Announcement: After being unavailable for several years, His Nibs is very happy to once again be able to offer the Pilot i717 piston-filler fountain pens. As you'll see below, these are available in both Demonstrator models and normal models with ink-view windows. Please see my video on these pens from 2008 here (I apologize for the poor audio quality back then!)
No, the pens don't cost you a dollar -- sorry. Dollar Industries was founded in 1954 in Karachi, Pakistan and today is one of the leading manufacturers of writing instruments and stationery in Asia. Their products are exported to more than 50 countries.
"Hi Norman, I just wanted to send you a note praising your pens. I have used your ink for quite some time, but I got increasingly discouraged with the pens I was using. When I decided to buy a couple of your Dollar Pens, along with the Jinhao, I was knocking myself for not buying one of them earlier. Long story short? My pens I used to use are permanently retired for the joy of the Dollar and the exquisite Jinhao, which all write a clean beautiful line of link as if to be writing on a cloud. Cheers to you and thanks again!" E. R., Leland, NC
"Just wanted to let you know that
the pen arrived this afternoon and I have already started using it. Very smooth
writer and easy to fill. My first piston pen (have mostly converters and eye
droppers) and was impressed with its capacity. Your hand written note was also
much appreciated. I will be coming to you in the future for more pens I am
sure. Thanks again."
"Hi His Nibs...Thank you
am really surprised by how consistent of a writer the Dollar i717 is for how
fine the nib is on such an inexpensive pen. I wanted to send my appreciation for
your stellar service and fast shipping. I hope to return again as I
continue to add to my FP collection."
"Got my dollar pens and inked on last night. I've spent the day writing with it exclusively. Whether it is your inspection/adjustment or serendipity, this is one the smoothest writing (fine) pens in my collection and definitely the smoothest with this fine a point for the money. I set aside my favorite office pen for the dollar today. Thanks for the quick turnaround and great product."
K. M., West Columbia, SC
"Just to let
you know the "Dollar -- See it all" pen arrived in what seems record time.
It fills easily, writes smoothly, and finely enough to please me. What's
more, a bargain. Thanks again Norman."
"I received the Dollar and
Camlin fountain pens early this week. Thank you
very much for the nice note. The two pens are great, and for their prices,
they are well made. The nibs are delightfully smooth with a hint of tooth
(expected of fine nibs) which I am sure has been enhanced with your policy
of inspecting every nib.
"Thank you very much for the quick delivery of
the Dollar 717i. I had previously ordered some
Hero pens and was very impressed at the quality, especially when the
price is considered...As soon as the package arrived, I couldn't help
myself. I had to ink up the demonstrator...I already own a low-end
Pelikan, and the nib on the Dollar pen compares very favorably and is
close to indistinguishable from the Pelikan. You sure can pick great pens!
I will be sure to order more from you in the future."
"First, I'm really enjoying the
pens I purchased. I haven't used a fountain pen since elementary school,
and I believe using one actually improves my (abysmal) handwriting. And
it's much less tiring than a ballpoint. I should have done this a long
time ago. All three I ordered from you [Pilot,
beautifully, and the ink colors you picked for me are perfect."
Norman, just to let you know, the Pilot G78
and the Dollar pens arrived today. They are just great pens and just to my
liking, classic understated look, lightweight and with some “bite”. Your
reputation is well earned - these pens wrote right away without any
“breaking in” or extra cleaning, which is the normal routine for new pens
in my experience. Thanks for the personal note – that and the pens really
brightened up my day. In spite of the silly Danish Custom rules – it won’t
be the last time I buy here, it’s worth it."
"Have received and used both the Dollar and
Wing Sung fountain pens. Both write
perfectly and better than the remainder of the many fountain pens I use.
I'm expect the extra care you take in making sure the nib tips are
correctly aligned before shipping the pens makes a significant difference
for pens in this price range. Couldn't be more pleased! Thank you for the
"Hei Norman, Nice to hear from you. The pens
you sent have been in hard use, and must say they are performing well. The
Dollar 717i is in my daily use in work, and must say it gives the
smoothest writing, I've experienced. I've been wondering how much stands
for the factory and how much of your finishing. Anyway I'll be following
the happenings on hisnibs and be back with orders."
"Hi Norman. I had received the dollar 717i
burgundy this morning . It wrote really well , a good fine line, never skips
and a really good starter. I like it very much ;). P.S -Kinda regret i
didn't get the demonstrator, will buy it next time. Cheers."
