Kaweco, one of the cool pens
This sturdy little fellow is a true icon in the fountain pen history. It has been around since 1912 so this makes it a little over a century old. It is quiet amazing how this small item survived wars and new technology waves and is still around. If you are into collecting then there is no reason not to include this inexpensive pen. For very little money you have bought yourself a classic, and one of the one of the cool pens. This pen has a highly unique design and to truly understand and appreciate its design, one has to understand the origins.
The company that designed these cool pens is obviously even older. The Heidelberger Federhalterfabrik, originally a dip pen factory was founded in 1883 by two gentlemen Luce and Enßlen. The name Kaweco came up 6 years later, according to the directory of Heidelberg in Germany. Heidelberg, a university town, has some pretty great writing heritage because the first letterpress machine was built there in 1850! Now we are talking heritage.
Back to the Kaweco pen
In 1908 the first safety fountain pen was patented by Kaweco but it was in 1912 when the actual Sport model was founded. The first piston fountain pen of the Sport model came in 1935. The octagonal body, now so famous and loved, saw the light. It was the design of this model that was reintroduced in 1995. You have to understand that by 1935 the company had been through a lot. The thirties were far better for this company than the twenties not only because it invented the pen that brought them good fortune but also because it actually filed for bankruptcy in 1929 during the Great Depression. Luckily, a smaller pen factory from a nearby town, bought most of the inventory at low prices. The new Kaweco bought back old products from shops for destruction, forbade them to refurbish or repair. And so, in the thirties the company resurrected slowly and the publicity letters sent to all dealers brought back Kaweco to the top of the market. What a great time to put these iconic and one of the cool pens on the market!
Kaweco and the Olympics
In the seventies, the Kaweco Sport became one of the greatest advertising symbols for companies producing writing instruments. They had an advertising contract with Sepp Herberger, the coach of the German national football team. They also launched a new ‘Sport’ with an Olympic pendant. The name Sport does make more sense knowing this. And then finally, in 2012, Kaweco comes with the model Sport RAW, which established these Kaweco pens as trendsetting cool pens. The Classic Sport line is now -as it always was- the flagship product of the Kaweco company.
Kaweco Classic Sport line
The pen is very compact and therefor very easy to carry everywhere. It is so small it is actually more of a pocket pen, but it is certainly not the smallest of the pocket pens. I love to use it as my traveling pen because it is actually very light, at least if you have a plastic version. The 8-faceted cap is of the screw on type. The cap can be posted on the barrel. For some it is even necessary to be able to hold the pen, but not for me. The posting of the cap is very comfortable and very deep so it feels safe. The cap is quite broad (14mm).
The nibs come between EF, F, M or B. They are 23k golden plated steel or silver with an iridium tip. The nib is quite dashing ; it has a filigree pattern and it is stamped ‘Germany’ and ‘ Since 1883’. The nib is on the other hand not very flexible and is actually quite broad, but the writing is easy and mine does not skip at all.
The octagonal form makes it recognizable and so iconic. There is a golden Kaweco logo at the tip and the gold does add some class to this elemental rather primitive pen. It can come with or without a clip but this needs to be specified. Short cartridges of the international type are needed. It does not have a model with a fancy piston or converter mechanism. A pity for fountain pen lovers like me and you, but there you go. The price can only buy you so much. It can be easily be converted to an eyedropper and instructions can be found on the web. But it defies a bit the purpose of this iconic pen. Like I said the combination of heritage and price quite does it for me.
These Kaweco cool pens come in 25 different styles and the price range for all these models is wide. The base model has 13 colors. They also have an aluminum and aluminum & carbon fiber model. It is a pity they do not make the original ebonite models any longer. Those need to be bought vintage. The transparent plastic looks a little bit cheap so I prefer the colors that exude its age and feels ebonite.
Here is another one I received.
As I said these cool pens are very inexpensive, in Europe you can buy one for 14 euro and in the States around 14 dollars. But depending on the retailer 20€ give or take. So it is by far the highest quality ‘starters pen’. Since they are cheap, it is quite obvious that although the plastic is of high quality it does get scratches where capped. It comes in a box that is quite high-class ; the matte-black color and the golden swirls that make it so.
This time-honored fountain pen with its Bauhaus rooted form and origins in Heidelburg, a town where writing and ink have deep roots, simply has to be part of your fountain pen experience. Or simply, if you need something for your travels or are in need of a pen that can get lost of stolen without too much of a fuss, this is your pen.
You can find more information, reviews and the price of these cool pens, here.