Any fountain pen aficionados?

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iceman99
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Any fountain pen aficionados?

Post by iceman99 » Fri Sep 02, 2011 12:32 pm

I got tired of throwing away disposable pens and purchased a Lamy fountain pen for $25. I've been an avid user for almost 1 year and have never looked back.

Didn't want to purchase anything pricier because of fear of losing it.

Any others here?

Image

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nisiprius
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Post by nisiprius » Fri Sep 02, 2011 5:12 pm

Enjoy your pen and ignore the ramblings of a curmudgeon.

Nothing surprises me more than the revival of interest in fountain pens. What a nuisance! Good riddance to bad rubbish.

I grew up in an era when fountain pens were a normal writing tool, and Waterman's Blue-Black Ink could be found in every dime store. "Writes Blue--Dries to a Lasting Black," or was it the other way around? TV ads extolled the Schaeffer Snorkel Pen, always with a shot of the nib of a just-refilled pen being drawn across the back of a white glove, leaving no mark.

I've never known what the tiny hairs were that always managed to lodge themselves in the nib, where they came from or how they got there. I certainly don't know how to get the nib writing smoothly again without getting ink all over you. Did the nibs pull fibers out of the paper, perhaps?

I actually owned a Shaeffer snorkel pen for a while. They were marginally cleaner, but they too leaked and sputtered and dripped and I don't think it would have been a good idea to wear white gloves while using them except in a commercial.

For anything official or formal you used a fountain pen, because the ink was "indelible," an adjective I realize I haven't heard in decades. I can't believe the ink in ballpoints wasn't, but... the cultural standard was, you signed your checks with a fountain pen, in "indelible" ink.

In reality they were finicky, persnickety beasts, needing to be constantly dipped in refilled. And they did leave blots. And they leaked. At any airport, you would see sad flyers who had left their fountain pens in a shirt pocket. If you think ballpoint stains are a problem, you've led a fortunate life.

I used a Rapidograph for many years, and I also used a fountain pen that didn't fill through the nib, but used disposable sealed cartridges--you put them into the body of the pen and the pen punctured the seal as you screwed it closed. A little better, but the cartridges were expensive and didn't hold much and the stores never had the right replacements, but always had bottles of Waterman's Blue-Black.

After you've had one fountain pen leak "indelible" ink in the pocket of a dress shirt, you may rethink things. The capillary action eventually draws out all the ink, so if you don't notice a damp feeling on your left nipple, not only is your shirt ruined, but your pen is out of ink.

Do Lamy pens leak on airplanes? Do Mont Blancs leak on airplanes? Inquiring minds want to know--but I will be astonished and impressed to hear that they don't.

I love my gel ballpoints.
Last edited by nisiprius on Fri Sep 02, 2011 5:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen and six, result happiness; Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery.

hicabob
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Post by hicabob » Fri Sep 02, 2011 5:38 pm

I found an old Parker fountain pen and bottle of ink that I had in a pile of writing implements the other day and was showing it to my kids - It was fun to use for a couple minutes.
I could see it at your desk if you like such things but not to carry around and certainly not on an airplane - and remember what used to happen when you dropped them nib-first?

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nisiprius
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Post by nisiprius » Fri Sep 02, 2011 5:45 pm

My quest to determine whether blue-blank ink wrote in blue and dried to black, or the other way around, has concluded without success. But I did find this, which reminded me that high-school girls liked to write in green ink. It went along with drawing little hearts instead of dots over the i's. Do they still do that?

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RJB
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Post by RJB » Fri Sep 02, 2011 6:18 pm

I was always partial to the Rotring 600 Black Trio Multipen, back when I could still find them. It was not a fountain pen, but a solid writing instrument.

tomd37
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Parker 51

Post by tomd37 » Fri Sep 02, 2011 6:21 pm

I remember giving my mother a Parker 51 fountain pen in the early 1950s and still, to this day, remember that she would never allow my father to use it ---- he had too heavy a hand if he used it. She used it for many years thereafter.
Tom D.

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joe8d
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Post by joe8d » Fri Sep 02, 2011 7:53 pm

Back in Grammar school,we used the wooden dip pen.Kept dipping into the inkwell in our 1900 era desks and had to blot every so often :)
Last edited by joe8d on Fri Sep 02, 2011 8:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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etf
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Post by etf » Fri Sep 02, 2011 8:04 pm

does anybody know of a good fountain pen repair shop in the los angeles area?

Rob't
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Post by Rob't » Sat Sep 03, 2011 8:16 am

John Mottishaw at nibs.com is in LA, but may only do mail/Internet work. His work is fantastic; he has reworked/customized several nibs for me.

