Best fountain pens 2021: bring some timeless style to your desk
Instead of reaching for a ballpoint there’s nothing quite like using one of the best fountain pens to get your writing done. The whole experience is rewarding, from purchasing one and unpacking it through to using it for the first time. And, buy yourself a premium fountain pen and you should be able to get years of service too.
Parker is one of the go-to brands when it comes to fountain pens, but there’s actually a thriving marketplace out there with numerous manufacturers to choose from. And, what that means is you can find a fountain pen that suits not only your taste, but one that has an ergonomic design style to fit any kind of hand.
The Swiss-made Caran d’Ache Ecridor takes our top spot for its immediate wow-factor, amazing handling and characteristically Teutonic attention to detail, but if you’re looking closer to home, we recommend getting your hands on the special Kingsman edition of Conway Stewart’s Churchill pen.
While the basic concept of a fountain pen might seem pretty straightforward, the models we’ve found below offer up lots of cool variations on the theme too. There are barrels made from a variety of materials and tip options can be tailored to suit your writing style but you’ll want to look out for specific design and build points as you shop.
Keep an eye on weight and dimensions when you’re searching for a fountain pen. Next up, choose the pointy bit – the nib – to match your writing style. There are super fine nibs that range from XF through to broader options right up to 2B. The former is a good bet for finer, small handwriting while the latter is suitable for a more flamboyant style.
Nibs also come in a range of different materials, depending on the cost of the pen, how long you want it to last and your own personal preference. You’ll also want to consider refills and how much they might cost you over time. Nevertheless, a good quality fountain pen is still a cost-effective option as it’ll last you a lot longer than a whole pile of plastic ballpoints.
So, if you’re sitting in one of the best office chairs around, or perhaps standing at one of the best standing desks, then it’s time to also upgrade your pen.
A quality fountain pen makes a real style statement in the same way as a high-end watch does and, if you’re in the market for one, there’s never been a better time to buy. Here’s our pick of the best fountain pens.
The best fountain pens you can buy
1. Caran D’ache Ecridor Retro Palladium-Coated Fountain Pen
Looks great, writes beautifully – an all-round winner
Best for: Effortlessly beautiful
Nib material: Palladium-coated metal
Barrel material: Palladium-coated metal
Reasons to buy
+Handsome, unusual design+Writes beautifully
Reasons to avoid
-Grip can be a little slippery
What with how well they handle chocolate and cheese, we should’ve always left it up to the Swiss to make a thoroughly desirable and beautifully engineered fountain pen.
Coated in palladium and engraved all over with an intricate guilloche design (that’s ‘braided’, for those who don’t belong to some kind of pattern-making guild), it’s both tough and beautiful, and comes with a lifetime international guarantee to back it up. But how does it write? One reviewer commented that it writes as well as pens double its price, and many others raved about the balance, weight, and smooth line.
2. Montblanc Le Grand 146 Fountain Pen
Take a more superior handwriting line with this super stylish fountain pen
Best for: A lavish show of handwriting
Nib material: 14k gold with Rhodium inlay
Barrel material: Black resin
Reasons to buy
+High-end look and feel+Superbly made nib
Reasons to avoid
-You’d be very angry if you lost it
The Montblanc Le Grand 146 Fountain Pen is an indulgence for sure, but its high price tag rewards you with a dreamy handwriting journey. Much of that revolves around the nib, which is a 14k gold and Rhodium combination in the medium format that delivers a precise ink-to-paper experience.
Similarly, the body, though fashioned from more conventional black resin, feels nicely balanced and you can tell that this is a quality product. As you’d expect from Montblanc, the Le Grand 146 Fountain Pen comes lavishly presented in a gift box while they also offer a dazzling array of different ink colours to compliment it.
3. Kingsman + Conway Stewart Churchill Fountain Pen
Fan service meets secret service in this dashing collaboration
Best for: Distinguished details
Nib material: Iridium-tipped 18-carat gold
Barrel material: Acrylic
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
– The details will be lost on non-Kingsman fans
That you don’t even need to be a fan of the Kingsman films to appreciate the beauty of this pen says plenty about its design, but for die-hards, the little touches on this pen will be much appreciated.
Exclusive to Mr Porter, this collaboration with Conway Stewart, who provide the royal palaces and Number 10 with their writing instruments, features an iridium-tipped 18-carat gold nib and 9 carats elsewhere, including a cap band inscribed with Kingsman code ‘Oxfords not Brogues’, and is purported to be beautifully weighted for effortless and comfortable writing.
4. Waterman Fountain Pen
Enjoy classic fountain pen styling and a workmanlike delivery from this heavyweight
Best for: Those with bigger hands
Nib material: 23k gold-plated stainless steel
Barrel material: Lacquered brass
Reasons to buy
+Beefy design but well balanced+Good choice of different styles
Reasons to avoid
-Chunkier feel might not suit all tastes
This is a French-made classic fountain pen that packs the archetypal cigar shape that is so popular around the world and comes with a perfectly serviceable medium tip that makes it suitable for pretty much anyone. However, a fine nib variant is available for anyone wanting a more petite look on their paperwork.
We like the way that Waterman has designed this model in a raft of different variants, so you can choose from a pretty conventional black and gold look or opt for one of the wilder designs. Deluxe Blue Obsession, for example, looks like a great alternative. Arrives in a very nice presentation box too.
5. Parker Duofold Gold Trimmed Fountain Pen
Wonderfully weighted with an unmistakable distinction
Best for: Handcrafted
Nib material: 18-carat gold and rhodium
Barrel material: Resin
Reasons to buy
+Amazing handcrafted details+Well-weighted
Reasons to avoid
– Huge cap
21 individual pieces go into making Parker’s Duofold pen, each one put together by hand to make some very handsome pocket candy indeed. This craftsmanship shines through in the design, sure – there’s no mistaking the Art Deco vibes of the gold trim, or the contrasting ace design on the partially-covered rhodium nib – but also in the way it handles.
Reviewers loved the solid feel of the chunky barrel, and found it well weighted for writing; smooth, with just the right level of feedback.
6. Faber-Castell Pear Wood
For a bit of natural beauty in your pocket, look no further than this wooden fountain pen
Best for: Feels great
Nib material: Stainless steel
Barrel material: Pearwood
Reasons to buy
+Distinctive wooden barrel+Feels great to write with
Reasons to avoid
-A little tricky to unscrew nib
If you’ve grown tired of black and gold, this wood-cased fountain pen is set to shake things up a little. With just the right amount of bling courtesy of a mirror-finish cap, nib and collar, the bulk of the pen is given over to smooth pear wood with a beautiful natural grain that reviewers say feels wonderful to write with.
Coming with a cartridge/converter system, it gives the option for easier modern cartridges or use with an inkwell, and in both cases, reviewers were pleased to report a smooth writing experience.
7. Pilot Capless
A superb fountain pen for those with a delicate touch and an eye for subtle details
Best for: A fine writing style
Nib material: Rhodium-plated 18k gold
Barrel material: Birchwood
Reasons to buy
+Wonderful to hold and handle+Innovative edge to the design
Reasons to avoid
-Might be too fine for some
The main highlight of this Pilot fountain pen is its glorious wooden barrel, which feels excellent in your hand as well as being nicely balanced. This one comes with a fine Rhodium-plated 18k gold nib. As a result, it’s better suited to those with a featherlight touch, but it’s not scratchy to use as some at this end of the nib spectrum tend to be.
Originating from Japan means that it’s got an innovative edge too, with a mechanism that prevents the fountain pen from ever drying up. The Pilot also comes in a special gift box along with a cartridge refill so that you can hit the paper running so to speak.
8. Parker Sonnet
Or ode, or haiku, or limerick – what you write with it, and how it looks, is up to you
Best for: Comfort and customisability
Nib material: Stainless steel or 18k solid gold
Barrel material: Stainless steel
Reasons to buy
+Loads of colour options; choice of nibs+Smooth writing action
Reasons to avoid
-Finger grip prone to rusting
As stationery geeks, we think every fountain pen is beautiful in its own way (don’t laugh), but sometimes the choices can seem a little… well, safe. Refreshingly, this Parker pen takes a little walk on the wild side, offering seemingly endless options for customisation, including a choice of medium or fine nibs, three nib materials, and over 15 colour, print and trim combos. Most importantly, its action is smooth as butter – what’s not to love?
9. Cross Century II
Lightweight, leak proof, and legendary
Best for: Lightweight
Nib material: Gold-plated
Barrel material: Chrome and gold plate
Reasons to buy
+Lightweight and slender+Lifetime mechanical warranty
Reasons to avoid
-Casing prone to fingerprints
Building on the success of the original Cross Century pen, the Century II beefs up the profile and adds a contrasting silver and gold colourway to create a new classic.
What users loved about the original is still here in full force, though. They commend the leak-proof design, immune to all kinds of bumps and jiggles in-transit; the beautifully smooth writing action, and the longevity of the build, with one long-time user noting the impressive lack of wear on the gold plating.
10. Dryden Luxury Fountain Pen
Enjoy a dependable writing experience from this surprisingly upmarket budget fountain pen
Best for: Those on a budget
Nib material: Steel
Barrel material: Plastic
Reasons to buy
+Writes well using cartridges or liquid ink+Looks deceptively upmarket for the price
Reasons to avoid
-Might feel too light for some
Want to make a style statement without spending the big bucks? The Dryden Luxury Fountain Pen ticks all of the boxes when it comes to delivering a great all-round real ink experience. However, it comes at a fraction of the price, which is why it has become a best seller.
