A Hobby: Fountain Pens

Since my high school years (a very long time ago), I’ve always liked writing with fountain pens.  In the last 10 to 15 years that interest grew more serious and I started purchasing pens off the web, upgrading a step up from the fountain pens I had been buying off the rack at the local drugstore for $5 to $15.  The latter were usually not sturdy enough to carry around like a ball point, and often not reliable enough to be sure they would write every time without some prodding.  They also made a much larger mess on your person when they leaked or dumped their ink without warning due to a bump or jostle.

The pen pictured above is my latest purchase, a Lamy CP1, with a steel fine nib.  The term “fine” defines the relative width of the line it draws on the paper and is not a hard and fast measurement, as it can vary from brand to brand.  This purchase was influenced by my experience with the 4 Lamy pens I already own.  The Lamy brand was among my first purchases on the web and stood out from other brands in its price range as being the most reliable (write first time, every time), most durable (take a licking and keep on ticking), and easiest to write with.  These 4 Lamy’s are all Safari models of various colors, with sturdy ABS plastic bodies except for one, a Safari Al-Star which has a light aluminum body.  All are fixed with medium nibs, writing a thicker line than the fine.

The CP1 has a very slim metal barrel and a slightly textured finish.  For me, it is a very comfortable pen to write with most likely due to the small circumference of the body and the smoothness of the nib.  It shipped dry and as soon as I plugged in the cartridge it came with, it wrote immediately – no prodding or waiting for it to be ready.  And it has been writing immediately every day since.  I usually keep about 4 pens inked, and at least one of them has always been a Lamy.  This pen will always be inked, so other Lamy’s will get a rest.  From the feel of it I’m confident the CP1 will be as reliable and durable as the Lamy Safari models.

My most prized purchase is a Sheaffer Prelude (above), Black Matte with 22k gold plated trim and a steel two tone fine nib.  This buy was influenced by a gifted Prelude I received years earlier.  It was the best writer I had, meaning most reliable and sturdiest for daily carry and use, and was just easy to write with.  The Black Matte lives up to that assessment, being a daily writer for me, staying inked all the time.   Unfortunately, the first prelude was damaged by some idiot (me) dropping it onto a hard surface with the cap off – and of course it hit nib first.  I want to get it fixed but it would probably cost more than just replacing it.

This is a hobby of mine.  It’s fun and I usually make about 1 purchase a year.  I have a small collection, around 15 pens, and I try to get almost all of them in use at least once a year, rotating them in and out of service.

Whatever I’ve learned about fountain pens comes from a very longtime, good friend of mine.  If you have interest in fountain pens I strongly suggest you visit his web presence at The Fountain Pen Quest.  You’ll find very detailed reviews of many different pens, ink, and writing papers, as well as a long list of links to more information on topic.