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Thread: Is anyone here a "cradle" FP user?

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    Senior Member calamus's Avatar
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    Default Is anyone here a "cradle" FP user?

    I'm in my 70s, and when I was a kid there were fountain pens and even dip pens pretty much all over the place. I can't remember when I made the switch from (crappy, cheap) fountain pens to ball point pens, but once I did, I stayed with them for years before discovering the joys of non-crappy fountain pens. Nowadays, I go weeks or even months at a time without touching a ball point pen, and then only when dire necessity arises.

    That got me to wondering about something. I wonder if there's anyone on this forum who has used fountain pens as his or her primary writing implement for their entire life, since childhood. Please, if you are such a one, don't be shy! Step right up to the mike and tell us about it. Pretty please, with whipped cream, chocolate syrup, chopped nuts and two -- okay, three -- cherries on top.
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    Senior Member Ray-VIgo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is anyone here a "cradle" FP user?

    Not quite, but almost. I learned to write with a pencil, because that's all they would allow us to learn with. This is in the 1980s and the public schools I went to were "pencil only" until you were maybe 13 or so. If you showed up to class with an ink pen, it would get taken away by the teacher. I'm not sure whether this was unique to that period, but there was a school-wide aversion to ink pens of any sort, be they ball or fountain. It may well have been a policy of that time. The old timers learned to write with dip pens and then graduated to fountain pens, but by the time I went to school, pencils were what they forced you to use if you were under, say, 13 or so.

    So we used pencils instead of pens through Jr. High School, and started with pens in Jr. High School. It was quite a change not being able to erase what you wrote. There was a quirky "erasable" ball point that was being sold at that time, but it didn't really work out as planned. I used a ball point pen for about 2 years in Jr. High School and found that I got pretty severe writer's cramp. I switched to a fountain pen first year of high school, and that's what I've used ever since because I did not have the cramping that I experience with the ball point.
    Last edited by Ray-VIgo; January 8th, 2020 at 04:20 PM.

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    Default Re: Is anyone here a "cradle" FP user?

    Sort of. My first pen was a fountain pen, when we graduated to writing with ink. Used it all through primary school. Secondary school was a boarding school, where fountain pens were verboten, apparently because the ink could be weaponised*. When I went to university, I bought my first pen, a Sheaffer Targa that I still use today. Have used them ever since.

    * Everything that could be, was. We used to remove the steel spike from protractors, and jam it into the ink tube of a ball point. Taping a rubber band to the end of the ball point meant that you had a mini "speargun" that would allow you to fire a missile at an unsupecting classmate's back. Happy days!
    Vintage. Cursive italic. Iron gall.

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    Default Re: Is anyone here a "cradle" FP user?

    I guess I qualify as a "cradle" FP user. I was introduced to them in grammar school (probably around the 4th grade), although we also used ballpoints. I used both fountain pens and ball points through high school and college. After college (which includes a teaching stint in Grenada, a few years working for a non-profit, law school and all that followed) I pretty much used fountain pens exclusively.

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    Default Re: Is anyone here a "cradle" FP user?

    Cradle-ish. Had my first cheap cartridge pen in 5th grade. Learned that if you puncture a cartridge and put it in your Elmerís glue bottle and shake it you get blue glue. (I was an experimenter from early days...)
    "Nolo esse salus sine vobis ...Ē óSt. Augustine

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    Default Re: Is anyone here a "cradle" FP user?

    I used fountain pens as a kid simultaneously with pencils, ballpoint, felt tips. But I did have Sheaffer Nononsense pens and P45s around the house and my grandmother bought us Nononsense pens and those translucent scripto pencils every year for school. I remember the Nononsense came one year in a blister pack with assorted color cartridges and I had a gas with those and my grandmother did encourage us to learn proper penmanship with a proper pen. She always like the nononsense and my grandfather rocked a P75.

    But alas, the late 70s / early 80s, we moved away from them entirely, mostly used pencils and then in the late 80s moved back to them when I went to conservatory and also had a part time job as a music copyist assistant. Copying by computer was new and expensive then. We had to do all our music by hand. Sheaffers and Esterbrooks (even) were common for that back then.

    In the 90s I also became a big fan of Pilot and used a black Pilot penmanship pen a lot. I liked it because that little cap had the ears on it and you could torque that cap on nice and tight and throw it in your back pack. For a long time the penmanship, and old Sheaffer school pen and those little cubes (30ml) of Pilot Blue/Black and Blue-Black were my set up. I still have that Pilot Penmanship at my mom's house some place. So not quite from the cradle. There was a dark 10 years or so where I probably didn't use them at all.