"Got the Dollar piston fillers today and the note
you included was a pleasant and welcome surprise. I will not only use these
for daily writing but, for the demands of drawing and the Dollar pens have
already exceeded my wildest hopes...The extra-fine nib is smooth, the flow is
remarkable – simply perfect and it’s the only pen that I’ve ever used that is
truly better balanced with the cap posted. Better, in fact, than a 1930s
Sheaffer Balance. I’ve been hunting for a pen with these qualities this for
more than seven years and I believe the Dollar pen will meet all my
expectations...This is the best little pen I’ve used. The nibs of the Dollar
pens are superior to much more expensive Pelikan M200 series and other
comparable pens. The steel nibs on these
Dollar pens rank right up there with a litany of pens more expensive pens –
Pelikan, Rotring & Pilot – to name drop a bit. Without any hesitation I would
recommend these to anyone who enjoys a really well made economy pen that hold
a lot of ink and a really fine nib– these are super!...Thanks for you solid
evaluation and recommendation on the Dollar pens."
"I am enjoying my dollar pen and using it daily
for work. It writes just as well as my Esterbrook j and I don't worry about
scuffing it up."
"Hello Norman, Just let you know the Dollar
Demonstrators arrived. In 4 days to the Netherlands! I filled one, and what a
smooth writer! I think unbeaten in this price range. Thanks, and I buy again.
“The smooth glide of the demonstrators is amazing – no scratching on the nasty
rough paper in records and fine enough line. Awesome!”
"Received everything in good order
today. I am amazed by the Dollar piston, considering its price point. Filled it
with the Ebony Purple (my "wild" colour -- I rarely veer off my blues) and, upon
writing, was amazed again. I should think that shortly I will want all
variations of that little marvel. As always, thanks for the excellent service
and you may assure yourself of my continued patronage."
"I received the pens. All I can say
is "Awesome!" My test is whether or not they bleed through the new inferior
moleskin pages...I am a die heart with those books and even though the paper
quality is not the same as the original books I love writing in them. Which is
how I ended up becoming your customer...someone wrote that the Hero pen combined
with the reserve ink did not bleed through...they were "write". Anywhooo...I
filled both pens one with the Midnight Blues and the other with Ultra Black Fast
Dry Private Reserve...they write very well and filling is a breeze. They are
ultra light in weight due to the plastic construction but they still feel
solid. The writing style reminds me of my Lamy Safari. The nib is very sturdy.
Great buy and a great addition to the rest of my writing instrument family."
received my dollar demonstrator fountain pen last night. It writes wonderfully
and it's a lot of fun. It helped my young son understand how fountain pens work.
I think it will be my new note taker at the office. Thanks again for your quick
service and the thoughtful packaging."
"Hi Norman, I received the pens on
Saturday. Thanks so much for the quick shipping and nice note! Both pens (the
Camlin and Dollar) are real gems with my ideal nib
style: wet writing fine points. I'm not sure
"Got the pen! LOVE IT, LOVE IT, LOVE
IT!! P.S. The more I wander your site the more I like it. :)
-- just as note to let you know I received the burgundy Dollar pen and the black
ink. The pen exceeds my expectations and lays ink to paper like a much more
expensive pen. Its writing quality matches that of my more expensive pens:
Pelikan, Parker, Namiki, etc."
"Hi Norman, today I received the
Dollar pens I ordered. What a great service: within one week, carefully packed!
Nothing can beat this! I filled one of the pens with Private
Reserve Sonic Blue....it gives smooth, wet lines and writing with this
fountain pen is just pleasure all the time. Thank you for the nice note you
enclosed and this marvelous writing material. When world economies would act the
way you do, there wouldn't be a lack of confidence!"
"Hi Norman, just to let you know I
have received my order today. I am very impressed with your careful packaging,
it's superb! Of course the Dollar Pens and pen roll are in good shape too. The
Dollar pen writes
"Dear Norman; I have received my
order of these pens and to say the least, I am absolutely amazed! These pens
write better than my Pelikan; i.e., they are not 'scratchy' writers. I have an
affinity for fine or extra fine nibs and these Dollar pens fit the bill
perfectly. I have used them to fill out paperwork for my job, write checks, and
even to fill out my schedule in my daily planner and the quality simply floors
me every time I use them. I gave one to my niece hoping it might inspire her to
improve her penmanship (I don't think it's going to work since she is
perfectly content to write with a clear Bic), but I hope she will make the
attempt to improve. She always tells me that she wishes she could write as well
as I am able to, but she doesn't understand that comes with over 40 years of
practice. I will be back for more of these as I absolutely love eyedroppers and
piston fillers. Thank you for getting such a wonderful product! And the
was fantastic, too. Finally, a place I can put my pens without scratching them.
