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Thursday, October 04, 2007
How to Choose a Fountain Pen

So, you're not happy with your pen, eh? Or perhaps you thought that Parker in the window was the perfect one until it tossed its cookies at the very moment when you were signing that special contract. Either way, you seem to have come to the right place. Here is what to look for when choosing a fountain pen.

Size: A big barrel alleviates pressure on the fingers (read: you don't have to grip the barrel as tightly), but if you have small fingers, a big barrel will feel awkward.

Weight: Most of us like the initial feel of a heavy barrel, but if you are planning to write for a prolonged time, the extra weight will tire you faster.

Filling device: Most modern pens can be filled with converters / cartridges. This is great, as it seriously decreases the time taken to fill a pen. If you have difficulty in filling your fountain pen, click here.

Nib Type: People with small handwriting should choose a fine nib. People like bold writing should choose a medium nib. As broad nibs are difficult to find, I won't comment on these. You should basically balance the advantages of a nib with its disadvantages. A fine nib is not as smooth as a medium nib, but creates a finer line.

Remember these tips and you will get yourself a great fountain pen!

My grandfather was a R&D for Parker back in the 50s through 70s. He actually left all his pens to my father, but he gave me a few(about 50), the one I really hope my father gives me is the prototype Parker Space Fountain Pen. The actual pen used by astronauts is made by Fisher, and uses an internally pressurized ink well to write in Zero g, but when the space race was just starting up NASA held a bidding war among pen companies. Parker's engineers knew they needed a pressurized well but at the time couldn't make one. So they developed a small thumb pump that would be manually pumped to pressurize the well before writing. I guess NASA thought it was too much for their astronauts to pump the pen so they turned down the bid. A couple of years latter Fisher submitted their design and it was ultimately accepted.