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Thread: A Personal Fountain Pen Journey

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    Default A Personal Fountain Pen Journey

    I don’t consider myself a fountain pen collector, but I have been using a fountain pen since fifth grade, and I have accumulated a fountain pen for most of the phases of my life. Some are original, some I acquired later to memorialize a time/event. One is still missing.

    Chronologically, they are:

    Osmiroid (lever filled, calligraphy tip) – This was the fountain pen I started with in fifth grade. Calligraphy was a popular hobby/habit in the boys’ school I attended, which still taught penmanship and handwriting. I did OK in penmanship at first, but then exceled at calligraphy. I wish I knew what happened to that pen. I do remember that it not only was useful in standard calligraphy, but it also was useful as we all taught ourselves to speak and write Elvish from the Lord of the Rings. It frustrated the teachers no end that they could not decipher the notes we passed in class.

    Lamy 2000 – I was an exchange student in Switzerland in my gap year between high school and college. Because of the difference in education pacing, I found myself bored in class frequently and spent a lot of time doodling. I hadn’t brought a pen though (silly me), so I had to borrow pens from my classmates. That is until I borrowed a Lamy. It was, I thought, the perfect doodling pen. I kept the pen that I had borrowed, but compensated the young lass that lent it to me with endless cups of coffee while I tried to convince her that she should leave her boyfriend. It was particularly useful in Latin class (at the time I knew neither Latin nor the form of German the teacher spoke). I now keep my Lamy 2000 inked to doodle or to make margin notes.

    Shaeffer Targa – I put this here in the chronology, though I really can’t recall when I got my Shaeffer. I never really liked it, but it was always there and always reliable. I gave it to my eldest son when he expressed interest in fountain pens. He wants to use it to grade papers… that seems nobler than sitting in my desk drawer. I did not know that red ink was no longer acceptable for grading papers, though, so I had to find him some purple and green ink. Ick.

    Parker Duofold “Big Red” – This one got me through college, with all my rough drafts of papers, note-taking and test taking. This was long before PCs and word processing programs. I am surprised that the nib is still functional, as an Ivy League education involves an incredible amount of writing. I had one class that required a twenty page paper every week, and it usually took me two or three spiral notebooks of notes for every class. It does leak a little, though, so I don’t ink it up much any more.

    Mont Blanc Meisterstück – My parents gave this to me on graduation from Harvard, with my mother’s direction, “sign big things with this.” I have used it for every important document I have signed in the forty years since then. What I didn’t know then was that my mother had previously bought one for herself, too, which she never used and gave to me much later. She knew nothing about nibs, it seems. The one she bought me was a Fine. The one she had purchased for herself looks to be an oblique... she always said "it wrote funny".

    Waterman LeMan – When I started my professional career, it was in a very “traditional” corporate setting. When I would take documents up to the CFO to sign (all of the C-Suite had their offices together on the top floor where everyone whispered), he would use a Waterman even though he had a Mont Blanc desk set. Why? I was always afraid to ask. When I had progressed to signing all the things he didn’t want to be bothered with, I got a Waterman. Imitation? Oh, yes. I wanted to be just like “Mr. Hulse” when I grew up. I visited him many years later, when I was a CFO and he was long retired. I finally asked him why he never used the Mont Blanc on his desk. His reply, "oh, I never figured out how to fill it with ink."

    Pelikan Souverän – One of my first international projects was with a stately and conservative German company. My counterpart, the subsidiary’s CFO, was convinced that Pelikan made the best fountain pens on the planet. When the system launched, we signed the final documents with his Pelikan. I had to agree then, so much so that I thought about trying to pocket his pen, but I was sure that I would end up in a German prison. I still agree… my Pelikan M1000, acquired in his memory, is one of my favorite pens with which to write.

    Sailor King of Pens – About the same time, I was also working on project in Japan. I did know that fountain pen use was quite prevalent in Japan, but the only pens I had experience with were steel-nibbed “student” pens, and I was not impressed. The lines were too thin and the feedback too scratchy. My counterpart there had this pen, though, that looked like a clone of the Mont Blanc. I remarked on it, and he proceeded to educate me on Japanese fountain pens, most notably the nibs. He was pretty sure that the Japanese had invented fountain pens. He had me try what I now know was a Sailor 1911. Nice, but not compelling. When the Sailor King of Pens came out, though, I had to admit it was spectacular in quality and writing ease. While I acquired it long after the Japanese project, it always reminds me of the project when I write with it, and the long and patient lectures from my counterpart on how westerners really didn’t know how to write.

