An evaluation of Elco James fountain pen correspondence papers

November 14, 2010 § 1 Comment

This week we were offered a new range of correspondence papers.  It fell into the category of ‘something we have been look at’ to sit alongside the outstanding G.Lalo Verge de France range.  However, Verge de France is a laid sheet which, whilst ideal for fountain pens in terms of both bleed and show-through, the textured surface is not to everyone’s taste.  New papers are easy enough to find.  The complication is to find surfaces that are fountain pen friendly and offer a full suite of sizes, envelopes and accessories. The Elco James range is a 100gsm, warm white wove sheet that is fountain pen compatible and that meets the criteria being available in A4, A5,  A6 correspondence cards and matching envelopes.  Elco is a Swiss paper brand that has long been a associated with premium papers but, as far as we are aware, the James range is a new addition to their offering.  The packaging design is disappointing in that it looks like it comes from an industrial design studio belying the quality of the product but with the saving grace of a picture of a fountain pen on the front! 

Elco James sample with the Conway Stewart behemoth

Elco James sample with the Conway Stewart behemoth

The Elco James samples were  presented to us and immediately the behemoth was unleashed.  The Conway Stewart Silver Duro.  Its medium oblique nib produces a line width of 1.3mm and delivers Herbin’s Pearle Noir as though it had been applied direct from a bucket.  Its deep wet line will challenge any paper for bleed characteristics and although it’s a temperamental beast, when it works it’s a joy to write with.  Testing the James samples with the Conway Stewart produced an excellent result with the meniscus of the generous ink holding good as the liquid evaporated and dried.  There was no discernable bleed along the paper’s fibres to distort the lettering with spidery ink lines, and even with this weight of ink, little show-through to the reverse of the sheet.  The paper has a surprisingly low bulk and, although the envelopes are produced from the same 100gsm sheet, the tissue lining performs the dual function of luxuriating the appearance and increasing the opacity extremely well.

Elco James - no discernable bleeding

Elco James - no discernable bleeding

Compared with the established Verge de France product, the James range, at 100gsm, is a 20gsm lighter reflected in the price being a shade lower. The presentation of the branding is disappointing but the packaging functional. Unlike the Lalo products, there is a James presentation box which also includes some A5 deckle edged notelets.
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