There are questions people ask about fountain pens, and in this post, we’d like to cover some of them, and hopefully after reading, you would feel proud that you are using one, if you already have one, or would be encouraged to make a purchase if you are still on the fence about buying.
Additionally, this post covers topics, including:
- Users experience with fountain pens
- How to pick the right fountain pen
- How to clean a fountain pen
- Best fountain pens for beginners
Top reasons people have for using fountain pens
Here are the top 5 reasons:
- It’s a statement of lifestyle and love for work.
Due to the fact that fountain pens ceased to be standard writing tools in the advent of the digital age, they have been elevated to accessory status.
So, if you are using one, it tells people that you are the sort of a person who appreciates exquisitely-crafted writing tools such as fountain pens.
Having one also suggests to your colleagues that you prefer writing the old-fashioned way or you give your job premium importance.
Persons of high authority such as the presidents of this country never sign documents with ballpoint pens. It is always with the use of a fountain pen.
A fountain can also be considered as a complement to a suit. Even if it is just used in school, the thing is it looks unique and therefore can enhance one’s coolness factor in school.
- It feels better.
With fountain pens, writing is effortless, and even when writing long texts on a daily basis, they don’t cause strain in the hand.
Plus, you’ll be happy to sign your name using a fountain pen, as your signature will surely look great as a result.
- Personal touch and getting favorable response
People who handwrite letters using fountain pens say their receivers appreciate their handwritten letters on nice paper. They think that it’s because this method allows for a more personal approach and that these letters are much less transient than emails.
Some even say that a letter of complaint written with a fountain pen gets better results than something that’s typed and emailed.
- Fountain pens last long
Technology gave us roller pens and ball pens, but these writing implements never last long. When they ran out of ink, they go to the trash can.
Not so with fountain pens – especially if you are ready to give them the best of care. You’ll just have to refill them for continuous use.
Ask antique fountain pen users and they will tell you that in most cases, fountain pens outlast their owners.
That’s true indeed. Many of the fountain pens made in the 1920s are still around and still going strong.
Check out the tipping materials of these pens’ nibs. These materials are made of hard metals which don’t easily wear down.
Fountain pens are loved not only for their ability to last for a long time and the impression they create for their owners, but also for allowing their users to experiment with different nib thicknesses and ink colors.
Users usually pick the Medium (M) as nib width, which is about 0.6 mm or exactly that size. That’s also the standard width in most brands.
If you’re looking for one that has a broader writing line than the M, ask the store attendant to give you options with B (Broader) nib width.
There are other effects to achieve. For instance, added flex or get one that allows for a thicker cross-stroke than a down-stroke.
Finally, you have different types of inks to use, such as inks with sheen, shimmer inks and different shades of every color.
It is interesting to know experiences with using fountain pens, and there are lots of them that we can share, but we can only give you a few of the personal experience owing to the limited space we have for this post.
- We have Charlie, a long-time fountain pen user who said that he had a bunch of low-quality fountain pens early in his life until the time when he was able to purchase a pen from Waterman.
The reason he likes this particular pen is that he loves the look of its writing which is better than that of a ball point.
Charlie also noticed that with this fountain pen, he can relax his wrist and hand more while writing and therefore he experiences less arm and hand fatigue with it.
This guy belongs to an industry where customers sign on paper work, for which purpose he lends a ball point to his own customers, but for filling out his own paper work, it’s the Waterman that he uses.
- Anne has carpal tunnel that makes her writing inefficient and uncomfortable, but when using a fountain pen, she doesn’t have issues because writing with it requires less pressure.
Anne said that fountain pens help with legibility because it doesn’t take a lot of effort to move the pen against the paper. If she uses a ball point, she feels pain and the weakness will affect her ability to control her fingers, making her writing so bad that there are instances when no one can read what she wrote.
- Stewart has nothing against using ballpoints and still uses them, but for him, the experience he has with using a fountain pen is something that can be described as pleasant or sensuous.
Stewart attests to the ability of fountain pens to produce lines that are more interesting and expressive. He also adds that writing with a fountain pen reflects what the writer wants to put into the text far better than regular pens.
Together with those qualities, Mr. Stewart also said that there is something intrinsically satisfying with having and using a well-made tool that gives reward for intelligent care.
Towards care for the environment, he also finds using fountain pens satisfying knowing his writing tool can last long and lasts many, many years before it is thrown to a landfill.
How to choose fountain pens
You have many factors to consider, though the final decision depends on your priorities.
Basically, look into these factors:
- Weight of the pen
- Comfort of writing
Fountain pen nibs are created with different metals, so when buying, the nib material should be a priority item to check.
For this, the options range from less expensive materials such as stainless steel to the most expensive ones like gold.
The higher the value of the material usually means that the pen has softer and smoother feel when writing.
Some manufacturers construct their pens in such a way that the nib’s tip is the only part made of expensive material and the rest is made of less expensive materials.
The nib’s wideness should be checked as well. The ones that are wide make wide lines and are usually suitable for making variations in writing.
Finer nibs are also good for making variations, but make sure that if you choose that type, you have the ability to adjust your hand’s pressure as you write.
Note that fountain pens with fine nibs can pick up scratches fairly easily with large pressure being applied.
Weight and size
Fountain pens are generally made of metals, but you can also find models that use other materials like plastic and wood on the body, which are lighter materials compared to metals.
There are three categories for weight – light, medium and heavy – and fountain pens made of metals are the heaviest.
You want to start with the light pens just to know how writing with fountain pens feels at first, and perhaps later, try the heavy ones. Many people think that heavier models are better models to use for improving handwriting.
