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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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#61 cybaea


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Posted 05 June 2013 - 19:16

Really? I went to primary school in the early 90s, and it was mandatory for us to learn how to use FPs in year 3. I remember one pupil brought in a Parker (you know, the kind that hangs off the racks in WH Smiths) and was considered quite posh.


Different countries :) Denmark at the time was redder than red, and the area I lived in was off the scale even for Denmark. At the local council (commune - really!) the Socialist People's Party was the right-wing opposition. Really. Not funny.


Progressive is the word I think they used for the educational approach. No fountain pens. We were lucky to have pens and not just sit in circles singing songs.


And people wonder why I am strange ;)

I am no longer very active on FPN but feel free to message me. Or send me a postal letter!

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#62 ISW_Kaputnik



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Posted 05 June 2013 - 19:22

My original reason was just that I thought it would be something interesting to try.  In fact, my first fountain pen didn't work out that well for me, but I decided to try one more and something clicked.


At this point, it would be easy to assemble a group of all the familiar talking points about line variation, shading, smoothness, and so forth.  There's the way that even black and blue inks look so much better on paper, even if you don't get into all the other colors.  All of these apply, but they don't necessarily add up to the reason that I use fountain pens.


The main reason is that I find the fountain pens interesting in themselves, in a way that the finest rollerball or ballpoint never could be.  I like tinkering with them, restoring them, and writing with them.  Perhaps initially I did think of how other people might react, but as I mentioned in that other thread, very few show any sign of having noticed, and of the few who do, most don't seem much impressed one way or another.  Appearing cool was obviously a lost cause many years ago anyway, and I already had eccentricity nailed down.

"So convenient a thing it is to be a reasonable creature, since it enables one to find or make a reason for everything one has a mind to do." - Benjamin Franklin

#63 Vendome


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Posted 05 June 2013 - 19:37


Yes, but if a rival whipped out a quill, you'd lose out. Quills, sir! Can't beat the quills!


As mentioned in one of your other threads Ms DuVent, we are not using the phrase "whip out" anymore, or any of its derivatives, as it's too "oooooh Matrooonnn".  :D


If there is a Cary Grant film where he writes with a quill, then "Susan, Susan, Susan" I would use one.

(Even if that involves me being chased by a crop dusting plane and having to climb Mount Rushmore.)  

Long reign the House of Belmont.

#64 GabrielleDuVent


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Posted 05 June 2013 - 20:02


As mentioned in one of your other threads Ms DuVent, we are not using the phrase "whip out" anymore, or any of its derivatives, as it's too "oooooh Matrooonnn".  :D


If there is a Cary Grant film where he writes with a quill, then "Susan, Susan, Susan" I would use one.

(Even if that involves me being chased by a crop dusting plane and having to climb Mount Rushmore.)  


I said I should have used another phrase. I do like the phrase, if I say so myself. It's you boys who decided to have fun with it, showing the rest of us ladies just how much of your mind is in the gutter.  :wacko: On this prestigious and posh FPN too. 


Another reason to use fountain pens: even if you write swear words and debauchery, you'd still look classy?

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

#65 K. Cakes

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Posted 05 June 2013 - 20:15

Many reasons


1. First, I've always enjoyed collecting writing instruments and stationery.  From when I was a child I've collected journals, notebooks, pencils, art supplies etc.  and was always on the hunt for the perfect pen. Having (very) small writing and weak hand pressure I was constantly searching for something smooth writing, dark, and xxxf (never found it). And my hunt naturally progressed from ballpoints to rollerballs to gels and then to fountain pens. 


2. I hate throwing items away when they're finished creating unnecessary waste.  I like reusable/refillable and fountain pens are about as good as writing instruments get in that respect.


3. I love the enormous range of ink available(I'm a big color coder).


4. I love having the option of different nibs. 


5. I love the process of filling a pen.  I'm not sure why, but I find it relaxing. I love hearing the nib tinking on the glass of an ink bottle and seeing the pattern of the ink of my blotting rag. 

Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.

#66 Dylan Skolnick

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Posted 05 June 2013 - 21:58

Because it makes writing enjoyable...

#67 NedC


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Posted 05 June 2013 - 22:16

Why not? I've used them as long as I've been writing except for some time in the 80s and early 90s when so much of my work involved filling out carbonless forms which required stupid amounts of pressure. Since then I also find that I can't write using pressure without getting a lot of elbow pain. Fountain pens are also a lot more fun.

