Description: One of the most affordable and well built piston filling pens that comes in a myriad of fun colors, perfect to start a collection with!
Nib: Stainless Steel ( smooth writer!)
Material: Clear Resin
Filling Mechanism: Piston Filler
Weight: 21g Empty
Measurements: 5.46in Capped, 6.59in Posted
Ink Capacity: 1.75ml
History & Origin:
TWSBI was not always known as TWSBI and in fact, they were not always making the fun, colorful pens that they've become known for. Originally named Ta Shin Precision, the brand was what is known as an OEM manufacturer. This means that they would make parts and equipment for other brands, now I know you're asking how this relates to them making pens today. In short, they were doing this for 50 years which means they are veterans in the manufacturing field and one day they decided to start selling solely under their own name, thus TWSBI was born. The name is an interesting one and is not without meaning, according to TWSBI's own website the name stands for the phrase "Hall of Three Cultures" which is San Wen Tong in Chinese. When reversed the initials becoming TWS and then BI was added which literally means writing instruments which is a really cool name. Enough of the brand's history, lets get to the looks of one of the best fountain pens I've written with (yes I mean every word of that!).
Appearance & Packaging:
The pen has some very interesting and incredibly efficient packaging that has come to grow on me as I accumulate more pens and start to see the un-necessary fluff and pomp that a lot of other brands add to maybe justify their higher price points. The TWSBI Eco comes in a translucent clear box that is rather slim, when opened the pen is in a precision cut piece of hard foam that keeps the pen from moving at all and is by far one of the most secure ways of packaging a pen. Along with the pen you get a piston wrench which allows you to take the piston mechanism out, this can also be used on a couple non-twsbi pens, and some piston grease to make sure the Piston stays in good working order. The box also has a cool fold out manual that is only one page so the packaging is incredibly consolidated while still keeping very good care of the pen when it's on its way to a new owner. The pen itself is pretty interesting looking and is mostly a clear demonstrator with the exception of the cap and piston knob which can be in a variety of vibrant clear resins, my personal favorite is the purple.
The pen does look quite contemporary when compared to something like a classic cigar shaped pen but I find it can brighten up any collection and may even be better for getting children started with their first fountain pen, a bit like the Lamy Safari in this way. The fact that every bit of this pen is clear makes it a really nice version of a demonstrator because some just have a big ink window but with the eco you can actually watch the ink travel from the supply, down the section, through the feed and out of the tip! Anyways, lets take a look at how this cool looking pen actually writes!
The nib on the Eco is one made of stainless steel which makes it rather stiff, that being said, it provides a very reliable line and to this day I haven't had any skipping or dryness issues. Pair the previous fact with the fairly large ink capacity and you have an affordable, cool looking work horse pen! Something that is a little unfortunate when it comes to the nib is that, unlike the diamond 580, the nib unit is not available separately in other sizes which means that you are pretty much locked into the nib choice you initially go with. While this added convenience would be nice to see, it is tough to think how TWSBI could manage this with the fairly slim and streamlined form factor of the Eco. Another thing to note is that the Eco nibs are friction fit, this means that instead of a screw-in unit the nib and feed are just pushed into place.
This makes removal for cleaning pretty easy because you just CAREFULLY pull both out and clean it normally but the fins on the feed are rather fragile and can bend or snap off if you aren't careful so please exercise caution when cleaning. Aside from that the pen writes very nicely for its price bracket and I find myself recommending this quite a bit when someone is looking for a new pen or maybe even their first pen! Let's take a look at some pros and cons, then I'll wrap it up and let you decide what color you want! ;)
Fun color choices
Large ink capacity
Demonstrator may help with learning how to properly clean a fountain pen
Earlier in this blog I said that the TWSBI Eco was one of the best pens I've written with and that is true, value alone makes that statement true not to mention that it is solidly built and perfect for taking notes (which is what I mainly use mine for). The Eco can be purchased from Pen Boutique at $30.99 for the demonstrator color versions with special rose-gold toned editions coming in at $49.99. This is an exceptional price, for this you can get a reliable piston filler and a bottle of ink for around $50 and in some cases less than $50 which just makes this a pen everyone should have in their collection. If anyone, including yourself either doesn't have one of these or has expressed interest in getting their first fountain pen, I can't recommend a better option than the TWSBI Eco, oh, and remember to enjoy & keep writing!