Fountain Pens and Paper

LarryS

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I had a brief fling with Fountain pens. Got a cheap Oxford fountain pen to start with and was soon eyeing up Lamys and drooling over Crosses and Parkers. Then I realised, I don't write to anyone. Who writes letters these days, I certainly don't, so after a period of practising my interest withered away. It was a passing fad. I would still like a nice green Parker ballpoint pen though.
 

Graham Greenbag

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It’s interesting to read about this now hobby and reflect that within my lifetime fountain pen users have gone from mainstream to niche. I used fountain pens at school and seem to remember that being allowed to use Biros was a step forward. At school my handwriting wasn’t the best and as a young adult I worked at improving that, people did get adversely judged if their handwriting wasn’t good. Somewhere I still have my fountain pens, they wouldn’t have been expensive (we had limited funds) but not so cheap as to function poorly. Perhaps I should sell them and let someone else gain pleasure from them. IIRC Parker were considered a good everyday pen and Waterman were up-market.

The current generation of young adults often have very poor hand writing skills, what they produce can be quite hard to read. In contrast they’re a wizz with computer keyboards, entering text at a rapid rate; changing times require changing skills. A hand written note in ‘copper plate’ type writing is delightful to see but of a different time. For my own notes I use ball point pens and regard them as progress but, yes, there’s something about fountain pens that appeals in both artistic and nostalgic ways.
 
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chris667

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In my line of work, fountain pens are still popular.

They make you pause while you talk to your clients. This gives you time to think about the things you're writing and the questions you're about to ask.

I never realised how important that was until covid happened and I went from visiting people at home filling out a paper form to typing everything up on a PC while interviewing them on a PC. My typed notes were rubbish - no quality!

Fountain pen for anything thoughtful for me.
 
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Bluesy

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I still write thank you notes by hand. I use a fountain pen and good stationery because I enjoy the easy way the nib glides over the card stock. I've been doing this for years, but have noticed that since the turn of the century, people remark about the notes, sometimes years after receiving them. That really surprised me. Before the pandemic, I was visiting with an out of town friend. She went to her kitchen desk and pulled one of my thank you notes that I had written to her four years before. She saved it because it was so unusual to receive one.

So I just keep cranking them out to express gratitude for gifts received, good service rendered, sweet kindnesses granted or just to let someone know they are special to me. That keeps those fountain pens in use.

Bluesy.
 

Graham Greenbag

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. . . . , and today , cursive handwriting is a thing of the past ?

In today’s world written communication is virtually all via some electronic medium so handwriting, whether cursive or otherwise, is displaced by type. I’d expect a handwritten communication to have ‘joined-up’ letters, but that might be asking too much. Text might still be hand written during lessons, lectures and examinations but its use in the workplace is, I believe, relatively limited - not quite relegated to the past but not far from it. However there certainly still is a place for hand writing - it’s just right for some particular situations - but that place is a much smaller space than it used to be.

Interestingly hand written items (like letters and cards) seem to carry more weight than printed items, somehow the skill and effort comes across and a good hand (or rather the products of one) is almost a work of art. Gosh, come to think of it, at one time ‘professionals’ looked at a person’s handwriting and made many character judgements from it. Signatures are currently hand written, typically in joined up writing. How long that will remain I do not know but to me a properly signed item (via a fountain pen or at least a ‘Biro’) has a weight or substance about it that an electronic signature can never have.
 
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LukuleleStrings

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I use a Pilot Metro most of the time. Pilot also has disposable fountain pens that I’m trying out to see how often I switch colors (turns out it’s pretty often to help keep my planner organized). I think a pack of six was about 13.00.

As for notebooks, I’m not picky and use whatever’s handy. The only brand I avoid is Rite in the Rain who flat-out warn you their stuff doesn’t work with fountain pens.

I use my pens quite a bit. I carry around a notebook during my normal day job and have to write down all sorts of notes (not to mention my planner) and I journal as well. I don’t write letters with it, though, because my hand tends to cramp after a while and my handwriting starts to get jagged and illegible. I do write a lot of letters, but they’re usually banged out on a typewriter.

The only place I don’t bring my pen (usually) is on flights because of the pressure. If I do forget it in my pocket and bring it onboard, I find a trash can and empty the ink cartridge so it won’t blow up on me. ;-)
 

LarryS

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Since getting these pens, I'm forcing myself to write more and use the printer less.

If I'm writing an official letter or form I use the printer. My handwriting is a mess. But on other occasions I just use email
 

noahenholm

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I use Mr. Pen, it works great. I appreciate how the ink in this pen does not bleed through any paper and dries quickly. In terms of smooth ink writing, this item is comparable to a standard gel pen, but the quality it provides is on par with a ballpoint pen.
 

