My first three fountain pens were two Watermans and a Schaeffer (the first I bought when living in France in 1993, the second was a 25th birthday present from a friend; the Schaeffer was my grandfather's that he bought in the 1950s), but my preferred writing pens are Pelikans. Solid construction, great nibs, and the barrel styling does not interfere with the writeability.
I've been eying those Conklin Ohios for a while now -- but we already have something like 15 fountain pens in the house and therefore it's a luxury item that I don't "need" need. Same goes for the Parker Duofold, a pen I've been stalking since the mid-90s and only now can actually afford (even refurbished).
I love the look of vintage pens (especially celluloid), but I'm not naturally a collector for the sake of collecting. I like to use the things I buy, and I don't have the patience to refurbish and then coddle the older pens. So I admire them from afar.
Edited at 2008-12-19 01:48 pm (UTC)
I have a Waterman Expert which a college professor got me as a gift one year -- it's a beautiful pen, one of the most beautiful I've seen, and one of the most ergonomically perfect -- as the cap pulls off rather than screws, it doesn't have the striations that cut into your fingers, making it very comfortable for long bouts of writing. However, years of pulling off the cap have made it fit loosely, which is annoying. The final nail went into it's coffin when I dropped it earlier this year and the nib bent. alas.
I also have a Pelikan rollerball. I love the clips on those pens. Unfortunately I have a 200 or a 250, I should have gotten the 400.
As for the Omas, it might just need someone to look at it. A pen that expensive should work marvelously. My first Montblanc was back and forth to the dealer with nasty notes for a year.
i love a good fountain pen. when in doubt, it's my favorite writing instrument, period.
the fountain pen catalogs i get that feature the "limited edition" series made me shake my head in sadness. a good fountain pen is about the inner workings of the ink-to-nib and then the feel of the pen in the hand. the outside decoration should be pleasing, but it's far from essential -- and certainly not worth the artificially inflated prices they ask for them.
i'm an inkwell man, myself. there's something about filling a pen from an inkwell that makes my heart sigh.
I am so glad that someone else likes Mont Blanc Travellers - I have one and I love finding excuses to use it. It was a gift from a friend who had worked for Gillette after they bought Parker and had seen a box of High Quality pens that were being thrown out barely used by the Market Research Department. I've used it on and off for nearly eight years and I don't imagine that I'll ever __need__ another fountain pen, but like you I adore them as objects and may well end up buying more of them as the years progress...
I find the travelers to be very practical (for a pen that's entirely impractical to travel with). and really, when it's closed up, nobody can tell if it's a cartridge or a piston filler anyway.
my first real fountain pen was also a montblanc cartridge pen, although mine looked different than yours - black metal casing with a gold rim and clip - it was a gift from my dad and grandma when i graduated h.s.
i used it pretty much daily throughout college until someone broke into my car and removed my bookbag including said pen plus a whole lot of other irreplacable stuff while i was in grad school
these days i so rarely write on paper (i work in it and my hobbies don't involve writing per-se) that i haven't spent the money to replace it but perhaps at some point i will
i do keep india ink and a basic set of calligraphy nibs around for the rare occasions when i want to write something and have it look really fancy though
If you're ever interested in trying out fountain pens, but are still worried about check fraud, Noodler's makes a line of "Bulletproof" inks which are designed specifically to prevent that. From what I understand, the pigment in their bulletproof inks actually chemically bonds to the cellulose in the paper and can't be removed. There is a cash prize waiting for anyone who can defeat it.
My all time favorite pen is nothing fancy at all, it's simply the Zebra F-301 with a fine point cartridge. I've had a Schaeffer cartridge pen since high school, again nothing fancy but it writes rather well, and for fun, I have a glass pen
which is incredibly fun to use.
i remember when the zebras first came out, they reminded me of a cross between the papermate's, the old t-ball jotters, and THE FUTURE. I bought two of them. They are super swell pens.
Pens and I have had a long abiding hatred, ever since about 3rd grade when we were expected to start writing with them. This is a small part of the curse of being left handed. You basically have 3 choices, attempt to make legible marks with your right hand, Cramp you hand in wierd positions, or write naturally and smear across everything you write. These days I either write with a Bic 0.5mm #2 mecahnical pencil, or I type it out.
On the other hand well made pens can be pretty artistic. In some ways they are like prints of a sculpture. With fountain pens I think the nib is frequently the most interesting part. However I have enough other hobbies that I have avoided collecting pens.
Aha. Funnily enough this problem led to the finding of my favourite pen. http://www.yoropen.com/
A LEFT HANDED PEN. I was so excited by this. It takes a bit of fiddling to get the grip exactly where you want it and how to place it but once you do, no more smears and swearing. I take it everywhere with me now.