If you’re a daily writer writing voluminous pages, it is not advisable to pick one with a heavy weight, because with that work type, you can put a lot of pressure on your hand
If you will just use the fountain pen merely for signing documents, the weight might not have to be a point of concern at all.
Ink filling system
About ink refilling systems, you have 2 options: ink cartridges or ink converters.
The main difference is that ink cartridges are disposable while converters are refillable canisters that can draw ink from a bottle.
If you prefer convenience, cartridges are best for you. Just insert a new cartridge into the pen and you’re all set to write again.
Best part with cartridges is that they are mess-free. Compared with converters where dipping the pen into an ink bottle is required, the cartridge is just pushed into the pen, a method that gives zero chance of ink spilling.
But there are disadvantages as well.
- Incompatibility is an issue – with cartridges, you are limited to specific brands that fit your pen
- Ink quantity – you might also feel irritated with frequent cartridge change, as these containers only hold small amounts of ink compared to converters.
The best advantage for using converters against using cartridge is the numerous choices you have for buying and using different types and colors of inks, and the worst part is that of their being messy and being time-consuming when refilling.
Cleaning Your Fountain Pen
Your pen needs periodic cleaning, and how often you should do it depends on how quickly the ink dries when the pen is out of use or how quickly dirt can buildup in the nib when it is frequently used.
Experts recommend that a fountain pen be cleaned at least 4 times a year, or more frequent in the case that it is not being used for longer periods of time.
A fountain pen works via capillary action, which is the phenomenon in which a liquid spontaneously flows into a narrow tube or porous material, and with fountain pens, capillary action makes the ink flows in the feed and the small hole of the nib to the writing surface.
Over time, paper fibers and dust will build up in the ink passage affecting capillary action, causing disruption in the flow of the ink, and making the pen to write poorly.
Symptoms that capillary action is affected and that it is time for cleaning to be done immediately are inconsistent flow of ink, skipping and scratchiness.
Follow these steps:
- Take the cap off the pen.
- The part, called “nib section” is mainly the part that you will clean. Detach this part from the pen’s barrel. The converter or cartridge should be removed as well.
- Wash off ink from the nib section with running water. This is for removing ink that can easily be removed.
- Afterward, have a cup of water where you will soak the nib section.
- The ink from the nib section will saturate the water. Replace the water and continue replacing water until saturation no longer takes place. Let the nib section remain in the water for an hour.
- Let the nib section dry completely.
- Reassemble the pen.
For cleaning, you can have a cleaning kit especially designed for fountain pens. With this kit, you will have cleaning tools like a pipette and a syringe for flushing the ink out of the nib.
When choosing a kit, make sure that the kit is compatible with the pen, as this cleaning method requires inserting a bulb for flushing.
Best fountain pens for beginners
You’ll be overwhelmed with a lot of options in the market, but as a beginner trying to get started, you might be thinking of spending $100 or just a little over that.
That will help you trim down the huge number of options, and for that price range, you can start looking at brands like Webson Gill, Pilot, Platinum, JINHAO, Waterman, etc.
If you happen to have more in your pocket to splurge on a fountain pen and would like to push it a bit more on the side of making an impression, Faber Castell and Lamy are brands to look into.
Here’s our list for beginners.
At a little over $100, this fountain pen from Webson Gill is inspired by the timeless art of writing.
Designed to add a touch of elegance to everyday writing, this pen is ideal for all writing occasions, from journaling to making announcements and invitations.
With this pen, you have two things to particularly boast of. One is German engineering, making it one of the most durable pens out there.
Two, you can also boast of the Japanese-inspired nib. Japanese penmakers craft nibs in-house, allowing them to make high-quality nibs consistently.
You will find their pens to have very fine nibs, but they can write characters more smoothly than Western brands that also produce fine nibs.
If these qualities sound appealing, then the Webson Gill is one of the best options for you.
- Pilot Metropolitan fountain pens
With this brand, you have lots of price options, from low to high range. Some of their models carry tags below $100 up to the lowest of about $25.
Pilot Metropolitan is a company that makes some of the most valuable pens, with some pens costing a whopping $10000 or around that price.
One of their popular models is the “white tiger”, which is a fountain pen that is not made of metal but of a material that is sort of lacquer. This material really feels extra smooth in the hand.
With pens from Pilot Metropolitan, you have the advantage of using writing instruments made by a time-tested maker without worries of them easily drying out or causing any writing issues.
- Lamy 2000
With price comparable to that of the Webson Gill, the Lamy 2000 comes with a tag of $120 at the lowest (if you’re lucky), but is sold in other places that charge $150 to $200 for it.
Made of a mixture of stainless steel and black fiberglass, this fountain pen is medium-weight when full of ink. The pen’s barrel also has small windows at the top of the grip for viewing the ink inside.
It also features the Makralon material on its exterior, making it cool and smooth to the touch.
Another nice thing about this pen is its aesthetics. It looks normal and boring from a distance, but when you go near it, it shows off its beautiful character.
The pen’s price fluctuates, so it’s probably worth monitoring it for a while before making a purchase.
- Waterman Expert Fountain Pen
If your budget is limited to $80 for a fountain pen, the Expert from Waterman will be a good choice.
It is reasonably priced at $66.26 in Amazon and a highly competent pen, which you can use for your daily writing tasks without having to refill often.
This pen comes with a fine nib, which works smoothly and flawlessly, making it one of the best choices for people who need to deal with intricate characters like those characters in the Japanese writing system.
With a size that is neither “chunky” nor “slim” and a weight in the mid-range, this pen is comfortable and feels well-balanced to hold.