With the exception of around 15 years between 1980 and 1995, there has been a pen named “Kaweco Sport” in production since 1934. First as a pocket safety pen, then piston-filler, finally as a cartridge filler, the little pen that’s big in hand has withstood the test of time. And for good reason: when closed, the Sport is not much bigger than a tube of lipstick. But when posted, it becomes the size of a standard fountain pen.
The modern Kaweco Sport is strictly a cartridge pen, with some attempts at a tiny converter being made. The vintage Sport is an entirely different animal. The pens from the 1950s and 60s are wonderful little things, built like tiny tanks with celluloid or acrylic bodies, piston mechanisms and flexy gold nibs (especially the open-nibs). Our subject today is a Sport V16 in green, and was one of the countless corporate gift pens produced in Germany back then by Kaweco, Pelikan and most other makers.
If you think the modern Kaweco Sport is tiny, it dwarfs the vintage Sports. Our little green wonder checks in at 103mm long capped, 98mm uncapped, and 133mm posted. Filled with ink, it weighs 18g capped and/or posted: if you are over the age of about 3, there is no way you can use this unposted. Even yours truly, who is as vehement an anti-poster as there is, must post the vintage Sport.
Build quality is as one expects from that time and location: top notch. Acrylic construction, small but very solid feeling piston mechanism that moves like a hot knife through butter. Older Sports had cork piston seals, but this model has a nylon head and seal: I believe the seller that it was never used, as it was spotless when I received it. I haven’t measured the ink capacity, as personally I think it’s more trouble than it’s worth, but I would say this pen hold about the same as a short international cartridge, or roughly 0.6ml.
The nib is 14k, as most vintage Sport nibs were. It is marked B on nib and piston knob, and it is a good old-fashioned German B: almost square cut, stubbish, but as smooth as velvet. There is no catching the corners of the nib on paper, no scratching or squeaking, just great big packets of smooth. I lament the day back in 1965, when most German makers switched to ball-tipped nibs. Before then, nearly every nib made in Germany had built-in line variation. The only modern nibs I know in this style are the B and BB nibs of the Lamy 2000, and the new 14k Bock nibs available for larger Kawecos like the Dia 2, Student, and AL Sport.
There is also a great deal of flex in the nib, but the semi-hooded construction limits it somewhat. The semi-hood also makes cleaning more difficult, as ink tends to get trapped under the hood when filling. I’ve also yet to find a way to remove the nib and feed. Similarly styled Lamy and Montblanc pens from the period have sections that unscrew from the barrel, and the nib/feed unit drops out the back for easy rinsing and cleaning. This is the one complaint I have about these particular Sports.
My green Sport arrived in its green leather pouch with a friend, a matching Sport 619 ballpoint pen. The refill is long dead, but any D1 sized refill will fit. Here is the pair of them, with their leather pouch that’s in remarkably good shape. It took me a while to figure out that the ballpoint extends with a half click, and retracts with a full click. I don’t use ballpoint enough to warrant buying a refill: I would much rather have a pencil to go with the fountain pen.
Both FP and ballpoint are engraved with the name Junker, which I can only assume is a reference to the aircraft firm. And strangely enough, neither pen is engraved with the usual “Kaweco Sport”. They are a product of Kaweco, though, both having the usual tiny gold discs engraved with KA-WE-CO.
Writing with the V16 is a pure joy. The nib is glorious, smooth and perfectly balanced in wetness. The line variation is just enough to make things interesting without needing a lot of care in nib placement. The piston mechanism feels rock solid, and while not holding a lot of ink will at least equal a modern short cartridge. Give one of these a try, if you can. With patience, one can be had on eBay.de for around $30-$50, which isn’t bad when you consider there are modern Sports that cost twice that.