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Your Rollerballs And Ballpoints

rollerball ballpoint

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28 replies to this topic

#1 penmanila



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Posted 01 July 2013 - 03:01

ok, folks, let's admit it--no matter how much we love and prefer our fountain pens, we still can't avoid using rollerballs and ballpoints for tasks like filling out immigration forms, multiple-copy forms, and any paper that feathers badly. so, do we put as much care into choosing them, and do you have any favorites among yours?

here are the ones in my rotation:
from the top:
1. a 1970s sterling silver sheaffer ballpoint with a vine design--one of the most beautiful ballpoints, imho; i had one in the 1980s and had to give it away (long story) but i was happy to find this replacement at the chicago pen show.
2. a parker duofold ballpoint that i was lucky to get off ebay, buy-it-now, for $50 (thanks to a tip on FPN).
3. a montblanc 100th anniversary rollerball, the generous grift of a friend; been dying to get the FP version (almost got one at the chicago pen show auction but got cold feet in the closing minutes--now i regret it!).
4. a chinese lacque ambre sonnet rollerball, off ebay from india; one of the most desirable sonnet finishes. got this in a twin purchase, along with the FP version.

Edited by penmanila, 01 July 2013 - 03:03.

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#2 ipse dixit

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Posted 01 July 2013 - 04:33

I often get the matching ball point when I get a new fountain pen.  I will carry them both and choose which to use depending on the circumstances..  This also gives me a safe pen when some asks me to use my pen.  I prefer the pens like the Parker T-ball Jotter that can be used with one hand to push the button and extend the ball point.  I don't use rollerballs much because usually you have to remove the cap to use them and I would just as soon use my fountain pen.

One ink to find them, One ink to bring them all One ink to rule them all, and in the darkness bind them..

#3 Frank_Federalist_Pens


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Posted 01 July 2013 - 04:41

I have several RB pens- Yes, I do like many of them as well!

I like the modern RB refills that you find in makers like Retro 1951!


I also like my RB pens that take a FP cartridge! I have some of these as well!

I have about one RB/BP for every three/four FP's I own!



"When, in the course of writing events, in becomes self-evident that not all pens are created equal"  (Federalist Frank)


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#4 elysee



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Posted 01 July 2013 - 05:40

I have numerous ballpoint pens, rollerballs, and pencils.  Whenever possible, I like to have the ballpoint pen, rollerball, and pencil that matches my fountain pen as I like pen sets.

#5 Thornton



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Posted 01 July 2013 - 07:22

When I'm not using a fountain pen I like everything from a Uniball Vision fine point in blue to a Montblanc Starwalker BP in rubber and metal.  I also love the Cross Century Classics with the old ribbed grip and a broad black refill.  Bottom line is that I like pens, cheap and expensive, fountain or otherwise, and even some mechanical pencils.


I'm still trying to find a nice high-end rollerball for when a fountain pen isn't practical.  I want to like my Lamy Studio rollerball, but the refills run out too fast, and I can't figure out how to fit an alternate brand into the pen.

"Instant gratification takes too long."-Carrie Fisher

#6 pajaro


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Posted 01 July 2013 - 07:37

I bought the Sonnet ballpoint and rollerball in the Lacque Ambre from indiaThey were inexpensive.  It's nice to not have to cap and uncap at work.  These are nice pens.


I have had Montblanc 164s in red and black for a long time. 

I like the Pelikan K400 and K200 too.  These are all a decent size for comfortable writing.


It's nice to have the whole set with fountain pen, rollerball, ballpoint and pencil too.  I have a Sonnet set like this in forest green.  A bit much for a shirt pocket, though.


A good inexpensive but nice sized ballpoint is the Parker Big Red.  I still have a couple of these from the 1970s.  These did tend to grow legs, though.


Cross Century sets with fountain pen select tips with ballpoint, porous points along with the ballpoint and pencil served me in the sixties, seventies and eighties, and I still have most of them.  I used the ballpoints to take college notes, and their small size motivated me to buy the Montblancs.


There are a lot of great ballpoints and rollerballs out there.

"Don't hurry, don't worry. It's better to be late at the Golden Gate than to arrive in Hell on time."
--Sign in a bar and grill, Ormond Beach, Florida, 1960.


They took the blue from the skies and the pretty girls' eyes and a touch of Old Glory too . . .

#7 orfew



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Posted 01 July 2013 - 09:42

I have several RBs that I use regularly and two bps. The bps are my Starwalker cool blue and a Meisterstuck. The rbs include a Boheme, a Legrand unicef signature for good edition, a Meisterstuck solitaire doue stainless steel and several others. They all get used and enjoyed...and yes soemtimes loaned for brief periods of time.

" Gladly would he learn and gladly teach" G. Chaucer

#8 SnorriRafn


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Posted 01 July 2013 - 09:45

I have a black Parker Jotter I bought last year and put a black F refill from Schneider in it. I also have a Parker Frontier that came with the Frontier FP but I never use it.

