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Fountain Pen

post #1 of 100
Thread Starter 
I'm sure that there are some good fountain pen people on this forum, so I figure I'd throw this out there.

I've never used a fountain pen before, but find them to be very elegant and interesting, and was looking for some recommendations. I'd like to pick up a nice, cheap fountain pen (<$50 or so) so I can try it out and see how I like it. If I do like it, then I'm sure I'll pick up a nicer one in the future. Any good suggestions on brands and specific pens for a fountain pen neophyte looking for a cheap one? Anything in particular that I should look for or avoid in a good pen? And is there anything else a person who knows nothing about fountain pens should know?
post #2 of 100
I'd recommend finding a good used Parker 51. You can often find a decent one ebay for around $50.00. I'd recommend learning about the subtle differences in production years, so that you know what to look for. The following sites are quite good: http://www.parker51.com/ http://www.vintagepens.com/Parker_51.shtml I have a Parker 51 from the 50's and it writes beautifully. It is easy to refill, not fussy, and the hooded nib makes it very reliable as it helping keep the ink from drying. It's my favourite workhorse pen. As with many other hobbies or interests, don't cheap out. If you buy a crummy pen at the get-go, it will ruin your perception of all fountian pens. Best of luck.
post #3 of 100
When I was looking at fountain pens in the past I found myself being continually advised to grab the Lamy Safari. You can use it with a cartridge to start out and get a feel of the style, then later on grab a converter nib to get used to filling it yourself. It's pretty darn cheap, to boot.
post #4 of 100
Campo Marzio is ok.

But you have to use it regularly or the ink will dry and gets stuck in the nib. And getting it to work again is difficult.
post #5 of 100
Quote:
Originally Posted by bearsfan172 View Post
I'm sure that there are some good fountain pen people on this forum, so I figure I'd throw this out there.

I've never used a fountain pen before, but find them to be very elegant and interesting, and was looking for some recommendations. I'd like to pick up a nice, cheap fountain pen (<$50 or so) so I can try it out and see how I like it. If I do like it, then I'm sure I'll pick up a nicer one in the future. Any good suggestions on brands and specific pens for a fountain pen neophyte looking for a cheap one? Anything in particular that I should look for or avoid in a good pen? And is there anything else a person who knows nothing about fountain pens should know?

You won't go wrong if you pick up a Lamy fountain pen. Their styling tends to be quite modern. Their writing quality is always excellent and will give you a good sense of what a well made pen is supposed to feel like as it lays down ink on paper. The Safari is their entry level pen and many people swear by them (although the styling is a bit plasticky looking for my taste). Nevertheless, a good choice to start out with.

Another excellent entry level choice is a Waterman Phileas. Watermans are amongst the smoothest writing pens I've ever used and you can buy a Phileas at most big box office supply stores.

I would tend to stay away from Cross fountain pens unless you like what is known as a "wet writer"- ie. a fountain pen that lays down a lot of ink. My experience with Cross products, though, is that they lay down more ink than I care for and can be a bit messy to work with. They also tend to bleed through low quality paper (again because they lay down a lot of ink).

I love fountain pens for many reasons but my favourite aspect of them is that they are very easy on the hand/wrist as, unlike a ballpoint, one does not have to press down hard to get them to write. The ink flows out of them easily and thus they help prevent writer's cramp during long writing sessions.

My only other thought is to pay attention to the size of the nib that you buy: ie. fine, medium, broad, etc. If your handwriting tends to be small, you will probably want to go with a fine point pen; if you write larger, a medium point would be good. Broad points are unusable for most people unless you are only going to use it as a signature pen.

There is a bit of a tradeoff when considering the nib size. A medium point will generally provide a smoother writing experience but it may lay down a line that is too thick for someone with small handwriting. A fine point is more exact and good for smaller writing but, generally speaking, the finer the point, the scratchier the writing experience will be.

Good luck.

You can check out the Fountain Pen Network for reviews of just about every fountain pen out there for more info.

Let us know what you wind up deciding to buy. I find the field of fountain pens fascinating and have purchased about 70 of them so far. It can be addictive.
post #6 of 100
I will second the Lamy Safari suggestion. I have not used the pen, but I've spent enough time on pen forums to know that many consider it the best of the low-priced fountain pens. I want to add, however, that you shouldn't let an inexpensive pen dictate your decision as to whether you like writing with fountain pens. A better quality pen will more often than not have a substantially different feel. If you find that there are very general complaints you have, such as you simply don't like working with cartridges or inkwells, then perhaps fountain pens are not for you. But if the complaint is that you dislike how the pen writes (e.g., too scratchy, too rigid, etc.) then you really need to try a more expensive pen with a golden nib to get a good feel for fountain pens. For a mixture of utility and great writing properties at a reasonable price, I like the Namiki Vanishing Point.
post #7 of 100
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by rich_202 View Post
I have a Parker 51 from the 50's and it writes beautifully. It is easy to refill, not fussy, and the hooded nib makes it very reliable as it helping keep the ink from drying. It's my favourite workhorse pen.

