Issue#19 Heading into the last 50 days of 2023

Top 5 Chinese pens, Krishna Pens, Ratnam Pens, and prompts for the last 50 days of 2023

Issue 19 | 12 November 2023

Coming back from a hiatus is not always very easy, but here’s a fantastic issue for all you folks!

We have a packed issue this time with:

  • Pelikan Hub 2023

  • Top 5 Chinese must-have pens

  • A peek into the mind of Dr Sreekumar of Krishna Pens

  • A look at who runs the Ratnam pen brands

  • And of course, doodles from Nandini and Tarun.

To round off things, we have ten prompts for you to make social media posts or journal entries in the rest of 2023.

Pelikan Hub 2023

Like thousands of people around the world, we too had our Pelikan Hub on 22nd September. We had a lot of fun meeting fellow enthusiasts and swapping fountain pen stories, trying out each others’ fountain pens and generally geeking out about our shared hobby.

The Edelstein Rose Quartz ink we got at the Hub is a beautiful one, and has remained inked since then.

Top 5 Chinese Pens - ThePenPerson

Five contemporary Chinese pens that everyone should own (my personal choice in order of preference - 1 being highest preference):

1. Wing Sung 630 (if you prefer the 149 size) or the Majohn P136 (if you prefer MB 146 size)

2. Asvine P36

3. Asvine V169

4. Jinhao Dadao 9019 

5. Majohn A1/A2/A3 retractable pen (depending on preference)

The Pen Person is Sudhir Kalyanikar. He started collecting pens in the early 1990s and has been an avid and passionate fountain pen enthusiast ever since. Read full bio.

Follow Sudhir on Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and Facebook.

Dr Sreekumar Speaks

Dr Sreekumar is well-known in the Indian fountain pen world with his line of inks, fountain pens and nibs and grinds, all under the Krishna Pens brand.

In a private group, the good doctor had shared some thoughts on his association with Mr. A.C. Ramachandran, master craftsman of Kim & Co, Calicut, and their approach to making fountain pens. With his kind permission, here is an excerpt from that conversation for your reading pleasure. I have edited it a bit, and any errors in it are of course my own.

I am a student of Mr. A.C. Ramachandran in the art of pen making.

For me Kim pens are important because, they are made by my master. I consider him the best pen maker in the world.

I joined in 2010 as his student. We would meet every Sunday. The mainstream models then were Kim Small, Kim Swan ( named by me 😊), and a couple of Jumbo models . All designs were based on some older branded pens. So all had antique looks. I suggested a few design changes. Except for one, all were incorporated.

For Mr. Ramachandran, it's about utility more than looks.

Here are a few essential features of Kim pens:

1. Multi finned ebonite feeds which prevented burping. This was available only with higher end pens of that time

2. They were solidly built and made to last. No part is less than 2 mm in thickness.

3. Triple start threads for quick opening of cap. Making these is a special art and not everybody could do it.

4. The cap has an inner sleeve built in to it. When screwing it closed, the section touches the cap and stops it from further tightening. This prevents undue pressure on the cap wall and prevents breakage of the cap with long-term use.

5. The inner sleeve also acts as inner cap to prevent drying up of nibs.

The Story of the Ratnams

Well-known in the Indian fountain pen landscape, the Ratnam brand is one of the oldest surviving in the country. Here is a brief account of the various forms the brand took and its custodians over time, as recounted to Shreyas by the Ratnam family:

Dr K V Ratnam started the fountain pen making from his house in 1932. The workshop in his house was managed by his brother K V Satyanarayana. Unfortunately, Satyanarayana passed away at an early age, and one of his sons, K V Brahmam (no relation to the Brahmam pens of Bhimavaram) got actively involved in the trade.

In the later stage of K V Ratnam's life, he decided to split the property and the business.

Accordingly, the 'Ratnam' brand name was passed on to his late brother's son, K V Brahmam, who has since passed on. This business is currently managed by his son, K Siva and his family.

Dr K V Ratnam's son, Dr K V Ramanamurthy, got the Ratnam Ball Pen Works and Ratnamson brand names. Dr K V Ramanamurthy has since passed on, leaving the business in the hands of his sons, Gopal Ratnam and Chandrasekhar.

FP Doodles

Nandini Ramchandran | Instagram

FP Doodles

Tarun Durga | Instagram

"Humans, Six-Thirty noticed, had a tendency to overcomplicate." - Bonnie Garmus, Lessons in Chemistry. Sketched with pen and ink and hard pastels.

Everyday FPness

As we step into the last 50 days of the year, we will soon be inundated with top lists of the year of all sorts. Not to be left behind, we too should jump on this bandwagon!

Here are ten prompts to use to make ten posts on your favourite FP social media. The idea is to use the prompts as they suit you and modify them to mean anything you like. Share them with the hashtag #FPW2023 - I will do my ten posts between now and 31st of December on my instagram as well.

Here are the prompts:

  1. Favorite inks in 2023

  2. Most used inks in 2023

  3. Favorite fountain pens used in 2023

  4. Favorite fountain pens bought in 2023

  5. Most unexpected fountain-pen-related acquisition in 2023

  6. What I used my fountain pens for in 2023

  7. My fountain pen friends in 2023

  8. Most-used notebook / journal / writing surface in 2023

  9. Looking back at 2023

  10. Looking forward at 2024

Bonus points if you manage to incorporate as many of your fountain pens and inks and papers and everything else related to the hobby in your posts!


While I have been cutting down on the pens I own, I have been also drooling over a few pens that I’ve come across. The absolute top one that has caught my attention is the Limited Edition Visconti Opera Master Firestorm. This one is as out of reach as it is gorgeous!

Get featured in Fountain Pen Weekly

Share your take on fountain pens and related things in one (or more!) of our upcoming issues.

Any and all content you share will belong to you and will be credited to your name (or a pen name of your choice) and linked to any of your online profiles. Ideal content would be a write-up between 200 and 400 words with 1 to 5 images.

Here are a few things that can go in the Fountain Pen Weekly:

  • Pen / ink / paper ownership experience

  • Favorites in FP, ink, paper etc.

  • Your social handles with your FP content - Insta, FB, Twitter, Reddit

  • Any FP-related content you want to call out - articles, podcasts, videos.

If you have any other ideas as well, do share, and I will be happy to think about it.

That’s all from me this week.

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