My Hero ‘329’
August 21, 2007
Hero ‘329’ was a fountain pen my family brought over from Vietnam. I used the jet black from 1990-1993. I dropped it on the hard concrete floor of the studio. The nib chipped and the top of the barrel cracked. It pains me to this day when I think how clumsy I was and still am to some extent. The hero was my constant companion. I wrote with it, sketch with it.
The Hero ‘329’, as I later learn of its domination or numeric designation, has many sentimental values. I’ve been looking for this pen for a very long time now. Last nigh, I found it! Let me start with last Saturday, August 18, 2007. I rode the bus to Downtown Portland to get some refills for my Parker Vector. (The Vector was also a 2005 birthday presents from the In-laws.) On my way out, I discovered ‘PenWorld’ magazine. The last page has an interview with Norman Haase of Hisnibs. After a series of email exchanges, I found it on his website! Bingo! I wrote back to Norman. The picture shows a streamline design which was inspired by the Parker ’51’ and ’61’. Frankly, I prefer the Hero ‘329’ over the Parkers. It has a modern sleek look and feel of the 50’s stream lines. The modern touch, almost futuristic, resides above the hooded nib. Some Star Trek fans have mistaken this as their insignia.
Last Christmas of December 2006, I inherited some pens from my mother-in-law. She used to write with Hero fountain pens in school. Unfortunately, the only Hero item left is a ballpoint pen. This brought back many memories. It reminded me that I used to own and write with a Hero.
The year was 2003, I was in Poland on a sojourn, an artistic residency. I was in an art supply store and found a Hero ink bottle but no Hero pen. (I also bought a pencil case.) Later, I open the Hero ink bottle cap to smell the elegant perfume. I had a Proustean moment. The scent transported me back to Vietnam when I wrote with a dip pen and made repeated dips into the Hero ink bottle. I put a piece of blotter paper between the pages of a notebook. The thick pink blotter page lay like a piece of baloney in a sandwich. When I withdrew the blotter paper, it had soaked in the mirror image of what I had written, only faintly and blurred, as if it was an inkling of some distant memory.
Here’s a bit of email exchange I had with Norman:
Do you mean that this is the pen you wanted? Here’s the link to its page:
This was the model that launched His Nibs! My wife, who is from Hong
Kong, brought a few of these back for me for my pen collection about 10
years ago (she grew up using them). I was so impressed by the quality/price,
that I had her sister send me some, which I put up on the then new eBay.
They took off, and I then ordered the entire Hero line into the U.S. Within
6 months, I was selling fountain pens full time. 🙂
A very nice piece of writing. Thanks for sharing it and for the website
The woman I helped set up in business, to import Duke and Uranus pens from
China — Linh Nguyen — is also from Vietnam (she’s recently ‘retired’,
having just had her first child!).