Results 1 to 8 of 8

Thread: BBC News: Why are fountain pen sales rising?

  1. #1
    Senior Member calamus's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Location
    Redwoods Rainforest
    Posts
    1,292
    Thanks
    1,108
    Thanked 1,295 Times in 564 Posts
    Rep Power
    8

    Default BBC News: Why are fountain pen sales rising?

    An old news story, but better than spam! Makes me wonder what current trends look like, given the anemic post-lockdown economy.

    https://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-18071830

    Why are fountain pen sales rising?
    By Steven Brocklehurst
    BBC News Magazine

    You might expect that email and the ballpoint pen had killed the fountain pen. But sales are rising, so is the fountain pen a curious example of an old-fashioned object surviving the winds of change?
    For many people, fountain pens bring back memories of school days full of inky fingers, smudged exercise books and piles of pink blotting paper.
    But for others, a fat Montblanc or a silver-plated Parker is a treasured item. Prominently displayed, they are associated with long, sinuous lines of cursive script.
    Sales figures are on the up. Parker, which has manufactured fountain pens since 1888, claims a worldwide "resurgence" in the past five years, and rival Lamy says turnover increased by more than 5% in 2011.
    Online retailer Amazon says sales so far this year have doubled compared with the same period in 2011. They are four times higher than 2010.
    Stationery giant Ryman has seen a 10% increase in fountain pen sales over the last six weeks compared with the same period last year.
    But the rush to fountain pens is not part of a wider handwriting boom. Sales of ballpoint pens are stable.
    Instead the fountain pen is a classic story of how an object's status is affected by waves of new technology.
    Fountains pens once ruled, but by the 1960s the perfection of ballpoint pen technology established a remorseless rival. It would have taken an optimistic soul then to predict anything other than extinction for the fountain pen - a trip to the technological graveyard alongside the quill pen or the mangle.
    But they didn't die. The way people think about them has changed and is still changing.
    "The relationship we have with a fountain pen is changing from it being a working tool towards more of an accessory," says Gordon Scott, vice-president for office products at Parker pens in Europe, the Middle East and Asia.
    "People want the memory of a fountain pen in a contemporary pen."
    Somehow, the fountain pen became a luxury item and found a niche.
    If a president signs a treaty, they don't do it with a Bic Cristal. If you give a loved one a pen, your thoughts might be more fountain than ballpoint.
    It is the stuff of graduation presents and good luck on your first day at work.
    And those who buy them for themselves are making a very self-conscious choice. They are saying: "I want to write in the old way."
    Daily Telegraph readers recently created their own appreciation society after one letter writer asked: "When did you last see someone using a fountain pen?"
    The question prompted a wave of heartfelt testimonies from fanatical fountain penmen.
    The fountain pen has had to deal with both the ballpoint menace and the general threat to handwriting from the rise of email and other electronic messaging types.
    But for the aficionados, an iridium nib is a statement.
    They are "simple and honest" in a world governed by ubiquitous modern computer technology, says Martin Roberts, of online pen specialist The Writing Desk.
    "There is a McDonald's on every High Street but it does not prevent people from enjoying good, simple, home-cooked food."
    In the early years of the ballpoint threat, fountain penmakers tried price wars and innovation but failed to stem the tide. What stemmed it was a hardcore of affection.
    When the typewriter makers fought their last-ditch battle against the personal computer, they failed. Gimmicks such as electronic screens or automated liquid paper dispensing were no match for the attacker.
    But the fountain pen found a way.
    Sharon Hughes, a buyer for John Lewis, says people relish returning to solid, traditional objects to make sense of a difficult and complex world.
    "They are an old-fashioned thing but people like the personal touch. It is nice for things to be handwritten and not having everything via email," she says.
    According to Eva Pauli, from German manufacturer Lamy, the digitisation of everyday life has led to a change in writing by hand.
    "Writing is becoming more and more exclusive and personal. This will probably be the reason that some people speak of a comeback of the fountain pen," she says.
    "From our perspective, it has never really gone. In many European countries, the students continue to learn to write by hand with a pen."
    Doctors, lawyers and teachers have long used them to bestow an extra layer of respectability to official documents.
    In the world of business too, a good fountain pen can be seen as declaration of intent.
    Dragons' Den regular Peter Jones is thought to favour a Yard-O-Led Viceroy, which sells for about £500.
    And Nick Hewer, Lord Sugar's adviser in the BBC series The Apprentice, is often seen chewing on the end of his Lamy pen as he takes notes on the misadventures of candidates.
    In an interview with the Daily Express he said: "I'm not one for ostentatious treaty-signing type pens but I do think in business making an effort with the little things sends out a signal that you are serious about what you are doing."
    Others argue that writing "properly" is connected to standards of etiquette and politeness.
    But not everyone is a fan of fountain pens.
    If you're writing on a Post-It Note or a clipboard or filling in a form today, you'll probably use a ballpoint. To a vast majority, fountain pens are an affectation.
    It used to be the case that schools forced pupils to use them. That has long fallen by the wayside.
    One headmaster at a school in Stockport even made headlines because he banned GCSE pupils from using fountain pens over concerns it would affect their exam performance.
    But there are still traditionalists who associate them with a disciplined learning environment.
    Bryan Lewis, headmaster of The Mary Erskine and Stewart's Melville junior school in Edinburgh, requires that all written work in the final two years is completed using a fountain pen.
    He admits it is difficult for 10-year-olds brought up on the latest computer technology to get to grips with fountain pen writing but says the practice is part of children "aspiring to be excellent".
    "Life is about challenge and hard work and we are doing children a disservice if we let standards drop," he says.
    And does Lewis use one himself?
    "I have been using a fountain pen all morning to write school reports," he says.
    Quid rides? Mutato nomine de te fabula narratur. — Horace
    (What are you laughing at? Just change the name and the joke’s on you.)

