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Two Dimensional Battle

Posted by Dirck on 14 January, 2014

I mentioned a few entries ago that I’d brought up the Parker 180 with an ulterior motive in my heart.  That motive was to refresh my memory of that pen’s feel in the hand, as it seems obvious to compare the recently-acquired Slim Targa to Parker’s skinniest child.  Let’s have a look at them together.

If there is a literal battle, this one looks a better bet.

Speaking of battles– me and consistent lighting.

Now, there is a small adjustment necessary to allow for the different trim levels– the Targa 1000S is the bottom of its particular barrel, while the 180 Imperial is not, although it’s not the grandest 180 ever.

Both pens are extremities, about as thin as either maker could manage.  Indeed, the slender version of the Targa are an extra effort on the part of Sheaffer, since they had to come up with a whole other format of cartridge to support extra thinness.  One suspects, if given to inventing stories, Sheaffer’s designers having a sudden spasm of rage a year after they’d offered the original full-width Targa as their best run at a slim pen to the then-current tastes, at least as thin as the Parker 75 and slightly longer to give more sense of thinness, seeing this unspeakably skinny object the competition had developed.  I’ve mentioned in various places that I’m not a huge fan of that push to extremely narrow pens, any more than I support the current extremities of bigness and weight (the middle path for me!), but for all that I do like the look of both of these pens.  Indeed, in the abstract, I rather prefer the slim to the standard Targa in pictures.

In pictures, though, I can’t use them.  In this, I find that the Parker is a much superior item.  Primarily, the 180 is rather more comfortable to use.  Consider the relative lengths of section– the longer section on the Parker puts the slightly shape edge of the barrel a little farther from the tender parts of the finger.  They’re of much the same weight, the balance is good enough with either, but with the Targa one has to work a little to get it to not bite.  In the modern setting, the difficulty of finding refills for the Sheaffer militates against recommendation as well, while Parker’s cartridges have ever been the same and the new ones go down the 180 quite nicely.  Capping the pens, I also find the pure tubularity of the Sheaffer a little less pretty than the gentle tapering from the joint shown by the Parker.  I also find the Parker is a little smoother in its writing, but so far as I know, its point has never needed restoring to original shape– the difference in this department may be down to my failure to quite fix the damage.

There’s the quick decision, then– the Parker 180.  The slim Targa is a nice pen, no doubt, but it’s not quite as nice.  Good news!  You can stop casting about for those wretched Skrip Cartridge IIs and start casting about for a relatively rare pen!

Today’s pen: Sheaffer TM Touchdown Statesman
Today’s ink: Diamine Evergreen



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