Monday, June 13, 2011

Pieces of Memory: Hero Fountain Pens

Hero fountain pens
In the second feature of Pieces of Memory, we are going back to school to revisit an item that would resonate strongly with those who are born in the late 1950s or early 1960s, Hero fountain pens.

While the children of today are spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing their preferred pen for school, the previous generation had to stick with three: Hero, Parker or Sheaffer fountain pens. But more often than not, most children of that time will be using Hero fountain pens as the other brands are rather costly.

Simple, needle-like nib
While we are accustomed to fountain pens with a large and fancy nib, this humble pen has a simple, needle-like nib which is great for writing small and very suitable for school work.

Pump mechanism to draw ink
As for the drawing of ink, this pen adopts a simple pump system in which one presses the plastic tubing repeatedly to pump up the ink into the pen's reservoir. A simple mechanism that is certainly very suitable for children.

Two websites that you need to know
In terms of writing, the pen dispenses ink fairly smoothly and it does not leak as one writes. Of course, it does not provide the scribe with a sense of luxury as compared to the upmarket ones but it serves its function well. Regardless of whether one writes clearly or in cursive, one can do so rather easily. However, the only bone I have to pick is that the pen feels slightly scratchy when one writes. 

Personally, it was a joy to discover what my parents used to write with when they were school children. In the process of using the pen extensively, I began to realise how vastly the education system differs from one generation to the next.

The previous generation certainly emphasised on good penmanship and the need to write consciously; not only in terms of how the words appear but the right choice of words which one uses. This meant that the school work our parents produced would definitely be more thoughtful and well-written as compared to the blind regurgitation that is characteristic of the students of today.

Such ideals certainly extend to the culture and character of that generation. The music, books and perhaps behaviour of people in our parent's generation are generally meaningful, well-chosen and refined; a far cry from the repititive, tuneless and vulgar self-glorification that is inherent in today's culture and philosophy.

For those readers who are interested in buying the pens, they are sold at Mustafa Centre for approximately SGD $1.20. What a steal of a price to own a humble piece of history!

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