  2. The Following 11 Users Say Thank You to calamus For This Useful Post:

    + Show/Hide list of the thanked

    BlkWhiteFilmPix (July 13th, 2023), carlos.q (July 13th, 2023), catbert (July 13th, 2023), Chrissy (September 7th, 2023), dneal (July 13th, 2023), forester (July 13th, 2023), rickap (July 13th, 2023), Robalone (September 7th, 2023), Robert (July 13th, 2023), Sailor Kenshin (July 13th, 2023), Yazeh (July 13th, 2023)

  3. #2
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    May 2021
    Posts
    1
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
    Rep Power
    0

    Default Re: BBC News: Why are fountain pen sales rising?

    2012...

  4. #3
    Senior Member BlkWhiteFilmPix's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    Looking up at the sky
    Posts
    525
    Thanks
    1,045
    Thanked 745 Times in 320 Posts
    Rep Power
    10

    Default Re: BBC News: Why are fountain pen sales rising?

    Thank you for sharing this story, Calamus
    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.

    www.bobsoltys.net/fountainpens

  5. The Following User Says Thank You to BlkWhiteFilmPix For This Useful Post:

    calamus (September 10th, 2023)

  6. #4
    Senior Member Ron Z's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2019
    Location
    Western Pennsylvania
    Posts
    587
    Thanks
    1
    Thanked 1,057 Times in 385 Posts
    Rep Power
    5

    Default Re: BBC News: Why are fountain pen sales rising?

    A few years ago I was talking with a younger adult at a pen show about why they like fountain pens, and their first comment was, "It isn't digital." The second was that they can put any color ink that they want in the pen.

    In the last 3 years I've had a lot of "family" pens sent in for repair. In the past the pens might have been sold. Today more are being repaired because it reminds them of a family member, and because they want to use them.

    The article itself is over a decade old. With the seismic shift in lives in the last 3 years, I wonder what the pen market is like now.
    Last edited by Ron Z; July 13th, 2023 at 10:22 AM.

    Visit Main Street Pens
    A full service pen shop providing professional, thoughtful pen repair....
    Please contact us by email, and not PM for repair inquiries.

  7. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to Ron Z For This Useful Post:

    calamus (September 13th, 2023), catbert (July 13th, 2023), Yazeh (July 13th, 2023)

  8. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2020
    Posts
    308
    Thanks
    264
    Thanked 424 Times in 204 Posts
    Rep Power
    4

    Default Re: BBC News: Why are fountain pen sales rising?

    An interesting article and thought provoking. Many of us will recognize the points being made such as it sends a signal to others that you are serious about the written word and/or your work. My working life was surrounded by people who only used fountain pens and they maintained the same color ink for years, a signature in the wrong colored ink would be questioned as to its validity.


    I like the idea of children using fountain pens as part of the growing up process and if I had young children around me then I would be only too pleased to sit around the table with them and practice handwriting or short stories.

    John at Write Here! in Shrewsbury tells me that Lamy pen sales were well up because school girls come in to his shop and they each buy a Lamy pen in a different color and they swap caps to show that they are best friends forever.

    There is also the story of the late Queen going to a charity function with Prince Philip, she was asked to sign something as the press looked on, she said to Philip, pass me your fountain pen and he replied that he hadn't brought it, 'I told you to bring it' was the stern reply. The reporter from The Sun tabloid newspaper stepped up and offered the Queen his pen, she took it but with the comment, 'Oh dear, its a ballpoint'.

  9. The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to RobJohnson For This Useful Post:

    amk (October 7th, 2023), calamus (September 13th, 2023), Sailor Kenshin (July 13th, 2023), Schaumburg_Swan (October 7th, 2023)

  10. #6
    Senior Member Sailor Kenshin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Where pigs run free!
    Posts
    3,861
    Thanks
    5,819
    Thanked 2,908 Times in 1,562 Posts
    Rep Power
    16

    Default Re: BBC News: Why are fountain pen sales rising?

    The word 'fanatical' was in there. 😜
    My other pen is a Montblanc.

    And my other blog is a tumblr!


    And my latest ebook, for spooky wintery reading:

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0CM2NGSSD

  11. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Sailor Kenshin For This Useful Post:

    calamus (September 13th, 2023), Yazeh (July 13th, 2023)

  12. #7
    Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2022
    Posts
    93
    Thanks
    29
    Thanked 29 Times in 20 Posts
    Rep Power
    2

    Default Re: BBC News: Why are fountain pen sales rising?

    Why...rising?

    It was probably me.
    *sigh*

  13. The Following User Says Thank You to ~JJ For This Useful Post:

    calamus (September 10th, 2023)

  14. #8
    Senior Member calamus's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Location
    Redwoods Rainforest
    Posts
    1,292
    Thanks
    1,108
    Thanked 1,295 Times in 564 Posts
    Rep Power
    8

    Default Re: BBC News: Why are fountain pen sales rising?

    That is funny!
    Quid rides? Mutato nomine de te fabula narratur. — Horace
    (What are you laughing at? Just change the name and the joke’s on you.)

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •