Thursday, April 22, 2010

Featured Pen - Reform 1745

The Reform fountain pen company is a now defunct German pen manufacturer which produced good quality, inexpensive pens. These were my first piston filling fountain pens and I acquired them for about $6 each from a seller on the Fountain Pen Network.

With the assistance of my friend and fellow blogger, Lady Dandelion, I found the following information in a post by Fountain Pen Network member, Kaweco:

During the second half of the 20th the KAWECO, one of the world`s greatest writing equipment producers in Heidelberg, Germany, immediately went down and Philipp Mutschler and some of his co-workers decided to leave the firm in 1928 to build up their own factory. 1929 the Kaweco actually went to bancrupty and the "Badische Federhalterfabrik Knust, Grube & Woringen" bought the Kaweco trade mark.

The first calculation of the new Mutschler works sounded fantastic. They had a small building, similar to a shed, 5 turnery machines, a chasing- and a polishing machine and 10 workers. The first real cash flow was expected after 6 weeks! (Today it sounds like: somebody had invented a money printing machine). But they managed it.

1932 was the worst economic year because the world monetary crisis swapped across the pond, but Mutschler expanded and had to build a new factory hall in 1938. They cooperated with the "Reform" works from Nieder- Ramstadt, which had a daughter firm in Heidelberg. After a fusion they changed their trademark from "Certo" to "Reform" with an "R" with wings. Mutschler was one of th first who used the injection moulding process for FP production and therefore they constructed their own machines. Reform delivered complete writing systems and parts to several other well known firms like Geha, Herlitz, Rotring, AT Cross, Elysee, Dunnhill, Dupont, Cartier, Caran d Ache or Christian Dior. They bought the "DEGUSSA"- and the "RUPP" nib factory and produced excellent nibs. Alas, after all nearly nobody knew "Reform".
1963 Otto and Peter, the sons of Philipp Mutschler took over the firm. 10 years later they went to the large old building which once was a part of the Kaweco factory.

But in 1999 they had to leave and to sell the house. Reform, a trade mark with its best reputation, which had produced 10 Million fountainpens per year in the early 90s (4 times as much as Lamy) went down. The rescues of Sanford and Ullrich Mutschler failed and the firm went to bancrupty in the late 2003.

The Machines were sold to far east, but the quality of the once produced "Iridium Point Germany" nibs is today only a shadow of the old stuff from Heidelberg. And I am also not sure which of the today sold fountainpens is actually "Reform New old stock"

The 1745 is an extremely lightweight, piston filler. It has a good quality iridium nib and frankly, the pen is a good deal. You can still find them for sale on eBay and other websites, but they are not in as plentiful supply as they were when I acquired mine, so the prices have increased. But they are still a good deal.

Another feature of these pens is that like the Pelikan and others the nib unit unscrews from the nib section.

The three that I own all have different nibs. I keep one at the office which still has it's original unmodified nib. The other two have a "Pendleton point" nib and a nib which I have slowly been grinding towards an italic.

Click on photo to enlarge, paper is Rhodia Dotpad No 16:

[Edit: Whoops! I have been reminded that I should have told you what the ink is: Top, the Pendleton Point is Private Reserve Plum and Bottom, the self ground is R & K Magenta.]

10 comments: said...

I had no idea that you grind your own nibs - impressed! A great review (again)- thanks for giving me huge cred for the small favour of giving you a little tip! :)

Speedmaster said...

Very nice, I'll link to this tomorrow!

And surprised these are your first piston filler, that mechanism is my favorite filling system of all. ;-)

Julie (Okami) said...

When I first started with fountain pens everything I acquired was modern and I had not yet discovered Pelikans and the Lamy 2000. Now my preference is vintage and I do like the piston fillers, but levers seem to be my norm.

Gentian said...

Great review. I really liked reading the historical background. Unfortunate that they are no longer made.

The Missive Maven said...

Very cool that you're grinding nibs! Looks like nice work...

... but you tease us by not sharing the two ink colors you used in the writing samples!

TAO said...

I love the black/green color scheme. Looks very high-end for a low cost pen. Nice review.

Julie said...

The Reform 1745 was my first piston-filling pen. I once had five of them. They are great starter pens! Or if you like a very slim pen. All my Reforms have been given away to friends.

cyclecat said...

i know this post is SUPER old, but i had to add...Reform wasn't just an "inexpensive" manufacturer, and in fact made some pretty pricey pens. i have one that i bought at a local art supply (who has a once-yearly "fountain pen sale") was normally $300, and i got it for about $80. it came in a green velveteen box, 24k gold accents and nib, and uses cartridges, but also came with a reusable piston cartridge. it's a lovely marbled blood-red and black color, very heavy (in a pleasant sort of way.)

i rarely use it anymore (because of the smear-ability of most fountain pen inks, and because the "good stuff" is kind of expensive and requires a lot of cleaning and maintenance), but i love that thing. i've had it for a good twelve years now and i'll never part with it!

Gideon said...

I have this pen: Quicktip Fountain pen. Probably bought in the 1990-th in V&D warehouse in the Netherlands. I used it until 2010. Now its dried out.
Her a picture of the pen
A really great fountain pen for 2.85 guiders or about 1,30 euro.

rinebird said...

I just read your post.I have a Reform fountain pen in pale baby blue.I bought it in the 90's.It is the best writing instrument.I paid around $35.00 on sale.I have been trying to find the company since I bought the pen.I have kept it in mint condition.I still use it.I have a small collection of fountain pens.
I am trying to find a post I made last week on entering a contest for a Rhodia tablet?
Thank you for the lovely article.

Post a Comment