    Close but no cigar.

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    Default Re: Is anyone here a "cradle" FP user?

    Pretty much my whole life. Never quite got comfortable with anything but fountain pens, pencils, paint brush and chalk.
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    Default Re: Is anyone here a "cradle" FP user?

    I first used fountain pens in High School and always thereafter. My husband, in Scottish education, started at an earlier age: 9. He had used dip pens in school before that.
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    Default Re: Is anyone here a "cradle" FP user?

    I used dip pens and blue-black ink in my desk inkwells at senior school. Then very soon after, everyone seemed to get a fountain pen.
    Last edited by Chrissy; January 18th, 2020 at 03:47 AM.
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    Default Re: Is anyone here a "cradle" FP user?

    I started school in 1952 with pencil and writing tablet. Along about 1954 or 1955, Sheaffer began to market the first cartridge pens and our whole school jettisoned all of its inkwells and dip pens and gave everybody the new cartridge pen and a packet of five "Washable Blue" cartridges. We weren't supposed to take these pens home; they were for penmanship and composition writing in school. I still have that pen and it writes as well as it ever did. I was just starting to journal (or wanting to) at that time and complained about getting hand cramps from writing with pencils ("Tinsel Tint", the flashy metallic colored ones). "You are too little. You will make a mess with the ink in a fountain pen."

    My aunt heard my bootless cries and took pity on me. She gave me a maroon Wearever "Pennant" with a brushed stainless cap and a small faceted bottle of Sanford ink. I still have the journal I wrote then. It is embarrassing to read such childish stuff, but I guess we were all children once, no?

    At 8th grade graduation (1959) I was given a Parker "Jotter" for use in high school. This was the modern way to write. Fountain pens were for use by benighted old fogarts, so I put up with the hand cramps and the large callus that grew on the edge of my middle finger. That Jotter had a large diameter refill and a narrow tube that led to the ball end. You could cut off the tube, leaving a short stub. The ball end of the cut-off tube could be used to swage a bell onto the stub, making the business end of a rocket motor. We would wash out the ink and fill the barrel with potassium chlorate and sugar. Those rockets would leave the circumambient propinquity in a hurry.

    In college I drop-kicked the ballpoint technology through the goal posts of delusional design and went back to fountain pens. My right hand recovered its normal configuration. I still use other writing technologies when needs must, but for the long haul on good paper, I use fountain pens or dippers.
    "Nothing is enough for the man to whom enough is too little." -Epicurus-

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    Default Re: Is anyone here a "cradle" FP user?

    I am in my eighties, although it seems to me that I was sixteen only a short time ago. I began using what we called straight pens (aka dip pens) in elementary school, moved up to fountain pens, duly tried out a Reynolds Rocket when my family bought one, as a novelty, in 1945 or whatever year it was, and have continued to write with fountain pens. I've never had occasion to write discursively with a ballpoint pen. I can say I've jotted with a Jotter: mostly what I've used ballpoint pens for is writing down book citations, signing credit-card slips, girls' names and telephone numbers, and that kind of very brief text.

    Before I became a fountain-pen hobbyist I had one fountain pen, which was normal in its time, and by way of a backup I carried a ballpoint pen. But to avoid running out of ink I'd fill my fountain pen every morning, so the BP saw very little use.

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    Default Re: Is anyone here a "cradle" FP user?

    I guess you could say that I was a "cradle FP user, given that I would play with my parents' pens back in the late '40s. They even had a glass dip pen, and I couldn't figure out how something like that would work. However, all pens were forbidden in our elementary school, so there was about a 10-year gap before I got a Sheaffer School Pen, which was completely unsuitable; all it did was to plow furrows in the cheap paper that we had. Fast forward another 15-20 years, and I was in the USAF, stationed in Japan, and I bought my Sailor 21 Pocket pen. And the addiction has been all downhill ever since.
    In my mug: Sailor 21 P-P M, Cross Solo M, Online Calligraphy, Monteverde Invincia F, Hero 359 M, Jinhao X450 M, Levenger T-W M, Jinhao 159 , Platinum Balance F, TWSBI Classic 1.1, Platinum Preppy 0.3 F, 7 Pilot Varsities, Speedball penholder, TWSBI 580 USA EF, Pilot MR, Ahab 1.1, another Preppy 0.3, Preppy EF 0.2, ASA Sniper F, Click Majestic F, Kaweco Sport M, Pilot Prera F, Baoer 79 M, Hero 616 M, Jinhao X750

    31 and counting

    DaveBj

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    Default Re: Is anyone here a "cradle" FP user?