The design is classic, functional and there’s a medium tip so it’s perfect as a gift or for anyone who doesn’t have a specific preference. The other bonus with this fountain pen is that it comes with an ink converter, which means that you can use it with both cartridges or liquid ink. In fact, as a complete package this one is hard to beat at the lower end of the market.
11. Ted Baker 24k Fountain Pen
Beautifully blingy, this rose gold fountain pen brings joy to all jots
Best for: Eye-catching design
Nib material: Gold-plated steel
Barrel material: Rose gold plated steel
Reasons to buy
+Looks fantastic+Even ink flow
Reasons to avoid
-Presentation box isn’t the best
A bit of a departure from our previous pick, this pen is unashamedly showy, but that’s certainly no bad thing.
Plated in 24-carat gold, it backs up its ultra-luxurious look with what reviewers report to be a well-balanced, even writing experience with great flow and no blotchy nightmares from the iridium nib. But if we’re being totally honest with ourselves, the writing is just a bonus: here it’s all about the look, and in mirror-finish ultra-trendy rose gold, it’s a very good look indeed.
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Best Fountain Pens in 2021 [Buying Guide]
This product guide was written by GearHungry Staff
Last Updated March 16, 2018
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Despite the undeniable practicality of a ballpoint pen in today’s world, it is difficult to replace the classical elegance of the traditional fountain pen. Each pen is an extremely personal writing implement. As you wear it in, it molds itself to the way that you write, becoming a truly unique representation of your writing style.
To help you find that perfect pen for special occasions and every day use, we have looked at ten of the best fountain pens on the market, with differing designs and functions to fit every writing style.
The Best Fountain Pen
Pilot Metropolitan Collection Fountain Pen 91107
The Pilot Metropolitan Collection Fountain Pen provides a clear distinction that would make anyone’s writing stand out. Unlike other heavy pens with sloppy presentations and untidy ink spurts, this sleek pen sports a classy metal body that’s still light on the hands. Designed with exquisite style and sturdy excellence, this fountain pen definitely gets a big tick when it comes to its outstanding look and clean finish. Adorned with black sophistication, it makes the perfect desk pen for those important documents that require the smooth finesse only a pen in its class can deliver.
The writing quality it delivers is practically excellent; it glides over the paper with a marble elegance that makes writing quite a breeze. Equipped with sufficient ink that won’t easily dry out, the Pilot Fountain pen ensures an uninterrupted and non-skip glide when writing. It comes with a pre-filled cartridge that is set to last a while and also includes a converter that can be re-filled with a choice ink. Promising stellar precision and a build that feels great on the fingers, there’s no doubt about the writing quality that this Japanese tip pen guarantees. From the tip of this pen to the end of the barrel is a clear-cut, affordable premium quality pen that definitely puts the ‘F’ infancy. For more amazing products like this, check out our guide to the best gel pens.
Premium matte finish
- Weight0.64 ounces
Lamy Safari Fountain Pen Charcoal
The exquisite design of the Safari Fountain Pen by Lamy has a wonderfully unique grip and a well-designed ABS plastic barrel. Lamy pens perfectly combine style and function, putting a lot of emphasis on the practicality of the writing instruments that they produce.
With a charcoal body and a steel nib with black coating, the Lamy is undeniably an original choice, standing out from the other fountain pens available. Each pen comes with a blue ink cartage included and are also compatible with Z24 cartridge converters. If you enjoy fountains with a difference, this is a wonderful option to go for.
Made of sturdy ABS plastic
Lamy T 10 Cartridge
Black-coated steel nib
- Weight0.96 ounces
Pilot MR Retro Pop Collection Fountain Pen
The second additional from Pilot on our list, the MR Retro Pop Collection Fountain Pen, is a fine addition to any collection. The design of the fountain pen really stands out, forgoing the classical elegant look, and instead creating a pen that is truly memorable with a fun retro design.
The grey finish with hound’s tooth accent is one of the more understated designs in the MR Retro Pop collection, with multiple different alternative designs to choose from; featuring varying accents, and bold, fun colors. With so many designs available in the range, it is easy to customize the style of pen to your tastes.
Each Pilot features a beautiful matt finish, with the same high-quality nib made from stainless steel, and a brass barrel. The MR Retro Pop Collection Fountain Pens are designed for use with either bottle ink or ink cartridges, with a black ink cartridge coming included with the pen, along with a squeeze converter for use with Iroshizuku ink bottles.
Middle ring design
Premium matte finish
Comes in a nice gift box
- Weight3.2 ounces
Parker Jotter Fountain Pen
We hear so much about how we should choose our words wisely, and it’s a great piece of advice. With so many pen brands in the market; from ballpoint to fountain pens, it’s equally advisable to choose your pens wisely. For official use and even for leisure, a good pen delivers ease of use, durability as well as that pure boost of confidence and satisfaction when writing. This is the very embodiment of the Parker Jotter Fountain Pen; it may not have the looks of a regular fountain pen, but it definitely writes like one. The well-crafted design ensures a light feel on the hands, with a smooth metal body that’s not a burden to the fingers.
When it comes to design, the Parker brand definitely put a lot of thought into it; from well-accented shiny trims to the signature arrowhead clip at the top. The feather tip nib ensures every word is finely penned down and every thought gains meaningful and artistic expression on paper. Included in the cartridge is Parker’s high-quality ink that is sure too last for quite the time. It’s no doubt the Parker brand keeps excelling with the exquisite design of their pens, even in this computer age, their brand which has been standing for over a century keeps wowing us with exquisite designs and phenomenal performance.
Slim and durable design
Stainless steel barrel
1 large cartridge of water-based blue ink
Comes in an elegant gift box
- Weight2.08 ounces
Pilot Varsity Fountain Pens
A premium quality pen that just glides across the surface of a page or paper with uninterrupted, smooth and buttery grace; isn’t that the dream? This is what the Pilot Varsity Assorted Colour Inks 7-Pack Pouch Fountain Pen provides with not just one pen but more than half a dozen. For quite a bargain price, these phenomenally designed fountain pens come at the price of one. Every individual pen is sufficiently equipped with durable housing and sufficient ink to last a good amount of time. The slim body proves an easy grasp, making writing quite an easy task, they equally sport a transparent body that allows you to see the level of the ink per time. It may not rock the sleek and elegant body fountain pens are known for, but when it comes to quality, durability, and performance, these pens are in the frontline.
The liquid ink system ensures the ink flows smoothly from the nib promising no spurts, smudges or dampening of the paper. The ink dries out fast leaving a neat and fancy finish on the paper. As mentioned before, these are a really affordable option for high-quality fountain pens that can be used every day, without the technical hassle of refilling the cartridge regularly. Perfect your writing with the Pilot Varsity Fountain pen and experience the true joy of writing with a top-notch, affordable set of fountain pens.
Fashionable disposable pens
Visible ink supply system
Retro style barrel
Real fountain tip nib
- Weight10.4 ounces
Cross Townsend Medalist Fountain Pen
Cross is the all-time favored fountain pen brand, and when you look at the sheer luster of this beauty, it’s clear as to why. Plated in 23K gold with an ultra-fine nib, this masterful piece of equipment drips with status and style, whether it’s resting on your desk or being handed-off to a colleague for a moment, it’s bound to leave a lasting impact. Cross brought over one dozen styles to the table, so you can choose from your favorite.
Polished chrome makes up most of the case, while a hand-finished 18K gold nib adds a regal feel to every note and contract you sign-off on. You get two black ink cartridges included, as well as a deluxe gift box for storage and showcasing. Subtle, high-end and built to withstand the test of time, Cross Townsend Medalist Fountain Pen stands as a cornerstone to their success and an extension of yours.
23 Karat gold plates
Hand-finished sturdy 18 karat gold nib
Comes in a deluxe gift box
- Weight1.12 ounces
Pilot Vanishing Point Collection Retractable
Another outstanding offering from Pilot, the Vanishing Point Collection Retractable Fountain Pen, offers the convenience of a ballpoint with the elegance of penmanship from a beautifully constructed tool. The retractable nib is a winning feature and sees the nib able to easily retract back into the body of the pen, much like in the standard ballpoint pen designs.
The modern design of black carbonesque highlighted with rhodium accents, is a standout choice, with further options available for brighter and more classical styles. Medium, broad, and fine nibs are available, crafted in 18 karat gold. The luxurious fountain pen will be an outstanding addition to any collection, featuring both practicality, and elegance with premium materials used from the metal body to the golden nib.
Perfect for writing cursive
18 karat gold rhodium-coated nib
Includes one pre-filled cartridge and one converter
Retracts totally when not in use
- Weight3.2 ounces
Pilot Metropolitan Collection Fountain Pen 91111
Pilot specialize in all different types of writing equipment, from the modern gel roller, to mechanic pencils, and of course, high-quality fountain pens. The Metropolitan Collection Fountain Pen combines modern convenience and style with some of truly classical features from the traditional fountain pen.
The pen itself is built from premium materials, with a brass barrel and a nib crafted from stainless steel. There are two types of nib available; medium or fine, which allows you to select a style that fits your writing requirements. The main barrel is sleek and attractive, with a matte finish that creates a beautifully refined look.