I'm in the gel roller ball family myself, these days. I prefer Pilot P-500 Precise Gel Roller in green or purple ink, to be exact. The ink flow is magical and the colors are bright and cheerful.
Fountain pens are quite awesome, too. I believe my first fountain pen was purchased in college...a Pilot Varsity, again in purple. It's pretty good for a five dollar disposable pen. And since I'm prone to misplacing things I care about, it was perfect for me because it was far easier to lose a five dollar pen than a five hundred dollar one.
While I don't have a "good" fountain pen right now, I'd love to get one again. I just get really picky about how it feels in my hands, and apparently, my hands have expensive taste. The ones that feel and look the best, tend to be the ones that are far out of my price range. I should look out for a Pen Show.
Edited at 2008-12-19 02:40 pm (UTC)
I love the way a Conklin writes, but don't trust the little springy pocket clip. The only one I've owned jettisoned its clip when the little sliver of spring steel broke. THe pen itself is wonderful, but now it won;t carry in a breast pocket.
I'm a big fan of cartridges, too; a converter works fine when you want to fill from an inkwell, and the versatility is worth having to unscrew the barrel.
i've wondered about the springie thing. like it it's the easiest pen to put in a pocket because of that, but i'm concerned because i don't see an easy way to replace it if the weld or the steel breaks.
That first picture makes me cross-eyed. When I look at pens (being an engineer by genes if not education) I always look at the nib first. This calls for a macro shot of the nib in my opinion... Unless it's rude to ask to see someones nib.
i have done some nib closeups in the past
I'm going to have to geek in the opposite direction for a moment and sing the praises of the Pentech 0.7mm StickGels (disposable) pen. I believe it's a rollerball. Without a doubt, this is the best ink flow I've ever been involved with. I think you can get a dozen or 10 of these at CVS for $4 and change. They are only the third pen that I've ever had that I didn't have to think about the tool I was using when I was writing and I could just write and enjoy it. The other two were also disposable rollerballs and I can't remember what kind they were, but I'd know them if I saw them.
I went through a fountain pen phase when I was a teenager and I used cartridge pens. Probably because I was using cheap, crappy pens that my mom bought in the calligraphy section of craft stores, I didn't enjoy it, and ended up with a perpetual ink-stained callous on the middle finger of my right hand- it's still oddly misshapen to this day. I had a family where people would just "borrow" my stuff and then lose or break it, so it hasn't been a good idea for me to spend money on something like a pen.
But you might have me leaning that direction. Thanks for letting me know what to look for.
check out the fountain pen hospital, you can search by price: http://www.fountainpenhospital.com
i think lots of new pens are great in terms of style and price, Dani and Liebell are both making pens that look fantastic for 1/10th the price of the more established companies.
I can appreciate really nice pens, but they're really wasted on me. (Yeah, I know, having been a writer, I should love a nice pen...) I would love to _have_ some nice pens, because I love well-made tools, and the nicest pens I've ever had are those Cross pens with the replaceable cartridges. And I've given thought to buiklding a portable desk, complete with candle-holders and an inkwell for my as-yet-unused calligraphy kit...
Well, my handwriting is _awful_. Really, really bad. If I picked up a Montblanc, it'd be like giving a set of scented bath and body oils to G.G. Allin. It'd be like feeding fine-grained California redwood boards into a Gravely chipper. It'd be like turning the Lucy fossils over to the Institute of Creation Research. It'd be... okay, I'll stop now.
And the second reason is that I keep _misplacing_ things. I've lost two really nice Cross pens that I really liked having. And if i did spring for a fine vintage pen of exquisite craftsmanship and certified pedigree... well, I'd have to keep it in a frame on my wall, because if I used the thing it'd wind up in the bottom of a plastic storage tub.
So, I stick with cheap store-bought pens. Uniball fine-points are the ones of choice right now. They're a bit thin in the hand, but I've got dozens scattered about. If I lose one, I just snag an extra from the office.
(If I sprang for a mini-lathe, I could get into the business of turning my own pens. Lots of sources sell pen "blanks" made of really interesting woods, like walnut burl.)
My favorite pens in college were the Pilot Precise rolling ball pens, which were cheap but always wrote quite smoothly.
Four years ago, xraytheenforcer
gave me my first fountain pen, a Pelikan Shanghai
pen, which is part of the special editions based on the 600 or 650 pens, I believe. It's still my favorite overall in terms of appearance, feel, and writing. I also have a Pelikan 200 fountain pen that I keep filled with red ink for grading purposes (I'm a high school teacher).
