Retro 51 Tornado: Vintage Metalsmith Lincoln

I NEVER WIN ANYTHING! Welllllll…until now! I recently took a stab at a photo captioning contest on the Retro 51 blog and…amazingly…won! Me! The never-winner! The prize? One of the new, very cool Retro 51 Tornado Rollerballs- Lincoln (Antique Copper) model. Oh, I had been eyeing these, and now one was on its way to me. Just knowing this polished up a plain old Thursday into a much shinier day.


Killer packaging

The pen arrived on Saturday and it’s a beauty. The antique copper design looks truly vintage. Sort of modern vintage. (The best of both worlds, really.) Even the clip and knurled twist mechanism look like a well-worn penny. The finish is smooth, much smoother than it appears in some promotional photos, where it almost looks rough and rusty. I like the classic lacquers (have a couple), but this is a fresh departure…very sharp.


“Life Is Too Short To Carry An Ugly Pen”


Clip & knurling

Of course, the packaging is killer. As you can see above, the box I received has the “man on scooter” graphic, which I particularly enjoy because it reminds me of my sweet Vespa. The inner “tube” is bright orange and blue- classic Retro 51 stylin’. (The tube says “Please recycle” But I can’t imagine anyone throwing away this packaging.)


The complete package

The liquid ink/rollerball lays down a bold, solid line- very smooth. I DO wish that there was the option for a finer rollerball point, but this one is fine when I’m in the mood to write BOLDLY.


Rollerball writing sample

I did swap out the rollerball for a fine point Parker ballpoint refill, which is a nice option. I found that I had to turn around the spring (which is slightly tapered), so that the narrower end of the spring points towards the back of the pen. Otherwise, the spring catches and the tip doesn’t deploy/retract smoothly. Reversing the spring solves this little issue. The Parker refill isn’t Jetstream quality, but it’s a perfectly good option, especially for a finer line.


Retro 51 Tornado refill options


Ballpoint refill writing sample

Oh- and I almost forgot to mention that the fine folks at Retro 1951 sent along a t-shirt as an added, surprise bonus– very cool! Who knew Retro 51 t-shirts existed? Well, we do now! (I wore mine IMMEDIATELY.)


Retro 51 t-shirt

I love my prize, and not just because it’s the only prize I’ve ever won. To me, I hit the Retro 51 JACKPOT.

Check out the rest of the Vintage Metalsmith line here. They all look vintage…AND modern…and very cool.

A couple of additional notes:
Though the Vintage Metalsmith Rollerballs are not yet available at JetPens, they do offer a great collection of the Classic Lacquers, as well as a few other special editions here.

While rooting through my treasure chest of refills last night, I discovered that the Schmidt refill P8126 (Short Body) is a perfect finer point rollerball option for the Tornados. It probably runs around 0.5 mm and has made this pen absolutely perfect. SO perfect, in fact, that I quickly ordered a handful via Daly’s Pen Shop.

I think that covers it!

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23 thoughts on “Retro 51 Tornado: Vintage Metalsmith Lincoln

  1. Oh wow…I think you solved a problem for a lot of people. The blue refills I picked up
    from Paradise Pen for the Tornado are Schmidt P8127. From Schmidt’s website
    the P8127 is .7mm. The P8126 is .6mm . So the P8126 offers a slightly finer pt.

    Congratulations on your win…the Tornado continues to impress me as a great pen
    for the money. The company is super nice to deal with for service also.

    • Ah ha! 8127 = 0.7 and 8126 = 0.6! I never thought to check the Schmidt site for the “official” info. Thanks for commenting! The 0.6 mm feels so much better to me. You wouldn’t think it’d make much difference, but it does (for those of us looking to go a little finer).

  2. Congratulation, Mary! That is indeed a sweet deal and a great package to claim as a first time contest winner. I am a proponent of the Retro 51 Tornado, but like you longed for a slightly different refill. Their stock refill is great, but everyone has different tastes. If you are into pen mods, this pen can be fitted with Jetstream refills with some refill clipping and spring modification. I recently got Pilot G2 refills to work smoothly, and most frequently use my stainless steel Tornado with a Pilot Precise V5 refill.

      • Hmmm…didn’t get the G2 refill to fit in the Retro. Any Parker style will work. Love the Schmidt 9000 ballpoint refill!

      • I cut the precise v5 refill down to 3 14/16 in and used a spring that is approximately 3/4 in. The base of the v5 refill, which should be the same diameter as a G2refill, sits nicely in the rear of the Tornado. The refill does not work as smoothly as the capless Tornado refill or even a Parker-style refill, but after a while I didn’t notice the difference. I also wrapped the tip of the refill with tape so that it would be better supported and more stable when extended.