One of the best features of the Metropolitan Collection Fountain Pen is the addition of the press plate converter, which comes included with the pen, along with a black ink cartridge. The press plate converter allows for an easy transition between ink cartridge use, and ink bottle use – giving you full control over how you use your new instrument from our best fountain pens guide.
The ArtPen, designed by rOtring, is an addition to our list that is a little different. Instead of classical designs, and traditional styling, the ArtPen has a primary focus on practicality and variance. The rOtring features a nib similar to that of a traditional quill, but the style and design of a fountain instrument.
There are multiple types and styles of nib available, each of which is crafted from stainless steel, and features an easy replacement design. The nibs can be rotated through all the varying ArtPen designs produced by rOtring, for incredible practicality and ease of use.
Whether you are just starting out and learning how to write with a fountain pen or are seeking a writing implement to enhance your artwork and further your skills in calligraphy, the rOtring Fountain Pen, ArtPen is a fantastic choice.
For a fountain pen that is crafted from high-quality materials, the Scribe Sword Fountain Pen is an outstanding choice. The Scribe Sword is a wonderful combination of antique styling mixed with contemporary design, combining traditional delicate accents, with a beautifully sleek and well-crafted finish.
The pen is not just beautiful, but highly practical for everyday use, whether you are experienced with fountain pens or not. The ink flow is consistent, and the balance of weight is ideal for finer writing. The medium precision nib is customized to glide across the paper, ensuring that you get the best possible experience during use.
The Lamy 2000 Fountain Pen is at the premium end of our list of top fountain pens and another spectacular addition from Lamy. The pen itself is exceptionally high-quality, weighing more than many similar pens. Despite the weight, it is easy to use for prolonged periods of time.
Crafted from a mixture of fiberglass and stainless steel, the Lamy is a luxury writing implement from body to nib. The nib is available in extra fine, fine, medium, and broad, for varying writing styles and needs. Perhaps the most outstanding feature of this luxury fountain pen is the 14-karat gold nib with a platinum coating – an assurance that you’re getting nothing but the highest quality of writing implement. The fountain pen is a highly worthwhile investment for those who want a high-quality pen with excellent all-around performance. Make sure you also check our guide to the best calligraphy pens.
Faber-Castell E-Motion Fountain Pen
Designed by Faber-Castell, the E-Motion Fountain Pen is created for ease of use, without compromising on the quality of the finish or the beautiful styling. The cap and clip are colored in pure black, making for a stylish and modern finish. The pen is heavy and well-balanced, feeling substantial when you use it, but without making it difficult to use for prolonged lengths of time.
Unlike many of the other fountain pens in this higher price region, the elegance of the Faber-Castell the E-Motion Fountain Pen in unstated, with the diamond-engraved barrel serving both as a decorative feature and an aid to make the pen easier to use. If you’re more accustomed to the style of ballpoint pens, then this pen is especially wonderful, with plenty of similarities in design.
With a quality fountain pen like the Faber-Castell E-Motion, you have ultimate control over the way your writing appears, with the pen allowing you to change the color, thickness, and calligraphy, with ease after a bit of practice. While there are plenty of benefits to writing with a fountain pen, you need to make sure that you pick a style, and nib, that’s right for you, and practical for your needs- this is a great all-rounder.
A technical spectacle for all fountain writing instrument enthusiasts to adore: the Diamond 580 comes with a piston ink-filling system, meaning you don’t have to replace entire cartridges at a time. Seeing this in action is almost as satisfying as writing with it, from the smooth glide, right on down to the case and how it operates under your influence.
One unique feature is that this can be completely disassembled during the filling process, so you can experience first-hand how the intricacies of your fountain pen work. Fitted with an engraved tip and comfortable grip, you’ll turn your signature into an art piece, and your penmanship into a gift from God. If nothing else, premiering it on your desk is an excellent talking point.
Things to Consider When Purchasing a Fountain Pen
Material – The material used on the barrel and tip vary for fountain pens, while some barrels are made of metal, others are made from strong plastic material. The nibs are either made from luxurious gold tips or a less pricey yet equally effective steel tip.
Size – Fountain pens range from slim models to much more heavy and broader models. Depending on the preference, some people prefer smaller and less weighty fountain pens to the bigger models.
Weight – Depending on the material used, metal pens tend to be heavier than their plastic counterparts. If you don’t fancy heavy pens, there are slimmer and more narrow options that are lighter on the hands.
Capped or Retractable – Fountain pens use either screw-on or snap-on caps. This preserves the ink feed and the nib from drying out or being exposed for too long. A retractable pen comes with the system at the base that presses in to release the nib and pressed out to take it back in. For those who are not fans of capped fountain pens, retractable models would definitely suffice.
Nib Tip Size – The nib tip size comes in 3 different sizes; fine, medium and broad. This determines just how slim or thick the pen will write. Fine nibs deliver lines that are quite similar to what a ballpoint pen would, just more curvy and artistic. The medium and broad nibs deliver thicker lines you’d find on a 0.7mm lead pencil or thick HB pencils.
Fountain Pen FAQ
Q: What are the benefits of a fountain pen?
A: Fountain pens deliver a smooth and artistic writing experience that definitely improves and perfects handwriting.
Q: What’s the difference between a fountain pen and a ballpoint?
A: Fountain pens promise a smooth, thick and calligraphic writing that looks effortlessly fancier than what you see with ballpoint pens. They use liquid ink as opposed to the thicker, oil-based ink ballpoint pens use.
Q: Why are fountain pens expensive?
A: Fountain pens have always been known to be quite pricey because of the high-quality materials used in making one. However, there are various affordable options, some of which we have included in our list that are extremely affordable, yet still, deliver a quality writing experience.
8 reasons why fountain pens are making a comeback
With the advent of ballpoint pens and rollerball pens, many people were tempted by the convenience of these new options and therefore moved away from using fountain pens. After all, ballpoints and rollerballs don’t tend to leak like old fountain pens did, and cheaper versions were and are disposable meaning there’s no need to carry refills or separate ink of any kind.
However, fountain pens are now making a big comeback, with even those who haven’t used one before being tempted by them. Why is this? We take a look at the main reasons for this switch below.
- Fountain pens are comparatively eco-friendly, especially if you refill them with bottled ink instead of using disposable plastic cartridges. With good care and maintenance, a quality fountain pen can last a lifetime, and inks usually come in glass bottles which can either be refilled or recycled after use.
- Fountain pens are also an excellent economical option, thanks to their eco-friendly aspects — you keep the same pen for years and occasionally have to buy some bottled ink to use in it. While a disposable ballpoint or rollerball might seem cheap to buy at the time, they won’t last you long — a fountain pen is a solid, value-for-money choice for the long term.
- Fountain pens can be successfully used with minimal pressure, meaning they are an excellent choice for those who need to do a lot of writing. They are a great option for journaling, essay-writing, letter-writing and more. Due to the lack of pressure required they’re also ideal for those who suffer with hand cramping or fatigue when writing by hand.
- Fountain pens are highly customisable and there is a wide choice of pens, nibs and inks available. Whether you want a super-fine nib from Japan, an italic nib for calligraphy, or a broad nib for a bolder script, you can swap and change to your heart’s content. Regarding inks, if your pen has a converter, you can choose from hundreds of bottled inks in an incredible spectrum of colours and shades. If you use ink cartridges, there is still a wide choice, but nowhere near as many as bottled.
- Writing with a fountain pen can make your handwriting look a lot neater than it would with a ballpoint of rollerball pen.
- Being seen to use a fountain pen in work is often respected.
- Using a fountain pen can be an interesting conversation starter.
- Modern fountain pens don’t leak like the fountain pens of the past did, making them safe to transport without fear!
So, as you can see above, there are many reasons for people to switch back to fountain pens or give them a go for the first time. But where do you begin if you’re a novice? Ask those in the know, or start with a basic, standard fountain pen and then work out what you like and don’t like from there.
Enjoy your fountain pen journey! Got a question about fountain pens, or one fountain pen in particular? Get in touch today.
The cheap pen that changed writing forever
Heroes of Design | Design
The cheap pen that changed writing forever
(Image credit: Borja Buenafuente/BBC)
Fountain pens were a stylish statement but messy and impractical. Their replacement was a stroke of design genius perfectly in time for the era of mass production.
On 29 October 1945, the New York City branch of Gimbels department store unveiled a new product. Billions upon billions would follow in its wake.
Gimbels was the first to sell a new kind of ink pen, the design of which had taken several decades to come to fruition. The pens, made by the Reynolds International Pen Company, promised an end to the messy mishaps users of fountain pens encountered – leaking ink, smudges and pooling ink blots.
The new ballpoint pens did away with this, using a special viscous ink which dried quickly and didn’t leave smudges. At the heart of it, the rolling ball in the nib – and gravity – ensured a constant, steady stream of ink that didn’t smear or leave solid pools of ink on the page.
The new ballpoint was clean and convenient. What it wasn’t was cheap.
The new Reynolds ballpoint cost $12.50 – convert that to 2020 money and it’s more than $180 (£138. 50). Today, if you were buying your pens in bulk, from stack-‘em-high superstores, you could end up with more than 1,000 for the same price.
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The pen was the first to go on sale in the US, but it was by no means the first ballpoint pen – the head of the US company that made it had in fact discovered a version during a business trip in South America. Its evolution is, in many ways, an example of a game-changing design waiting until outside factors – in this case the rise of plastics and mass-production infrastructure, and a brilliant marketeer – allowed it to achieve its full potential.
