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.
Saturday, February 09, 2008
Fountain pens have started regaining the popularity they once enjoyed.
In this era of mass production, a $100 writing instrument needing refill might well seem an extravagance. Yet a good fountain pen will last a lifetime. It lends character to the signature of its user, and makes writing a much more thoughtful experience.

A fountain pen contains a reservoir of water based liquid ink. The ink is provided to the nib through a feed via a combination of gravity and capillary action. Older fountain pens had an internal rubber sac that was squeezed and released to create the suction needed. The more modern fountain pens can utilize a converter, or screw or piston mechanism, or a disposable ink cartridge.

Despite the perceived heightened prices in the modern niche, good quality steel and gold pens are available inexpensively today and there are even some disposable fountain pens available. The main reasons people seek fountain pens in recent times are for: ease of writing and comfort (some sufferers of arthritis are unable to use ballpoint pens, but can use fountain pens), healthy experience for heart (yes, doctors say writing with a fountain pen puts a relief on heart), expressive penmanship and calligraphy, enjoyable pleasure (enthusiasts make writing with fountain pens a spiritual activity), longevity, professional sketching, wide range of ink colours available, hobby collecting, and social status. Many users also mention that fountain pens retain a sense of timeless elegance, personalization and sentimentality that computers and ballpoint pens seem to lack. Fountain pens have also always been thought of as works of art.

Fountain pens are sometimes made of precious metals and jewels with artful designs; others are inlaid with lacquer designs in a process known as maki-e (Maki-e is lacquering, a centuries-old technique in which multi-layered patterns are drawn on the barrel and cap with urushi - sap from Japanese lacquer trees). An avid community of pen enthusiasts collect and use vintage and modern pens and also soak and exchange information about old and modern inks, ink bottles, and inkwells. Rare fountain pens are persistently sought of by collectors.

The cheap Sheaffer fountain pens that Natalie Goldberg recommended in her early writing books were fun, but aren't on the market anymore. It was pity to know that Sheaffer's production facilities were closed and auctioned by French-based company BIC, that made the market for cheap, highly affordable products.

Fountain pens, whether used in offices as a disposable fountain pen or an executive's favorite, are timeless. Used for calligraphy or art style writing, they can make memories last forever.

Although fountain pens are still in common use, a few modern manufacturers (Mont Blanc seems to be the pioneers in the segment of posh pens as upscale status symbols) depict the fountain pen as a collectible item or a social prestige symbol, rather than an everyday writing tool. In spite of this, a majority of modern fountain pen users use fountain pens as their primary writing instruments over ballpoints and rollerball pens for reasons related to writing ease, friendly penmanship, comfort, longevity and investment funds. It is a well-known fact that a considerable increase in price over time is typical of fountain pens.