#9 Wolverine1


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Posted 01 July 2013 - 14:15

I use a couple of Cross Century BPs when I have to use a BP, and I have couple of Taiwanese-made RB pens( they are most probably Dani-trio prototypes) with Schmidt RB refills for use when a FP wont do.

Edited by Wolverine1, 01 July 2013 - 17:02.

#10 doggonecarl


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Posted 01 July 2013 - 14:41

 Bottom line is that I like pens, cheap and expensive, fountain or otherwise, and even some mechanical pencils.


Me too!

#11 Waski_the_Squirrel


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Posted 01 July 2013 - 15:40

I've always really liked the looks of the Parker Duofold ballpoint. Dare I say, I like its looks even more than the fountain pen version? And I LOVE the color of yours.

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#12 Vendome


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Posted 01 July 2013 - 16:29

I've been a fan of Parker ballpens since I was a kid and over the years have had various Jotter, 25, 45, Big Red and Classic models.

On the rollerball front, I like the designs of the Parker L/S Edition Vectors, so have a couple of them. 

Long reign the House of Belmont.

#13 mgm1988



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Posted 01 July 2013 - 17:24

Over 15 y ears ago I bought a ruby Waterman Laureat fp and rollerball set on special offer. Both are still writing beautifully.

Edited by mgm1988, 01 July 2013 - 17:25.

"In his physiognomy there were what seemed traces of many passions which his will had disciplined but which seemed to have frozen those features they had now ceased to animate."
Il Nome della Rosa, Umberto Eco

#14 sbroda



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Posted 01 July 2013 - 18:03

I have had a Visconti Rembrandt Eco-Roller for about two weeks now---it is absolutely wonderful.  No problems writing whatsoever (and I'm a lefty who frequently has problems with ballpoints and rollerballs).

#15 ISW_Kaputnik



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Posted 01 July 2013 - 23:44

I do have a thing for Fisher Space Pens.  A bullet style one is almost always in a pants pocket, even if it usually gets bypassed these days for the fountain pens in the shirt pocket.  Fisher refills in my Jotters.  Even a Fisher Q4 multi-pen, which takes up to three D1 ballpoint refills (one slot originally had a useless stylus in it, which I replaced with a third color) and a .7 mm mechanical pencil


And rollerballs.  Rollerballs were my gateway drug for fountain pens, smoother than ballpoints, and the ink has a much richer look to it.  Pilot G2s and Uniball Vision RTs are both very smooth writers.  I even got a couple of Montblanc rollerball refills and trimmed them down to fit the G2s.  Another increase in smoothness, although I was a bit taken aback when I test the water resistance of the ink, and was surprised to find that it had very little.  Definitely not a check writing refill, and I don't plan to get any more.


I just can't see buying some of really expensive ballpoints and rollerballs out there.  Just as with fountain pens, when I hit a level of diminishing returns for performance, reliability, and durability, I won't pay much extra just for prettiness.  And that point of diminishing returns comes at a much lower price point than with fountain pens.

"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

#16 Sandy Fry

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Posted 02 July 2013 - 02:08

I have never really had a penchant for ball points or roller balls. I have a Parker jotter in my shirt pocket at work but only because I constantly get asked " can I borrow your pen? "  You would be surprised at the amount of older folks who have never used a fountain pen and the younger ones just look at it as if it is an alien artifact!

If you buy a fountain pen with a good stiff nib you can use it for those triplicate forms with no problems. I have had no problems with feathering so far.



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#17 ashbridg


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Posted 03 July 2013 - 20:35

For those occasions that require a ballpoint, my favorites are:




1) 1946 Sheaffer RA1 retractable; a beautiful pen, jewelry-grade, with heavy gold fill (left), and

2) 1949 Valiant Signature with 14k gold furniture and a wide girth.


Both pens are retrofitted to take modern ballpoint / rollerball refills. If I have to use a ball pen, it might as well be a high-end vintage one.

Carpe Stilo

#18 hbquikcomjamesl


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Posted 03 July 2013 - 20:45

I thought "rollerball" was a bloodsport in a dystopian William Harrison short story, and a couple of movies based thereon.

Edited by hbquikcomjamesl, 03 July 2013 - 20:45.

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#19 requiescat


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Posted 03 July 2013 - 22:29

I like Pilot G2s for emergencies and for being pens that I won't cry over if I lose.  Although so far my "emergencies" have mainly been running out of ink at inconvenient times on trips when all I have are a lever filler and a piston filler.  I really should add a c/c to the lineup.

#20 penmanila



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Posted 05 July 2013 - 07:10

i just realized that i wrote this in my original post: "3. a montblanc 100th anniversary rollerball, the generous grift of a friend"--there was no grifting involved here, i assure you! ;)

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