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  Rapidograph pens and the Crown JewelsFeb 17, 2012 8:05 AM PST | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:I got some good inking tool tips from people on the A* forum and on Google+. Thanks guys!
 
Today's new tool that I just retrieved from the post office is a Rotring Rapidograph, which is what they call a "technical pen"--it can draw a very fine, fixed-width line. Rotring is a German company--the name means "red ring" in German--although probably a general downturn in technical pen sales over the past decade or so of increasing computer dominance led to their being bought by what I think is an American company somewhat recently, who apparently discontinued some of their products. They still make their flagship Rapidographs, though! Here's the one I got, in its sections:
 
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I included the box at bottom because in French and a few other languages it calls the ink used "India ink" ("encre de Chine" or "China ink" as the French call it :P), which is nice to know because that's what I use on A* with my brushes--I hadn't seen the ink type mentioned in online documentation.
 
As you may be able to tell from that darkish photo, the Rotring Rapidograph uses ink cartridges; this is different from the American-made "Koh-i-Noor" Rapidographs, which are more common (and cheaper) here: Koh-i-Noor is a Czech company that Rotring licensed to make and distribute their own brand of Rapidographs in the US; their Rapidographs use entirely different mechanisms, such as a refillable ink reservoir. Even though theirs are cheaper to buy here, I went with the Rotring Rapidograph because whereas the Koh-i-Noor pens are said to be finicky, hard to clean, and prone to clogging, users seem to have nothing but good to say about the German ones.
 
The Rotring site says their tips get as tiny as 0.1 mm! I went with a more modest 0.25 mm tip, which is still shockingly tiny--it looks and feels like a thin needle. Here it is next to a standard ball point pen tip:
 
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Tiny! I find it hard to imagine how small the 0.1 mm tip must be. :o
 
As you can see, aside from the tip and the pocket clip, the rest of the pen is plastic, but screws together easily and tightly. It's pretty light weight.
 
I will leave you guessing for now as to whether or not I liked it, because it's getting late! Doodles tomorrow!
 
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Still I can't resist a word or two more about Koh-i-Noor, because the name got me wondering. They're named after the massive Koh-i-Noor diamond, a rock discovered in India in the 1200s. Since then it passed from ruler to ruler as a spoil of war, primarily; it was in Afghanistan in 1790, when the Koh-i-Noor company was founded--the ruler there had gotten it after the Persian shah who had captured it (and named it Koh-i-Noor, which means "Mountain of Light" in Persian) from the Indian shah was assassinated.
 
No wonder with this bloody history that the jewel is said to be cursed, and will bring misfortune upon whoever possesses it--unless the possessor is a woman! Well that was a handy technicality when the British more or less conquered India, and handed the Koh-i-Noor to Queen Victoria in 1850, who made it one of the British crown jewels; it is currently in the crown of Queen Elizabeth ("the late Queen Mother").
 
I like this valuation of the Koh-i-Noor in the memoirs of Babur (circa 1530), the first Mughal emperor (their line descended from Genghis Khan!), and a possessor of the stone: "Babur held the stone's value to be such as to feed the whole world for two and a half days."
 
Here's a photo of a copy of the Koh-i-Noor (apparently the British royalty aren't big on photographing their jewels) from a Munich museum; this reflects its "new cut," a redesign from its earlier cut that had proven unpopular at the Great Exhibition in 1851; so the next year the Queen's mineralogist drastically cut the stone "from 186 1/16 carats (37.21 g) to its current 105.602 carats (21.61 g)":
 
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image by Chris 73 (source)
 
 
 
 
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