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Wednesday, September 20, 2006
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