Does Platignum Deserve Its Bad Reputation?

The earliest Platignums I am aware of are hard rubber lever fillers, often in less usual colours like blue or olive mottled. They had perfectly usable steel nibs. Later they produced pen and pencil sets in bright celluloid colours. Again, these are perfectly adequate pens and they have become collectors items, especially in America.

Wartime and post-war pens like the Silverline and Quick Change with its variety of nibs were cheap, serviceable pens. Many have survived in good condition. Up to this point, I think Platignum stuck to their original stated intent: to provide good cheap pens. There are even were admirable bulb fillers in the Platignum stable.

It was later, during the fifties, sixties and seventies that Platignum turned out the really bad lever and cartridge fillers that are remembered today for their habit of leaking, breaking and blotting. Those pens were not only cheap, they were shoddy.

Even at that time, though, they were capable of producing good pens. I’m writing this with the Platignum Gold Nib Pressac, a squeeze filler with a durable sac. The gold nib is very pleasant, a firm medium with a modicum of feedback. This pen came in single or double jewel form, the latter known as the Deluxe. Mine is the former.

Had Platignum’s worst efforts occurred beyond living memory it might be better regarded but there are too many people around who experienced the cheap plastic horrors of the mid-century for their better pens to stand out.

To sum up, I think the company’s bad reputation is deserved, but that’s not all there is to the story.

5 thoughts on “Does Platignum Deserve Its Bad Reputation?

  1. Deb, I agree 🙋🏻‍♂️. My first two fountain pens were a Silverline and one of those horrid little hooded nib cartridge jobs, and I used them for years , without any issues .
    As a school child I was nowhere near as careful as one ought to be, yet not only did they survive, ………..I still have both of them, and they still work just fine.

    I also have a few earlier ones, in red ripple and ….camo ? And they are lovely….
    but, as you say, they do have a slightly…agricultural vibe about them 🤣.

    1. As several other manufacturers did, Platignum re-used names. The first Silverline, a late thirties pen, was a typical British pen looking like a Mentmore Autoflow or a Summit S125, but with a steel nib. The post-war one was more streamlined. I think you were lucky that you had no issues with the cartridge pens. My husband says he had ink-stained fingers for years because of Platignums.

  2. I generally think there are two types of Platignums, Mentmores with Steel nibs and Platignum Platignums.
    Some feel as well made as other vintage pens but others like they are made out of same plastic used to make disposable cutlery.

    I’ve got a Platignum Pressmatic gold nib from a Varsity nib and and hoping to put it on a Lever fill Varsity. Even though I had three suitable donor pens for the nib housing all of them had cracks. Just speaks about lack of longevity of the materials used.

    There are nicer ones out there and I try to pick them up when I can as I like the idea of having pens across all of the vintage pen spectrum.

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