The Berol Handwriting Cartridge Pen (New Look)

East… West… Everywhere had two blog posts about beginner fountain pens in December. Some of the fountain pens in these blog posts are really affordable and I didn’t expect to find a cheaper fountain pen …but when I recently ordered something from CultPens I was surprised to find an even cheaper fountain pen1: The Berol Handwriting Cartridge Pen (New Look version).

...even got a free OHTO Smile Paperclip with the order

 

Berol, a British company that is now a subsidiary of Newell Rubbermaid, has its origins in pencil making. In 1856 Daniel Berolzheimer went from Franconia, where Staedtler and Faber-Castell are from, to the USA and founded the Eagle Pencil Company. I don’t want to bore you with details, but in the end Newell Rubbermaid took over. Many readers of pencil blogs will also know that the Berolzheimer family is still part of today’s pencil industry as they own CalCedar. Some will also remember how they managed to upset parts of the pencil community last year, but there is no direct link to Berol or Newell Rubbermaid.

That's the 'wrong' Berolzheim. There are two of them...

What you pay and what you get

I paid £2.45 (~ $4; €3). There is only one nib width available. The pen is made in China. I don’t really find it very good looking, but better looking fountain pens, like the Pelikan Pelikano junior (< £10) or the Kaweco Sport (< £20) are several times more expensive than the Berol Handwriting Cartridge Pen. The Berol comes with a rubber ring and a rubberised grip area to make holding the pen more comfortable. It is very light, some might find it too light, but fairly comfortable to hold.

The grip area (bottom)

Writing

The nib is not very wet, not very dry either. It’s certainly drier than most Pelikan nibs, but they tend to be on the wet side anyway. Ink will dry fast and you won’t see a lot of shading. With it writing fairly dry ink cartridges should last a long time, but light inks might appear too light on the paper. I didn’t have a problem with nib not ‘starting’, even after the pen hasn’t been used for several weeks. Unfortunately I only had the pen on my desk, so I am not sure whether ink will spill if the pen is knocked around in a pencil case.

The nib is very rigid, which is normal for cheap pens. If you try to vary the line width this is not the pen for you.

The nib

Conclusion

This pen offers excellent value for money. For me it’s not really a beauty, but that’s subjective – you might like the looks. If you want a cheap fountain pen that does the job this pen might just be right for you.

 


Price: December 2012

Exchange rates: January 2013

The paper in the pictures is from the RAH STMT X Iceland kit.

  1. at least in the UK – prices in other countries might vary []
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6 Responses to “The Berol Handwriting Cartridge Pen (New Look)”

  1. Shangching says:

    The pen has an interesting name; it reminds me of Pilot’s Penmanship fountain pen. I actually am drawn to “cheaper” fountain pens at time for some reason, probably because if they are damaged, I will not be overly sadden. Plus, some of the economical fountain pens are more amazing and will get used more often than the really fancy ones.
    Thanks for mentioning my posts!

  2. Plumbum says:

    I don’t actively dislike the looks of this Berol, it is rather colorful, but I do dislike dry writing nibs. If I see one for sale I’ll probably try it out, anyway. My all time favorite disposable fountain pen is the Pilot Varsity. Of the ones I’ve tried, some are very wet writers with surprisingly smooth nibs. The only thing about the Varsities is the washed out color of the lines they produce. One of these days I’ll modify one to accept properly saturated ink.

  3. Kevin says:

    Do I see Paper Mate “hearts” on the nib – another Sanford, Newell-Rubbermaid business.

  4. Kim says:

    Interesting to note that you also found this new look Berol light, it was one of the things I found when reviewing it. Judging by the comments we received this pen is not just popular with the young users its often suggested for.

  5. Matthias says:

    Thank you for your comments.

    Shangching, keeping the price in mind this pen is one of those amazing pens you mention, but I am not sure mine will see a lot of use, just because if have better fountain pens I’d prefer to use.

    Plumbum, I prefer wet nibs, too, but somehow, whenever I fill in a form or sign a paper with a wet nib at work and hand it so someone they will magically manage to grab the paper exactly where I just wrote (not dried yet) and will make a mess….

    Kevin, yes, you are right. The pen’s body has “Berol® by Paper♥♥Mate” printed on it.

    Kim, I didn’t see your Berol review or I would have probably linked to it. A question for you, as I only have one of these pens. Mine has a kind of fibre squeezed between the nib and the black plastic. I assume it is there to help ink flow, but I don’t remember seeing this in other fountain pens. Does your Berol have this fibre/string, too?

  6. Kevin says:

    Thanks memm – interesting how Berol is now a brand/model of Paper Mate which is a division/subsidiary of Sanford which is a subsidiary of Newell-Rubbermaid. These big conglomerates sure like to confuse us.

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