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The Best Pen Brands


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#1 jkrewalk

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Posted 20 February 2008 - 02:22

I have been collecting pens for many years (click here to see my collection) and can't help but notice that certain brands start reliably time after time regardless of the model purchased.

Now, when I talk about "starting" I mean ink begins to flow instantly as soon as the nib touches the paper without skipping. It just writes instantly like a ballpoint - but smoother of course. And the world's best pens will do this even after sitting in my case for 2 weeks or more!!!

In my opinion, examples of the world's finest starters are Bexley, Pelikan, Waterman, Sheaffer, Sailor and Mont Blanc. I own multiple examples of each of these brands and they never fail to start regardless of the model. Watermans are especially reliable - the ink virtually never runs dry even after as much as a month of sitting idle.

Nothing is more embarrassing (or worse for our "fountain Pen Image") than taking out a pen in a meeting and have it not write!!! I do not care how expensive the pen is or how great it looks - if it can't write as well as a 10 cent BIC that will start every time then it is worthless. After all - it is a pen - it's sole purpose in life is to write! Surely I am not asking too much?

I have read posts on here that suggest keeping a small jar of water at your desk or wet sponge to help "start" a pen. To me - that is unacceptable. In order to be a good pen it must write every time without any "help". If it dosen't, it should be returned for repair until it does.

Would love to hear other comments on this subject....


John
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#2 PigRatAndGoat

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Posted 20 February 2008 - 02:32

QUOTE(jkrewalk @ Feb 19 2008, 09:22 PM) View Post
Nothing is more embarrassing (or worse for our "fountain Pen Image") than taking out a pen in a meeting and have it not write!!! I do not care how expensive the pen is or how great it looks - if it can't write as well as a 10 cent BIC that will start every time then it is worthless. After all - it is a pen - it's sole purpose in life is to write! Surely I am not asking too much?


I hear you! Expect nothing less than absolute perfection! When you pay a premium for an item, it had better work flawlessly. I am proud to say that I have no major problems with my main everyday pen, though I think the nib needs a little work by MB to smoothen it out.
Pens I own in order of acquisition:
Montblanc 145, F nib.
Faber Castell E-Motion in Pearwood, F nib.
Montblanc 149, F nib.
Visconti Divina Proporzione 1618, S nib.
Montblanc Cool Blue Starwalker, EF nib.

#3 PAKMAN

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Posted 20 February 2008 - 02:35

For me it would have to be Pelikans! They work so well, I just can't stop buying them!

#4 AKAGodSent

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Posted 20 February 2008 - 02:44

Thus far, Michel Perchin MP5.
“It is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets.” Voltaire
"'The French Soldier,' pronounced Rostopchin, 'has to be incited to battle by high-sounding phrases; the German must have it logically proved to him that it is more dangerous to run away than to advance; but the Russian soldier has to be held back, and urged to go slowly!'" War and Peace

#5 Thornton

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Posted 20 February 2008 - 02:49

I would have to say that my Pelikan and my Lamys are my best writers. Unfortunately, I would have to say that it is my Mont Blanc that always has trouble getting started. A very annoying problem considering the cost.
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#6 Sallent

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Posted 20 February 2008 - 02:53

Pelikan, all hail the mighty big bird thumbup.gif
Ball-point pens are only good for filling out forms on a plane.

#7 J English Smith

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Posted 20 February 2008 - 03:04

This is the one place where my Waterman Laureats fall down. I think the cap breathes too much. They always need "restarting" after more than a week of idleness. Some of my Parker 45s are also fussy. But most of my other pens do start right up.
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#8 purpledog

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Posted 20 February 2008 - 03:12

John, you have a very nice collection of fountain pens.

purpledog

#9 jkrewalk

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Posted 20 February 2008 - 03:15

QUOTE(purpledog @ Feb 19 2008, 10:12 PM) View Post
John, you have a very nice collection of fountain pens.

purpledog



Thank you - I also forgot to include Lamy as one of the best writing pens there is. The Germans make wonderful pens - Lamy and Pelikan - two brands that are hard to beat!!!!

#10 Paddler

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Posted 20 February 2008 - 03:40

I won't put up with slow starters either. Sometimes a certain kind of ink will make trouble. Levenger's Cardinal Red can make a couple of my pens hard to start after sitting nib-up for a couple of days. I just avoid using that ink in those pens.

Otherwise, if I can't solve the problem, the pen goes to the landfill. Future archaeologists can deal with it.

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#11 naniwa46

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Posted 20 February 2008 - 03:42

Very nice collection!! Your site looks like Richard's site. I like it!

#12 two2tone

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Posted 20 February 2008 - 03:53

Pilot Varsity -- first time, every time.

