My “collection” – “accumulation” might be a better term – lives in a pretty lacquered box. They’re all pens that have impressed me in one way or another. They all write well, though in different ways. For me, there’s little sense in having a pen that I can’t write with. There are all sorts of pens in there, many that I’ve written about before, others that I’ll probably write about some day.
As pens I have been using dry up, I look in the box for the next pen, maybe one I haven’t used for a while. This pen is just such an example. It’s a Wing Sung 235, and I bought it from a Chinese seller who is no longer around. It was in 2004 or 2005 but you can still buy these pens. I’m not sure what you would pay today. I think this one cost about £1.50. I often say that there has been a huge improvement in Chinese pens in recent years and that’s true, but there were some good Chinese pens around years ago. This is a great little pen. It’s nice and shiny and looks like gold but I assure you it isn’t!
The incised pattern is nice to the touch. The pen is metal but it’s very light, something that the manufacturers of those pens made from plumbing materials might take note of. I write a lot in the course of a day and I really appreciate a light pen. If I had a complaint at all about this pen, it might be that the black plastic section is a little slippery. It’s not a big deal though.
The pen is a squeeze-filler with a breather tube, similar to the Parker Aerometric. It takes an adequate fill of ink. I think it’s worth mentioning that the clip is sprung, a piece of high-quality engineering in a very low-cost pen. That means it will grip your shirt pocket very firmly.
Perhaps the most eye-catching and interesting part of this pen is the nib and feed. The nib is conical and made from a yellow metal that isn’t gold and is too light for brass, so is probably some alloy. It bears some Chinese characters that are probably Wing Sung and “made in China”. The feed is multi-finned.
The most obvious resemblance of this nib is to Sheaffer’s Triumph nib. It is said that Wing Sung inherited a Sheaffer factory or Sheaffer capital equipment. I don’t know what the truth of that is. It seems to me that if one had jigs that had been made to machine Sheaffer Triumph nibs, one would be able to make a nib that resembled the original rather more closely than this one does. Whether or not the machinery that was used to make this pen once belonged to Sheaffer, a tubular nib is not an especially hard thing to design or manufacture, no more so than a traditional open nib or the slender tubular nib in a Parker 51. Let’s say it shows inspiration from the Sheaffer Triumph. Of course there are those who will gripe about the Chinese copying things, but every nation has copied at one time or another.
Leaving all that aside, how well does this pen write? The short answer is very well indeed, or it wouldn’t have been a regular user of mine for all these years. Longer answer is it’s a fine, just short of medium with splendid ink delivery laid on by that complex feed. The nib is smooth enough to write well with no pressure at all, but there is feedback. A moment or two with Micromesh would be enough to remove it and make the nib totally smooth but I like that slight resistance on the paper.
It’s a slender pen, so not for everyone. Posted, it’s an adequate length and it posts well and deeply, making it completely secure. Aesthetically, it’s perhaps a mixture of mercies, taking inspiration from several Western pens. It works for me, though, and I enjoy its appearance as well as its performance.
I believe it’s a remarkable pen for its price. I can’t really point to anything that indicates a reduction in quality to save money. The squeeze-filler looks a little flimsy but that’s deceptive. This pen has had a lot of use for 12 years or so, and it has stood up well. Those who believe that weight equals quality and like pens made out of brass tubing will not like such a light pen, perhaps the lightest I’ve ever had, but that’s because it’s made from some aluminium alloy, light but strong. If I’m still around in another ten years’ time, I’m quite confident I’ll still be using this pen.