If you had asked me a year ago what a fountain pen was, I would've had a hard time coming up with anything more than, "uh, a really old pen?"
Since then, though, my world has expanded quite a bit. And yes, fountain pens are really old pens -- but they are more than that, too. Fountain pens were the earliest writing instrument we had that carried the ink inside the pen. Hence the name, because the ink flowed out of it like a fountain. Prior to fountain pens there were dip pens, and before that quills, and before that sharpened sticks and flint rocks against cave walls.
Fountain pens are a part of history (past tense) but they are also a part of history (present tense). Modern fountain pens are a small but thriving industry, and there are still plenty of people who enjoy using them in their daily lives. In part because of tradition, and in part because, well, they're pretty amazing tools!
Here are just a handful of reasons to consider using fountain pens:
- Unlike ballpoint or gel pens, fountain pens have nibs which come in a wide range of sizes and styles, which allows for lots of creative freedom.
- They are refillable with a whole plethora of inks in every shade imaginable.
- Ink flows effortlessly onto the page, meaning very little pressure is needed to write. This might not sound like a big deal, but in a long writing session it can mean far less hand cramping and fatigue.
- Pens come in tons of different shapes, sizes, and colors -- on top of different nibs and inks, this always you to have a truly personalized tool that is tailored to your tastes.
- They are built to last, so a single high quality pen can serve you well for a lifetime. They *can* even be more economical, depending on the pen and ink you choose, than using disposables (though not always -- once you get into fountain pens, it's hard not to go a little crazy).
Of course, there are drawbacks to fountain pens, too. They cost more up-front than disposable pens, require more maintenance and a little know-how, and because fountain pen ink is water-based, you have to be discerning about the type of paper you use. But for me, the joy of writing with one is enough to outweigh their shortcomings.
As someone who loves writing (and writing by hand) I wanted to share my love for these unique writing instruments. They aren't the only pens I use, nor do I feel anyone *has* to use fountain pens -- to each his own. I just like them a lot, and wanted to share. And what better day than the first Friday in November -- Fountain Pen Day! (Yes, it's a real thing.)
If you are interested in trying out fountain pens for the first time, I recommend learning as much as you can before making a commitment. I first became intrigued by their beauty and functionality thanks to The Goulet Pen Company, and Brian Goulet's incredibly educational youtube channel. If you're considering trying fountain pens for yourself, I highly recommend checking out his Q&A videos -- they are a great place to start!
I want to know...
Do you use fountain pens? If so, what got you started?
What's your favorite pen to write with (fountain pen or other) and why?
For all the fountain pen fans out there, what is your go-to ink?
Let me know in the comments below!