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Fountain Pen

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by bearsfan172, Jun 10, 2010.

  1. Rosencrantz1

    Rosencrantz1 Active Member

    Messages:
    42
    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2010
    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.

    +1 on the Lamy Safari. My father is a fountain pen collector, with pens ranging from $5 cheapos to vintage, solid gold Watermans and brand-new, top-of-the-line Mont Blancs. He constantly "complains" how frustrating it is that the $25 Lamy Safari writes so well at such a reasonable price.

    It's certainly not a formal looking pen, but as a starter fountain pen, I think it's hard to beat.

    Go to a stationary store that carries them and try out some different nib sizes. Personally, I prefer a fine nib, but many folks like a medium nib, especially if it is their only pen.

    Finally, if I may, I recommend a blue-black ink (as opposed to plain black). Nice stuff!

    Good luck!
     
  2. bearsfan172

    bearsfan172 Senior member

    Messages:
    169
    Joined:
    May 4, 2010
    Never knew there were so many fountain pen enthusiasts here on SF.

    This is awesome!

    [​IMG]


    You're surprised? I was sort of just assuming that there would be plenty of fountain pen people on here when I made this post... and I'm certainly not surprised that there are

    Go to a stationary store that carries them and try out some different nib sizes. Personally, I prefer a fine nib, but many folks like a medium nib, especially if it is their only pen.

    Finally, if I may, I recommend a blue-black ink (as opposed to plain black). Nice stuff!

    Good luck!


    I will go and try out some different sizes. Any reason for the opinion on the blue-black over the black? Do you just like it better. I guess the color of the ink wasn't something I had even thought about.

    And I've heard some talk of what papers is best to write on. Any other opinions on what works the best with fountain pens?
     
  3. Rosencrantz1

    Rosencrantz1 Active Member

    Messages:
    42
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    Apr 21, 2010
    Blue-black is just a personal preference. Traditionally, it was advantageous to use a non-black ink, because it would prove that a signature was real, and not just a photocopy. With the advent of color copying and printing, this doesn't really hold any more.

    There are many ink options out there, even more if/when you move to filling from a bottle (as opposed to cartridges).
     
  4. mdp0430

    mdp0430 Senior member

    Messages:
    121
    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2010
    Another Parker alternative would be a Centennial... I like their size.

    +1 re: Richard Binder, there are also others...

    The "problem" you're going to have to get used to is the ink. You're probably used to writing with a roller ball or ball point and not having to worry about the ink washing away if it comes in contact with liquid. Most inks for fountain pens will do just that. The ink washes right away with just the slightest contact of water (e.g. Waterman Florida Blue). Not a good thing if you're addressing and mailing an envelope on a rainy day...

    I suggest that you do some research over at Fountain Pen Network and go with inks that are known to be water resistant. Personally, I use "bulletproof" inks for all my writing, including endorsing checks...

    Welcome to fountain pens, next will be watches, then 2-channel audio, maybe a muscle car afterwards?
     
  5. bearsfan172

    bearsfan172 Senior member

    Messages:
    169
    Joined:
    May 4, 2010
    Welcome to fountain pens, next will be watches, then 2-channel audio, maybe a muscle car afterwards?

    HA. I already have a nice turntable driven system with some damn expensive speakers, and a 1971 corvette. I'm trying to avoid the watches as long as possible... although theres this one Bulgari that has been catching my eye a lot lately....
     
  6. heaven7

    heaven7 Senior member

    Messages:
    164
    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2009
    HA. I already have a nice turntable driven system with some damn expensive speakers, and a 1971 corvette. I'm trying to avoid the watches as long as possible... although theres this one Bulgari that has been catching my eye a lot lately....
    Stay away from the watches. I started with them and slowly got into fountain pens, which never really grew on me. Cars are also an interest but, for the moment, I cannot afford to develop on it.
     
