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Why Do You Use A Fountain Pen?

why? pens poll existential

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345 replies to this topic

Poll: Why Do You Use A Fountain Pen? (614 member(s) have cast votes)

Why do you use a fountain pen?

  1. It makes me look cool/posh/cultured. (114 votes [8.58%])

    Percentage of vote: 8.58%

  2. I have weak writing pressure. (61 votes [4.59%])

    Percentage of vote: 4.59%

  3. To improve penmanship. (251 votes [18.89%])

    Percentage of vote: 18.89%

  4. Upholding tradition. (188 votes [14.15%])

    Percentage of vote: 14.15%

  5. In the loving memory of someone close to me. (29 votes [2.18%])

    Percentage of vote: 2.18%

  6. I'm tired of donating money to Bic/PaperMate. (89 votes [6.70%])

    Percentage of vote: 6.70%

  7. The variety of ink colours. (279 votes [20.99%])

    Percentage of vote: 20.99%

  8. I do calligraphy. (75 votes [5.64%])

    Percentage of vote: 5.64%

  9. Other (list them in the forum posts!). (243 votes [18.28%])

    Percentage of vote: 18.28%

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#21 Mactechbri


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Posted 04 June 2013 - 19:34

I find them elegant and unique.



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#22 inkstainedruth


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Posted 04 June 2013 - 20:09

I started out by getting one when I started journalling a few years ago -- it was the "coolness" factor so I would be more likely to do it every day.  That was what started it.

When I (temporarily) lost my journalling pen (by then it was a Parker Vector) I started looking online for an affordable replacement (the Vector replaced a small series of unknown model Parker cartridge pens that were no longer available at Staples).  In the process I discovered that there was more than blue and black ink out there (I used to use a purple-ink BP until the banks clamped down on what colors worked for electronic transmission of checks).  From there, it was a short step to finding FPN....

Last year, it was all about the ink, in (mostly) inexpensive pens.  But over the summer I found a very nice Parker 45 in an antiques mall in NW Pennsylvania, and that (and some of the forum threads here) led me to the direction of vintage.  So now a lot of it is because I like the idea of something reused/recycled/rescued  that is well made (in this largely disposable society) -- I'd put my Parker 51s up against an expensive modern pen -- even a FP -- any day of the week (and expect to win).  Although I still like inexpensive -- I keep buying Vectors (and Esterbrook J-series pens) on Ebay, and my stash of Noodler's

Konrads has just tripled in the past few weeks.... :rolleyes:

It's also the writing experience (even though my handwriting is still mostly printing -- my New Year's resolution of improving my penmanship hasn't gotten too far, sadly).  There's something that I can't describe about it (and it's not just the smoothness, because some of my pens are fairly scratchy unless I have a really wet ink in them).  It's tactile and emotional and aesthetic all at the same time. 

But it was the coolness factor combined with the color choices that still are the two main reasons ("Honestly dear -- can't you see that Yama-budo is not at all the same color as BSiAR?  And that Demin is a more subtle blue-black than Manhattan Blue, even though Manhattan Blue shades better -- and that they're both TOTALLy different from both Salix and Urkundentinte?  And that DCSSB has more sheen than all of those combined, even though it takes FOREVER to dry? And that there is *definitely* a difference between Liberty's Elysium and Jentle Sky High?"


Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth

"It's very nice, but frankly, when I signed that list for a P-51, what I had in mind was a fountain pen."

#23 Vendome


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Posted 04 June 2013 - 20:35

I got back into fountain pens last year to improve my penmanship as my handwriting had really gone downhill, due to having less opportunity to use a pen in work as keyboards took over.  


As a bonus to my handwriting getting back to a decent standard, I found that writing had become a pleasure again and not just a chore. All my business and personal correspondence is now hand-written.

Long reign the House of Belmont.

#24 Xray



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Posted 04 June 2013 - 20:36

Because I started using them as a kid and had no reason to stop. They're fun. You don't get pleasure out of either writing with a ball point, or experimenting with different ball points, or even looking at ball points. Fountain pens give you an obvious comfort (and I have a very light hand - I don't like the cramp ball points give me) and also the ability to tinker with inks and nibs. The only reason I can think of not to use a fountain pen is cost. Ball points cost more in the long run but certainly feel cheaper because you pay a couple of quid for a few dozen which probably last people the majority of the year. What to write with is probably the last of most people's concerns. 