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Post by Rob't » Sat Sep 03, 2011 8:24 am

I've flown with fountain pens in my pocket and brief case many times and never had a leak. The technique is to express a couple drops of ink back into the bottle after filling so that the reservoir is not completely full. When traveling I have carried only modern fountain pens and not vintage ones; I suspect the classic pens are more likely to leak. I had an early 1900s Conklin that emptied it's bladder on my desk for no apparent reason. But I have another of the same era (with extra fine flexible nib) that writes better than anything else I've ever used.

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PaddyMac
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Post by PaddyMac » Sat Sep 03, 2011 12:27 pm

fountain pens with cartridges are for sissies...

Give me a vintage calligraphic nib, an oblique pen holder, and a bottle of ink any day...

http://www.johnnealbooks.com/prod_detail_list/507

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nisiprius
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Post by nisiprius » Sat Sep 03, 2011 5:43 pm

I did a Google Books search (which includes magazines) hoping to find stories about leaking fountain pens. I did not succeed, but what I did find was sort of interesting. What the relevant searches turn up--from dates as far back as 1900--are literally dozens and dozens and dozens of ads from numerous fountain pen manufacturers, all saying the same thing: our pen cannot leak.

1898-NO JOINT TO LEAK. To those who have never owned a Fountain Pen, the " Parker " is a DELIGHT...

1900--It is jointless, having no old-fashioned screw joints to get stuck, leak, or break. Holds more ink than any other pen of its size. You never have soiled fingers from using The Buyter Jointless Fountain Pen. It always writes and does not leak.

1903--When closed and not in use, the Moore pen resembles the average fountain pen, but it has the advantage that it can be carried in the pocket in a horizontal position, or laid down in any fashion without the slightest fear of leakage.

1906--Nothing to take apart, nothing to break Conklin's Self-Filling Fountain Pen is the perfected fountain pen — having all ... Cannot leak or "sweat."

1908--New Popular Seller — "No-Leak Fountain Pen." Every step in modern achievement looks like the acme of perfection until it is improved upon That which represents the distinctly modern today is relegated to the shelf tomorrow.

1909--Then you need an Onoto Self-Filling Fountain Pen. IT CANNOT LEAK When the heat! of the pen is tcrcwed securely to the barrel it is impossible for the ink in the reservoir to pats the point, thus making it absolutely leak-proof.

1912--Get a leaklcss Parker Lucky Curve Fountain Pen today. Make this "touch" test yourself and prove it won't leak

1912--If you have had experience with a leaky Fountain pen, you are just the one who will best appreciate Moore's because the construction... this pen makes leaking impossible, regardless of the position in which it is carried.

1917--This window featuring has contributed largely to the unusually large fountain pen sales. This time it is one of SD Childs' own specialties, a real non-leak- able guaranteed self-filling fountain pen made up specially for their own trade

1927--Won't blot, scratch, leak or soil hands. You who already possess a standard fountain pen will find the Inkograph a most valuable addition to your writing equipment,
Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen and six, result happiness; Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery.

skyspot
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Post by skyspot » Sun Sep 04, 2011 2:56 am

They were fun when you flipped the little lever to slurp up the ink from the inkwell. Not good for left-handed folks. I prefer a nice feather and a sharp knife myself.

Maybe a nice Montblanc. Why not?

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MekongTrader
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Post by MekongTrader » Sun Sep 04, 2011 9:13 pm

Montblanc Meisterstuck for me.

Only the refills are almost $20 a piece.

But hey, some people have $5'000 watches.

MT

macrocarpa77
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Post by macrocarpa77 » Mon Sep 05, 2011 12:37 am

What's a fountain pen?

Ok, ok... I know what one is but some of us younger folks have never even seen one in real life, let alone actually use one. And a "dip pen" what is that? a step up from a turkey quill?

:lol:

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rob
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Post by rob » Mon Sep 05, 2011 1:05 am

Each to their own... I went thru a phase (got into calligraphy for a few years and though I might use a fountain pen in regular use - it's still around here somewhere) but they all leak..... at some point.
| Rob | Its a dangerous business going out your front door. - J.R.R.Tolkien

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corner559
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Post by corner559 » Mon Sep 05, 2011 1:28 am

I have the exact same pen that the OP purchased but the clear acrylic version, and I LOVE writing with it so much more than with other pens.

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nisiprius
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Post by nisiprius » Mon Sep 05, 2011 6:07 am

macrocarpa77 wrote:What's a fountain pen?

Ok, ok... I know what one is but some of us younger folks have never even seen one in real life, let alone actually use one. And a "dip pen" what is that? a step up from a turkey quill?