Twotone

#13 Garageboy

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Posted 20 February 2008 - 03:57

Parker 51, unless I run Private Reserve in it

#14 CharlieB

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Posted 20 February 2008 - 04:12

Pelikan and Sailor are the standards of consistent performance -- one from the West and one from the East. I have also had consistently good experiences with Aurora.
CharlieB

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#15 sofian

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Posted 20 February 2008 - 04:45

Here is a another vote for Pelikans - ANY Pelikan! Lamy is a close second, though.
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My favourite pens:
Pelikan M200 Demo / translucent red / medium nibstroke
Lamy 2000 / black / oblique medium nibstroke
Pilot Vanishing Point / yellow / medium nibstroke

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#16 dsatco

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Posted 20 February 2008 - 05:04

QUOTE(two2tone @ Feb 19 2008, 09:53 PM) View Post
Pilot Varsity -- first time, every time.

Twotone

I've left them for months UPRIGHT and they still write perfectly. You can't get that for 100 times their price.

#17 Ray-Vigo

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Posted 20 February 2008 - 05:12

My picks:

Vintage-
Sheaffer
Parker

Modern:
Pelikan
Waterman

#18 purpledog

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Posted 20 February 2008 - 06:06

QUOTE(Garageboy @ Feb 19 2008, 10:57 PM) View Post
Parker 51, unless I run Private Reserve in it


Is Parker 51 not compatible with PR inks? Just curious.

thanks,
purpledog

#19 UncleNick

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Posted 20 February 2008 - 06:12

QUOTE(purpledog @ Feb 19 2008, 11:06 PM) View Post
QUOTE(Garageboy @ Feb 19 2008, 10:57 PM) View Post
Parker 51, unless I run Private Reserve in it


Is Parker 51 not compatible with PR inks? Just curious.

thanks,
purpledog



My P51 starts up every time with PR Sherwood Green - no complaints from me!
Nick


#20 goodguy

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Posted 20 February 2008 - 12:43

QUOTE(jkrewalk @ Feb 20 2008, 02:22 AM) View Post
I have been collecting pens for many years (click here to see my collection) and can't help but notice that certain brands start reliably time after time regardless of the model purchased.

Now, when I talk about "starting" I mean ink begins to flow instantly as soon as the nib touches the paper without skipping. It just writes instantly like a ballpoint - but smoother of course. And the world's best pens will do this even after sitting in my case for 2 weeks or more!!!

In my opinion, examples of the world's finest starters are Bexley, Pelikan, Waterman, Sheaffer, Sailor and Mont Blanc. I own multiple examples of each of these brands and they never fail to start regardless of the model. Watermans are especially reliable - the ink virtually never runs dry even after as much as a month of sitting idle.

Nothing is more embarrassing (or worse for our "fountain Pen Image") than taking out a pen in a meeting and have it not write!!! I do not care how expensive the pen is or how great it looks - if it can't write as well as a 10 cent BIC that will start every time then it is worthless. After all - it is a pen - it's sole purpose in life is to write! Surely I am not asking too much?

I have read posts on here that suggest keeping a small jar of water at your desk or wet sponge to help "start" a pen. To me - that is unacceptable. In order to be a good pen it must write every time without any "help". If it dosen't, it should be returned for repair until it does.

Would love to hear other comments on this subject....


John
Krewalk.com

Indeed reliability is a huge issue with FP's.
Having such a wonderful device that doesnt do what its supposed to do is fustrating.
Most of my pens write from the moment that I put them on the paper.My biggest surprise and joy was after leaving my MB Virginia Woolf inked but untouched for 3 weeks in the cabinet and then I put it on the paper.The pen worked as if I just wrote a whole page with it.
Respect to all

#21 KCat

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Posted 20 February 2008 - 15:53

Pelikan and Sailor. every time.

My VP M always starts. The F can be a bit more troublesome if it's been sitting more than 2 weeks.
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Venerable are letters, infinitely brave, forlorn, and lost. V. Woolf, Jacob's Room

#22 Matt

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Posted 20 February 2008 - 16:05

Pelikan
Sailor
Cross
Lamy

All these brands are very reliable. Never an issue.

Matt C.

#23 tomw

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Posted 20 February 2008 - 17:04

Dear John,

I'd like to sencond the praise for Lamys. They all work well for me.

I have noticed that some inks are better than others in resisting drying out in the nib/feed than others. I recently bought some stipula blue-black and I have found that it seems to dry out more rapidly in capped pens and in uncapped pens alike. I think my now ancient Lamy B/B ink did this as well. In contrast, my new favorite, Sailor ink, seems to be wonderful in that regard - always starting. It is well behaved on paper as well.

cheers,

Tom

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#24 OiRogers

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Posted 20 February 2008 - 17:51

To continue the praise for some and suggest another...

My Lamy and Pelikans *Always* start immediately, never the faintest issue.

Also have had great luck with a Pilot/Namiki Knight series... its fast becoming a knockaround favorite.

Sadly, my experience with MB has been about 50/50... my slim line and 146 start right up... my 22 and 342 are a bit balky....

#25 Garageboy

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Posted 21 February 2008 - 01:03

My Parker 51 has a tiny piece missing off the hood. I uncap for a minute and its dry when I run PR Naples Blue in it. Any other ink I use has not given me a prob

#26 Robert Hughes

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Posted 21 February 2008 - 01:14

I think the question is not important. A pen that doesn't start after several weeks? Touch it with a little water and get it going. Asking a pen to be fresh after several weeks of non-use is about like asking a head of lettuce to stay fresh in the 'fridge for several weeks - it's not in the nature of the elements.