#25 TradArch



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Posted 04 June 2013 - 20:54

For me it started for drawing - lines don't stay solid with a rollerball or gel, and trying to draw with a ballpoint is painful. I wrote with a fountain pen in elementary school, my grandfather wrote with one, I liked the idea of having a pen that can be handed down.

Now, I love the inks, the mix of nibs, the ability to have nibs customized, and having a range of pens that are well balanced, fit my hand, don't make me tired when I draw or write. I still love the feel of a fountain pen over paper, and love the differences between papers being discernible.

It also helps me be mindful of what I write, as I write it.

#26 jetsam


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Posted 04 June 2013 - 21:06

I voted 'upholding tradition' or at least that's how it used to be until I discovered FPN, and then fountain pens took on a life of their own.
So I'll say that writing with fountain pens has become like a hobby for me, (family calls it an obsession) and, I'm embarrassed to admit, sometimes writing takes second place to the fountain pens.

#27 Kelly G

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 21:29

It is the aesthetics of the whole experience - words flowing onto paper - a pen older than my sixty years functioning perfectly - a tangible historical tie that will carry on in the future...

May we live, not by our fears but by our hopes; not by our words but by our deeds; not by our disappointments but by our dreams.

#28 xiphias


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Posted 04 June 2013 - 22:16

I chose other, because it changed over the years.


I think when I bought the first one it was to show off, to have something different aka cool. I guess a common motivation for single males in their early twenties :P.


Since then I came to admire the smoothness of the flow, which a ballpoint will never reach. Some good rollerballs may come close but what really sets fountain pens apart is that the nib other than the writing tip of a rollerball is never exchanged, i.e. the thing that brings your thoughts to the paper is always the same and that for many years.

#29 aschup



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Posted 04 June 2013 - 22:20

For the preftige.

#30 NewFPU



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Posted 04 June 2013 - 22:52

I love the confusion it stirs up. A techie using such an "un-techie" instrument. Or is it? A fountain pen to me is the perfect blend of "simple" technology. By masterfully engineering an ink delivery system through the use of capillary action, a complex function is wrapped up in a seemingly simple fountain pen.I love it! Besides that I do love the variety of inks :lticaptd: 




I'm a geek with a fountain pen.

#31 GabrielleDuVent


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Posted 04 June 2013 - 23:05

I love the confusion it stirs up. A techie using such an "un-techie" instrument. Or is it? A fountain pen to me is the perfect blend of "simple" technology. By masterfully engineering an ink delivery system through the use of capillary action, a complex function is wrapped up in a seemingly simple fountain pen.I love it! Besides that I do love the variety of inks :lticaptd:





Fountain pens are the master crafts of modern engineering! Hence everyone uses Lamy, Pilot or Parker :D

Tes rires retroussés comme à son bord la rose,

Effacent mon dépit de ta métamorphose;

Tu t'éveilles, alors le rêve est oublié. 


-Jean Cocteau, from Plaint-Chant, 1923

#32 Spire


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Posted 04 June 2013 - 23:12

I just love the feel of a delicate vintage pen in my hand. I gives ma an anchor in a hectic day

#33 smiorgan


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Posted 04 June 2013 - 23:17

Fountain pens are just my latest geek fad after digital hifi, analogue hifi, bicycles, roleplaying games, linux, coffee, tea, wine...


I'm sure it's just a phase I'm going through. Won't last.

#34 Montblanc owner and lover

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 23:21

simply because it writes a lot better than a ballpoint and is too a lot nicer

A people can be great withouth a great pen but a people who love great pens is surely a great people too... Pens owned actually: MB 146 EF;Pelikan M200 SE Clear Demonstrator 2012 B;Parker 17 EF;Parker 51 EF;Waterman Expert II M,Waterman Hemisphere M;Waterman Carene F and Stub;Pilot Justus 95 F. Nearly owned: MB 149 B(Circa 2002);Conway Stewart Belliver LE bracket Brown IB.