    Pilot Metal Falcon – During the pandemic quarantine, I was researching fountain pen inks when I came across an ink review where the author was using a Pilot/Namiki “Falcon” nib. I was stuck by the line variations that were possible, much more subtle but yet interesting. I decided to do my ink testing with one… and the Metal Falcon had just the heft I wanted. It’s a nice pen to keep inked with odd colors, just in case, and it is my “pandemic pen.”

    That has been my journey so far. I can't wait to see what's next.

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    Senior Member Jon Szanto's Avatar
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    Default Re: A Personal Fountain Pen Journey

    Welcome! That's a handsome batch of pens and good background on how they served you well over the years. You have me beat in one way: I don't think I started using a fountain pen until 7th grade, but I was likely earlier than your use. A few years ago, as I was going through old papers at my parent's house, I came across one of the earliest examples from the time, a school project. This would have been a Sheaffer "Cartridge Pen" and Skrip Washable Blue ink, which is still clearly readable to this day (even on a fictional story).

    "When Men differ in Opinion, both Sides ought equally to have the Advantage of being heard by the Publick;
    and that when Truth and Error have fair Play, the former is always an overmatch for the latter."

    ~ Benjamin Franklin

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    Default Re: A Personal Fountain Pen Journey

    I enjoyed reading the account of your journey.

    The earliest i can recall using a fountain pen was in grade 6, also with a Sheaffer cartridge pen, so right in between you guys.

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    Default Re: A Personal Fountain Pen Journey

    Thankyou for that! I had an Osmiroid at school too, probably the best of my school pens until I lost it. By time I reached high school and could be trusted to hang onto it, I had a Conway Stewart. It was prettier than the Osmiroid and more expensive but not a better writer.

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    Default Re: A Personal Fountain Pen Journey

    Thank you for sharing your memories about each of your pens. I enjoyed it very much.
    Bob

    Making the world a more peaceful place, one fine art print and one handwritten letter at a time.

    Paper cuts through the noise – Richard Moross, MOO CEO

    Indiana Jones used a notebook in the map room, not an app.

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    Default Re: A Personal Fountain Pen Journey

    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Szanto View Post
    Welcome! That's a handsome batch of pens and good background on how they served you well over the years. You have me beat in one way: I don't think I started using a fountain pen until 7th grade, but I was likely earlier than your use. A few years ago, as I was going through old papers at my parent's house, I came across one of the earliest examples from the time, a school project. This would have been a Sheaffer "Cartridge Pen" and Skrip Washable Blue ink, which is still clearly readable to this day (even on a fictional story).

    I love this! What a cool find (I assume that you have the rest of the "account")

    T

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    Senior Member Yazeh's Avatar
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    Default Re: A Personal Fountain Pen Journey

    Tom thanking you for sharing these pen stories. They lifted my spirt

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    Senior Member Jon Szanto's Avatar
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    Default Re: A Personal Fountain Pen Journey

    Quote Originally Posted by TSherbs View Post
    I love this! What a cool find (I assume that you have the rest of the "account")
    Thanks, T. Yes, still have it, packed up at the moment but I should scan it all into a pdf. It isn't all that long, and was an assignment to do a fictional travel journal that required us to research the countries/areas we chose to write about. Miss E. was a quiet but very early influential teacher in my life. I was extremely fortunate to have one or two of these in almost every year of my K-12 journey. Teachers are the best.
    "When Men differ in Opinion, both Sides ought equally to have the Advantage of being heard by the Publick;
    and that when Truth and Error have fair Play, the former is always an overmatch for the latter."

    ~ Benjamin Franklin

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    FPG Donor ♕ Chrissy's Avatar
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    Default Re: A Personal Fountain Pen Journey

    Welcome and thank you for your really interesting post about the pens in your life.
    Regards, Chrissy | My Blog: inkyfountainpens

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