Fountain Pens

Love fountain pens? You'll like this blog devoted in full to collecting, repairing and enjoying these fabulous writing instruments. Waterman, Pelikan, Parker, Mont Blanc, Cross enthusiasts share their experience and knowledge about vintage and modern fountain pens.
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
Fountain pens manufacturing became one of Janesville's most lucrative enterprises. Most important in this sphere was the formation and gradual expansion of the Parker Pen Company. In 1891, George Parker incorporated the Parker Pen Company and began producing quality fountain pens - beginning with the "Lucky Curve" fountain pens. Over the next two decades, the company flourished and expanded, moving to larger accommodations on several occasions.

by 1920, the Parker Pen factory was built at East Court and Division streets. The factory was expanded in 1930 when employment reached over 700 workers. By 1950, the company had offices in Canada, France, England, Africa, and Scandinavia, and Parker Pens rivaled the best in the world.

At its peak, the Parker Pen company had a 212,000 square foot factory with over 2,000 workers, making it one of the largest employers in the county. By the 1980s, the production of cheap ball point pens and disposable ink pens had a negative impact on Parker Pen. Eventually the company was sold to overseas interests and the factory was shut down. However, Parker Pens are still used today for ceremonial bill and treaty signings at the White House.

The Rock County Historical Society collects and preserves a large collection of original Parker Fountain Pens - some dating back to the beginnings of the industry in Janesville. In addition, the Historical Society also maintains a substantial collection of other Parker Pen-related photographs, advertisements, and other related artifacts
Why write with a fountain pen?

I use fountain pens for three reasons:

(1) Comfort. A fountain pen trains you to write with light pressure and is much less tiring than a ballpoint, rollerball, or pencil.

(2) Legibility. Except for my signature, I no longer use cursive (longhand); my ordinary handwriting is a simplified form of italic calligraphy. It is every bit as fast as cursive and much easier to read.

The pen, with an italic (stub) point, helps.

(3) Low cost. Fountain pens need not be expensive, compared to other usable pens. (I exclude disposable ballpoints that require super-hard pressure and produce ugly writing.)

A cheap but serviceable rollerball or ballpoint pen costs at least $2, and you're likely to lose it or have it wander away within a month or two. That means that in two years, you'll spend perhaps $25 on pens. That same $25 will buy you a quite usable fountain pen and enough ink for several years.

Even a high-end fountain pen, allowing $200 for pen, ink, and possible repairs, is cheaper over its useful life (20 to 40 years) than cheap ballpoints. After all, $200 spread over 20 years comes to 19 cents per week.

Fountain pens