My other fancy fountain pen is a Waterman Exception
, which I bought for myself as a present for finishing my Masters. The weight is a little on the heavy side, so it can be tiring to write with for a very long time, but it is the smoothest writing pen I have ever used.
I also have two Lamy Safari pens, which are great as inexpensive, good quality everyday pens.
indeed, the safari's are awesome. inexpensive and durable.
In 1990 or so my then fiance bought a then $600 pen which had utilized some wood from (oh gosh, where did they sign the declaration of independence? you THINK id know...) but anyway, the wood was from there. All documented and numbered and stuff... When we split, he left it at my apartment. My father, a pen collector, bought it from me. I wonder what its worth today.
My favorite pens are Rapidographs. Architects and artists use them. Rollerballs on steroids. Of course, for slumming there r always a sharpies.
I've also been attracted to pens for as long as I can remember.
I tend to buy liqid ink roller ball pens, like this one:
I hope you don't mind, but I want to share a little story with you about fountain pens.
When I was 11, my mother and I were at a store (Walgreen's, maybe?) when I spotted a fountain pen set in the office supply section. Looking back, I'm sure it was of the poorest quality, but to my young eyes it was beautiful. a rainbow of different colored ink cartridges, replacement nibs, two pens... I wanted it so bad! I asked my mom if we could buy it, but she told me she couldn't afford it. I was heartbroken. I put it back on the shelf and followed my mom for a bit, but started to entertain the idea of stealing it. I kept wandering back to the office aisle while mom was shopping. I picked up the pen set, carried it around with me, put it back, grabbed it again, stared at it, put it back, etc. All the while, I was stuggling with an internal moral dilemma that felt like it was going to rip me apart (I was only 11!) while my mom was completely oblivious. Finally, mom finished her shopping and I put the pretty fountain pen set back. The good in me won, but I was emotionally exhausted.
On our way out to the car, my mom leaned over and whispered "I'm very proud of you for not stealing that pen set. I know you wanted it and thought about it, but you did the right thing. Thank you for being such a good girl." I burst into tears - how did she know?! I felt awful and relieved at the same time, and it's a lesson I'll never forget.
To this day, I still have never owned a fountain pen, and I'm 28 now. LOL
Yes god yes.
Uniball / Pilot Precise pens = AWESOME if they're the micro point.
I've also been getting into Pigma Graphic pens...
That orange pen is the prettiest of all you show.
I've only ever used Pelicans, never Montblancs, and I can't honestly say I'd know the difference...
I just noticed that there's a chinese company Selling a $12 knockoff on ebay
The pelican's have a clip that's a pelican's head (and bill), the montblancs have a star on the top.
Working at a fast-food restaurant inspires me to write.
Sounds odd, I know.But I meet so,so many different types of people there.People like sweet little old ladies and people who are always in a hurry and throw fits if their food isn't ready right away....
They inspire me to write.
sounds like a zine in the making!
2008-12-19 05:22 pm (UTC)
My first 'real' pen was a gift from my grandmother
I was in the second grade, and learning to write cursive. She got me a Parker ball point, red barrel, silver top. I still have it.
My first really good pen was a Waterman fountain pen that I bought at Harrod's in 1989. It's a reproduction of a ladies pen from the Edwardian era--rather small, it fits my hand perfectly and is balanced 'just so'.
When I was in junior high and high school, Mom passed down to me a couple Montblancs with squished nibs - I like FAT lines, they make my handwriting look less awful. Oma went to Germany every year for about 25 years, and would always take advantage of the (then) good exchange rate to pick up quality fountain pens at a reasonable price.
I've got two fountains pens, both fairly expensive, but of the sort which require an odd cartridge, so now I'm back in Canada, I've been unable to use them. Argh. I did love them so.
you can get anything on the intarwebz.
My favorite isn't pretty or prestigious, it's a pretty generic older (circa early 1960s) Parker cartridge pen, but it's more precious than the most expensive fountain pen on earth; my parents used it to sign the papers when they adopted me, & my adoptive mom gave it to me before she passed away.
My esteem for you grows, dear sir.. you're an amazing photographer, you know who Vitalij is AND you like fountain pens! Huzzah! ;)
what a terrific pen story. do you have the new vitalij album "12 months of the year"? i haven't seen one yet, but i'm excited about it.
2008-12-19 07:26 pm (UTC)
My first three fountain pens were Parker 45 convertibles (which may be in the photo immediately above this, unless I ramble on so long that eighteen other comments are there). I found the first one on the grounds of Stanford University in 1963, I think, when my father was there for the summer. I used turquoise ink, and green, and red, in that and a second one I bought some years later. The third one is mostly plugged due to an experience with Pelikan India Fount ink, the only decently black ink I ever found that even pretended to be safe in ordinary fountain pens.