As with many other hobbies or interests, don't cheap out. If you buy a crummy pen at the get-go, it will ruin your perception of all fountian pens.
Okay, I will check those guys out and see if I can pick up a good one. And I definatly don't want to get a piece of crap that will make me mad, so if I need to spend a bit more if it will get me a lot more. But I also don't want to pay for some super fancy pen or anything like that

Quote:
Originally Posted by GSaavedra View Post
When I was looking at fountain pens in the past I found myself being continually advised to grab the Lamy Safari. You can use it with a cartridge to start out and get a feel of the style, then later on grab a converter nib to get used to filling it yourself. It's pretty darn cheap, to boot.
I'll check out the Lamy too. How are the nibs on these? Do they tend to get stuck with ink if not used for a while? And have you liked it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by dbc View Post
Campo Marzio is ok.

But you have to use it regularly or the ink will dry and gets stuck in the nib. And getting it to work again is difficult.
Is ink getting dried and stuck in the nib a common problem with all pens? Or just this particular one?
post #8 of 100
A well made fountain pen should not give you any problems around ink getting dried up or stuck in the nib. If it does, though, it is not a big deal. You just have to rinse it under a tap or flush it out with water a few times and the ink will rinse out easily enough.

I've never had any problems with dried ink in any Lamy or Waterman I've owned. Just make sure you put the cap back on once your done using the pen.
post #9 of 100
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bentley View Post
A well made fountain pen should not give you any problems around ink getting dried up or stuck in the nib. If it does, though, it is not a big deal. You just have to rinse it under a tap or flush it out with water a few times and the ink will rinse out easily enough.

I've never had any problems with dried ink in any Lamy or Waterman I've owned. Just make sure you put the cap back on once your done using the pen.

Ok that's good. Sorry, again I don't know a lot about this stuff. I did some looking at the Lamy, and seem to like that. Theres a store call Paradise Pen with a location near me that sells those... is that generally a good chain or not so much?

And it also mentions cartridges and conversion kits for the ink... what exactly would that mean? (again...I'm a total noob here)
post #10 of 100
A cartridge is a plastic bullet filled with ink that you load into the pen. A converter is a combined vacuum pump and balloon that you use to suck ink into the pen from a bottle. Start with cartridges. Converters are good if you like to get your hands messy.
post #11 of 100
Quote:
Originally Posted by rich_202 View Post
I'd recommend finding a good used Parker 51. You can often find a decent one ebay for around $50.00.

I'd recommend learning about the subtle differences in production years, so that you know what to look for. The following sites are quite good:

http://www.parker51.com/
http://www.vintagepens.com/Parker_51.shtml

I have a Parker 51 from the 50's and it writes beautifully. It is easy to refill, not fussy, and the hooded nib makes it very reliable as it helping keep the ink from drying. It's my favourite workhorse pen.

As with many other hobbies or interests, don't cheap out. If you buy a crummy pen at the get-go, it will ruin your perception of all fountian pens.

Best of luck.

+1 for the Parker 51. I use 2 of them on a regular basis. One from the 1950's and the other from 1971. I often get questioned about them because they look so different. The "quality" of the pens just seems better than you can buy today.
post #12 of 100
My first fountain was a Waterman, I think in the Hemisphere model. It was pretty nice for the money. After that I got an ST Dupont Olympio, which is very nice. However, the Pelikan filling system is nicer, and I have a Pelikan too. If you don't want to break the bank but still want a gold nib, I would suggest finding a Parker Sonnet online. They are pretty decent and I think about $80, which I know is more than $50 you mentioned, but they are worth it IMO.
post #13 of 100
Has no one ever had their fountain pen leak? I am terrified at even the thought of using one.
post #14 of 100
Quote:
Originally Posted by StopPolloition View Post
My first fountain was a Waterman, I think in the Hemisphere model. It was pretty nice for the money. After that I got an ST Dupont Olympio, which is very nice. However, the Pelikan filling system is nicer, and I have a Pelikan too. If you don't want to break the bank but still want a gold nib, I would suggest finding a Parker Sonnet online. They are pretty decent and I think about $80, which I know is more than $50 you mentioned, but they are worth it IMO.

I am a Waterman fan - although I still have my dad's old Parker pen which writes well and must be about 50 years old.
post #15 of 100
Parker 51, no question the best bargain around. i prefer mine to my two meisterstucks.
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