It's large enough to hold the pens I use a lot, and yet it's small enough to fit
into my briefcase. Another happy customer! And I would also like to say that I'm
amazed at how fast they arrived! Your customer service is second to none!"
"Hi Norman: Well, you have proven me
wrong about fine point fountain pens! The Dollar pen writes smoothly, and I am
enjoying it already. Thank you!"
"Hi, Norman - just to let you know
the order arrived yesterday. Am impressed by the Dollar Pens - they're
attractive (as far as demonstrators go, anyway), seem well made (no leaks yet,
at any rate) and write extremely well. The surprisingly smooth nib is fairly
wet and has consistent ink flow: no hard starting or skipping. Thanks for
introducing me to them!"
"Hey, Norman -- Just wanted to let
you know that the little Dollar pen arrived yesterday in fine shape thanks to
your super job of packing it. I filled her up with some old gold label Skrip and
have been writing away ever since. Tiniest nib I've ever seen! I prefer fine
points, though, so the line suits me fine..."
Wow. Initial impression, VERY well
made. Light, but that's practical - no need for extra weight just to make it
feel 'substantial' molding, especially the tassie, is as good as Japanese work.
Overall, its as good as the typical German piston filler from the 1950s,
actually a bit better. The only thing that isn't perfect is the finish on the
clip. A minor nit, as it is certainly adequate and totally functional. With a
little better plating, and a slightly more substantial plastic, this could be as
good as a Pelikan 400. If someone wanted to produce a vintage style piston
filler, say, using designs from the past, like the Conklin Nozac, or an Onoto K, I
would bet this company could do it. They could do a Pelikan 100, or 140 style,
single color, in a heartbeat....based on initial observation, this is very close
to at least a Pelikan 200, functionally. Again, thanks.
Usage note: A few customers have written to say that their Dollar pen has 'burped' (a technical term ) a drop of ink when the ink level becomes low in the pen. Because the ink directly fills the barrel in these pens, without the added double insulation of a converter or cartridge, when the ink level falls to 1/4 - 1/3 full, the heat from one's hand (or if the outside temperature is high) can be enough to cause the air in the reservoir to expand just enough to force ink out of the nib. The simple solution is to keep the pen filled with ink beyond that level. This is similar to, but usually less extreme than, what is sometimes experienced by those on airplanes whose fountain pens misbehave due to changes in cabin pressure.
As can be seen above, there are two groups and three colors of the pens available. The first group evidences a solid color barrel and cap, while the second group is made up of largely transparent demonstrator versions. (Note: The colors directly above are the most true of the photos on this page. Later photos were taken under different lighting conditions and the burgundy pens especially came out as more red than they actually are. They are burgundy, as shown above. All nibs and trim are silver colored, despite some that appear more golden).
The solid-color versions all have black sections, cap tops and piston knobs. Each cap top sports the dollar sign logo of Dollar pens, the clip has 'Dollar' spelled out, and the barrel is imprinted with 'Dollar 717i'.
Where are the black piston knobs in the photos above you ask? Why they're hidden under the blind caps -- a nice throwback to vintage designs.
Here we see the burgundy pen's window in the foreground, with the piston retracted, while the blue pen's piston (black rod with a clear end) is shown fully extended.
If you're unfamiliar with piston-filler pens, the knob is turned counter-clockwise to extend the piston down the barrel and expel the air. Once you've dipped the nib and a bit of the section in your chosen bottled ink, a clockwise 'turn of the screw' will draw a rather massive amount of ink (compared to a cartridge/converter pen) into the barrel itself. With the pen still in position within the ink bottle, I'd suggest that you then repeat the procedure to expel additional trapped air and to take in a bit more ink. Finally, with the nib out of the ink, turn the knob counter-clockwise a final time to let two or three drops back into the bottle and then return the piston to its fully retracted position. I've found this last step helpful in clearing the feed of trapped air, which can sometimes cause an air-lock, preventing the ink from traveling from the reservoir to the nib.
