Well, I made it to 7 January 2022 before buying any pens this year. So much for resolve. To be fair, I did say in my last post “I always start the year with good intentions to buy less pens…”, not no pens.
So, what made me cave in so easily? Allow me to introduce the Online Campus, a school pen from Germany, in the “Fluffy Cat” design.
I was first aware of these a couple of years ago. A visiting pen friend showed me his Online College that he was carrying and, when I commented on how nice it was to write with, and how flattering it was to my rather awkward lefty-overwriter hand writing, he said I could keep it and gave it to me on the spot. It had an 0.8mm stub nib and a pink design featuring melons and pineapples. He told me of his other Online “Fluffy Cats” pen, which he claimed to be one of his favourite pens. Coming from someone who had spent years acquiring pens such as Pelikans, Pilots, Lamys and Montblancs of much greater cost, this carried some weight.
I had not seen a Fluffy Cats version for sale, until idly scrolling through Amazon’s offerings last weekend when, to my surprise, I found an Online Campus in a Fluffy Cats version, with a Medium nib, for £14.99. Also I had not tried an Online Campus, but enjoyed the College and the Bachelor, both of which were fitted with the 0.8mm stub nib. I was keen to try the standard Medium nib which I had heard is also very good.
I ordered two, to make the delivery more worthwhile and for the option of having a second one to use in a different location, or with a different ink, or to give away.
They arrived within 24 hours, in a brown cardboard envelope, with the two pens loose inside. There was no other packaging at all. There was no paperwork but the pens each had a sticker on the cap, with the address of Online Schreibgerate, a bar code and a symbol to indicate that the nib was a Medium. They each came with one Online long blue cartridge, (with a standard international cartridge fitting at one end and a cheeky Lamy fit at the other!) but no converter this time.
First impressions were favourable. The body of the pen features ten rows of cute, cartoon cats, with various colours and expressions which remind me of the extended family of five feral cats that inhabit our garden, and which we feed every day.
I also noticed that the Campus pen feels slightly bigger and heavier than the College, that the pocket clip is stainless steel instead of plastic and that the body of the pen has a “soft touch”, slightly rubbery feel.
The two ends of the pen are plastic but painted silver to look like metal.
The flush cap snaps on and off firmly with a pop and a click. It is very light and is designed to post where it remains completely flush with the barrel. This makes for a very ample length without upsetting balance.
As most of my currently inked pens are filled with blue or blue black inks, I decided to try the Campus with a cartridge of Kaweco ruby red. It pops in to the section nicely with room for a second cartridge in the barrel, if you use the short variety. The section also features the clear plastic ink window which lets you see the cartridge and ink inside.
Size and weight.
Closed, the Campus measures 141mm; uncapped it is 123mm and posted it is a very lengthy 173mm. The barrel is about 13mm at its widest, and the grip section tapers from 11mm down to 9mm nearest the nib.
The complete pen, uninked, weighs 13g or just 8g uncapped and about 5g for the cap alone. This total weight compares with the Online College at 10g.
Nib and writing performance.
The stainless steel nib, with iridium tip, is a Medium. The selling description stated it to be “right handed” although the tipping looks symmetrical to me, as far as I can tell. I do not know if there is a left handed version or how it would differ. The nib has a slight springiness to it and is not a nail. You can get a little line variation from it if you push it a bit. But the main message is that it writes perfectly. Straight out of the box (except that there was no box). There is no nib work required and the pen is ready for use right away, (which may come as a surprise to people used to buying faulty pens at forty times this price!). I was delighted with the smoothness and the degree of ink flow, even for this lefty-overwriter who needs nibs a little wetter sometimes.
I do not yet know whether this Fluffy Cat version is a reissue of a previously popular design. I thought that they had been discontinued. I could not find a Fluffy Cat version in a brief check of the company’s web site today (Online-pen.com). It may be that they are still made after all, or have been reintroduced or it may be that Amazon had some new old stock. Whichever it is, I am glad to have it and now find myself looking forward to getting home to write with my Fluffy Cats.
Here is a size comparison photo, of the Online Bachelor, College and Campus pens: