Thanks to the help from C.H., a Singapore Fountain Pen Lover and a friend of mine, I got my hands on this interesting Lanbo 008 fountain pen (temporarily). He had borrowed it from his colleague who also agreed to lend it to me to play with. Don’t be intimidated by the dragon’s head embellishment on the clip – the fountain pen itself look relatively simple and harmless. As usual, let me start by talking a bit about the pen and its design, before going into the cleaning mechanism.
It is black with gold accents and the barrel has a nice lotus flower design that is placed in the centre, but does not take up a lot of space on the barrel. The only other interesting design on the pen is really just the dragon on the clip, gold with ruby-red eyes. Not real rubies, of course.
On the cap, between two gold bands, is the brand name in Chinese. 蓝泊 (pinyin: lán pō) translates somewhat to “blue berth”; “berth” as in the place where a boat stops. The other side of the cap shows the brand name in English, “Lanbo”.
The nib is a two-tone gold and silver coloured nib. It’s most likely a stainless steel nib which is gold-plated in parts where you see gold. On the nib there is a design of a dragon head, looking a little like the dragon on the clip. There is also the brand name carved on the side, as well as “22KGP” in the middle of the nib. This nib does not have a breather hole, only the middle slit.
The filling mechanism used here is a squeeze-type converter, which is one of my least favourite types. Doesn’t matter. On the black cover of the converter, there are some Chinese words written in white which says “Instruction: Cleaning tool is located between the nib tines. Prevents clogging when using with carbon-based ink.” I assume that meant “pigmented ink”, but I’m not entirely sure. But this is where the interesting part is. In the nib of this pen, there is a little plastic piece that slides to and fro the slit of the nib when you push the lever back and forth. It’s the first time I’m seeing something like that in a pen!
I’ve made a GIF animation here to show you how the lever works. It can be pushed easily with a finger and the piece of thin plastic slides through the slit, much like using a brass sheet to floss between the tines.
More pictures below:
Yep, I’ve used a macro converter on my camera lens to get this superb zoom level. The plastic piece doesn’t look very well-made as it is jagged and rough. If you scrutinize it, you can actually see it with your own eyes without any magnifying aid. However, I doubt that this affects the flow of ink, since the primary function is to scrape out the dried ink between the tines.
When I just received the pen, I noticed some paper fibres stuck between the tines. Those did not affect the ink flow, but I pushed the slider and found that it does indeed push out the dirt. That was nice. I filled it with my usual J. Herbin Perle Noire black ink. Nope, it isn’t pigmented, but I did not dare to potentially ruin the pen (which doesn’t belong to me, remember) with pigmented ink. We don’t usually use pigmented ink in our fountain pens (because the pigment does not only clog the nib, it also clogs the insides of the pen), but one issue we might have is difficulty starting after the nib dries out. I wanted to test if this “patented technology” worked well to encourage ink flow or not…
… and the conclusion was “no”. I placed the pen uncapped on my table for a day, found out that the nib wouldn’t start, so I pushed the slider a few times, and the nib still wouldn’t start. It’s a pity!
In any case, this was quite an interesting pen to explore, and it’s fun to see how people try to get creative with improving fountain pens. The Lanbo 008 fountain pen itself writes decently, with minimal skipping and reasonable smoothness. If you ever get hold on one of these pens, you could give it a shot and try injecting pigmented ink into it, see if it clogs or not. An example of pigmented ink you could use is India Ink, often used for writing or drawing (with a dip nib), and should be relatively easy to get. Let me know how it goes if you do!