Loud, then quiet
The creation of the ballpoint pen is usually credited to a Hungarian-Argentinian inventor László Bíró, whose name inspired a catch-all term for modern ballpoints. But it is, in fact, a lot older.
Fountain pens were messy and needed regular refilling (Credit: Borja Buenafente/BBC)
An American, John J Loud, received the first patent for a ballpoint pen back in 1888. Loud, a lawyer and occasional inventor, wanted an ink pen which would be able to write on rougher materials such as wood and leather as well as paper. His masterstroke was the revolving steel ball, which was held in place by a socket. In his 1888 patent filing, he wrote:
“My invention consists of an improved reservoir or fountain pen, especially useful, among other purposes, for marking on rough surfaces-such as wood, coarse wrapping-paper, and other articles where an ordinary pen could not be used.”
Loud’s pen was indeed able to write on leather and wood, but it was too rough for paper. The device was deemed to have no commercial value and the patent eventually lapsed.
Various inventors tried to improve on Loud’s design in the coming decade, but none were able to take it into production until Bíró in the 1930s. A journalist in Hungary, Bíró used fountain pens daily and was very familiar with their drawbacks.
“He was used to the fountain pen which was very leaky and left ink on your hands and smudged and he was very frustrated by it,” says Gemma Curtin, a curator at London’s Design Museum.
Simply adding fountain pen ink to a ballpoint pen was not the solution, however. The ink itself needed to be rethought.
László turned to his brother, Győrgy, a dentist who was also a talented chemist. László had realised the ink used in fountain pains was too slow to dry and needed something more like the ink used on newspapers. Győrgy came up with a viscous ink which spread easily but dried quickly. What’s more, the pen used far less ink than the spotting, dripping fountain pens.
“Other people had thought of it before, but it was down to him, working with his brother – who was a good chemist – and getting the texture of the ink right,” says Curtin. “It is very like printer’s ink, and it doesn’t smudge.”
The principle at the heart of the ballpoint pen mimics the action of a roll-on deodorant – gravity and the force applied smear the rolling ball with a continuous stream of ink as the ball rolls along the writing surface When the pen isn’t used, the ball sits tight against the end of the ink reservoir, preventing air entering and drying out the ink. Most often, ballpoint pens run out of ink long before they dry out.
László Bíró was the first to come up with a practical ballpoint, which was easier to use than a fountain pen (Credit: Borja Buenafente/BBC)
László received a patent for his new pen in Britain in 1938, but World War Two put paid to plans to market his new invention. As László and his brother were Jews, they decided to flee Europe in 1941, and emigrated to Argentina. There, László returned to his new invention, helped by a fellow escapee, Juan Jorge Meyne.
The first “birome”, as it became known in Argentina, was released in 1943, while war was still raging in Europe and the Pacific. The design piqued the interest of the Royal Air Force (RAF), who put in an order for 30,000: the pens were able to be used by aircrew at high altitude unlike fountain pens, which tended to leak because of the pressure changes. Otherwise, the original pen was little-known outside its South American home – the few original models current all for sale on online auctions all hail from Argentina.
In 1945, two US companies – the Eversharp Co and Eberhard Faber Co – teamed up to licence the new pen for the US market, having spent half a million dollars ($7.2m or £5.6m in today’s money) to sew up the rights to North and Central America. But they were too slow on the draw. American businessman Milton Reynolds was visiting Buenos Aires and was impressed with the new pen – he bought several, and on return to America set up the Reynolds International Pen Company to market a new design.
Crucially, the Reynolds design had enough changes to sidestep László Bíró’s patent, and was the first to go on sale on October of that year. It was, almost instantly, a must-have accessory. As Time magazine reported, “thousands of people all but trampled one another last week to spend $12.50 each for a new fountain pen”, noting that the new pen only needed refilling once every two years. Gimbels had ordered 50,000 of the new pens and had sold 30,000 of them by the end of the first week. According to Time, Gimbels made more than $5. 6m in sales ($81m or £62m in 2020) from the new pen in the first six months.
László Bíró’s pen gained the interest of Britain’s RAF during World War Two (Credit: Borja Buenafente/BBC)
The biro might now be regarded as an everyday, almost disposable object, but it’s worth taking a step back and appreciating the no-mess simplicity of its operation, says Curtin. “It’s one of those design stars that everybody loves.”
The first generation of ballpoint pens mimicked the style of fountain pens. They were made of metal and intended to be refilled with ink. The Reynolds pen made a big point out of its ability to write for two years without needing to be refilled, worlds away from the experience of using a fountain pen. Ballpoint pens might not have had quite the bookish cachet of fountain pens, but they were still seen as a desirable object. If you wanted a truly cheap writing implement you used a pencil.
But this created a problem. So many companies – including Eversharp and the fountain pen maker Parker – jumped on the ballpoint bandwagon that the market became saturated. People bought refills, but they didn’t buy more pens.
The masterstroke which would change the ballpoint pen forever came not from the US but from France. Michel Bich was an Italian-born French industrialist who ran a company making ballpoint pens. “No one understood better than Marcel Bich that potent 20th-century alchemy of high volume/low cost,” ran his obituary in the UK’s Independent newspaper when he died in 1994. “To this formula he added the magic catalyst of disposability. He invented nothing, but understood the mass market almost perfectly.”
Bich realised the ballpoints so far had been premium products – an alternative designed to be regularly replaced could be a lot cheaper. Bich acquired a dormant factory near Paris and set about creating his new company, Societe Bic. An advertising executive had suggested the industrialists shorten his surname to create an instantly recognisable three-letter trademark. The company’s trademark logo, the Bic Boy, had a smooth featureless orb as a face – a reference to the metal ball in the point of the pen.
“The first ballpoint pens in the UK cost around 55 shillings (£82.50/$107.50 in 2020 prices),” says Curtin. “One of Bic’s biros only cost you a shilling. It combined functionality with affordability.”
The new pen had an equally dramatic effect on the act of writing itself, says David Sax, the Canadian journalist who wrote the book The Revenge of Analog. “The ballpoint pen was the equivalent of today’s smartphone. Before then, writing was a stationary act that had to be done in a certain environment, on a certain kind of desk, with all these other things to hand that allowed you to write.
Marcel Bich was the first to turn the ballpoint pen into a cheap, mass-produced product (Credit: Borja Buenafuente/BBC)
“What the ballpoint pen did was to make writing something that could happen anywhere. I’ve written in snow and rain, on the back of an ATV and in a boat at sea and in the middle of the night,” says Sax. Biros don’t drain batteries, they don’t require plugging in in the middle of nowhere, and even the tightest pocket can accommodate them. “It only fails if it runs out of ink,” Sax adds.
The ballpoint pen is testament, Sax says, to one of the tenets of “really great design – it almost disappears. If the ballpoint didn’t exist and you launched one today on Kickstarter, it would be the biggest thing ever,” he says.
One major reason Bich’s cheap and cheerful pen took off was thanks to changes in production techniques. Plastic mass production allowed the new ballpoint pens to be made very cheaply. Over the following decades, the pens have become even cheaper, without compromising on their ability to write. “The basic, cheap example made by Bic works as well as it did 50 or 60 years ago,” Sax says.
Author Philip Hensher, who also runs a creative writing course at Bath Spa University in the UK, wrote a 2012 book on handwriting called The Missing Ink in which he praised the ballpoint pen. He says Bic not only found the way to produce vast quantities cheaply, but crucially hit upon a winning design right from the start. “If you have a product that needs no improvement – only tiny changes have been made to the Bic pens since the 1960s – you probably don’t have a lot of overheads.”
Produced since 1950, the Cristal has sold in mind-boggling quantities: it notched up 100 billion sales by 2006. It is such an everyday object that its strengths are easy to overlook.
The hexagonal body makes it easy to grip; the “transparent shaft that allows you to see the ink running out”, Hensher says. A tiny hole in the body equalises the air pressure both inside and outside the pen. Then there is the ink, drying in a couple of seconds instead of the 10s of seconds. “To be perfectly honest, the Bic pen is just such a miracle you don’t even think about it anymore.
“You have to look, too, at the effect the Bic biro had on Africa,” Hensher says. “It was marketed by Bic as something very modern. It really transformed African society. There just wasn’t a way for people to write easily before the Bic.”
The billions upon billions of cheap ballpoint pens made by various manufacturers since the 1950s have another lasting legacy, however, and this one is less heralded. Their disposable nature has created an enormous amount of plastic waste. More than 1.6 billion are thought to be thrown out every year in the US alone.
More than 100 billion Bic Cristals were sold by the year 2006 (Credit: Borja Buenafuente/BBC)
“Those 100 billion ballpoint pens sold are probably all still in landfill,” says Curtin, noting that in most cases the pens’ bodies themselves are perfectly able to be reused again and again. “Just because the ink has run dry, we throw the whole thing out. That’s quite strange.”
Ballpoint pen manufacturers are aware of this plastic pollution crisis. Bic themselves make a range of pens produced from 74% recycled plastic. More producers are promoting the idea of refills for plastic pens, and not just the metal ones that come with premium price tags. Other pen manufacturers have replaced the plastic body with tubes made of cardboard, or metal – the very material the first premium ballpoints were made of more than seven decades ago.
Our digital-first culture might celebrate screen over paper, but Sax believes the cheap ballpoint is here to stay. “When people in the tech world talk about outdated tech, they are never arguing that pens are outdated. Even Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk will have a bunch of pens sitting around.”
