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Dollar pens


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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, but their pens are just becoming known here in the U. S. I originally became aware of the neat piston fillers on this page a number of months ago, and have spent that time arranging to import them in quantity. Due to the continually  rising costs of importation I may have to raise the price of these in a future order, but for now I wanted to introduce them at a super-affordable price.

"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.
The Camlin retractable nib mechanism is very good and smooth with no play. The Dollar 717i piston has a solid feel on the turn and is well built. They are truly good value for money. You will definitely have me as a repeat customer. Thank you very much."

A. B., Melbourne, Australia

"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."
G. A., Victoria, Canada

"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, Camlin] write beautifully, and the ink colors you picked for me are perfect."
V. C., Richmond, TX

"Hi 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."
H. N., Denmark

"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 excellent service."
J. M., Nicholson, GA

"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."
P. B., Finland

"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."
C. H. L., United Kingdom

"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."
W. H.,
Peninsula, OH

"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."
R. F., Long Key, FL

"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.
J. K., The Netherlands

“The smooth glide of the demonstrators is amazing – no scratching on the nasty rough paper in records and fine enough line.  Awesome!”
D. W-F, Lisbon Falls, ME

"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."
R. C., Huntington, WV

"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."
T. R., Heathrow, FL

"I 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."
J. G., Bountiful, UT


"Norman, my Dollar pen and ink arrived today, and after a few hours of writing I am very impressed.  What a deal!  Thank you very much for the excellent service and packaging, and your kind note.  I will surely return to you in the future for my pen and ink needs, and I shall refer anyone I can to HisNibs.com."

T. R., Raleigh, NC

"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
how much that's a credit to the manufacturers or your tweaking of the nibs before shipping...I really appreciate that service. You can definitely count on me ordering again!"

J. S., Sherman Oaks, CA

"Got the pen! LOVE IT, LOVE IT, LOVE IT!! P.S. The more I wander your site the more I like it. :) "
M. R., Kokomo, IN

"Norm -- 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."
J. K., Evergreen Park, IL

"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!"
P. B., the Netherlands

"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 
very smoothly for the price, almost as smooth as my properly tuned Pelikan. I really like the nib which is also suitable for me to write Chinese characters. They are really good value, I will be using them as my everyday writers. And the pen roll was elegant to look at, beautiful. Thank you for introducing the Dollar Pens, I wish the Internet would make them more famous among fountain pen lovers."

 L. Y. L., Singapore

"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 pen roll 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!"
V. D., Princeton, N.C.

"I bought one of the dollar pens from Norman at the NY Pen show (it was my first clear demonstrator). At the same time I bought a 78G BB and also a bottle of the new PR Ebony Blue ink. I have to say that I have been using the clear dollar pen piston filler with the PR ink all week and it has now become one of my favorite pens!!! It is now a permanent part of my Day Planner and I will be using it every day from this point on. Great piston fill - holds a TON of ink! Beautiful smooth nib - writes great. And all at a price that you can afford! No affiliation, blah, blah. I just had to tell everyone how much I love my dollar pen!!!!!!! It writes as well as pens costing hundreds more (a sad statement for those expensive manufacturers indeed!)."
J. K., Bloomfield, CT

"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!"
Chip H., Twinsburg, OH

"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!"
S. R., Philadelphia, PA

"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..."
J. B., Collierville, TN

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.
S. L., Arlington, VA

 

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.

Dollar 717i Blue piston fill FP    $15.00    Sold out

Dollar 717i Smokey Gray piston fill FP    $15.00    Sold out  

Dollar 717i Burgundy piston fill FP    $15.00    Sold out

Dollar 717i Smokey Gray Demonstrator piston fill FP    $15.00    Sold out

Dollar 717i Burgundy Demonstrator piston fill FP    $15.00    Sold out

Dollar 717i Blue Demonstrator piston fill FP    $15.00    Sold out

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 pens measure 5" capped, 5-3/4" posted and 4-1/2" with the cap held aside. In the ever-evolving, and subjective measure of these things, they'd be considered medium-sized pens.

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.

 

Even before the blind cap is revealed however, unscrewing the cap of the solid-color pen displays the large ink view window built into the barrel (hidden when the cap is back on the pen).

                      

 

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.

                                    
                                                    Video showing filling of the Dollar 717i

 

                 
             (Again, these photos are slightly false-color. The burgundy pen is not red, nor the nib or trim gold)

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! 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.

Here we have the burgundy demonstrator, filled with Private Reserve Ebony Blue ink.

 

                    

 

 

           

 

 

Although the pen does not come boxed, should you wish to give one as a present, it fits perfectly into our...

Red Triangular gift pen box    $3.50

   

 

Made of a series of triangular supports, this innovative hard-plastic pen box slides open in the center.

 

                                    

 

 

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:

orders@hisnibs.com
(on PayPal transactions, the email address may also display as stonebri@verizon.net)

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 ensure security)
2. Expiration date
3. Name on card
4. Address for billing statement
5. Card verification # (3-digit number printed on the back of your card. It appears after and to the right of your card number, or 4-digit number on the front of your AMEX card).
 

If you'd rather pay by money order or check, kindly make payable to:

His Nibs.com
  2540 W. Union Street
  Allentown, PA 18104

We ship via insured Priority Mail
(email for cost)

 

 

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: April 18th, 2014

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