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Thread: Fountain Pens More Convenient, but Not Superior to Dip Pens

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    Default Fountain Pens More Convenient, but Not Superior to Dip Pens

    I am sure this will cause some push back, but after experiencing using vintage dip pen nibs, I am sort of convinced that fountain pens didn't improve what could be accomplished with a good dip pen, they just made it more convenient. Thoughts?

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    Default Re: Fountain Pens More Convenient, but Not Superior to Dip Pens

    Yep, that's true. Same with a horse and a car.

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    Default Re: Fountain Pens More Convenient, but Not Superior to Dip Pens

    It depends what you want from a pen. If you want flexibility over any other consideration, go for dip pens. If you like a firm nib, as I do, I think the fountain pen is better. You may call it convenience but not having to change nibs frequently as they wear out or dip every few lines is a big step forward. Though you can get thicker ones, most dip pen handles are very slender and, for me at least, would lead to hand fatigue quite quickly.

    When he was at school, my husband had to use dip pens for a year or two before they finally relented and allowed fountain pens. Though he could write well with a fountain pen he was never able to master the use of the dip pen. Adnittedly the school issued very pointed nibs and there are better dip nibs but I still think using the dip pen for extended periods of ordinary writing (not calligraphy) is unlikely to catch on.

    I write several pages every day, in a hurry, in a spiral back notebook on my knee. A dip pen wouldn't work. Too inconvenient. A fountain pen does the job just fine. Added convenience is improvement.
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    Default Re: Fountain Pens More Convenient, but Not Superior to Dip Pens

    Dippers are handy for ink testing if you don't feel like loading one of your pens...as I will be doing a bit later to see which ink I want to fill next.

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    Default Re: Fountain Pens More Convenient, but Not Superior to Dip Pens

    Quote Originally Posted by Deb View Post
    It depends what you want from a pen. If you want flexibility over any other consideration, go for dip pens. If you like a firm nib, as I do, I think the fountain pen is better. You may call it convenience but not having to change nibs frequently as they wear out or dip every few lines is a big step forward. Though you can get thicker ones, most dip pen handles are very slender and, for me at least, would lead to hand fatigue quite quickly.

    When he was at school, my husband had to use dip pens for a year or two before they finally relented and allowed fountain pens. Though he could write well with a fountain pen he was never able to master the use of the dip pen. Adnittedly the school issued very pointed nibs and there are better dip nibs but I still think using the dip pen for extended periods of ordinary writing (not calligraphy) is unlikely to catch on.

    I write several pages every day, in a hurry, in a spiral back notebook on my knee. A dip pen wouldn't work. Too inconvenient. A fountain pen does the job just fine. Added convenience is improvement.

    There are firm nibs. The Esterbrook Bank #14 comes to mind. Yes, if you are in a hurry then using a Pilot Precise V5 works for me. Thanks you for responding.

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    Default Re: Fountain Pens More Convenient, but Not Superior to Dip Pens

    Quote Originally Posted by Sailor Kenshin View Post
    Dippers are handy for ink testing if you don't feel like loading one of your pens...as I will be doing a bit later to see which ink I want to fill next.
    No, I am talking about actually using for communication with other humans....LOL!!

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    Default Re: Fountain Pens More Convenient, but Not Superior to Dip Pens

    I have dip pens that will write for a half of a letter size page per dip. Fountain pens are for writing in portable situations.

    When an old style un-tipped dip nib "wears out" it wears the point sharp in front and on the edges. Two light swipes on a sharpening stone puts the nib back in business. It takes less than a second. The same remedy can be used for a brand new nib that is sharp and scratchy. A worthy school master knew how to do this.
    "Nothing is enough for the man to whom enough is too little." -Epicurus-

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    Default Re: Fountain Pens More Convenient, but Not Superior to Dip Pens

    Quote Originally Posted by Paddler View Post
    I have dip pens that will write for a half of a letter size page per dip. Fountain pens are for writing in portable situations.

    When an old style un-tipped dip nib "wears out" it wears the point sharp in front and on the edges. Two light swipes on a sharpening stone puts the nib back in business. It takes less than a second. The same remedy can be used for a brand new nib that is sharp and scratchy. A worthy school master knew how to do this.
    Interesting. I have tools to hone a straight razor.

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    Default Re: Fountain Pens More Convenient, but Not Superior to Dip Pens

    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Naill View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Deb View Post
    It depends what you want from a pen. If you want flexibility over any other consideration, go for dip pens. If you like a firm nib, as I do, I think the fountain pen is better. You may call it convenience but not having to change nibs frequently as they wear out or dip every few lines is a big step forward. Though you can get thicker ones, most dip pen handles are very slender and, for me at least, would lead to hand fatigue quite quickly.

    When he was at school, my husband had to use dip pens for a year or two before they finally relented and allowed fountain pens. Though he could write well with a fountain pen he was never able to master the use of the dip pen. Adnittedly the school issued very pointed nibs and there are better dip nibs but I still think using the dip pen for extended periods of ordinary writing (not calligraphy) is unlikely to catch on.