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Fountain Pen Myths and Misconceptions
There are many fountain pen myths and misconceptions. Some people are afraid to use a fountain pen or just don’t know much about them. These myths may make using a fountain pen for the first time intimidating. We hope to dispel some of the most common myths and help you feel more comfortable using a fountain pen.
Fountain Pen Myth 1 – Fountain Pens Leak
Fountain pens do not leak. If you have a leaking fountain pen then there is something wrong with your pen. You may notice some ink on the nib. This is called “nib creep” but most pens will not have this issue. Some minor ink on the nib is normal and not to be worried about.
Fountain pens use gravity and capillary action to feed the ink from the ink chamber, whether that is an ink cartridge, converter or piston. The ink flows through the feed section of the pen, through the breather hole or vent hole where the nib splits, and down to the tip of the pen. Fountain pens function as a controlled leak. As pressure is put on the nib of the pen the tines separate and allows the ink to flow. The pen will not leak or release ink unless there is pressure put on the nib of the pen.
Fountain Pen Myth 2 – Fountain Pens Cannot Be Taken on Airplanes
Have you ever opened a bottle of liquid after traveling and air or the liquid runs out? This is caused due to the pressure variation in the altitude change. This same pressure variation can cause fountain pens to leak if you a not careful.
Fountain pens, however, can be taken on airplanes with proper care. Some simple precautions can keep your pen from leaking. We recommend you follow the same instructions with electronic devices. You can always flush the pen and remove the ink but if you want to use the pen make sure you keep the nib of the pen upright during takeoff and landing where the greatest pressure variation occurs. This allows air flow into the pen. If the pen is pointed downward the pressure can push ink out of the pen. Once you are at cruising altitude you can safely take out your pen and use it.
Fountain Pen Myth 3 – Fountain Pens Can Shoot Ink and Squirt Your Friends
You may have seen a cartoon where one character shoots another using a fountain pen and drenches him in ink. Can fountain pens really shoot ink? The answer is yes and no. It depends on the fill device on the pen as to how much pressure the pen can generate to expel the ink quickly. The fill mechanisms however are designed to draw ink into the pen and not to expel it quickly. You may be able to get a small amount of ink to squirt out of the pen but fountain pens will not shoot ink at great distances and the will certainly not expel ink to drench your friend. There is not a clear path through the feed mechanism of the pen the ink pretty much just dribbles out. You would have to hold the pen right within an inch of them to even hit them with any ink. The only way this would be possible to modify your fountain pen with a high pressure syringe or other device.
Fountain Pen Myth 4 – If Someone Uses Your Fountain Pen it Damages the Nib
It is commonly thought that letting others use your fountain pens will alter the nib on the fountain pen. It is fact that over time a fountain pen nib will wear down and mold to your writing style. Fountain pen nibs, however, are made to last for decades and this process takes hours and hours of writing to even alter the nib in the slightest degree. Letting someone borrow your pen to jot down a quick note will not change the nib configuration or ruin it. Simply letting another person write with your pen will not ruin the nib. Now if you have an expensive pen and you don’t want someone to walk away with it or damage it that is another issue.
Fountain Pen Myth 5 – Left Handers Cannot Use Fountain Pens
The issue with left handers and fountain pens is two fold. First, fountain pens with more flexible nibs can be challenging for leftys. Most modern fountain pens come with rigid nibs and some brands even develop nibs specifically designed for left handed writers such as the Sailor 1911 Lefty fountain pen. The second issue with left handed writers and fountain pens is the direction you write. For instance, English is written from left to right. This can cause left handed writers to drag through the drying ink with their hand. Some left handed writers use an “overwriter” writing style so their writing hand is above the drying ink. This keeps the hand out of the ink but the nib may need to be tuned for this writing style. You should also consider a faster drying ink such as the Sailor Kiwo-Guro black pigmented ink or the Sailor Sei-Boku blue/black pigment ink (also known as Nano inks).
Fountain Pen Myth 6 – Fountain Pens Make You Write Slower
There is nothing within the design of a fountain pen that makes it write slower than another type of pen. I do not notice that I write any slower or faster using a fountain pen as opposed to a ballpoint pen. It is possible however that some writers slow down and force themselves to write better when using a fountain pen which leads into the next myth on the list.
Fountain Pen Myth 7 – Fountain Pens Make You Write Better
There is no pen that will magically make your writing better. Regardless of the pen, you are still the one doing the writing. Because you do not have to wrestle with the pen your writing may slightly improve or if you use a calligraphy pen and know what you are doing your writing may be fancier. One pen may perform better than another pen. Depending on your writing style there may be different types of pens and inks that work better for you. All in all one pen to another will not improve your writing.
Fountain Pen Myth 8 – You Must Use the Same Ink Brand as Your Fountain Pen
The manufacturers ink is guaranteed to work with their pens without any issues but this doesn’t mean you have to use the same ink brand as your pen. There is a multitude of different ink brands and colors. They range in price as well as quality. Some inks flow better than others. Experiment and try different inks with your pen. Find a brand that you like, one that has the color selection, the writing quality and the price you can afford.
Fountain Pen Myth 9 – Fountain Pens Are Expensive
There are many fountain pens that are expensive. Some are limited edition pens, others are made from precious metals. There are also many fountain pens that are inexpensive and won’t break the bank. Even though these pens are a bit more than a disposable pen they are not more expensive over time. Fountain pens are meant to be used over and over again. As you refill the pens over time you re-coop the initial cost of the pen.
Here are some great starter fountain pens that are less expensive:
Fountain Pen Myth 10 – Fountain Pens Require Skill
Most fountain pens are designed for general writing and do not require any more skill than any other pen. Simply keep the shiny part of the nib up and don’t press too hard. You know how to write already and using a fountain pen is not that different.
Special nib pens, such as italic calligraphy nibs, are different and require some training. This is not the case with most fountain pens. Fountain pens do require a bit more maintenance but it is really not that difficult.
Conclusion to Top Fountain Pen Myths
There are other fountain pen myths and we have just covered some of the most common. Hopefully this article helped to dispel these fountain pen myths and help you realize anyone can use a fountain pen. Fountain pens are fun to write with and are unlike any other writing instrument. If you have never tried a fountain pen now is the time!
Anatomy of a Fountain Pen – The Goulet Pen Company
There are a lot of parts and pieces to a fountain pen, and sometimes it’s confusing which parts are called what, especially if you’re newer to the hobby. Depending on who you’re talking to, there are different names for different parts, and it can be tough to try to troubleshoot when you’re calling parts different things to someone else! We’ve noticed this when trying to help our customers by phone or email, so we put together this infographic to show some of the most commonly talked-about pen parts.
This pen is the Platinum #3776 (in Chartres Blue), which is a cartridge/converter pen that is a fairly representative of what you’d expect to see on most cartridge/converter pens. There are many parts that can have multiple names, and depend on the manufacturer/model of pen you’re handling, there might be different terms that are typically used. We’ve chosen the most common terms that we’ve used and heard others in the fountain pen community use. Hopefully, this can help you out!
Click on any of these terms to jump down to its definition:
Cap: the part of a pen that covers the nib and attaches to the pen body.
Clip: the metal doohickey usually attached to the cap that holds your pen in your shirt pocket and also keeps it from rolling off your desk and landing nib first on the ground (why does it ALWAYS fall nib down??)
Finial: the top of the cap, sometimes decorated with the maker’s logo.
Insert: the plastic liner on the inside of some pen caps that help seal the nib and keep it wet when capped.
Centerband: the metal decorative ring that is usually placed near the bottom of the pen cap for decorative purposes, or perhaps to provide reinforcement to the cap threads.
Lip: the open end of the cap, where the threads of the body fit to close the pen.
Barrel: the long part of the main body of the pen which houses the ink reservoir.
Threads: thin grooves cut into a pen to hold parts together, especially pen caps to the pen body.
Step: the part of the barrel where the threads ‘step up’ to the body, which can matter when holding the pen.
Body: the length of a pen barrel that typically houses the ink reservoir. Trim Ring: ornamental accents that serve an aesthetic purpose.
Nib: the metal tip of a fountain pen that actually touches the paper.
Tipping Material: a small bit of hard-wearing metal (usually some sort of iridium alloy) that is welded to the end of a nib and ground to a specific intended size.
Slit: the very thin cut running from the breather hole to the tip of the nib that carries the ink from the feed to the tip.
Tines: the two front parts of the nib that taper to the tip.
Shoulder: the widest part of a nib, where it starts to taper towards the tip.
Breather Hole: a hole in the nib, at the end of the nib slit, that allows air to assist in the ink flow, also called a vent hole.
Imprint: the engraving or impression left on the face of the nib that shows the brand, model, or nib size.
Body: the part of the nib that is typically imprinted.
Base: the bottom end, or reverse end of the tip, where the nib fits into the section of a pen.
Feed: the piece of plastic or ebonite (usually black) that hugs the back of the nib and acts as a vehicle for ink delivery from the reservoir to the nib.
Wings: the widest part of the feed that matches up to the nib shoulder. Sometimes nibs will slide on and grab onto the feed wings.
Fins: the small, thin pieces on the feed that allow ink to saturate into the air channels. These act as an ink regulator for consistent flow when writing speed varies.
Ink Channel: a very thin slit in the feed that hugs against the back of the nib and provides a route for the ink to travel through the feed. This is what helps to provide the necessary capillary action required for ink flow.
