Monday, October 3, 2016

Fountain Pen Review: Kaweco Liliput

 

I have magician friends in Nürnberg, Germany, and they are hiding in a place called Kaweco House of Magic and Sorcery. They make small, tiny pens that become big pens as soon as you uncap them. My friends are led by wizards, and one of them is Sebastian Gutberlet. Yes, my friends, Sebastian is a wizard and he is running Kaweco's team of magicians in Nürnberg. Magicians!


That scenario is only a fantasy, but I will always think of the people behind Kaweco as magicians. That was my initial reaction to the Kaweco Liliput when I first held it, uncapped it, and screwed the cap onto the barrel: This pen is a work of magic!

When Kaweco's Sales and Marketing Manager Sebastian Gutberlet sent me a box of Kaweco products last year, he kindly included an aluminum shiny black Liliput fountain pen. I've been curious about this tiny aluminum pen since it was reintroduced in 2011, after Kaweco was revived by H&M Gutberlet Gmbh. I wanted to know how it writes, and see if I could write with it.


Kaweco introduced the Liliput fountain pen in ebonite in 1910. The remake is now made from different metals, with a matching ballpoint pen. The Liliput in this review is made from lightweight aluminum with a shiny black finish, but the line includes other colors/finishes: aluminum (shiny silver); lead-free brass (eco brass smooth satin, eco brass wavy); stainless steel; copper; and tempered steel which is used on the fireblue steel Liliput.


The Liliput is a small and compact pen. It is the smallest fountain pen made by Kaweco, and one of the smallest fountain pens in the world that uses standard short international cartridges. Due to its size, the Liliput can only take short cartridges. I have seen converters for Kaweco Sport fountain pens, but none for the Liliput.

Kaweco makes its own ink in 30ml bottles and short international cartridges, available in 8 colors: Pearl Black, Midnight Blue, Royal Blue, Paradise Blue, Palm Green, Caramel Brown, Ruby Red, and Summer Purple. In 2016, two new ink colors were introduced: Smokey Gray and Sunrise Orange.

Lots of parts for a small pen: cap, barrel, section, feed and nib holder, feed, and nib. 

The aluminum Liliput is the lightest among all Liliput fountain pens. It weighs ~11.3 grams, and measures ~3.8 inches long while capped, 3.4 inches uncapped, but becomes a full-sized pen at ~5.0 inches when the cap is screwed onto the barrel.


The barrel of the Liliput is even smaller and thinner than the barrel of the Sport series. At a diameter of 0.4 inch, it could almost fit in the Sport's barrel.

Kaweco Sport (left) and Kaweco Liliput (right) barrels.

The threading on the end of the Liliput's barrel allows the cap to be screwed on securely, converting the pen into a full-size length of ~5.0 inches, comfortable enough for writing.

Because of its material, the aluminum Liliput cannot be transformed into an eyedropper pen. Prolonged contact with ink may corrode the barrel.


The Liliput's screw-on cap serves two purposes: nib protection and barrel extension. When the cap is screwed onto the section, it protects the nib and prevents ink from drying up. Once it is uncapped and screwed (posted) onto the barrel, it becomes an extension, and transforms the pen into a full-sized fountain pen. The Liliput's cap is a wonder, but I wish the Kaweco wizards can install a clip on it.


The logo KaWeCo (Federhalter-Fabrik Koch, Weber & Co), or “KA-WE-CO” in the three-part circle was first used in 1930. It's still being used today in nearly all Kaweco pens.


The Liliput's section has a feed and nib holder, probably to avoid rusting and corrosion from the prolonged contact between the aluminum section and the wet feed and nib. The feed and nib holder is threaded, and screws onto the section for a tight fit.


The medium stainless steel nib was scratchy, and hard starting at first, so I thoroughly cleaned both feed and nib to take off any manufacturing residue. I widened the feed's ink channel, and the space between the tines. 

Bock, a German nib manufacturer, makes nibs for Kaweco. The Kaweco nib imprint includes the width (M), logo, and the words 'Germany' and 'since 1883' under a filigree-like pattern. Five nib sizes are available for the Liliput: extra fine (EF), fine (F), medium (M), broad (B), and double broad (BB).

Other nibs available for the Liliput are: gold, rhodium plated gold, or a bi-color gold nib. The carbon black steel nib is perfect for the black Liliput. Some of these nibs are available for order at MostWanted-pens.com.

The Liliput's nib.

Kaweco uses identical stainless steel Bock nibs on the Liliput, Sport, and Student series. This feature of Kaweco fountain pens is helpful because I can easily swap nibs from one pen to another.
Left to right: Liliput, Sport Skyline, Student.

The Liliput, capped, is ~3.8 inches long. Uncapped, it's only ~3.4 inches.
When the Liliput's cap is screwed onto its barrel, the pen becomes a full-sized pen at ~5.0 inches, almost the same length with the Sport at ~5.3 inches.
Writing with a posted pen is new to me. I tried writing with the Liliput without the cap, and it was uncomfortable. Writing with a short and slender pen felt like there was no balance between my hand and the pen. The Liliput's cap not only extends the length of the pen, it also provides additional weight and balance.

Writing with the pen uncapped was still possible, but uncomfortable.
The Liliput is a comfortable pen to write with once the cap is screwed/posted onto the barrel.


Writing sample of Kaweco Liliput with a broad nib inked with Kaweco Paradise Blue.

The aluminum shiny black Kaweco Liliput is a well-made, compact, and solid fountain pen that is uniquely designed to be portable and easy to use. The stainless steel nib writes well, and changing nibs is very easy. It's a great pen and the perfect companion for small (and big) notebooks. If you are looking for a portable fountain pen, nothing's better than a Kaweco Liliput.

The Liliput fits comfortably in my TN's pen holder.

The Liliput and other Kaweco pens are widely available in many reputable sellers worldwide. For a list of sellers, visit Kaweco's Store Locator.

I received the Kaweco Liliput fountain pen in this review free of charge from Kaweco Germany. For more details, visit the Kaweco website.

In the Philippines, Kaweco Liliput pens are exclusively available at Scribe Writing Essentials stores in Eastwood Mall, Shangrila Plaza Mall, Glorietta 5, SM Aura, and SM Megamall. Their 6th store has opened in SM City Cebu in April. For their complete location/address, contact numbers, and store hours, visit the Scribe website.

2 comments:

  1. Nice review, thank you. I have the smooth brass Liliput and I love it. I also have some of the Sport pens, and they all use the same nibs. I love them all. The double broad nibs are amazing, and the extra-fine is very smooth. I notice no scratchiness or feedback with the EF. And since they all use the same nib system, the nibs can be swapped very easily.

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  2. Love my Liliput in AL Black (same as yours), too. I have it since 2011, it mostly sits in my backpocket, attached to my Midori TN Passport. Although my Liliput is there or thrown in my bag all the time, it does not have any scratches or marks.

    This is magic, indeed!

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