    I write several pages every day, in a hurry, in a spiral back notebook on my knee. A dip pen wouldn't work. Too inconvenient. A fountain pen does the job just fine. Added convenience is improvement.

    There are firm nibs. The Esterbrook Bank #14 comes to mind. Yes, if you are in a hurry then using a Pilot Precise V5 works for me. Thanks you for responding.
    You appear to choose to misunderstand me. Of course I am aware that there are firm nibs. Why would I want to use a rollerball? A good fountain pen is equally as useful when I have a lot to write in a short time - more so, I would say.
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    Default Re: Fountain Pens More Convenient, but Not Superior to Dip Pens

    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Naill View Post
    I am sure this will cause some push back, but after experiencing using vintage dip pen nibs, I am sort of convinced that fountain pens didn't improve what could be accomplished with a good dip pen, they just made it more convenient. Thoughts?
    Some vintage fountain pen nibs are as good as dip pens, even better in my view because they are tipped, so they can be made to write a lot smoother than a dip pen can be.

    And yes, I'm talking about the flexibility.

    In fact the earlier fountain pen nibs must be made using the same method as dip pen nibs, because they share the same physical properties. Except, unlike dip nibs, the fountain pen ones were made with 14K gold.
    - Will
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    Default Re: Fountain Pens More Convenient, but Not Superior to Dip Pens

    Quote Originally Posted by Paddler View Post
    I have dip pens that will write for a half of a letter size page per dip. Fountain pens are for writing in portable situations.

    When an old style un-tipped dip nib "wears out" it wears the point sharp in front and on the edges. Two light swipes on a sharpening stone puts the nib back in business. It takes less than a second. The same remedy can be used for a brand new nib that is sharp and scratchy. A worthy school master knew how to do this.
    It was a schoolmistress, actually, and she was anything but worthy. Good on the seething hatred of children and calculated sadism but not much else.
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    Default Re: Fountain Pens More Convenient, but Not Superior to Dip Pens

    Quote Originally Posted by Deb View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Naill View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Deb View Post
    It depends what you want from a pen. If you want flexibility over any other consideration, go for dip pens. If you like a firm nib, as I do, I think the fountain pen is better. You may call it convenience but not having to change nibs frequently as they wear out or dip every few lines is a big step forward. Though you can get thicker ones, most dip pen handles are very slender and, for me at least, would lead to hand fatigue quite quickly.

    When he was at school, my husband had to use dip pens for a year or two before they finally relented and allowed fountain pens. Though he could write well with a fountain pen he was never able to master the use of the dip pen. Adnittedly the school issued very pointed nibs and there are better dip nibs but I still think using the dip pen for extended periods of ordinary writing (not calligraphy) is unlikely to catch on.

    I write several pages every day, in a hurry, in a spiral back notebook on my knee. A dip pen wouldn't work. Too inconvenient. A fountain pen does the job just fine. Added convenience is improvement.

    There are firm nibs. The Esterbrook Bank #14 comes to mind. Yes, if you are in a hurry then using a Pilot Precise V5 works for me. Thanks you for responding.
    You appear to choose to misunderstand me. Of course I am aware that there are firm nibs. Why would I want to use a rollerball? A good fountain pen is equally as useful when I have a lot to write in a short time - more so, I would say.
    I may have misunderstood you, but it was not because I chose to do so. I use a rollerball for quick notes and for addressing since I use Waterman ink that does not suffer water well. I am enjoying use a dip pen and beside having to reload, provides a very smooth writing experience depending on the type of paper. Thank you for responding. I respect your experience and knowledge.

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    Default Re: Fountain Pens More Convenient, but Not Superior to Dip Pens

    I would like to clarify, if I can. I have nothing "against" dip pens. I recognise their utility. The purpose is to lay a line of ink on paper which is the same purpose as that served by a quill pen, a fountain pen or a ballpoint. Long ago, when I did not know where to find sacs for my fountain pens I used dip pens extensively whenever I needed to do a long piece of writing. I still have my handles and a box of varied nibs. We could even go a step further back and praise the quill pen. I've been reading the diaries of Anne Lister. She was much travelled and used a travelling inkwell when away from home. It may be that for later diaries she used a steel nib. I have no doubt that she felt (if that was the case) that the steel nib was an improvement because it didn't have to be frequently reshaped with a knife.

    Equally, our forebears gladly accepted the advent of the fountain pen, as indicated by the number made and the fortunes acquired. If you wanted to take it out of the house you didn't have to take a kit with you. The fountain pen was self-contained. That seems to me to be an improvement. One can only deny that it is an improvement if you separate the idea of increased convenience from the idea of improvement and, in this case, I can't see how that can be done. Any of the instruments I mentioned above can lay down a perfectly adequate line. The improvement must the in be convenience of doing so.

