2015 March Note: This beautiful fountain pen suffered a horrible break in the section during Fall of 2014. It happened as I was about to fill the pen with ink, and while inserting the converter into the section. The cracking sound was loud, sad, and pen-breaking. This pen was a birthday gift, and in my collection for five years.
Online user information about the Levenger True Writer reveals a range of conflicting experience: the pen is too wet, too dry, too scratchy, too smooth, too unreliable, or too perfect.
I exaggerate only slightly. You can read through the links listed below and find out for yourself.
As it happens my partner bought me a True Writer Golden Tortoise as an early Christmas present. That she gave it to me makes this pen a keeper, of course. It’s also been an unexpected pleasure to discover a new daily writer in a contemporary fountain pen.
Having spent a little time exploring vintage celluloid fountain pens, I am always surprised by how stunning modern acrylic pens can be. There are three in my collection that are quite handsome IMHO: the Bexley Submariner, the Edison Huron, and the new Levenger True Writer. It’s difficult to convey acrylic beauty via photographs. The best way to meet a pen is in the hand. The richness and depth of a pen’s material far transcends any photograph.
The Golden Tortoise is black, brown, caramel, pearl and gorgeous. The furniture on the pen is not overstated but simple. The cap band simply proclaims “Levenger” in the center under the clip. The pen is framed by two black jewels; one on the cap, the other at the end of the barrel. One of the nicest design choices of the pen was to create the section out of the same material as the barrel and the cap. Nothing is more annoying then to have a beautiful pen marred by a solid black section. The TW Golden Tortoise’s nib is two-tone and the Levenger name is imprinted on it.
The filling system is cartridge converter. The pen came with a converter and a single ink cartridge in the box. My preference is always for piston filling pens, but outside of Pelikan there are few piston filling pens at the price point of the True Writer. A c/c pen just means it runs through the ink faster than I like.
The true character of any fountain pen is found in its nib. Sporting a fine nib the Golden Tortoise glides across the paper. The pen came with both a cartridge converter and an ink cartridge. Installing the ink cartridge the pen wrote very wet, much more like a medium nib than a fine. The pen also wrote in fits and starts. I decided to remove the ink cartridge and flush the nib with water mixed with a miniscule amount of dishwashing detergent. I also flushed the converter several times. When the nib and the converter were dry, I loaded the converter up with Diamine Grey and re-tested the nib. It no longer skips and it writes as it should which is a great relief. Even more annoying than a solid section on a patterned pen is a fountain pen that won’t write easily and effortlessly. The nib is not flexible yet it is not rigid. The nib has a bit of spring to it and reminds me of the vintage Sheaffer Feathertouch nib in my collection. The nib writes like an American fine which for many feels like a medium width. I have no real complaints with the fineness of the nib.
The Levenger story on the True Writers indicates the pen’s creation was inspired by the American Esterbrook. Indeed the pen is in the spirit of an Esterbrook J with double jewels, a variety of colors, a steel nib that unscrews from the section, and fairly affordable as fountain pens go. The Golden Tortoise reminded me of another Esterbrook comparable pen, the Sheaffer WASP. The “V” shape on the True Writer clip brought the WASP’s clip to mind.
What I know about fountain pens and collecting would fit through an eye of a needle. If I hadn’t received this pen as a gift I might not have bought a True Writer based on a few conflicting stories about quality control. The experience reminds me that there are good and bad experiences to be had with every brand of pen, and that writing with any pen is a purely personal experience pleasure. This particular True Writer stands as worthy as any other pen in my small collection.
About True Writer Fountain Pens
- FPN “Who Knows Something About True Writers?”
- FPN Levenger True Writer Reviews (Scroll down)
- My FPN Review
- Brassing Adds Character’s “Best in Class ($80)”
- Inkophile’s Thirsty Nib
- Miscellaneous Reviews
- Office Supply Geek’s True Writer Illuminator
- Saint Austin’s Pub Posts on the True Writer
- Tools of the Bard’s True Blue Fountain Pen (gone missing)
- Okami-Whatever’s Featured Pen – Levenger True Writer
Levenger sales are often the best way to purchase from the company. There is also a Levenger Outlet on eBay. As of this writing a True Writer Classic fountain pen can be purchased for as low as $44. The Golden Tortoise list price is $88.