Remember the equation: <Anything good> + <time> = <garbage>
The moment we want to believe something, we suddenly see all the arguments for it, and become blind to the arguments against it.

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#27 jkrewalk

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Posted 21 February 2008 - 01:38

QUOTE(Robert Hughes @ Feb 20 2008, 08:14 PM) View Post
I think the question is not important. A pen that doesn't start after several weeks? Touch it with a little water and get it going. Asking a pen to be fresh after several weeks of non-use is about like asking a head of lettuce to stay fresh in the 'fridge for several weeks - it's not in the nature of the elements.

Remember the equation: <Anything good> + <time> = <garbage>


I respectfully disagree with you. As the other posts have proved out here there are several major brands that start everytime - even after sitting for a long time. I believe this post has turned out to be more of a "poll" if you will and has proved out that -BY FAR- the vote goes to Pelikan, Sailor and Lamy more than any others. And with these brands - you CAN expect hem to start even after long periods of non use!

It is the design of the feed system that permits this kind of performance.

So here is my formula instead: Superior design = better performance = greater reliability (ie better starting)

Also, your statement refers to vegetables - there are many things that actually get finer with age and some vintage pens are a perfect example of this. I have pens that are 80 years old that still write as good as new. They cannot be compared to vegetables.

Superior starting is in the design and ths poll has proved these 3 brands have it!!!!!!!!!!!!!




#28 girlieg33k

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Posted 21 February 2008 - 02:20

QUOTE(dsatco @ Feb 20 2008, 12:04 AM) View Post
QUOTE(two2tone @ Feb 19 2008, 09:53 PM) View Post
Pilot Varsity -- first time, every time.
Twotone

I've left them for months UPRIGHT and they still write perfectly. You can't get that for 100 times their price.

I have Pilot Varsities that are over a year old that still start immediately. Some are thrown in desk drawers, others stand upright -- they never fail. Then again, most of my pens start every time unless I'm using Levenger cartridges. I also had problems with Noodler's Highland Heather nearly clogging pens. Most problems with "hard-starting" have to do with bad behaving ink.
Talking about fountain pens is like dancing about architecture.

#29 Mike S.

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Posted 21 February 2008 - 13:05

I agree with the praise for Pelikan, Sailor, and Pilot, and agree with the comments that good design and good QC are what we're really talking about in this thread.

I would like to put in a vote for Omas pens (at least those made more than a couple of years ago). I have several (10) and they always start right up, assuming I've filled them within the last 3 weeks or so. My opinion is that the ebonite feeds in the higher-end Omas pens draw the ink better than the plastic feeds in so many modern pens.

On the vintage side, allow me to put in a vote for the Parker 51 and the Sheaffer PFM. I have about 15 Parker 51s and assuming they are clean and have been properly restored, they start instantly for me. I only have one PFM (a PFM V), so I am not able to judge these on the basis of a large sample, but my PFM is an example of what I think a good FP ought to be -- it writes smoothly and instantly with an extremely light touch, the body is just the right size and weight for my writing preferences (very subjective), and it looks cool and makes me want to write with it. I recently bought a large Sheaffer Balance with a wonderful flexible fine nib that has been a pleasant surprise -- an instant starter, with reliable inkflow, that responds to a very light touch.

I could say the same for me old-style Omas Paragon, my Pelikan 800, my Pilot Custom 823, or my Parker 51 flighter. These pens write extremely well with a light touch, they feel great in my hand, and they look great and inspire me to write. (My Sailor 1911s are great writers, but not so inspiring to look at.)

I have also had good luck with Bexley pens and I have a very good example of an Aurora 88. I also have several Viscontis, a Waterman Edson, a Delta Dolce Vita, a Nakaya piccolo, and a couple of Montblancs (a 149 and a Jules Verne LE) that have proved to be very trouble-free writers. I have had some trouble with a couple of Montegrappas and the new Omas pens with the plastic feeds (in my case, the new 360, which I simply could not get to write and ended up exchanging for an old-style 360 Vision that works perfectly).



#30 hamadryad11

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Posted 21 February 2008 - 14:30

QUOTE(jkrewalk @ Feb 19 2008, 09:22 PM) View Post
if it can't write as well as a 10 cent BIC that will start every time then it is worthless. After all - it is a pen - it's sole purpose in life is to write! Surely I am not asking too much?

Sorry, I don't have any new suggestions to add, but I will say this: You must have much better luck with BIC pens than I've had. I've thrown out many nearly new BIC pens because I couldn't get them writing again. And rarely will a ballpoint of any kind work for me immediately if it's been sitting for a few weeks without being used. They're also largely useless in sub-zero temperatures (yes I do occasionally write outside in the winter). I'm so looking forward to getting my new Pelikan pen, because I'd love to have at least one pen that doesn't have these sorts of problems.
The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools. -- Herbert Spencer, (1820-1903) British author, economist, philosopher.

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