Saturday, May 16, 2015

A.W Faber Castell 554D Progress : A Vintage Pen

A few weeks ago, I stumbled upon a NOS (New Old Stock) Faber Castell 554D Progress fountain pen, when I was searching for inks. It was placed inside a cellophane wrap, printed with green A.W Faber-Castell and was finally packaged inside a small cardboard box. A small pen which kind of resembled a rather compressed modern MB146, with its striped ink-windows. Since, I have an excellent experience with most of the Faber-Castell fountain pens including the reviewed ones here – Ambition, Intuition and Elemento, I went ahead and purchased the pen. Later, Faber-Castell Co. confirmed that the 554D featured in their brochure till 1960.
Faber-Castell started manufacturing fountain pens in 1951, after acquiring the Osmia Company and produced fountain pens till 1975. It carried the Osmia logo [diamond-in-a-circle] till the 1960s, given Osmia’s high brand recognition in the fountain pen industry and the same logo is also present in this one.


I like the vintage bit of packaging in the traditional way - a thick cardboard box, which has actually become thin these days. As you can see, the cellophane wrap carries the green A.W Faber-Castell name. There is a classical user-guide in German, with instructions on how to fill the pen.


The pen is made of up plastic parts with gold plated trims. This gloss of black and dazzle of gold is still being followed in modern times.

The nib size and the model number are etched in golden on the barrel, just below the piston-knob.

The golden cap band mentions PROGRESS on one side and FABER-CASTELL on the other.

The striped transparency of ink windows renders a rather elegant angle to the overall design of the pen.


The piston filling system was initially clogged, as the lubricants had dried out over all these years. After the first stop of the piston knob, by rotating the piston-knob further in a counter-clockwise direction, the entire piston unit can be pulled out. I applied some silicone grease (metroark211) on the piston seal, which is made of transparent plastic, and the piston mechanism was as good as new. If you can notice a white plastic thing through the ink windows below, that’s the piston seal.

It takes in a good amount of ink with the piston fill mechanism, which lasts as long as the 0.8-0.9 mL capacity Faber-Castell converters.


The 14k gold nib is inserted into a screw-fit sleeve unit and the unit can be easily unscrewed from the barrel. It is a vintage EF nib and has got a hint of feedback, which is duly compensated by a rather wet flow of ink. You will notice an old Osmia diamond-in-a-circle logo embossed at the centre of the nib with Faber and Castell at top and bottom respectively. The nib specifications of 14K and 58.5% follow these impressions towards the tail end.


The cigar structure of this pen makes it a somewhat comfortable companion. The only disadvantage is that the cap cannot be posted securely.
  • Uncapped Length ~ 12 cm
  • Nib Leverage ~ 1.85 cm
  • Capped Length ~ 13.3 cm

Though the length is comparable to a M400, a wider grip section and post-ability of cap are the duly missed elements. Now a days, most of the fountain pens can be posted.


This vintage 14k nib has a wet flow, with a hint of feedback like most EF nibs. The nib is quite stiff with no hint of flex. There is also a bit of line variation among the horizontal and vertical lines. It takes almost the same time (15 secs) to dry as a modern GvFC Intuition Fine nib.

It was fun reviewing the 554D. Hope you enjoyed it.

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