:lol:
In my childhood they still sold dip pens in the "five and ten" (think "dollar store," except that the "five and ten cent store" was a regular store with a stable stock of items, rather than a rotating bargain emporium). I don't think we called them "dip pens," they were just "pens" (as distinct from "fountain pens.") But they weren't used much. A dip pen was simply a wooden handle with a metal nib on it. Like this--modern image from an art supply website:
Image

Think of the old "Out of the Inkwell" cartoons if that means anything, or any old movie from 1920 to 1940 where someone dips routinely into an ink bottle before writings. It's not a feather, it's a pen. But not a fountain pen.

You dipped it in the inkwell, it wrote for a short time, you dipped it again. The nib had a place where the two halves parted, to create a round opening that held a drop of ink by surface tension that flowed down between the narrow gap.

Unlike fountain pens, which were, even the inexpensive ones, thought of as being high quality, these pens existed only for the purpose of being cheap. Fountain pens had impressive-looking nibs, of heaven knows what high-quality alloy--I think gold nibs were reasonably common for "good" pens; the business end was slightly rounded, etc. These non-fountain pens had cheap nibs that scraped and scratched even when brand new. If you tried to get a lot of ink into them, rather than staying in that little opening, a whole drop would fall off or out and make a blot. If you didn't dip them enough, they'd only write a sentence or two before going dry.

The ink bottles were designed--a tricky bit of glass molding--so that the pen went into a sort of pocket that wasn't too deep. Nevertheless, inevitably, you'd dip the pen deep enough to get ink on the bottom of the handle, and inevitably, at some point you accidentally grip too far down and touch the part that was wet with ink.

Oh, and of course--the pen aficionados in this thread, do you actually use them for writing, or just for signing?--the ink on the page stayed wet for a while, and a small but significant part of writing technique was never brushing any part of your hand against the page you were writing. That's why lefthanders had to hold their pen in that funny way.

And of course you had a "desk blotter," for fountain pens too. At home, the "secretary" (furniture for writing) would have had one. Usually intended to be somewhat elegant or goodlooking, it was a sort of frame with four leather corners--like photo corners--holding down a big piece of, yes, blotting paper. My recollection is that it was bluish in color? I'm not even sure I can think of anything quite like blotting paper: the thickness and weight of a business card, but absorbent like newspaper. After you'd written your letter, and it was sort of dry, you'd put it face down on the blotter for a second to dry out any places that were still damp, so the blotter acquired reversed imprints of scraps of whatever you'd been writing. Why can't I think of any detectives exploiting that in detective stories?

One authentic use for dip pens even in my childhood was for signs. All the things for which we now use felt markers--invented in the late fifties, I think, first ones I was aware of were named "Magic Markers" and had a wonderful solvent smell that kids loved--were done with sign pens. "Speedball" was the popular brand. The nibs had a huge, wide, circular end on them so they would draw a thick, perfectly evenly wide line that did not vary in thickness like type or calligraphy.

Visualize some old black-and-white movie from the 1940s or so. Visualize a department store with signs in it, "Hats On Sale, $2.95" or something, and that sign was written with a sign pen. In ink.

Actually, I think dip pens were probably in wide use by artists as well as sign writers, because they probably wanted to use a huge variety of different nibs and you couldn't easily change nibs on a fountain pen.
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Post by HongKonger » Mon Sep 05, 2011 6:20 am

MekongTrader wrote:Montblanc Meisterstuck for me.

Only the refills are almost $20 a piece.

But hey, some people have $5'000 watches.

MT
Montblanc Starwalker for me. And I have a nice ladylike ballpoint from Tiffany for when the ocassion merits it.

macrocarpa77
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Post by macrocarpa77 » Mon Sep 05, 2011 12:51 pm

nisiprius wrote:And of course you had a "desk blotter," for fountain pens too. At home, the "secretary" (furniture for writing) would have had one. Usually intended to be somewhat elegant or goodlooking, it was a sort of frame with four leather corners--like photo corners--holding down a big piece of, yes, blotting paper.
Interesting... When I was young -- say 25 years ago -- my parents put an antique desk in my bedroom. My mom put a desk blotter on it to protect the desk from any potential harm I might cause it. It was a cardboard backed stack of paper, about the size of a wall calendar, with vinyl retention slots in the lower corners. While I had never really thought about it, I figured it was a "blotter" because it would blot up moisture from any cold drinking glasses I had sitting on it or something. You know, to prevent the desk from being damaged. I had no idea that their original intent was to blot ink back in the fountain pen days.

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