Post: the back end of a feed that goes into the ink reservoir and feeds ink into the channel.
Section: the part of the pen where the nib fits in and attaches to the pen barrel.
Grip: the front of the section where you hold where the nib fits in, sometimes called just a ‘section’.
Trim Ring: ornamental accents that serve an aesthetic purpose.
Threads: thin grooves cut into a pen to hold parts together.
Converter: a small filling mechanism (usually a screw-piston type) that fits onto a pen that also accepts a cartridge. This allows you to use any brand’s bottled ink instead of relying on limited proprietary ink cartridges.
Mouth: the opening that fits onto the feed post to hold the converter in place.
Ink Reservoir: a cavity inside a pen that holds ink.
Seal: the ‘working’ part of the converter piston that creates a vacuum in order to draw ink into the reservoir.
Rod: the threaded portion of the piston mechanism that causes the seal to move up and down when the knob is turned.
Shroud: the metal covering that holds the piston mechanism onto the back of the ink reservoir.
Knob: the part of the converter that you turn to move the piston seal up and down (and thus fill the converter).
Be sure to check out more fountain pen terminology in our Glossary of Fountain Pen Terms, and email us for any clarification! Be sure to share/link/Pin this graphic to your heart’s content, we created this to help educate the fountain pen community. Enjoy!
How to Use a Fountain Pen: A Beginner’s Guide
In a world where most pens are disposable, fountain pens are having a humble renaissance.
A person’s handwriting is as unique as their fingerprint. How much more meaning does something hold when it has inked words you can hold in your hands?
Stepping into the culture of fountain pens can seem daunting, but trust me, it’s worth the learning curve.
Fountain pens perform differently than any pen you’ve ever used, and can be the perfect gift for yourself or anyone who enjoys writing. You get to choose the style, the look, the feel, and then you keep it for a lifetime of beautiful writing.
Trying your hand at a fountain pen is for you if:
- You journal regularly.
- You write poetry, short stories, or even novels. Stephen King wrote the entire draft of Dreamcatcher with a Waterman cartridge fountain pen.
- You keep a physical planner.
- You want to improve your handwriting or hand-lettering.
- You do (or want to) write handwritten letters to loved ones near and far.
- You want your Christmas cards and gift tags to look on point.
A brief history of the fountain pen
The story goes that Lewis Waterman, a broker on the precipice of a career-changing contract, presented the signer with a then-era fountain pen that not only refused to write, but it actually leaked on the contract. After this failure, he would go on to obtain a patent for a newly design fountain pen that boasted a modern ink delivery method.
Waterman’s pen had an air hole in the nib, allowing air to flow into the chamber to force a steady ink flow. This smooth, rich delivery of ink is what we love about modern fountain pens today. In the past 150 years, few modifications have been made to Waterman’s design, and the fountain pen remains a favorite of many handwriting enthusiasts.
For those that have not yet tried a fountain pen, they are distinctly different in experience and result than the pens we typically use day-to-day.
Why you will love learning how to use a fountain pen
You are most likely already using rollerball and ballpoint pens every day.
Both of these pens rely on a ball bearing in the pen’s tip to deliver ink. While these pens experience fewer leaks and have more ink cartridge longevity, they lack some important elements a fountain pen that makes users love them:
Smooth, effortless flow across the paper
The steel (or gold) nib of a fountain pen was designed for long-form, cursive handwriting. Rather than pushing down to produce a strong ink appearance, the dye-based ink flows freely and even from the pen’s tip as you glide across the page.
Rich, uniform lettering
When writing with a pen that drags, skips, or makes it difficult to produce a strong ink impression, the hand becomes tired and cramped, making letters jagged and non-uniform. Fountain pens are the easiest of tools with which to write and therefore you can write much longer than you’re used to.
Ergonomic shape for “proper” handwriting posture
Holding your writing utensil at a 45 degree angle with your wrist elevated slightly, not touching the paper, ensures that you will have no ink smearing or letter blurring. Do you have to hold your hand this way? No. But does a fountain pen does seem to inspire hand good posture? Oh yes. Your arm will thank you.
How to use a fountain pen FAQ + answers
Fountain pens, unlike the pens we use in day-to-day work, are tools inspired by craftsmanship. This means that while elegant and awe-inspiring when used correctly, there can be a bit of a learning curve before you achieve the effects you want as a new fountain pen user.
Here are some of the most common issues that new fountain pen users face, from making clean letters to cleaning and maintaining your fountain pen:
Feathering, when your letters seem blurry and their lines bleed out in all directions.
Easy fix: This is almost always because your paper is not fountain pen-friendly. You may have come across sheets or books of ‘writing paper’ at your local art store. Thicker, smoother, with less porosity, and much stronger than cheap notebook paper, these sheets are made to bring the best out of your fountain pen.
Before you think you’ll have to throw away every notebook in your house, don’t! Most papers, especially those found in our Ink+Volt Planner, Leuttchurm1917 journals, Rhodia journals, and Moleskine notebooks are strong enough to handle the rich pigment of your fountain pen ink without allowing it to spread on the page.
Bleedthrough, where you’re inking through to the next page.
Easy fix: While you can attribute bleedthrough to paper quality and strength, you should also consider your handwriting too. A heavy hand or a slow drag of your pen’s nib may allow more ink than you intend to enter your page.
Try writing with a second sheet of paper beneath your writing sheet, practicing holding the pen at a 45 degree angle, and keeping your grip light with your wrist elevated. You’ll gradually develop a lighter, more flowing way of writing that enhances (rather than fights against) the fountain pen ink.
Dry nib, or a seemingly light ink flow.
Easy fix: It’s possible your nib has a bit of dried ink in the chamber, or the air hole could be clogged. Unscrew the nib from the pen and soak it in hot water for 5 – 10 minutes. The ink should become dislodged and dissolve. Reattach your nib and cap your pen, giving it a few minutes to acclimate to proper airflow and ink delivery.
Splattering, typically when your pen has leaked into its cap and you remove the cap quickly.
Easy fix: It’s best to store your fountain pen upright (nib up) to keep the chamber from getting clogged. When your pen has been laying in its side for some time, ink may have pooled in the nib, the tip, or even leaked out around the rim of the steel nib. This will result in rogue ink going everywhere when you open the cap and allow more air into the chamber.
I am the ultimate offender of this rule, so I have a good workaround if you forget to store your pen upright.
Unscrew the nib with the pen in a vertical position, soak the nib in warm water, and dry excess ink with a tissue – far more absorbent than a paper towel when it comes to ink – being mindful of clothes and linens nearby.
Many of these challenges can be avoided with intermittent, easy pen maintenance. Keeping a fountain pen in perfect condition is more work than your regular throw-away ballpoint, but it’s worth it to keep this valuable instrument working year after year.
Tips for fountain long-term pen health + wellness:
- Store your fountain pen upright, in a cup or holder.
- If you’re considering storing your pen long-term, empty the ink reservoir completely before putting the pen away.
- When bringing your pen on a plane, either fill the reservoir completely or empty it completely. If the reservoir is full, open it with caution upright to keep from splattering or causing leakage.
- Clean your nib frequently, every few months at least, depending on use. Soak in warm water for 5-10 minutes, allow to dry, and replace onto pen barrel.
- Don’t loan your pen to anyone long-term; the nib adapts to the writer, so someone else’s hand could re-train your tool.
“I’ve been told fountain pens aren’t for left-handed people. Is that true?”
Goulet Pens published a thorough guide to left-handed fountain pen usage that we encourage you to check out.
And for any right-handed writers who’d like to experiment with different pen positions, this guide goes in-depth on how to hold your pen and how to find your most comfortable writing posture.
Our favorite fountain pens you should try
For those that don’t yet have a fountain pen of your own, here are our five favorite pens, ranked in no particular order. Each of these is unique in style, look, and construction, but all have the same interior technology that makes the fountain pen the world’s favorite writing instrument.
- Pilot Metropolitan
- Kaweco Classic Sport
- Faber-Castell Essentio
- LAMY Safari
- TWSBI Eco
If you’re not ready to make the investment in your forever fountain pen, this sampler from JetPens will help you learn more about your handwriting style, nib size preference, pen body style, and chosen penmaker.
We hope this guide gives you more confidence on how to use a fountain pen! Yes there is a learning curve, but for anyone who loves writing or hand lettering, a fountain pen is a gift that will last a lifetime.
90,000 Fountain pens and ballpoint pens: pros and cons
Beautiful and graceful handwriting, even in the age of computers and portable devices, remains a sign of a highly cultured, creative and confident person. A thin calligraphic letter speaks about the owner more than a thousand words, any garments and status items. He instantly stands out from the crowd and gains an advantage over the rest, earning the title of the man who should be trusted with serious business tasks. Therefore, business people “do not boast” about the purchase of expensive fountain pens, although the importance of the “brand” of a writing subject is largely controversial when forming an opinion.Even using budgetary, but high-quality analogs, and developing the style of writing from childhood, you can get a well-deserved reputation as an intelligent educated person, before whom many doors open.
If the importance of artistic handwriting is difficult to underestimate, although its advantages do not end at all with the formation of your own image, then the choice of a type of writing instrument is not obvious. Now there are many options for pens: ballpoint, gel, fountain pen, rollerballs, and these are the most basic, in fact there are more of them, especially among professional artists, designers, copyists and other creative specialties who use them in their work.
