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Parallel

Maker: Pilot.

Strictly speaking, the Parallel isn’t a fountain pen.  Pilot certainly doesn’t think so, as they list it with “Painting/Drafting Material” on their home site.  However, by the definition I have written elsewhere on this site, it technically qualifies– “a pen using liquid ink brought from an on-board reservoir and delivered to the writing surface using capillary action in a solid metal point.”

Where the Parallel plays in the space between technically and strictly is the shape of the point, if we may apply the word to such a non-jabby object.  The capillary action transferring ink in its case occurs between the two plates.  In fact, if we get very picky, we can knock it right out of the category, because the point is two objects, mounted in parallel (at which point, Pilot nudges you in the ribs with it’s corporate elbow, winking).

Dip pen enthusiasts have had access of a think of similar construction for ages, called a steel brush, and I will admit that I wish this thing had been around thirty years ago when I was more diligently pursuing calligraphy, because it is quite good.  The mechanics of it ensure good ink distribution across the whole width of the tip, and it will also supply ink to the corners indefinitely, so fine decoration and curlicue can be pursued at length without swapping pens.

From a high art point of view, it has the drawback of being a fountain pen under the hood; you must not use the sort of clogging artistic inks a dip pen thrives with, which are generally more permanent than those a fountain pen can use and survive. It is possible to pull the feed out of the section, too, without too much trouble, but it does not appear that the plates and feed can be separated; if this thing gets seriously clogged, you may be looking at buying another.  The pen is sold with a plastic shim for clearing out the gap between its plates, but the expected problem there is clumps of paper fibres.

Also included in with the pen is a flushing bulb designed specifically for the cartridge nipple of Pilot pens.  This is almost enough in itself to see me recommend buying one.

I usually finish up with a few words about writing performance, but in this case it’s more of a caveat.  This is not meant as a writing instrument, after all, but as a tool for art.  With the exception of the smallest 1.5mm point, it produces lines of a size ridiculous to attempt writing with.  The sharpness of the end imposes a speed limit and a higher duty of care on the user, too.  It’s excellent for producing a document in Merovingian script, but it’s a bit of a dog for modern cursive.  I recommend it as a specialized tool, if not as a pen.

Production Run: Started c. 2007 (the oldest reference I can find to it), in current production.

Cost When New: ¥1200.

Size: 17.0 cm long capped, 16.2 cm uncapped.

Point: Steel.

Body: Plastic.

FillerCartridge, capacity approx. 0.8ml.  Two different converters will fit, the CON-20 press-bar type (0.7ml) and the CON-50 piston type (0.5 ml).

Pilot Parallel 1.5mm.  The size is colour-coded, so you don't have to engage the reading side of your brain while you produce art.

Pilot Parallel 2.4 mm. The size is colour-coded, so you don’t have to engage the reading side of your brain while you produce art.

The cap is another sign that this pen isn’t meant for taking it out and about; no clip, but a fin to prevent rolling off the art table.  It does not post, either.

 

 

If you are relying on the preceding information to win a bet or impress a teacher, you should read the site’s scholarly caveat. Remember, this is the internet, and it’s full of bad information.

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