Although much of the barrel is taken up with the piston mechanism itself, I'd nonetheless estimate that the ink capacity of these pens is 3-4 times that of a typical cartridge/converter pen (no, I haven't measured the actual capacity), due to the fact that you're filling the full barrel width with ink.
The nib on the pens is steel and it is engraved with "Iridium Point" and the dollar sign logo. The nib shape is reminiscent of that used on the Parker 75. Taking after Henry Ford, you can get the nib in any point size....as long as it's a fine (actually, I'd describe it as slightly broader than a typical western fine)! There are no variations, but I've been very impressed with the smoothness of the nibs right out of the box. Few have needed any tweaking.
Now, to the demonstrators! This past year or so has been the 'Year of the Demonstrator' amongst pen manufacturers, with almost every brand sporting an entry. Monteverde was one of the earliest, with the Artista line, and as I said upon its introduction:
"All hail the return of the demonstrator! Almost from the first days of the fountain pen, one of the most sought-after additions to a collection was the pen salesman's demonstrator pen. These were typically pens that were partially, or fully transparent...used by a fountain pen salesman to demonstrate the inner workings of the particular pen model that was being sold. Later, pen companies began producing demonstrators -- usually in very small quantities or as limited editions -- especially for the collecting market. Consequently, these were often sold at a premium."
Well, here we have another series of demonstrators that are definitely not being sold at a premium price! Unlike the solid-color 717i pen, the demonstrators have matching color sections, feeds, cap tops and piston rods.
As with all new pens, I recommend to run a dilute solution of dishwashing soap (two or three drops to a small bowl of water) through a new pen a few times, followed by water only. Step one is effective at removing manufacturing oils that can tend to make the ink less than enthusiastic in heading from the converter/filler to the nib, and step two removes the traces of the detergent you've used...which tends to have the opposite, diuretic effect.
IMPORTANT SERVICE NOTE: Every nib that ships from His Nibs is closely examined under high magnification and tuned or adjusted if needed. About 85% of modern nibs need some adjustment out-of-the-box from the manufacturer for an optimal writing experience. Most commonly, the tines of the nib are misaligned -- which would cause scratchiness at the minimum; the slit between the tines is partially or fully closed -- which would starve the nib of ink and at best cause skipping; or the slit between the tines is too wide -- which will either again cause skipping, or conversely, flooding. There are other factors -- such as separation of the nib from the feed -- that are inspected and repaired before any pen leaves the Palace.
The only 100% guarantee of course comes when the pen is actually filled with ink and written with for the first time, but our pre-shipping inspections and tunings have eliminated 99.99999 (my finger is getting tired) of the frustrations that a customer experiences when first using a new fountain pen. Although this can be time-consuming on occasion, it affords our customers a much more pleasant experience when receiving a fountain pen from His Nibs -- and saves us the frustration of dealing with returns!
Ordering Procedures & Returns
International customers, please note, we will not falsify shipping documents
Please send your order and shipping address (along with any questions) to:
We will email you back with your order total (PA residents please add 6% sales tax)
Credit cards, for the quickest fulfillment of your order, are accepted through PayPal, a secure site allowing you to use your credit card without us even seeing the information. If you'd like to make use of this credit card service, please let us know when you email your order and address, and we'll email you the appropriate Request for Payment, and instructions for the simple payment procedure (you don't need to join PayPal to use it).
If you would like us process your credit card directly instead, then please email us:
1. Card # (dividing this number in two, between two emails, will
If you'd rather pay by money order or check, kindly make payable to:
ship via insured Priority Mail
Warranties and returns
If an item proves to be defective, in most cases the manufacturer's warranty will apply. However, please email us first so that we can determine the easiest way to resolve the problem to your satisfaction. In the case of fountain pens -- which are a bit more individualistic than other writing instruments -- what may at first appear to be a defect (hard starting or poor flow for example), can in almost all cases be resolved with a few simple 'tweaks' to the nib, which we'll be happy to guide you through or perhaps suggest returning to us for adjustment.
Should you wish to return a non-defective item within 3 days of receipt because it doesn't suit you for some reason, again please email us and we'll arrange an exchange, credit or refund (minus any shipping/insurance charges), if the item is returned in an 'as new' condition. If you've dipped a fountain pen to try its writing characteristics, kindly clean off any ink residue prior to shipping -- to save us both a nasty surprise .
We want you to be happy with your purchase from HisNibs.com and hope to have you join the ranks of our many long-term, repeat customers!
Revised: May 27th, 2017