Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Fountain Pens of AP-Ratnam Pens

i have been using or rather longing to use a good fountain for ages...and it was only recently that i became serious about it...i read in an article in 'The Week' sometime in early 2007 about Ratnam Pens of Rajahmundry (AP)...i was determined to own a Ratnam Pen, as the article narrated a hoary history for the pen and i was hooked...i went around asking my telugu friends and one of them, Pavan, said that his uncle resides in Rajahmundry and he would get me a Ratnam Pen...it took a long time for the pen to come by and at last it came sometime in Sept 2007...it was an ebonite (hard rubber) pen with a closed nib (like the Hero pen nib)...i was thrilled to own a piece of history...i wanted more...i scoured the net and found a lot of information...especially on Fountain Pen Network and also discovered a lot of historical details...like the letter that M K Gandhi wrote in 1935 to Mr K. V. Ratnam, the proprietor, thanking him for sending a Ratnam pen. An article in 'The Hindu' (http://www.hindu.com/2005/10/06/stories/2005100603782200.htm) says that
Mr Ratnam met Gandhiji in 1921 and Gandhiji asked him to produce something that would be useful to the common man and was inexpensive. The Ratnams, who were basically goldsmiths, went on to manufacture nibs and pens, and presented one to Gandhiji. Ratnam pens were known as swadeshi pens and were used by Gandhiji, Rajendra Prasad, Indira Gandhi, Ramnath Goenka, Kasturi Ranga Iyengar, Shankar Dayal Sharma and other eminent persons.

After i got my first ratnam pen, I called up Mr K. V. Ramanamurthy, the current proprietor and son of Mr K. V. Ratnam, and spoke to him. He is a genial gentleman with an old world charm in his speech and gave me all the information i needed. I ordered 2 more pens - a 14 carat gold nib ebonite pen (size 302) and a steel nib (size 32) ebonite pen. One can also get one's name or initials inscribed on the gold nib. My gold nib is inscribed 'jaya'. i was extremely ecstatic on receiving the pen and immediately started using it. Imagine getting a personalised pen for a fraction of the price for imported personalised pens available in the market!!

Ratnam manufactures ebonite pens from 3 and half inches in size to 6 inches in size and all can be fitted with gold nibs, but only the bigger size nibs can be personalised due to space constraints. check out the photo above and see for yourselves. i have been living in Hyderabad since 1992 and have been on the lookout for a good fountain pen and it was right there in AP and i didn't know!! For those of you who are interested in owning a piece of history, you can write to Mr Ramananurthy at Ratnam Ball Pen Works, 10-7-18, Fort Gate, Rajahmundry-533101; or even better, call him at 0883-2498782.

i hadn't used an ebonite pen till them and I was hooked and started searching for more...and i found more...right here in A.P....till the next blog then...

Jayasrinivasa Rao


Paul said...

Hello Jaisri,
I have an image of a filigree pen... found it in a book. has the looks of your Jinhao pen, but even looks better. to get the photo of the pen, please send a mail to my mail ID:
you may delete this comment after reading

ravi said...

Congrats, for your pen!

If you wish to reveal, how much did the pen and the nib cost?

What ink do you use for this pen?

phani said...

redbohello jaisri,
ratanmpens which u r using how they r working

kunchakola said...

My name is U>V>rathnam, residing at ongole, I Used rathnam pen for my s.s.l.c. exam. I am facinated inusing my named pen. Now also Iam using the same pen ie.,ink pen. Now Iam 65 age. U.v.rathnam.

kunchakola said...

I am using rathnam pen, which is in my name, I am facinated inusingit. I have written my exams with rathnam. Iam a retirred Andhra bank manager, staying at ongole.