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  4. Up close the copper color isn’t uniform… it is almost like a finer “tiger stripe”. I think it would look much better if the color was uniform.

    I think the whole metalsmith series looks interesting. At first I though the Lincoln was best, then the Franklin.. I think the Jefferson is too “busy”, and I love the diamond pattern in the Madison, but the color red just doesn’t do it for me…

    I think I will stick with the two best colors in my opinion… the ice blue which looks sleek beyond compare….and the very slick and traditional looking black from the classic lacquer series.

    • I personally LOVE the Monroe, but you have to like red for that to be the case! I’m with you on the ice blue. I’ve ordered a few for gifts. Very nice! Black is always great looking as well!

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  6. Thanks for your mention of refill options – I wanted something a that writes a little finer line than the .7mm for my Retro 51 Lincoln and I gave a Monroe model to a friend as a gift and the first thing she said was, “Ummm, does it have a ballpoint refill?” So your comments on the the Parker ball point were spot on for me!

    Really enjoy your blog, too. Many thanks!

  7. I have had my Tornado for eleven years. I use the standard Retro 1951 refills. I have since I purchased the pen. I found my single issue with this pen during the last refill cycle. I bout the same refills but this time when I replaced the refill, it automatically retracted back into the casing. I was patient and I’d adjust the pen just right and get it to at least keep it’s little head out. I contacted the vendor and he mentioned a second spring. We don’t have two springs. But, I did check the first spring. Once I replaced it I was on my way to another ten years of enjoying my favorite pen. What sold me about this pen is it’s weight. Enjoy Mary.

  8. Thanks for your post about the Lincoln! I’ve the Lincoln fountain pen on order from a local shop, Shapiro’s, the only Retro 51 reseller in all of Idaho. I shall be back in a few weeks to post a comment on my first Retro 51 pen and compare it to my many Sheaffers. Some Lincoln owners have removed the varnish or lacquer with cotton swabs and alcohol. this exposes the copper patina and removes the antiquing.

  9. My Lincoln EXT fountain pen, from the Tornado series by Retro 1951, arrived 2013-12-13. Lovely item, good solid feel, smooth medium nib which lays down a wet and glistening line. So much ink the pen cannot be used on Moleskine’s terrible paper, just soaks through. That’s okay with me, I only use the recto side of any page. I will be writing with Sheaffer’s turquoise, using the convertor (included), after the installed black universal cartridge is expended. I like the screw-on cap but, posted, the whole thing is quite long and heavy at the top end; too heavy for me to use comfortably. Not a problem, I have other pens that cannot be used posted. The brand, finish and color are unique in my collection, I’m a Sheaffer guy. But I’ve wanted a copper-clad or -colored pen for several years just because it’s, you know, COPPER. More later.

  10. Montblanc is another refill option, specifically their “Ball pen refill” in F, which I’m assuming is short for fine, because it is very fine. The line that it lays down looks more ballpoint than rollerball but it is smooth. I usually prefer blue, but I have the Montblanc in black and it looks a little less black and more gray, which I like.

    The only caveat with this as a viable refill option is that you might have to work with it a bit to get to fit right. It works a little better with my smaller Retro 51 Scrooge (Disney) pen than it does with my very favorite Big Shot Tornado resin pen, though I think I just need a different spring to use it with that. It doesn’t tend to stay extended in this pen like it does on the smaller diameter pen.

    By the way, I have the 20th Anniversary copper pen that looks almost like the Lincoln Metalsmith. I actually prefer mine better because the tip, clip, and twist knurl are not antiqued. They are sort of a rose gold color and make a beautiful contrast to the pen barrel. But sadly I have misplaced that pen, my other favorite, and might consider the LIncoln as a replacement.

    • Hmmm…interesting! I didn’t realize that Montblanc might be a refill possibility. Misplaced pens are so frustrating! So far, nothing of importance of mine has gone missing, but when I have to track one down, I can’t stop until it’s located. (Must know where all my “kids” are!!)

      • I know. I hate that I can’t find this pen. It’s absolutely beautiful and I had to search a long tome to even find it. I’m sure that it’s in a briefcase or book bag somewhere, i.e. I don’t think I’ve completely lost it, but it’s very frustrating nonetheless.

        Thanks for mentioning the Schmidt numbers. I think that I have a Schmidt in the missing Anniversary pen and I think I liked that one better than any other refill that I’ve tried, but I’d have to find the pen to be sure. –I’m hoping that buying a new pen will result in finding this lost one. ;-)

        Congratulations on your win of this Lincoln pen! If you notice that the coating starts to wear off and/or it starts to feel gunky, I read (on Amazon I think) a reviewer who removed it with isopropyl alchohol and afterward, the copper just developed a natural patina naturally.

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