Everybody knows how I love my fountain pens. To some people it’s an art form, and I do agree on that, but for me, there is also an element of comfort as I write with one. So, for people who are curious about fountain pens and where to start, here are some ideas.
My own story with fountain pens started when I was in primary school, as all kids in the Netherlands learn how to write with a fountain pen at the age of six (ball pens aren’t in the picture until a few years later). So I’ve always known them. When I started to learn how to write my parents bought me a beautiful red and wood Lamy ABC pen. I don’t have it here, but I suspect it must be somewhere at my parents’ home, in a box with a lot more pens and fountain pens.
But my most recent love with fountain pens started about a year ago. I was in the middle of writing my master thesis and it was so cold. So cold that my fingers hurt so much that I couldn’t really type anymore. Ballpoint pens were out of the question as they too required too much pressure. But I had a fountain pen that my mum lent to me a couple of years back, a Lamy Safari in yellow. And it allowed me to work through cold days and I started to remember again how much I actually loved fountain pens and how easy it was to hand write things, how the brain-hand connection was so much better.
A year ago, I only had one fountain pen, a yellow one, borrowed from my mum… Today I have *quick count*
3 Lamy Safari
1 Lamy Joy
1 Lamy AL-Star
7 Platinum Preppy 03
1 Platinum Preppy 02
2 Pilot V-pen
1 Pilot Plumix
1 Hero 9075
That’s a total of 18 fountain pens!
For people who are now starting out with fountain pens, I’d advise either of two pens, based on your previous experiences and your budget.
Good, affordable, easy to use when you’re just trying out. Lots of places online sell them for between $3-$6 each. They come in different sizes. the 05 is medium, the 03 is fine and the 02 is extra fine. I’ve got the whole colour range in fine and they’re really nice to write with. They come with a cartridge, but they’re so cheap that they can also function as a disposable pen.
They really are super smooth to write with and I always enjoy them. The only reason I don’t use them all the time is simply because of the Lamy Safari pens that I enjoy even more.
The Pilot V-pen or Pilot Varsity are actual disposable pens, I don’t enjoy these as much as they’re really wet and I’ve only found them in a medium nib, which is too broad for me. If medium is right for you, definitely try them out!
These are definitely more expensive, especially if you don’t live in Europe (Lamy is a German brand), but they’re worth the extra price because of the quality. What I like about it most is the grip part of the pen. It forces your hand in the proper position for writing with a fountain pen, a grip that is best for your hand and has the best angle with your nib on the paper. With fountain pens, the angle of the nib on the paper is important as it seriously affects the flow of the ink.
They come in a variety of nib sizes and in a variety of colours. You can use them with the cartridges that come with it or buy a converter and use bottled ink. I use both. I love the Lamy blue and red ink, so those I usually fill from a cartridge, anything more outrageous I usually prefer bottled ink. But that is a whole different world. As a beginner, regular cartridges are definitely good!
The difference between the two comes down to a few points:
- Price (Platinum Preppy is cheaper, Lamy Safari is more expensive)
- Nib size (Platinum Preppy is limited in sizing, while Lamy has a good range. Also you can switch out the nibs on the Lamy yourself, but for the Platinum Preppy you need to buy a new pen)
- Grip portion (Platinum Preppy has just the normal round grip portion, while the Lamy Safari has a triangle-ish portion that helps with proper positioning)
Fountain pens can be a little bit of an investment, especially if you go for the pricier side of the spectrum, but they can also be a dream to write with if you need something that really flows over the page. I’ve found that when my fingers are too painful to type or write with anything else, fountain pens really help.
Did you grow up with fountain pens? Have you ever written with one, or owned one? Share below!