The name Venvstas means beauty. It comes from the triad “Firmitas, Vtilitas, Venvstas” — Firmness, Function and Beauty — which are the three principles that the ancient Roman architect Vitruvius said structures should embody.
Vitruvius wrote this more than 2,000 years ago in De architectura, the only treatise about architecture that survives from antiquity. His work was rediscovered in the fifteenth century, and influenced many Italian Renaissance artists and architects, including Leonardo da Vinci and Filippo Brunelleschi. In the drawing Vitruvian Man, Leonardo illustrated the ideal human proportions according to Vitruvius.
The founder of Venvstas, Lucio Rossi, is himself an architect, artist and designer.
Just as Vitruvian principles inspired the pen company’s name, they also inspire the design of the pens. Rossi said he set out to create fountain pens with modern design and modern materials that would be good tools for architects and artists. They aren’t really aimed at pen collectors or fountain pen hobbyists. But as a pen user, I love mine.
So here’s a formal review.
1. Appearance and Design. Minimal, modern, and long and lean.
The Carbon T is modern and minimalist in design. The diameter is the same width from cap to end and the Carbon T made of matte-finish linear carbon fiber. It has a stainless steel nib and a brushed stainless steel clip.
Venvstas packaging is similarly minimalist and elegant. I got a carbon fiber carrying case with fiberglass ends, which you can see in the next photo, as well as a carbon fiber pen pillow. The pen box is made of cardboard folded in the shape of a triangular prism, simple and attractive and designed to cut down on waste.
I love the proportions and simplicity of the Carbon T design. With its tripartite construction, the cap, section and pen body attach when pushed together, and separate when pulled apart.
I’ll note that it does not appear that the three parts of my Carbon T are made out of one single rod of carbon fiber. This is also the case with every acrylic pen I own, and with the cap and body of the Lamy 2000. But it means that the look could vary slightly between the pen parts.
Linear carbon fiber is lightweight and textured so it doesn’t feel slippery. It reminds me very much of the Makralon of the Lamy 2000.
I’ve never had a carbon fiber pen, so I asked if it needs any special care. Lucio Rossi said linear carbon fiber is like acrylic: strong in normal use, but don’t step on it. And don’t expose it to very hot water or to acidic cleaners. It can be cleaned with cool or lukewarm water, and it can even be wet sanded, gently, if something like paint gets on it.
The nib of the Carbon T is shaped a bit like Lamy’s Safari nib, and the sleek, unadorned look melds well with the pen’s modern aesthetic. There is a stainless steel sheath covering the underside of the feed, which Rossi designed to keep ink off your fingers. I think it also makes the nib look like something that would double as a weapon for Jason Bourne or Archer. And don’t think I don’t love that.
2. Construction and Quality. Seems good.
I haven’t had my Carbon T for long, so I can’t presume to give any definitive verdict here. But my first impression is of solid construction, despite the light weight.
I’ll note that I don’t think the pen clip is designed to hold the pen securely to a notebook or the pocket of a shirt; I think it’s more decorative.
I do have one construction-related issue with my pen, and that’s with a tiny screw end that protrudes just a smidge on the underside of the section.
As tiny as that little screw end is, when my fingers rest on it while writing, it’s a bit uncomfortable. The end of the pen body has the same screw, but that one does not extend past the pen body.
Lucio Rossi told me this screw will be modified in the next run so it doesn’t protrude.
I don’t always notice that little screw, but when I do, I wish I had one of the pens from the next run. I have put a small piece of electrical tape over the screw end for now.
3. Weight and Dimensions.
Weight of the pen capped (and full): 17.6 grams. Weight of pen body only (full): 14.3 grams. Length of capped pen: 14.4 cm or almost 5 and ¾ inches. Length of pen body only, excluding nib: about 11 cm or 4 ¼ inches along the shortest side (the underside).
I am thrilled with the size of the pen. It’s a lightweight pen, which is one of the reasons I picked it, but it never feels too lightweight. It’s also a thin pen. It’s only 1 cm in diameter, which is thinner than I usually like, so I was unsure when I placed my order if that would be a problem. But I find the Carbon T extremely comfortable to write with.
Because the diameter of the pen is consistent, you can grip the Carbon T anywhere on the section, or even higher up the pen body. Along with the light weight and nice balance, this seems to accommodate and encourage a light, natural grip.
