posting.

Franklin-Christoph Pocket 20 Fountain Pen

My first thought was how secure could this be? The last thing I need is the cap of my fountain pen popping off and getting ink everywhere. I have to say, this slip cap design is as secure as any threaded cap I own. I’ve never grabbed any of my Model 20 pens from a pen case, backpack, or pocket and felt even the slightest bit of looseness in the cap. It has proven to be rock solid, and even unique when compared to most of my other fountain pens.

That uniqueness doesn’t come without surprises though. One main feature of Franklin-Christoph’s fountain pens - and a big reason why I like them so much - is their ability to be used as an eyedropper barrel, as opposed to using a cartridge or converter. With a little bit of silicone grease, the ink capacity of the pen can be increased exponentially.

Franklin-Christoph Pocket 20 Fountain Pen Barrel

With either of the F-C 20 models, that can be an issue. Out of habit, I want to twist open most of my pens. Hand this pen to a friend, and they will want to do the same. The slip cap requires you to pull the cap off the barrel. If you - or anyone else - gives it a good twist, you will unscrew the grip section from the barrel. And if the pen is eyedroppered, guess what? Ink everywhere.

If you own a Model 20 or Pocket 20 I can guarantee you have either done this already, or have come perilously close.

Franklin-Christoph Pocket 20 Fountain Pen Posted

Eyedropper filling a fountain pen is useful for ink capacity, and downright fun. You don’t HAVE to eyedropper the Pocket 20 pen - it takes short international cartridges - but I think you are missing out by not doing so. Look at the ink sloshing around the barrel! And yes, it is as easy to clean as any other pen.

The Pocket 20 is useful because of its size. It fits anywhere, and goes everywhere. That’s why I love small fountain pens so much. Toss them in a pocket and go. I primarily use this model unposted, but the slip cap posts securely on the back of the pen for a full-sized writing experience. I opted for the clip on this model, since I normally go clipless, to mix it up a bit. Plus, I preferred the aesthetic.

Franklin-Christoph Pocket 20 Fountain Pen Nib

Nib choice is another area where I find this pen useful. I bought this now-discontinued model from Wonder Pens and was able to choose a 1.1 mm steel stub nib. I own many Franklin-Christoph fountain pens, and like to have many different nib sizes on hand to try out different things. Having options makes this pen more … useful.

The Pocket 20 exemplifies everything I love about Franklin-Christoph. It is well-made, works perfectly, looks amazing, and is fun to use. I can load it up with fun inks to play around with, and swap in a nib to match my needs at the time. I wish I could get this much usefulness out of every product I own.


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Franklin-Christoph Pocket 20 Fountain Pen Writing
Posted on December 17, 2018 and filed under Franklin-Christoph, Fountain Pens, Pen Reviews.

Zebra SL-F1 ST Ballpoint Pen Review

Zebra SL-F1 ST Ballpoint Pen Review

(Sarah Read is an author, editor, yarn artist, and pen/paper/ink addict. You can find more about her at her website and on Twitter.)

I love pocket pens. They're cute and practical and easy to have always at hand. I have small hands, so pocket pens fit easily and comfortably in my grip. If you have larger hands, that might not always be the case. Pocket pens are not comfortable or practical or many folks. But this pen! This one has you covered. The Zebra SL-F1 ST ballpoint pen is a pocket pen that telescopes open to be a full-sized ballpoint pen. Kind of like a magic trick. Or a transformer. It even makes a satisfying click when you expand and retract it, like any properly fidgety pen should. This pen wasn't just designed, it was engineered. And even apart from its magical properties, it is a very fine pen.

Zebra SL-F1 ST Ballpoint Pen

When shortened, the pen has a tip cover that retracts as it expands, and re-emerges when contracted, so there's no risk of ink leakage in a pocket. The metal construction is sturdy and has a good weight to it. The finish is a pretty, vibrant blue, and it comes in a number of nice colors. The grip is smooth ridges, so it has good traction but no sharp edges. The edge where the barrel separates over the interior tube is slightly sharper, but not enough to cause any irritation to the hand. My hand doesn't even touch the pen at that part. The clip is metal and very solid, but has good flexibility.

Zebra SL-F1 ST Ballpoint Pen Refill

The refill is nothing to get too excited about--it's a fairly standard ballpoint. It writes smoothly and consistently with no skips and only a few blobs. It's certainly better than the big-box plastic ballpoints that you find on every public counter.

I'm in love with the simple practicality of this pen. It's become a staple in my purse. In fact, it slipped so easily into my life that I almost forgot I needed to review it.

Zebra SL-F1 ST Ballpoint Pen Barrel

JetPens sells this pen for $7.75, which I think is an absolute steal. I would not have flinched if it had been twice that. If you have any use at all for a pocket ballpoint pen (don't we all?), get you this one.

(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, for which I am very grateful.

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

Zebra SL-F1 ST Ballpoint Pen
Posted on December 13, 2018 and filed under Zebra, Ballpoint, Pen Reviews.