The most common choice is between a fountain pen or a simple ballpoint pen, since they are the simplest in structure, but at the same time they radically differ from each other in terms of operation, ink supply mechanism and other features. Let’s try to figure out what each species has pros and cons, and for whom they are relevant.
Beautiful handwriting from the “school bench”
Anyone who found the Soviet Union remembers simple fountain pens that had to be dipped in an inkwell or refilled.An awkward movement – and a blot is provided. But what a handwriting they all had! Any calligrapher would envy! Even the most “difficult” in training under the strict guidance of strict teachers acquired quite acceptable handwriting, which certainly would not be compared with modern “fast” writing with a ballpoint pen. The appearance of the latter made the students happy, made it much easier for schoolchildren to write numerous homework assignments and lectures by students, all the more so they could be taken on the road without fear of spilling ink.Refills and neat lettering are a thing of the past. If you look at it, now every third adult writes in such a way that sometimes ten people cannot figure it out.
I must say that in American schools and colleges this method is still practiced and is mandatory. What motivates those who make children write with fountain pens and is it really as difficult as imagination often draws?
Handwriting and fine motor development
Now it is fashionable from an early age to study with children according to special programs, while calligraphy for some reason is not among them.But working with your fingers, learning to draw and write skillfully, especially with a fountain pen, where the type of handwriting depends not only on the outline of the letters, but also on their subtlety, stimulates brain activity, improves vision, attention, the ability to concentrate and solve intellectual and creative problems.
A ballpoint pen does not fully open up such opportunities, because the pressure force does not affect the thickness or subtlety of the letter, which means that the handwriting cannot have such individual characteristics with the ability to draw thin graceful monograms and adjust the thickness of the lines.If you instill from childhood a love for elegant neat writing, then at the age of 5-9 years the process for a child will also be interesting, exciting and mesmerizing, in which he will be able to achieve considerable success.
By the way, the development of fine motor skills is useful at any age: it helps to establish emotional and mental balance, take a fresh look at yourself and the world around you, and find manifestations of abilities. It is indispensable to write with a fountain pen by the elderly or those who, due to illness, have lost some of their motor functions.By developing the frontal lobes of the brain, calligraphy can work wonders, and this is not a secret, but a proven fact.
Fatigue & Ballpoint Pen
The main difference between ballpoint and fountain pens is the continuity of the writing of the former. To get straight, uninterrupted lines, you need to constantly press on the base. With prolonged use, the tension of the hand quickly begins to be felt, and fatigue sets in faster.
Teaching young children to write with the use of ballpoint pens, experts recommend devoting no more than 5 minutes per lesson to it, so as not to tire the child’s body.But where are these conditions met? What can we say about senior and middle school students, and especially students who have to write for hours?
Research conducted by Russian and foreign scientists in groups of students, where children wrote with one type of pen, showed that the distance between the notebook and the eyes is reduced when using a ballpoint pen, as opposed to a fountain pen, which negatively affects the quality of vision. The development of small muscles of the palm, the coordination of writing and, as a result, the formation of finely coordinated movements became possible in groups where writing took place with fountain pens.We will not describe for a long time that improving handwriting is a direct factor in the development of creativity and creativity, especially in children.
Solid “troubles” with ink: is it so?
One of the arguments in favor of ballpoint writing instruments is the reluctance to mess with ink and refilling mechanisms, as well as the fear of “leakage” and blots. But the latter is just a matter of training, especially since modern fountain pens are largely devoid of the shortcomings of their predecessors and will cause a “spot” of a maximum size of 2-3 mm, if you purposefully press on it.Regarding the speed of ink consumption, fountain pens, of course, lose here. But is it worth making a “stake” on this, if even with a large volume of work during the day, refueling will be required no more than once every 2-3 days?
Don’t forget about the savings. By purchasing a small jar of ink, it may well be enough for six months, but ball refills change several times more often. Calculate the difference!
Fountain pens are always a flight of imagination and a manifestation of creativity.You can have inks of different colors and textures and “paint” every day “in a new way.”
Inscription in elegant calligraphic handwriting using a fountain pen is practically a work of art that can reflect the inner world of its owner and open unexpected perspectives for him!
All blog entries 90,000 of what are they and what to look for when choosing?
Since its inception, fountain pens have undergone many changes and are today a technically and aesthetically perfect writing tool.Modern business people love to write with a fountain pen because it is fun and fashionable.
In addition, these writing tools have several advantages over others. Among them:
- improvement of their owner’s handwriting;
- softness of the instrument, so writing requires less effort;
- wide range of ink colors;
- Enjoy your daily records.
However, to enjoy the full benefits of a fountain pen, you need to choose the right one.
Features of choice
For modern people, a fountain pen is not only a writing tool, but also a kind of image element. That is why enough attention should be paid to her choice. So, when buying this stationery, you need to ask what materials its body and pen are made of, as well as what method of ink supply the accessory is equipped with. What exactly they are will be discussed further.
If you are purchasing a fountain pen not for your own use, but for a gift, be sure to ensure that the instrument is packed in a case.It can be leather or cardboard – the choice is yours.
What is a fountain pen made of?
The fountain pen consists of a body, a nib and an internal ink supply system. For the manufacture of the body of this stationery, materials such as aluminum, high quality steel, brass, titanium can be used. For some inexpensive models, plastic can be used. The finished tool is decorated with varnish, paint, stones and other materials.
As for the internal fountain pen system, ink can be supplied to the nib in two ways – convector principle or cartridge.The first method involves pumping ink by piston or pump systems. The cartridge, on the other hand, is a part similar to a traditional rod. Refilling cartridges is not provided, they are disposable. However, they are usually equipped with options whose cost is below average.
Ink supply systems based on the convector principle are also equipped with capillaries for pressure equalization and manifolds for pressure. Capillaries prevent ink spills, and manifolds deliver the correct amount of ink.
If you are looking for a fountain pen, a wide selection of accessories awaits you on our website, which can be perfect for both daily use and for presenting as a gift to a loved one.
write and draw with ink / Accessories and clothing / iXBT Live
Hello everyone. I have a product on the review today that is not quite themed on the site. I want to tell you about the Tramol F10 Ink Fountain Pen. But, on the other hand, we are all people addicted to something. At some point I realized that I want myself an ink pen.With a feather. I was very interested in this topic. I started watching videos on YouTube and started reading reviews. And I decided to try the popular and inexpensive Tramol F10 pen. This is a pen for beginners, so to speak, quite well suited to the definition of price / quality.
I’ll tell you right away. This pen does not have any benefits, advantages or other things in comparison with conventional roller or gel pens. Well, except that it is more pleasant for her to write. This is my bliss, so to speak. But I’ll try to tell you about it.
Handle Tramol F10 refers to the handle eyedropper , or simply the handle of the tank. This is the common name for pens in which the barrel (hollow body) is used entirely as a container for ink. The advantage of this solution is the large volume of ink and ease of refilling.
I ordered a pen on Ali on the basis of the “cheapest offer” principle. Well, plus I also watched the reviews.
The pen arrived pretty quickly. But I was upset that the packaging was clearly not a gift appearance:
Mail is merciless to such boxes.Or maybe not the post office, or maybe the Chinese have already packed such a box. We will not know this.
Inside the box was a pen, and a pipette for refilling the pen with ink:
Some people do not like these pipettes and prefer to use syringes for refilling. But the pipette is also convenient for me:
The pen itself is relatively simple. Hollow acrylic body, lid, and metal nib:
This is how the pen looks when disassembled:
The kit also includes a converter with a spring.
I chose the thickness of the pen EF
In general, the assembly is good, acrylic without flaws. No cracks or burrs were noticed.
Refilling the handle is quite simple. Especially with a converter. We just dip the tip into the ink can and twist the stem.
Speaking of ink. I also ordered them on aliexpress. Manufacturer ZYCC. The color was chosen by Dark Blue. 15ml ink came out to me in 2.6 $
ZYCC ink 15ml
The jar is very small. To prevent the ink from escaping from the can during delivery, there is a sticker:
The ink is not bad in terms of properties.But to be honest, I did not like the color, after drying it goes into black with its shade. And I would like the color to be blue.
This is how a refilled pen with a converter refill looks like:
Here, by the way, you can see that the cap at the pen is made with a cylinder inserted inside that locks the ink inside. Even if they start pouring through the feather, they will not flow anywhere. A trifle, but nice.
As for the pen itself, it is metal here, as I wrote above, size EF
The pen is quite comfortable in your hand.It may seem that she is a little fat, but the hand quickly gets used to it:
As for the letter itself, I liked it. The pen glides very softly on the paper, and the writing process itself can be called mesmerizing. Watching how the ink spreads slightly and then dries is interesting. It is more pleasant to write with such a pen than with a regular ballpoint.
Above you can see several spellings. Fast and slow. The pen does not blemish, the ink flows evenly, without gaps. The text and the line of the letter are even.The ink itself, although it spreads, but not much. And dry up pretty quickly. Literally two seconds after the text is written, it is no longer smeared.
The pen allows you to write with both large, sweeping text and small ones:
You can also write with the back of the pen. In this case, the ink fits well on the paper, but the resistance of the pen is felt and the paper is slightly scratched.
Well, for the sake of interest, I tried a pen in drawing. I also liked the result:
The handle worked very well.Medium lines, writes and draws softly on plain paper:
Buy tramol F10 fountain pen
If you have a desire to try a fountain pen, the Tramol F10 is worth a look. This is a pen that is inexpensive but gives an idea of how to write in ink. This is an excellent representative of its class. Well made and definitely worth the money.