    It is said that if you want line variation from a flexible nib, the dip nib is the way to go. It is clearly possible to achieve greater line variation with a dip nib than with a fountain pen, so far as I am aware. However, today I have been write testing Swans. Several of them are fully flexible but the most flexible is a 3161, the least expensive of the 1950s range, with the smallest nib. It isn't always about long tines.

    Finally, of course, the Bic ballpoint is an improvement on the fountain pen from a point of view of convenience. It can be thrown down on the desk and picked up to jot down a note. It doesn't dry out when it isn't capped and it lays down a fairly adequate line. Of course you wouldn't want to write a paragraph with the thing because of the awkward way it demands to be held, guaranteed to give you hand pain and fatigue in short order. But there can be no doubt it is an improvement because it's what industry buys and indeed, industry barely tolerates the fountain pen any more. This is partly because very little is actually written in the workplace any more.

    In a similar vein, you may well enjoy the elegance of the dip pen and take pride in the skill of its use. The process of writing with the dip pen tends to slow things down a little which is no bad thing. When my husband was registrar of births, deaths and marriages and held all the parish ledgers going back to the beginning of registration in Scotland in 1855, there was some wonderful roundhand writing in those books. It lasted for a generation or two until it was superseded by a more everyday script, still using the dip nib, but quickly followed by the fountain pen.
    Last edited by Deb; February 15th, 2020 at 11:27 AM.
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    Default Re: Fountain Pens More Convenient, but Not Superior to Dip Pens

    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Naill View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Paddler View Post
    I have dip pens that will write for a half of a letter size page per dip. Fountain pens are for writing in portable situations.

    When an old style un-tipped dip nib "wears out" it wears the point sharp in front and on the edges. Two light swipes on a sharpening stone puts the nib back in business. It takes less than a second. The same remedy can be used for a brand new nib that is sharp and scratchy. A worthy school master knew how to do this.
    Interesting. I have tools to hone a straight razor.
    A hone is probably too fine. I have some Mylar sheets with various grits sold for grinding nibs and all that techy stuff is just overkill. Unglazed porcelain or stoneware works well, as does the side of a suzuri. A milky quartz pebble from a gravel bank works as well as anything.
    "Nothing is enough for the man to whom enough is too little." -Epicurus-

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    Default Re: Fountain Pens More Convenient, but Not Superior to Dip Pens

    This is why I only use goose quills. Everything afterwards was mere luxury and hardly worth considering. If I really need to make sure something is permanent, forget iron gall ink, I pull out the old hammer and chisel and cut those lines straight into granite or marble as god intended.

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    Default Re: Fountain Pens More Convenient, but Not Superior to Dip Pens

    I'm not arguing with this, I know they are superior in a lot of ways, I just don't have the discipline/patience to deal with them.

    Fountain pens for me, are a good middle ground, convenient, but not so much so that you end up going the way of a BIC. And it seems easier to justify a "pretty pen", when you get liquid ink and a nib involved.

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    Default Re: Fountain Pens More Convenient, but Not Superior to Dip Pens

    After reading through this, I realized I just wasted 10 minutes of my life on something that is meaningless.

    An editor I once worked with used to require that every piece of writing pass the "So what?" test. This thread doesn't, at least for me.

    Perhaps naive younger people are more "convenient" than cranky, old men!

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    Default Re: Fountain Pens More Convenient, but Not Superior to Dip Pens

    Quote Originally Posted by Brilliant Bill View Post
    After reading through this, I realized I just wasted 10 minutes of my life on something that is meaningless. An editor I once worked with used to require that every piece of writing pass the "So what?" test. This thread doesn't, at least for me....
    Much of the internet is like that, and the bulk of social media. Get ye to your library.

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    Default Re: Fountain Pens More Convenient, but Not Superior to Dip Pens

    Quote Originally Posted by Brilliant Bill View Post
    After reading through this, I realized I just wasted 10 minutes of my life on something that is meaningless.

    An editor I once worked with used to require that every piece of writing pass the "So what?" test. This thread doesn't, at least for me.

    Perhaps naive younger people are more "convenient" than cranky, old men!
    (about as nonsensical as I could get)

    I just wasted probably 10x that reading thru reddit, cringing at teens with money destroying some very nice pens... (I mean, sure it's their property but... when they get the vintages and ruin them, it makes me sad, you can't just make another).

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    Default Re: Fountain Pens More Convenient, but Not Superior to Dip Pens

    Quote Originally Posted by Brilliant Bill View Post
    After reading through this, I realized I just wasted 10 minutes of my life on something that is meaningless.

    An editor I once worked with used to require that every piece of writing pass the "So what?" test. This thread doesn't, at least for me.

    Perhaps naive younger people are more "convenient" than cranky, old men!


    I am reminded of the words of Victor Frankl, who suggested that to be happy we should not seek for meaning in life.

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