#68 Redonna


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Posted 05 June 2013 - 22:32

I'm with Dylan Skolnick:

Because it makes writing enjoyable...


I started out looking to improve my penmanship and to pick up a little feel for calligraphy to use in my art journals but quickly discovered I just liked the way it felt and (as Dylan said) it makes writing enjoyable. Once I discovered how much I liked the feel of the pen in my hand and the feel of the ink flowing I decided to try some written journals. And that is where I am at . . . scribblings of my memories in a journal and practicing to improve my handwiting overall and trying my hand at fancy lettering from time to time. 

#69 Paddler


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Posted 05 June 2013 - 22:36


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


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#70 legume


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Posted 06 June 2013 - 00:57

It's just a part of my broader interest in stationary: cool notebooks, paper, mechanical pencils, gel pens, erasers, hi-lighters, etc. I should note that I also like dip pens and calligraphy. I don't prefer fountain pens over high-quality Asian gel pens, and in fact I think fountain pens are a little too fanciful and impractical at times, but I love them nonetheless. The myriad of inks available to me is a nice plus.

#71 Mike_Dowling



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Posted 06 June 2013 - 01:23

I like classic carbureted motorcycles, mechanical watches, fountain pens, I even shave with a straight razor.  I just like well engineered beautiful things.  I understand that there are roller balls, fuel injection, quartz movements, and safety razors that do the job, and arguably much better.  But they're simply not fun.


Literally every time I pull out my fountain pen I look at it and appreciate it, same with my watches, or when I'm on my bike.

Edited by Mike_Dowling, 06 June 2013 - 01:25.

#72 ajcoleman



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Posted 06 June 2013 - 02:29

I marked Other, so I guess I am obligated to offer some sort of explanation.


I have been fascinated (obsessed perhaps?) by pens and pencils as long as I can remember. I still remember which bank in town gave away the highest quality pencils. I have always been particular about what pen I used, though for most of my life it was ball pens. I discovered fountainpens a few years ago, and haven't looked back.


Fundementally, they write so much better than ball points. The solid, vivid  line that goes down with a light touch without skipping is wonderful. Gel pens come pretty close, but are far uglier and boring in comparison. That fountain pens do this so well and so smoothly with no moving parts is fascinating to me. The other fascinating thing about fountain pens is the variety. No two -- even of the exact same model -- are exactly alike, and each seems to feel a bit different as it writes. And there is such a tremendous variety in how pens look and feel as well as write. The possibilities are nearly endless. And it is so nice when it all comes together. A nice looking pen that writes smoothly, feels nice, is convenient and reliable, perhaps has a nice matching pencil, etc.  I think that is for me what makes them fun to write with.

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It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; to search out a matter is the glory of kings.

-- Prov 25:2

#73 Waski_the_Squirrel


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Posted 06 June 2013 - 02:35

What first caught my eye was that I liked them. They just looked different. I first saw one in a pen catalogue that arrived as junk mail when I was in third grade. I paged through the catalogue a lot and even picked out a few that I really liked. The only one close to my range was a Parker Vector. I found one in a store when I was in fourth grade, and that was my pen until late in high school.


Funny thing is, my tastes really developed then. My favorite pen was a Parker Duofold. In terms of looks, that's still my lust. However, I don't like converters, and I've discovered things I don't like about the Parker brand itself, so a Duofold is not in my future. I also thought the Pelikans with the green stripes were pretty cool. I still like them (though the tortoise is even better). An m800 may some day wind up in my collection.


I didn't like the looks of the Montblancs or the Shaeffers and I still don't. I found the Yard-o-Led attractive, but have learned since then that I don't like metal fountain pens (thank-you Cross and Parker). I was indifferent to most of the brands and I still am.


I do love Noodler's pens, and my Pilot Custom 823. I even like TWSBI. None of these existed at that time.


I still can't put into words what I like or why. I can't even explain why I love writing with a fountain pen, just that I do. I can forget the instrument and just focus on the words while I write. However, I'll admit that I get the same feeling with a nice #2 wood pencil. I don't get it with ballpoints or rollerballs, but I don't know why.

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#74 Octo


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Posted 06 June 2013 - 02:42

Just because I like to write with them.


I only use FP and mechanical pencils, not a ball point pen in the house.


