Fountain Pens

This is a stock photo. I don’t write that neatly.

As a writer, I’ve developed this thing for fountain pens.

I’ve loved fountain pens since I was a child, ever since I found a 1920’s plunger style Parker pen at a junk auction. The pen wrote for quite a while, which was amazing since it was 50 years old when I bought it. I still have it somewhere, but it no longer writes. I might be able to clean the years of residue, but the gold nib is beyond repair and I’m no longer able to get the nib to replace it.

I have to say I’m not a pen snob (like I am a coffee snob). There are pens out there that cost $300 or more; I’m not buying those pens. I buy pens in the $25 range with my “mad money” (fun allowance). In this range, you can get pens that work just fine — Lamy Safari and AL-Star, Pilot MR, Platinum Plaisir, Noodlers Ahab. All these have smooth writing and ease of maintenance. 

Not all my pens have been successful purchases. I have a Kaweco Sport from Germany, and while it’s a charming pen (it looks like an oversized stitch ripper) it writes really scratchy. I may have to take it to a pen shop to get the nib adjusted. This, however, would cost more than the pen, which cost me about $15. 

You can get cheaper pens than these, but the operative word is “cheaper”. I got a Jinhao clear plastic (demonstrator) pen for $2 plus shipping from Wish. It wrote just fine, but it dries out when you don’t use it often. A good design has a cap airtight enough to keep that from happening.

I don’t aspire to an expensive pen — no Mont Blanc for me (although there are better pens in that price range). I would like to have one pen with a gold nib someday, just because they write smoother — according to one reviewer. Another says there’s no writing difference. I don’t know if I want to spend that much money to find out. 

So that’s what I’ve been doing with the allowance these past couple months. The pens do not sit idle. I use them for writing my daily journals and writing exercises in different colors. I think they help jog my mind into writing as they flow freely on the page and make my writing look poetic, even when I’m grumbling about how things are going. 

I might have enough fountain pens now, but they’re so bright and shiny that — look! Another pen!

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