I am personally completely satisfied with the purchase. Even though I don’t write with a pen every day, I still carry it with me.This has its own charm and charm. And I love it. Also, I am now choosing a few more pens for myself, but more expensive, with a metal case. It seems to me that acrylic is not durable in such cases. But the metal assemblies of this handle are several times more expensive. This must be taken into account.
URBAN Collection | Parker in Russia
Ballpoint Pen Parker Urban Core, Muted Black GT, K309, Mblue
Rollerball Pen Parker Urban Core, Muted Black CT, T309, Fblack
Rollerball Pen Parker Urban Core, Cab CT, T309, Fblack
Parker Urban Core Fountain Pen, Cab CT, F309, Nib: F
Parker Urban Vibrant Magenta CT M Blue Ballpoint Pen
Parker Urban Vibrant Blue CT Fountain Pen
Rollerball Pen Parker Urban Premium Dark Blue CT, T310, Fblack
Rollerball Pen Parker Urban Core, Vibrant Magenta CT, T309, Fblack
Parker Urban Fountain Pen, Nightsky Blue CT
Parker Urban Core Fountain Pen, Metro Metallic CT, F309, Nib: F
Parker Urban Core Fountain Pen, Vibrant Magenta CT, F309, Nib: F
Rollerball Pen Parker Urban Premium Ebony Metal CT, T312, Fblack
Gift set: Parker Urban Vibrant Blue CT Fountain Pen and Turquoise Planner
Gift Set: Rollerball and Ballpoint Pens Parker Urban, Cab CT
1931593 + 1931576
Gift Set: Parker Urban Fountain and Ballpoint Pens, Muted Black GT
Gift Set: Rollerball and Ballpoint Pens Parker Urban, Metro Metallic CT
Gift set: Fountain and rollerball pens Parker Urban, Metro Metallic CT
90,000 Calligraphy markers, pens and nibs
In recent years, such areas of creativity as sketching and the practice of graceful writing have gained particular popularity.In order to succeed in calligraphy and quick drawing, you will need dedicated office supplies. In the online store krasniykarandash.ru you can buy a pens, markers or calligraphy nibs at one of the lowest prices.
What products do we offer you?
On our site there are more than 100 names of tools for creativity. We offer the following products in this category:
- sketch pen;
- drawing brush pen;
- calligraphy marker;
- decorative writing fountain pen;
- kits for sketching and calligraphy;
- replaceable cartridges;
- feather tips;
- writing units;
- calligraphy training booklet.
Products differ in price, material and color. So, for lovers of the classics, we have chic Victorian-style sets, as well as real goose feathers with mascara drives. And those who are accustomed to using modern tools will love the stylish pens and markers.
Why choose our store?
Warranty. We only offer original stationery. If you want to make sure of their authenticity, we will provide certificates of conformity for any item from the catalog.
Convenient calculation. You can pay for calligraphy tools in cash and by credit card. You can also pay with us through internet acquiring.
Delivery. Our couriers will deliver your order to any address in Moscow and other cities of Russia. You can also pick up the goods yourself at the nearest pick-up point or retail store.
Pay attention! In retail stores of the Red Pencil network, you can use a gift card to pay for stationery.
To buy a calligraphy pen, click the “Basket” icon and fill out the form. You can ask all your questions to our manager. To do this, contact him at 8 800 301-30-80.
Ink and ballpoint pens. Introduction: lazzzycat – LiveJournal
If you need to make a gift, and you are unfamiliar with a person or you cannot think of an original gift, give a pen.
You can always find a model that matches the status, appearance, price or design.Many people have several working pens – one for signatures, one for cursive writing, some are fond of calligraphy. To understand which pen to choose for a gift, it is necessary to present the parameters and designs of the pens.
Modern pens can be divided into 3 (4) classes according to the type of nibbler:
- Capillary (liners)
- Ink pen
By line thickness, most ink / ballpoint pen manufacturers are divided into seven main categories with the following markings:
- UF – Ultra Fine
- EF – Extra Fine
- F – Fine
- M – Medium
- B – Bold
- EB (BB) – Extra Bold
- EEB (BBB) - Extra Extra Bold
The thickness of the line depends on the manufacturer and the ink, and sometimes, for example, the thickness of F – one manufacturer may practically coincide with the thickness M of another manufacturer.
Approximate line thickness of German manufacturers:
EB (BB 90)
0.4 – 0.49 mm
0.5 – 0.59 mm
0.6 – 0.75 mm
> 0.85 mm
Briefly describe the features of the writing units.
Oldest type of pen. It began with an inkwell and a sharpened reed or quill. In the 19th century, the “pouring” pen was invented, which gradually evolved into the modern ink pen.
The ink pen can be divided into three parts:
- Feeder / pen block
- Ink reservoir (disposable or refillable)
- Pen body with cap
Let’s stop at the main part of the fountain pen – the pen and the feeder.
For a classic open nib fountain pen, this block looks like this
The diagram requires a little explanation. We all know a can of condensed milk. And probably everyone knows the scheme for drinking condensed milk from a can – you need to punch 2 holes, through one of which you need to drink. What is the second hole for? If it is not done, a reduced pressure is created in the can without air flow and the liquid (condensed milk) stops flowing out of the can.
The ink pen is usually done a little differently.To simplify the design, the air supply channel and the ink supply channel were combined into one. And the speed of ink supply (and for different types of pens – for example, F and B need a different amount of ink when writing) is regulated by the width or, more correctly, by the cross-sectional area of the channel. Ink goes to the bottom of the channel and is fed to the nib. Air through the air hole in the nib enters through the channel into the ink container and compensates for the pressure difference. Therefore, the combination of the air inlet, pen type, ink / air channel determines the normal ink supply.
In addition, two more elements of the pen play a significant role in this – a collector in the feeder and … ink.
The collector is commonly used in open nib pens. Its function is interesting – it is a buffer, a microreservoir between the pen and the ink tank. These slots hold a small amount of ink for the pen to compensate for the writing speed.
Different writing speeds require different ink flow rates. You can “set” a certain average speed, but then when writing slowly, the pen will write boldly, at medium speed – optimally, and at high speed – there will be gaps in the letters.The collector in this case, at a slow speed, draws off excess ink into its system of ribs, and at a high writing speed, using the capillary effect, it gives up the accumulated ink.
Ink also greatly influences the character of writing. The thick ink in an EF nib will simply prevent you from writing, and too thin and a B nib can cause blots and very thick lines.
In addition to density, a significant role is played by the wettability coefficient, which is regulated by the addition of certain surfactants to the ink recipe.
And to finish with the pen for now. The feather body is made of alloy steel, gold, titanium, and sometimes platinum. In very cheap pens, the nib and the nib (ball) are made of steel; in more expensive nibs, the ball is made of iridium or other hard-to-wear materials.
Ballpoint pens are a military invention, originally used by pilots instead of pencils. As a rule, the nib and ink container are one whole (and in cheap disposable pens, the body and the container are one) and are thrown away after use.We’ll talk about exceptions later. A ballpoint pen is a fairly simple item from a mechanical point of view, using complex physical laws. The capillary effect is used to feed to the writing unit. The writing unit itself is a combination of a tube and a rolling bearing. Ink is fed into a thin tube with an inner diameter of about 0.5 mm from one side, and a small solid ball is rolled on the other side, which freely scrolls in its nest.
Ink gets on the ball, and when we run the ball over the paper, it rotates and transfers the ink from the tube to the paper.Thanks to a special ink and a very small gap between the ball and the tube walls, the ink is delivered in a metered and even manner. Nowadays ballpoint pens are divided into 3 classes according to the type of nib / ink:
- Ballpoint – classic ballpoint pen
- Gel (Gel rollerball) – gel
- Rollerball – roller
A regular ballpoint pen uses thickened ink, sometimes oil based … This type of ink and the simplest nib is used in cheap disposable and refillable pens.The disadvantage is a rather “tight” letter, which ultimately spoils the handwriting and strains the writer.
Gel – use ink with a gel consistency. Thanks to the new ink, it was possible to reduce the size of the ball, and the pen began to write softer. Sometimes gel ink is combined with a roller nib.
Rollerball is the most advanced ballpoint pen model. The writing unit is spring-loaded, usually a ceramic ball is used (more wear-resistant). Regular liquid ink is used as ink.In terms of cost, a pen is comparable to an ordinary fountain pen, and in terms of the quality of writing, it is close to it. There are rollers in which ordinary ink cartridges for fountain pens are inserted, but such pens, due to their design, can withstand 5-10 refills. The disadvantage is expensive rods.
Capillary pens and ink liners are mostly used by graphic artists and draftsmen.
The design of the capillary pen practically coincides with the felt-tip pen and is most often with a line thickness of 0.05 mm to 0.8 mm.In the body of the pen is a fibrous material impregnated with ink and with the help of a “wick” (aka the writing unit), ink is removed from this material and transferred to the paper.
Capillary pens – disposable and not very cheap.
The ink liner consists of a tip – a hollow nib, inside which there is a needle with a weighting agent and a plastic body with an ink cartridge.
Under the action of the weighting agent, the needle moves up and down during drawing.Since the tip of the needle is rounded, lines can be easily drawn in any direction.
According to the standard, line thickness is indicated by color on the ink liner body