With more of our writing being digitised, the fountain pen is often thought of as a redundant instrument from a bygone era. But for me, when taking notes or writing appointments into my diary, I have found that the unparalleled smoothness provided by a fountain pen translates into a clarity of ideas.
Because of their use in schools to teach better handwriting, and the oft-times ridiculous price tag associated with the more expensive brands, there can be trepidation that occurs when thinking about using a fountain pen. Today I’m going to dispel the fear and misconceptions about fountain pens to try and persuade you to take up this wonderful instrument.
They are Affordable
Fountain pens are tools like any other piece of stationery. Their job is to write and like other writing tools, such as printers or typewriters, there are a variety of features that may increase that price. In the same way that not everyone will get the most use out of a £2,000 gaming laptop, not everyone will feel the benefit of a £200 fountain pen with a 16k gold nib and a filing system. There are many amazing pens for under £20, such as the Kaweco sport, Lamy safari and Pilot metropolitan to name a few, that make great daily writers that will last for years to come. My Kaweco sport is a very good writer and even compares to the writing of some of my more expensive fountain pens.
They are Clean
Despite the horror stories that you’ve heard about tidal waves of black ink projected on your finest, whitest tablecloth, fountain pens are surprisingly clean. Fountain pens are filled with ink which will stain anything that it comes into contact with. However, years of effort on the part of fountain pen makers have refined the models to the point that they will (almost) never leak. In fact, a good way to tell whether or not a fountain pen is in need of service is that it is leaking. I’ve carried around a fountain pen for over a third of my life and I’ve never had one leak in my pocket apart from when the pen was in need of a clean. Smudging is a common sight in the school books of young fountain pen users, and while it is true that fountain pen ink needs more time to dry, smudging isn’t an intrinsic property of fountain pens. In order to avoid leaks, clean your pen roughly every 3-4 weeks by washing it through with warm water until all the ink is cleaned out of the pen.
They are Personal
Your handwriting, whether neat, tidy, big or small, is unique to you and will develop over time. Much like any sensitive piece of equipment or musical instrument, over time a rapport is built up between the user and the pen. This rapport is cultivated everytime you write. While the fountain pen will not automatically make your handwriting neater, by reducing the amount of pressure that you need in order to write you will be freer to move around the page. This allows for quicker writing. They are also highly customisable, there is a fountain pen for everyone’s unique writing style and a colour of ink to match the mood and tone of your writing.
If you have any questions about the wide world of fountain pens or want to post pictures of your own pens, be our guest!
By Jacob Lewis