Mom wrote with a dip pen and Dad wrote with a lever-filled pen, so I felt very up-to-date when my first fountain pen was the brand new cartridge Sheaffer that hung in blister packs in every supermarket, drugstore, etc.  They're durable, too.  Some of my originals are still among the pens I use daily.


I use them for the sensory pleasure they bring.  I like the feel of the pen as it moves across the paper, the smell and colors of the inks, the look of the ink as it dries, the feel of the pen in my hand, etc.  Perhaps that's why I never made the switch to ball point or gel pens.


I feel the same about papers - love the variety in tactile feel, aroma, pattern, interaction with pens, etc.  I have way too many.


Sometimes the pen is so much an extension of the mind, that I forget I'm even using it.

Edited by Octo, 06 June 2013 - 02:45.

#75 zipp


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Posted 06 June 2013 - 03:08

Oh... because I look with nostalgia back, to my childhood, when I used only fountain pens (there were mandatory, as the only writing tool to be used). Because they are classy, chic and mostly because I can "feel" the text in a different way. Because I like the ceremony of opening the ink bottle and filling the pen. Because I'm "retrofiliac" as one gentleman said here, before me. Because the ink have more life than the trivial line draw with a ball-pen. 

#76 thedeacon


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Posted 06 June 2013 - 04:05

Since it is a pseudo-existential exercise, can one answer the poll with none and some?  I use them simply as a matter of choice.  I've never cared for ballpoints, yet I like roller balls for certain applications.  That said, fountain pens are by far my personal choice.  Even though I've been accused of being stuck in the past. I enjoy the entire experience, with the exception of appearing "posh."  That doesn't matter.  If it did, it would be hard to justify my grandfather's 51 next to my Neon Yellow Safari.


Like many other things it's the overall experience.  The wide variety of designs, ink choices, paper options and various accoutrement.  I even enjoy the maintenance process.  It makes me slow down and appreciate things in a different way, not to mention they are a joy to use.  I like sending handwritten notes, and it does improve my handwriting.  It reminds me that not everything has to be instantly delivered by the digital gods.  (As I sit here watching foreign market tickers, analysis, check my iPhone and finish a presentation in power point.)  At the end of the day, who knows why I use them.  The same reason I like making my own stocks and sauces I suppose.  Takes a little effort, but well worth the reward.

"If you laugh, you think, and you cry, that's a full day. That's a heck of a day. You do that seven days a week, you're going to have something special."-Jim Valvano


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#77 krz


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Posted 06 June 2013 - 06:08

To slow the world down just a bit.

How can you tell when you're out of invisible ink?

#78 arcadeflow



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Posted 06 June 2013 - 06:23

As a kid I had a cheap unbranded chinese fountain pen that I used for a little. I had some trouble with leaks, but I didn't know better, I never washed it or understood how it worked. I remember a childhood friend that had a Lamy Safari and the other kids thought he was an idiotic snob for owning such a pen, some kind of daddy's boy. So, it means fountain pens are not popular at all around here. I never owned another fountain pen until I was looking for some compact pens to carry, and found out some people were picking up fountain pens to use. Then I remember how interesting they were, and found out that some writers are using them again. I find it funny how little I was writing and I don't want to "forget" how it's done. Since I don't care for ballpoints and rollerballs (they seem too dull to me) I thought I would give them a try.


My brother found his hold chinese pen that was the same I had and I used it a little with the brown Sheaffer Skrip I bought (along with the cyan version). Then I found out it was so clogged from old black ink that I washed it for a couple days. Tried again and I could manage to write a little, but the ink was drying and not coming out sometimes. Now I am in the process of washing it again and dumping it in 1-3 water-ammonia solution. Sometimes I pick it up and shake it and there is still black ink coming from the nib/feed. Then I dump it again in the solution. I want to restore it to working condition so I can learn more, while I wait for the pens I bought to arrive. My plan is to take good care of the pens and start writing as a hobby.

#79 Luiz


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Posted 06 June 2013 - 11:29

I saw the famous Custom Namiki Falcon video on youtube! That got me started.

#80 NewFPU



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Posted 06 June 2013 - 16:40

Might I also add:


Using a fountain pen is also an exercise in patience & self-control. Admirable qualities. For this reason even when I find myself reaching for a ballpoint to hastily scribble a note or figures, I will force myself to pick up a fountain pen. However over time I stopped reaching for ballpoints. Except for 1 place I always use a fountain pen.




I'm a geek with a fountain pen.

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