Patrick Madsen

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My wife hinted she wouldn't mine a fountain pen for her B'day coming up. Any place to contact regarding one. I have no idea what to look for. I figure a budget around 200.00 or whatever depending on the recommendation. I live in Washingtone State if that makes a difference. Thanks
 

Jan D

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Buying a fountain pen is like buying a ukulele ... there are an endless number of options, and the look and feel of each one is going to be somewhat different. Only your wife will know which pen looks and feels best for her. I suggest you contact some of the stationery stores in the Bellingham area to see who has a good selection of decent quality fountain pens to choose from, and then take your wife to those locations. Give her a budget limit, encourage her to “test drive” the pens within that price range, and then let her decide which one appeals to her the most. The pen she likes the look and feel of is the one she is more likely to use. :)
 

Sporky

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My wife hinted she wouldn't mine a fountain pen for her B'day coming up. Any place to contact regarding one. I have no idea what to look for. I figure a budget around 200.00 or whatever depending on the recommendation. I live in Washingtone State if that makes a difference. Thanks
Goulet Pens for sure in the USA. They have so much information on their website, and extensive stock.
I love my TWSBI pen, intermediate level (aka not a solid gold nib or Montblanc name premium) and doesn't needlessly break the bank. Mine has a clear reservoir which lets you see the beautiful ink therein.
For paper, Rhodia pads are nice and Tomoe River is quite unique in that it's onion skin thin but does not bleed through. It's the best bet for showcasing ink sheen (surprising variation in color resulting from the physics of a very thin layer in some parts of your writing, not to be confused with shimmer which comes from shiny particles within the ink. Each ink has its own colour of sheen, which can be more or less pronounced), though I find it's too easy to crumple.
For very fancy paper, when writing Christmas letters and such, I use G. Lalo pads. The texture is amazing.
For ink, there are so many good options, but you can't go wrong with Iroshizuku, any of their colours. It's great ink all around and comes in beautiful bottles that make for a lovely gift. Kon-Peki is probably the most popular and I agree that it's awesome. It's a beautiful unique blue with a red sheen.

I would add: you can buy extra nibs of different styles. Typically nibs have rounded points and will not provide any of that italic style from calligraphy. For that you would need a specifically italic nib, though TWSBI make a nice stub nib which is a combination so that it has style but also writes smoothly. Their replacement nibs are some $30 and so you could have a fine nib plus a stub, extras like sweet paper and ink, and still be within your budget. While you're at it, a simple rubber bulb thing from the pharmacy (I think used to shoot saline into ears?) Is very useful for flushing out the ink from a nib when changing inks. I also like to use a syringe (also from the pharmacy) sometimes for precise refilling.


Or you could go with Jan's advice above and take your wife shopping. It's certainly also a valid suggestion, just likely to be far costlier, and under pressure from salespersons. Different target audience that's all.
 
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Patrick Madsen

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Thank you ladies, will take up your advice. Unfortunately, the stationery stores in Bellingham have closed. Cost is no matter when it comes to seeing my wife's smile when I do something right.
 

LukuleleStrings

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I recommend the Pilot Metro, a bottle of ink, and a pack of conversion cartridges. It’s nothing too fancy, but she’ll get a feel for what she likes (refilling her own cartridges, the size of the tip, the feel of metal, the reality of fountain pen use, etc) and you can always say when she narrows stuff down from this to let you know and you’ll get her something with more prestige.
 

donboody

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Turnt Pen Co
 

Larry Usselman

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My wife hinted she wouldn't mine a fountain pen for her B'day coming up. Any place to contact regarding one. I have no idea what to look for. I figure a budget around 200.00 or whatever depending on the recommendation. I live in Washingtone State if that makes a difference. Thanks
Here's a state directory of retailers that sell fountain pens in the United States. I'm not sure how up-to-date it is, but it's a starting point.

My recommendation is online shopping at GouletPens.com. Good people, fair prices, great service, huge selection of pens, inks, and papers, and best of all, a massive library of educational materials, videos, and reviews that will help you in making the right choice for your gift.
 

Bluesy

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You can spend a little or a lot. The flexibility and width of the nib means everything. Consider a reconditioned vintage pen with a 14K nib. Writing with the flexibility of 14K is heavenly. Some people love narrow nibs for a fine delicate line, others prefer broad strokes. The key is that the ink flow must keep with with the writing speed.

I've purchased from Peyton Street pens a number of times. They are a reliable business with good service and sell pens that have been beautifully reconditioned.

Peyton Street Pens

One thing more. Don't stop with the pen. Get her high quality paper. Crummy paper can cause the best pens to balk and skip.

Inks. Oh that's another wonderful rabbit hole. If she likes the pen, the inks will keep you filled with gift ideas for awhile. My current favorite is shocking pink (link below).

Great Ink Company

Have fun shopping, Bluesy.