The unposted Carbon T feels perfectly balanced in my hand. However, if you’d like to post the cap, the Carbon T posts securely.
4. Nib and Performance. The standard European steel nib.
Venvstas currently offers the Carbon T with medium, fine or extra-fine stainless steel nibs. I bought the fine. The nibs are made by JoWo, so it’s is a standard European fine, which to me is on the wetter and wider side of fine. It makes inks look very nice.
Here are comparison writing samples. The Venvstas fine lines are blue, because my Venvstas here is inked with Waterman Serentiy Blue. The other writing was done by an Aurora Optima with a medium nib filled with orange ink; a Pelikan M600 with a fine nib filled with pink ink; and a Lamy Safari with fine nib filled with black ink.
The Venvstas fine nib is about the same width as the Pelikan M600 fine nib. It’s thinner than the Aurora Optima medium nib. And it’s wider than the Lamy Safari fine nib.
In fact, here is a writing sample comparing the Venvstas fine nib and the Lamy Safari fine nib when both pens are filled with Pelikan Brilliant Black.
The Venvstas website said the Carbon T nib has some flex, but my fine nib doesn’t flex very much. I can flex it only very slightly if I push down carefully, but it won’t flex easily. Which honestly, is my preference.
Comparing to other nibs, I don’t find the Carbon T fine nib as (semi) flexible as a Pelikan stainless steel nib. On the other hand, it’s not as unyielding as Lamy’s Safari steel nib. To me the Carbon T nib feels more like a Pelikan M600 gold nib or a Kaweco Sport steel nib.
I should say that my pen arrived with the nib slightly out of alignment, so it was a bit scratchy at first. That happens sometimes with new pens. I just adjusted the tines and used a micromesh stick to smooth them. I know I could have shipped it back and asked for a replacement nib, but it was easier to fix it myself. And since that I’ve done that, it has written smoothly and consistently.
5. Filing System and Maintenance. International cartridge and converter.
I like a c/c filler for its convenience, flexibility and ease in cleaning. Some Venvstas pens have more elaborate filling systems, but the Carbon T’s c/c filling system was another reason I picked it.
The Carbon T uses non-proprietary international size cartridges and regular size international converters. I love that.
The converter fits in very tightly and securely.
I have tried the Carbon T with a number of different inks to get a better feel for it. In the process, I experimented with different filling methods. When using a converter, I found the best way to fill the Carbon T is to fill only the converter (either directly in the bottle or with a syringe) and then to start the ink flowing into the feed by turning the converter’s piston just a bit.
If instead I fill my normal way, by putting the nib into the ink bottle, and then using the converter to pull ink up through the nib unit, I find I got too much ink in the feed. That’s also the case for the Kaweco Sport, so I’m used to it.
6. Cost and Value. Fair value.
The Carbon T cost 70 Euros shipped. Shipping was very fast: the box took six days to reach my house in the Chicago area.
That makes the Carbon T comparable to the Kaweco AL-Sport, the Lamy Studio and the Karas Kustom K in price. I think the value is also comparable. All are c/c fillers with stainless steel nibs, with higher end design and materials than lower-price pens. Among that group, the Venvstas Carbon T most reminds me of my Kaweco AL-Sports.
Both the Carbon T and the AL-Sport feature a minimalist design, and nice materials, feel good in the hand and write well. In this price range, they are my two favorite fountain pens.
In terms of looks, the Carbon T also reminds me of a Lamy 2000. However, the Lamy 2000 is a $125-$150 pen, with a piston filler and a gold nib.
I think the Carbon T writes well and is fairly priced, and because I really like the design, I really like the Carbon T. The only thing I’d change is the slightly protruding screw under the section, which Venvstas already is changing.
I’m very happy it looks as nice in person as it did on the website, and that the writing experience is everything I’d hoped for.
I am also happy to see a company like Venvstas doing something new with fountain pens. Venvstas reminds me of the wonderful KWZ Ink company: a small venture, very personal, where the owner/designer really loves the product and wants to make interesting and out-of-the ordinary things. I’m a fan of that.
Note: since this pen was reviewed, Venvstas has updated its design and construction in numerous ways. For a review of the newer, improved Carbon T, click here.