Some time ago, Diane got a nice pen as part of a Thanks! award at work:
There wasn’t anything particularly special about the pen, but it felt nice in the hand and wrote well. For a while. But it ran dry awfully quickly, so I disassembled it this morning and found that it had a teeny tiny refill, about two inches long (the pen is five inches long).
The obvious plan was to visit the local office supply store and get a refill — but they didn’t have anything which fit. So then it was time for Plan B: Google.
But it was not obvious what I should search for. Since the refill said “Ministar E”, I Googled for that, but I didn’t find anything useful (many spam pages, though). Ditto on “Ministar pen”, “Ministar refill”, and “Ministar pen refill”.
Then I turned the refill over, and found intriguing markings.
It looked like an ISO standard number, ISO 12757-2, so I Googled that, and found Dark Matter, which told me that ISO 12757-2 is the standard governing archival ballpoint pen ink. And that there was a related standard, 12757-1, which described the dimensions of refills.
A little more searching took me to the ANSI Store, where I could buy the standards: $53 for part 1 and a mere $40 for part 2.
I passed, although I did ask the librarian at work if we happened to have those standards — we didn’t.
So then I followed a sponsored link to the Colorado Pen Company, which offers many, many refills — and pictures, too. There are two which look similar to mine, one for Alfred Dunhill pens, and one for Lamy pens. The Lamy refill even has the magic phrase “ISO 12757-2” on it. But it costs five bucks, plus shipping, which seems like a lot to pay for one refill (though it is a full 4-1/4 inches long).
So I may do something entirely different. While I was chasing down the standard, I stumbled across this Digg, pointing to these instructions on using Mont Blanc refills in inexpensive Pilot G2 pens. Our local office store is having a sale this week — eight Pilot G2 pens (plus two bonus pens or pencils) for $6; they’ve got the Mont Blanc refills at two for $12. So for just a little more than I’d pay for one refill plus shipping, I could have what purports to be the world’s best writing pen. Hmmm….