In college I used a Rapidograph with 000 nib a lot. But mostly I'd given up handwriting long ago; I learned to type in 5th grade, and it was SO much faster and easier and more legible. Plus I could slip in a carbon set and have a copy of the letter for my files when I sent off the original. Also I was writing software, and doing that in block-print because lower-case wasn't available on the computers I was using back then, and because variable names were so short you had to use weird abbreviations, so you had to be able to read every letter unambiguously, so I mostly gave up cursive. The Rapidograph was great for small block-print; also for signing and labeling prints.
Sometime in the late 80s I got myself a Schaefer Targa with my name engraved on it, and used that pretty regularly through the end of the 90s. I find fountain pens aren't as happy in shoulder bags as they are in shirt pockets, because the bags lie on their sides a lot more. I've been thinking of bringing this back into service. It has the widest nib I've ever encountered (labeled "medium"), and is incredibly smooth and fast.
I've since acquired my father's old Parker 51. It leaks, I think it needs the bladder replaced (he was using it pretty much my whole life I believe).
I love black gel ink rolling writers with broad points. I hate wimpy black, and fountain pens and ball-point always have wimpy blacks. I think my favorite is the Uniball Gel Impact 1mm, although the Sanford Jetstream .7mm is amazingly flowing.
Yeah, I liked stationery stores as far back as I can remember.
Gosh, you've hit a near fetish of mine. I don't yet have my expensive, must have, one of a kind pen...but I love them.
Sometimes it could be the one the bank manager was using and I was coveting.(Which one did give their pen to me once. I love how it writes and feels in my hand.)
Sometimes it's the shiny silver pen that I had to purchase simply because it was pretty. (I don't know how to describe it—stretched out teardrop shape. Writes okay, but isn't my favorite for that.) They nailed me at the check out in Barnes and Noble with that. There it was, winking, calling to me...
I also have a thing for "special" pencils, and strange or not, found that certain characters preferred certain pens or pencils when I write by hand. (Certainly seems more flows when we have favorite writing untensils.)
Don't evne get me started on journals. I'm always wanting them.
you wrote a book, you should so totally buy yourself a pen. it's tax deductible.
I love pens too. I had a really nice fountain pen that was gifted to me by my school designated mentor in 9th grade. I loved that pen. Alas, it disappeared. I have a pen collection now but none are quite as fine as those you posted. I am still very territorial over them and whenever I send out letters or postcards I have to think about which one I want to use.
I've used fountain pens since I could write. Oddly, I can fence happily (and coach) for hours using my right hand and wrist, but it will rack me with pain to write for longer than ten minutes with a biro or it's ilk.
I used a scratchy Parker Vector for years but during uni I invested in a Parker Frontier. Cheap by most standards (if you can put it off a peg, it's cheap) but it was a surprisingly awesome little writer. I started off using good old Quink, but then invested in quite a few Diamine inks, which I've fallen in love with.
When I graduated and people asked what I wanted for a graduation present, I asked for pens :-) Not to be disappointed, perdita_x
's parents bought me a Cross ATX and my friends bought me a Parker Sonnet. My parents in what I can only presume was a lapse in judgement bought me a turned-wood rollerball, which while is very pretty to look at, is nearly useless to me.
I thought I'd take more to the Sonnet than the ATX after having had so much good experience with cheaper Parkers, but to be perfectly honest it's been a right royal pen in the ass (ho ho ho). It's had a nib replacement done, and two thorough checking overs by Parker technicians, but it refuses to flow properly. The first criticism was I wasn't applying enough pressure which negates my ability to use the pen in the first place, but even in a semi-rammed state it still refuses to work for me. It is currently resigned to sitting pretty on my desk (for it is an elegant pen).
The Cross ATX however was a completely different ball game. What a pen! Slimline in nature, fit's beautifully into a jacket pocket it's been a fantastic writer and causes me no pain whatsoever. It's not dropped a letter in it's entire use.
I was in the habit of keeping the ATX in my work bag with my venerable (for it is now getting on a bit) Fronteir, each charged with a different Diamine ink. I also kept in there my moleskine journal, something of a cross between a diary, a sketching ground and general place to security.
And then my work bag was nicked at the beginning of the month. Yes, there was other more valuable stuff in there (my Mac, MP3 player, wallet) but the bits that were non-replaceable were the fountain pens and the moleskine. I'm reluctant to replace them, since I'd be absolutely heartbroken again if the same thing ever happened to this bag.