Issue#27 An Homage to Sherlock Holmes

Chelpark Inks, Sherlock Holmes, Chinese Pen-buying guide

Issue 27 | 24 March 2024

I’m writing Issue#27 as the heat is setting in where I live. The summer is slowly beginning to assert itself, and that means nibs drying out ever so slightly sooner than before!

It also means improperly sealed old bottles of ink losing moisture and doing things we never expected them to do - check out some of the swatches from old inks in this edition.

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Chelpark Inks

Chelpark inks are from my childhood, and are no longer manufactured. So when I got the opportunity to pick up a few old bottles, I jumped at the opportunity. Here are swatches of the Crimson Violet and Sapphire Blue. Both are quite interesting colours, and their complexity is a surprise given how well-behaved they are.

The bottles I got were from 2010 and 2009 respectively, and it’s nice to see that the inks have held up quite well.

Sherlock Holmes Inspo

It’s always fun when two of your hobbies intersect. From my childhood I have been obsessed with the Sherlock Holmes books, especially the Canon. One of the most fascinating pieces of information about the great detective was how he “keeps his cigars in the coal-scuttle, his tobacco in the toe end of a Persian slipper, and his unanswered correspondence transfixed by a jack-knife into the very centre of his wooden mantelpiece.” much to Dr. Watson’s consternation.

Now, I do not have cigars, nor do I have a wooden mantelpiece. However, when I came across a beautiful little handmade slipper in the local bazaar, I just had to pick it up. Again, since I do not have tobacco of any sort to store in its toe end, I was happy to use it as a desktop pen holder. Here it is for your viewing pleasure - currently housing a Leonardo Momento Magico and a couple of Kaweco Sports.

Homage to Sherlock Holmes’s tobacco holder!

How to buy a Chinese pen

Chinese fountain pens have been getting better and better. The value they provide for the price puts them in a position where are a serious part of the hobby, and are sought after by many hobbyists. While they are easy to buy off Ebay or Etsy, getting things shipped to India from China is a bit trickier.

Het, who has written about Chinese retractable pens in a previous issue, has written a really nice guide to buying Chinese pens from India here. Do check it out, and if you find it useful, do buy him a coffee!

Everyday FPness

We at the Hyderabad Fountain Pen Club have been testing some paper to make reasonably-priced fountain-pen friendly notebooks. The notebooks have arrived from the binder. These are 200-page hand-bound notebooks with a hard cover, with 70 GSM paper that has been quite fountain-pen friendly in preliminary tests. The binding is good and it lays flat neatly. We have been sharing them with fellow fountain pen enthusiasts to get their feedback.

I still have four to give away - if you want it, please let me know by replying to this email. I am happy to ship it to you wherever in India you are. All I ask in return is for your feedback as you use it.


I’ve been looking for a dip pen for a very specific purpose - to write the labels of inks when I make swatches. I’ve not been very comfortable with any of the glass dip pens I have tried, and the ones without a feed don’t hold enough ink to write whatever I want to write. I found myself dipping and writing with a few fountain pens (Airmail JBDs) where I could easily pull out the nib and feed to clean them. Then I came across Ranga Dip Pens made out of ebonite.

The big and beautiful Ranga Dip Pen

I asked Kandan about them when we met at the Chennai Pen Show, and he said these are made only on order. So when I told him I wanted one, he made one for me as soon as he headed back from the show. I got the thick one, and I am delighted with it. It’s nice and chunky, and the nib and feed hold more than enough ink for me to be happy!

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

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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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