  7. JayJay

    JayJay Senior member

    Messages:
    24,364
    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2007
    Welcome to fountain pens, next will be watches, then 2-channel audio, maybe a muscle car afterwards?
    Yes, these can be somewhat potentially additictive items.
     
  8. 12345Michael54321

    12345Michael54321 Senior member

    Messages:
    1,555
    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2008
    Location:
    Baltimore County, Maryland, USA
    Has no one ever had their fountain pen leak? I am terrified at even the thought of using one.

    Unless you're doing something weird with the fountain pen, it shouldn't leak. I carry a fountain pen in my suit pocket, most days. Been doing this for years. Haven't lost a suit yet.

    Your fear is similar to the way many people assume shaving with a straight razor makes it virtually certain you'll slash your throat and bleed to death. Again, that's just not the reality of it.

    Anyway, I agree with others that among vintage pens, a Parker 51 is tough to beat.

    Among new pens, at under $50... well, there's the Waterman Phileas, I suppose. It's a good fountain pen, but uses a converter. And one could argue that a "real" fountain pen is filled from a bottle. But that would lead me to recommend a Pelikan M200, and they're priced above $50 (although available for under $100). Pelikans are wonderful pens, though.

    If one really wants to go inexpensive, just to sort of test the waters, there's the Pilot Petit1 fountain pen. Runs about $5. Spare ink cartridges run maybe 69 cents each, and are available in a wide variety of colors.

    The Platinum Preppy fountain pen is around the same price as the Pilot. Supposed to be a nice little essentially disposable fountain pen.

    The Pilot and the Platinum could probably be found at a good office supply store or stationery store. Or online, of course.

    And, of course, there's the Hero 616, which can sometimes be found, brand new, for even less than the Pilot or the Platinum. It's a Chinese pen, sort of kind of similar to a Parker 51. I bought a 10-pack of them, a while ago. Cost me under $20. They're great pens for the price, and pretty good pens, even when measured against competition costing many times their price. Available online, although I understand they can also be found at stores in some Chinatown neighborhoods, or presumably at some stores in China.

    For someone looking to just try out a fountain pen, who doesn't want to blow much money on the experiment, I'd suggest dropping $5 on a Pilot Petit1 or a Platinum Preppy, complete with ink cartridges. They're not great pens, but they're probably good enough to permit one to decide whether to get more serious about fountain pens. And if the decision is "no," then all that's been wasted is $5.
    --
    Michael
     
  9. bbhewee

    bbhewee Senior member

    Messages:
    585
    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2010
    Leakage occurs most often on planes (difference in air pressure). That's why I never travel with one. I've had a Grand Meisterstuck and now have a Omas Ogiva Guilloche, which I love.
    However I would still recommend a Mont Blanc fineliner anyday for standard use.
     
  10. tshaw

    tshaw Senior member

    Messages:
    680
    Joined:
    May 27, 2009
    Location:
    Trenton, NJ
    Don't bother with the Waterman fountain pens - I bought 2 and HATED them - never worked right - to the point I got rid of them...

    I miss my Parker - a gold Parker fountain pen was gifted to me in 1971 and I used it everyday until a couple of years ago, when the whole inside workings wore out. Only had work done on it once in NYC and it continued to work, but finally gave up. I would have more work on it , but the man retired. I sent it to Parker and received a new pen back, as they were not able to fix my 'old' one. [​IMG]

    After trying three different types including the Watermans, I gave up and found someone who now makes them for me. I have a tigerwood with gold nib and am awaiting one made from bubinga wood. Placed an order to give each of my staff one for the upcoming Christmas holidays.

