"...or you went on an airplane with it full."
Full is a safe way to travel on an airplane with a fountain pen (empty is good too) as there is little air in the cartridge/converter to expand as cabin pressure decreases forcing out the ink. Half-full is the worst. In all cases...keep your tips up! Back to the OP and question at hand. I recommend starting with a Waterman Phileas -- a very reasonably priced starter pen that writes as well as much higher priced pens. Looks more expensive than it is. I have much more expensive pens in rotation, but still keep coming back to the Phileas. Most of the times my fountain pens are in my briefcase. On the occasion I need to carry one in a suit pocket, I use a vinyl pocket protector (my MIT days are showing). It is, however, on an inside pocket where no one can see it. Never had a pen leak, but I'm prepared if one does. Twotone
Originally Posted by hamish5178
If your pen is leaking, chances are you did something really stupid, or it's insanely cheap, or you went on an airplane with it full. To the OP, I'd advise against getting something vintage as your first pen. There's no point in going through all of that hassle. The $20 one from Amazon would be fine for your first, and those will all be cartridge/converter. However for your second pen, I'd get something quality that doesn't use a converter (ie, skip that step altogether) they are messy and a pain. I currently use a Pelikan m215 and highly reccomend it. It has a quality piston filling mechanism, and the fine nib writes perfectly smoothly. If you have messy handwriting I would not suggest going for a medium nib, that will only make things worse.