#35 Blade Runner

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 23:22

Fps aren't necessary and a fp isn't the most versatile writing instrument, but I use them for pleasure.  I enjoy the tactile qualities of a beautifully fashioned nib on 100% cotton stationery,  the aesthetics and quality of a beautiful pen, and the choice of nibs and inks.  

#36 haldane3


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Posted 04 June 2013 - 23:56

Easily the variety of colors and smoothness of writing. I find when I write with a ballpoint, the experience is very tiring for my hand. With my FP's the pen just glides!


"Well, at least being into pens isn't a gross habit. Like smoking or whatever."

"Ahh, thanks?"

-My coworker Christine.

#37 Edwaroth


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Posted 05 June 2013 - 00:05

I love the feeling of holding a fountain pen in hand, the weight, the shape, the special feeling of celluloid. When I hold a fountian pen and gaze at it as I write, it takes me back in time to an era long before I was born, when people thought out their words slowly and with meaning. For me it is not just a writing tool or instrument but a way to forget the present and find a path to the calm of writing completely absorbed. My favorite pens transport me into my thoughts and translate those thoughts into words put on paper.





#38 Bookman



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Posted 05 June 2013 - 01:20

I use fountain pens for a variety of reasons, but chiefly because they're old-school, and I like old things—old words, old cars, old books, old buildings and cities and civilizations and paintings, old movies, old movie palaces, old courtesies like please and you're welcome, thank you and thank you cards, old modes of communication like handwritten letters and notes and face-to-face conversations, in-person.

I love the smell of fountain pen ink in the morning.




#39 Elizabeth in NJ

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Posted 05 June 2013 - 01:23


And fun.


I didn't include the "fun" option because I found those kind of classifications overall too vague. There are many reasons something can be fun, and I wanted to know those reasons. 


Fun to write with (variation!), fun to tinker with, fun to talk about, fun to mess about with inks, fun even to walk around with ink spots on my hands.  Badge of honor.  And very fun to think about what to buy, browse options, and finally make a purchase!


Oh, and I totally chose the "makes me look posh" option, amongst others.  I know I'm supposed to be all like "oh, I don't care what other people think" and all, but I'm not too good at conforming.  I use them for myself and for my own pleasure, but I consider it a bonus if anybody notices and thinks better of me because of it.  Or even if they think worse of me.  I just want them to notice my pretty pretty pen and ink, dammit!


For me its about customization both with ink colors and nib widths.


Definitely.  I like choosing my ink colors and deciding what pens/nibs I want to put them with and what I want to use the combination for.


I have always noticed pens and how I liked writing with them. When I was eight years old, I could tell which of three ostensibly identical Bic medium blue ballpoints was my favorite.


Me too!  I didn't understand how people didn't get that THIS one is buttery smooth and THAT one is a little on the skritchy side.

#40 N2theBreach


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Posted 05 June 2013 - 01:50

I chose Other because there are different reasons I use an FP, and they vary in importance depending on when you ask.

I began using them because I heard they were easy and smooth to write with. I held off buying one for a couple of months, because I didn't want to be perceived as pretentious.

I got one because I was going for my Masters in mid-career and didn't have time to do creative things, I play several musical instruments, have done woodcarvings, and so forth. Using a fountain pen doesn't take one minute of extra time, yet allows me to be creative.

I create my own writing experience--I choose the pen for the task based on weight, balance, nib width, type of fill mechanism. I choose the ink based on color and other properties. I choose the paper to fit the task, etc. I never did that before. Ever.

I like creating ideas with flowing ink. I like the feel. I like the different "looks" of different pens, and I care about the looks because I'll be using it longer than a few weeks.

I keep a journal and I can't imagine doing it now with a ballpoint.

Refilling it is a task that people have done for centuries in one way or another, and refilling my pen makes me part of that heritage. So does writing with a nib, whether it be feather, steel, or "iridium point Germany."

And there is the cool factor, like it or not.

Edit: Thanks for posting the poll. On the way home tonight, I was thinking about the poll you posted yesterday, or whenever, and it got me thinking about what I like about FPs. And, no, as far as I know I don't live anywhere near Jetsam! :D

Edited by N2theBreach, 05 June 2013 - 02:02.

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