    T [​IMG]
     
  11. KlezmerBlues

    KlezmerBlues Senior member

    Messages:
    174
    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2007
    Don't bother with the Waterman fountain pens - I bought 2 and HATED them - never worked right - to the point I got rid of them... I miss my Parker - a gold Parker fountain pen was gifted to me in 1971 and I used it everyday until a couple of years ago, when the whole inside workings wore out. Only had work done on it once in NYC and it continued to work, but finally gave up. I would have more work on it , but the man retired. I sent it to Parker and received a new pen back, as they were not able to fix my 'old' one. [​IMG] After trying three different types including the Watermans, I gave up and found someone who now makes them for me. I have a tigerwood with gold nib and am awaiting one made from bubinga wood. Placed an order to give each of my staff one for the upcoming Christmas holidays. T [​IMG]
    Just a differing opinion, I find Waterman gold nibs to be generally great. Modern Parker pens I find quite stiff and lacking in feedback, and even skipping, though I have some specimens that are exceptions.
     
  12. Bentley

    Bentley Senior member

    Messages:
    430
    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2009
    I have a tigerwood with gold nib and am awaiting one made from bubinga wood. Placed an order to give each of my staff one for the upcoming Christmas holidays.

    T [​IMG]


    Cool....Can I work for you?

    [​IMG]

    PS- I will require a fine nib with a piston filling system. I cannot be expected to do my job if I have to rely on a cartidge/converter system.
    Also, make sure the nib is indeed 14 K gold at least...I cannot work with a low quality gold plated nib...I can tell the difference and will be checking.
    I require the ink flow to be wet and generous...I cannot and will not work with a dry writing pen.
    In terms of nib quality, I will need a smooth writing nib with just a hint of tooth.
     
  13. JayJay

    JayJay Senior member

    Messages:
    24,364
    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2007
    Leakage occurs most often on planes (difference in air pressure). That's why I never travel with one.
    I've never had a problem with a modern fountain pen leaking on a plane, and I've spent a lot of time on planes for both short and long flights. I usually travel with at least three at a time, but on occasion have as many as five.
     
  14. Twotone

    Twotone Senior member

    Messages:
    1,019
    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2008
    Location:
    Denver
    The safest way to fly with a fountain pen is either full or empty. Partially full is the riskiest since the air in the cartridge/converter/piston filler will expand after takeoff. I've flown with several modern pens and never had a problem.

    Twotone


    Leakage occurs most often on planes (difference in air pressure). That's why I never travel with one. I've had a Grand Meisterstuck and now have a Omas Ogiva Guilloche, which I love.
    However I would still recommend a Mont Blanc fineliner anyday for standard use.
     
  15. rajesh06

    rajesh06 Senior member

    Messages:
    365
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    Dec 24, 2004
    Has anyone tried the Visconti Homo Sapiens? I am considering buying.
     
  16. KlezmerBlues

    KlezmerBlues Senior member

    Messages:
    174
    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2007
    Has anyone tried the Visconti Homo Sapiens? I am considering buying.

    Quality-wise it is what you usually can expect from Visconti. The lava body is really distinct and provides a great grip. The feeding system is interesting, but time will prove how good it is. The palladium nib is soft, wet and quite wider than designated. I would say the extra-fine equals a western fine or japanese medium. It is also too heavy for me personally, at least when posted.
     
  17. Mathew J

    Mathew J Senior member

    Messages:
    330
    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2008
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    as mentioned above, waterman phileas, not the nicest pen but a very very good writing pen for the money, and cheap.
     
  18. Usul

    Usul Senior member

    Messages:
    236
    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2010
    First stop: fountain pens, next stop: sex with strangers in bathrooms
     
  19. rajesh06

    rajesh06 Senior member

    Messages:
    365
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    Dec 24, 2004
    Quality-wise it is what you usually can expect from Visconti.

    Could you please elaborate? I have no expectations of Visconti.
     
  20. KlezmerBlues

    KlezmerBlues Senior member

    Messages:
    174
    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2007
    Could you please elaborate? I have no expectations of Visconti.

    Yes, that was a bit cryptic. Visconti offers great materials put together with good fit and precision. This is where they excel in my opinion. Nib consistency and filling systems have been their weak link.
     

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