    The earliest i remember using a fountain pen was grade six (1970s, in Chicago public school). The pen was a blister pack Sheaffer of some sort. I probably used fountain pens earlier, but i donít have any specific memories of using one. I had used dip pens before ó my mother was an artist and there were all sorts of art supplies around and i was into calligraphy as a child. I vaguely remember having an Osmiroid calligraphy set, though again, i donít remember any instance of using it.

    My memory is hazy in this point because fountain pens were just another tool to me. I liked them and thought they were fun ó i liked filling them ó but i hadnít developed the fetish i have now. I preferred fountain pens, but didnít use them exclusively until i was in my thirties.

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    Default Re: Is anyone here a "cradle" FP user?

    In school in the 1950s, I used pencil, then dip pens, and a school supplied Scripto fountain pen in fifth grade. Moved from Boston to Daytona Beach in 1960 and used Sheaffer cartridge pens and ballpoints. After college bought a Parker 51 that I still use. In 1983 a couple of Montblancs. Bought a lot of Parker 51s that I cleaned up and collected in a box. Nothing more until joining this forum and buying a lot of various pens, none as good as the Montblancs and Parker 51s.

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    Default Re: Is anyone here a "cradle" FP user?

    I am 73 and was taught Copperplate handwriting at primary school. At first we used dipping pens, and then, once we could write without smears or boots, I graduated to fountain pens. When I went to Grammar School my father gave me a green marbled Canadian made Conway Stewart, which he'd bought in Canada on a trip there and kept for me until the appropriate moment. I used it for years. Now I have several vintage and new pens and use them for notetaking etc. I have flirted with rollerball, but always come back to the fountain pen for legibly if where haste is required a good mechanical pencil.

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    Default Re: Is anyone here a "cradle" FP user?

    I used a dip pen in primary, and was allowed to use a FP in secondary school.

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    Default Re: Is anyone here a "cradle" FP user?

    Interesting. My understanding is that the European and British primary schools were, at least in the not-so-distance past still using dip pens as learning tools, whereas American public primary schools went over to pencils.

    I recall what we had were these stick-down ribbons with the various cursive letters shown. The ribbon ran the length of your desk and had all the upper and lower case letters, as well as the numbers 1 through 9. But you learned using this ribbon and the exercises with a pencil. By about the third month into it, the ribbons were starting to come up because they were losing their stickiness. I remember this one kid - his name was Ben, it's funny how your memory still has these little bits kicking around - he pulled up the strip and began whipping this girl who sat next to him with the learning strip. He got in trouble for that.

    Anyway, it's fascinating - and totally in line with what I have heard - that many of the European and British schools had kids learning handwriting the very old way, with dip pens, at least within the not too distance past. I'd hate to think what my friend Ben could have done with a dip pen - maybe play darts using the ceiling as a dartboard. But that's life for you.

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    Senior Member Deb's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is anyone here a "cradle" FP user?

    My husband says that they started with pencils too, in Scotland. The dip pens came along when they had the hang of cursive. He started school in 1955. He reports that there was a certain amount of ruffianly behaviour with the dip pens and Stephens ink but he took no part in it. Oh no. Not him.
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    Default Re: Is anyone here a "cradle" FP user?

    We had enough trouble writing with the dip pens that no time was left for clowning around with the darned things and shooting ink around with them.

    The desks were made for right handers, with the inkwell in the upper right corner. I am left handed and dipping the dip pen was tedious. I have dip pens and some Esterbrook nibs. I will not be using them.

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    Default Re: Is anyone here a "cradle" FP user?

    I used a fountain pen from about 4th grade onward, when we began writing with ink. That would be about 1957. We might have been allowed to used ballpoints but no one did. Used a fountain pen until the end of freshman year in college, when I shifted in some ballpoints and fiber (or felt) tipped pens. Got a job as a computer programmer, and used only ballpoints and pencils, because our green-bar paper and other source-listing paper would not tolerate fountain pens. Ruined my hand using a mouse, and tried a fountain pen again around 2007 or 08. By then, I had been pushed "upstairs", never to write programs again (by then, dismissed as mere "coding"). Spent the rest of my work, and now my retirement, using a fountain pen.

    Can't get my kids to use a fountain pen, but have put aside three Parker 51 sets for the grandchildren.

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