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The Horror: "i Let Someone Use My Fountain Pen And..."

fountain pen lent my fountain pen let someone use your fountai never let someone use your ruined my fountain pen ruined the nib didnt know what they were do ignorant

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#41 TwelveDrawings

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Posted 29 August 2013 - 18:11

I carry a Spacepen in my pocket to avoid this scenario. Once I was sitting with a colleague during a deposition and she needed a pen to take notes, I only had my 1940's Sheaffer Sovereign, needless to say she took her notes in highlighter. 

 

A fountain pen is a specialized tool that requires experience to use correctly. If the situation allows time for instruction and the person is not a buffoon, then maybe I'll let someone use my fountain pen. 

You made my day....picturing your colleague squinting to read the notes she scribbled in pale yellow highlighting marker. You are a true and fearless guardian of the fountain pen. -- www.twelvedrawings.com


 


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#42 TwelveDrawings

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Posted 29 August 2013 - 18:18

I will happily lend out burlier pens, and indeed keep a Hero 616 around as bait-- anyone who needs to borrow a pen by my desk is going to be handed an FP.  On the other hand, the more sensitive objects don't get offered to anyone I don't know has the understanding of FPs, and to them I'll say something like, "This one calls for a light touch".

 

In the horror story line; a Parker "51" desk model I use at work got nabbed by a guy from IT to scribble something down.  A young guy... but he got it the right way up, at a sensible angle, and didn't drive it into the paper, and only realized it was something out of his usual line after he'd started using it.  He was very pleased with it.  The next day, the head of HR, old enough to have grown up using FPs, was in much the same position; got the pen rotated 90 degrees, held it at too steep an angle, and when nothing happened tried pressing harder which only made a furrow in the paper.  All that was missing was a cry of disgust and a flinging of the pen at a wall.  This incident proved that I had to re-arrange my desk's layout, but also that the "51" is a bit of a tank-- no harm done.

I think you have offered a very valuable and practical piece of advice. Simply saying "This one calls for a light touch," is an excellent instruction. You are putting them on notice that the pen you have handed them requires special handling...which is all the cue that most people would need. Well done! -- www.TwelveDrawings.com


Edited by TwelveDrawings, 29 August 2013 - 18:18.

 


#43 DrCodfish

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Posted 29 August 2013 - 18:48

"Sure, here you go."

 

"Umm ... how's this thing work?"

 

"Just like a ball point, only don't press down on the paper, the ink just flows out."



#44 elderberry

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Posted 29 August 2013 - 19:11

I love to introduce people to fountain pens. Usually those who aren't interested at all won't touch them anyway but rather go look for a ball pen. For those who are interested I like to whip out my pen pouch and give them the tour so they can try different nibs and inks. With very few exceptions they've always been very gentle with my pens. There's also a good thing about modern nibs being nails: At least they don't get bent that easily...

 

The only thing that makes me cringe every time is how people pull and pull and pull away at those screw caps. You'd think they'd give up after a second or two and ask how that thing will open - or at least try unscrewing it -, but no, they just keep pulling. So the second someone picks up one of my pens, I'll say "the cap unscrews" - if I notice it in time. Luckily no cap has been damaged yet.


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#45 TwelveDrawings

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Posted 29 August 2013 - 19:23

Sounds simple enough, DrCodfish!

 

I am sincerely wondering how exactly that worst-case person could manage to seriously damage a nib. I know, I know; the person looked gentle but turned out to be a brutal caveman once the pen was in their hand. Crrrrrrrrrrush..... your Mont Blanc was destroyed like Mont St. Helens.

 

But this is really bothering me. Aren't most nibs a stiff, slightly springy metal? Sure, someone could damage it out of pure malice....grip it like a butcher knife and stab it nib-down onto a desk. But seriously, how could anyone accidentally press hard enough to bend metal?

 

I'll pose my theory and let others answer.

 

As has been mentioned here, some novices fail to orient the nib correctly. They turn it upside-down or sideways and begin their attempt to write. Let's suppose that nothing happens and the paper remains blank. This novice thinks, "Hmm...something wrong with this pen. I must not be pressing hard enough." They double the pressure and one of two things happen:

 

1) If the pen is 90° out of position, the two halves of the nib are crushed sideways INTO each other. They both become deformed and the ink will not flow. Novice then thinks, "Hmm...still no ink. I must need to press even harder." Rip, tear, bend, spurt, sobbing owner!

 

2) If the pen is in correct position but the novice is pressing too hard from the first moment, the two tines(?) of the nib immediately become separated. The inkflow ceases because the nib channel is too wide. The Novice thinks, "Hmm...I must need to press even HARDER!" Scraaaaaaatch (as the nib penetrates te paper and carves a deep furrow into the desktop beneath.) Followed by furiously homicidal owner sounds.

 

Above are my two theories for how a non-malicious person could destroy a perfectly good fountain pen on the first try. What do you think might cause it....besides the caveman theory?

 

—www.TwelveDrawings.com


Edited by TwelveDrawings, 29 August 2013 - 19:44.

 


#46 Sasha Royale

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Posted 29 August 2013 - 19:33

I was very proud of my sterlin silver Parker 75.  It was a gift from grateful "buddies".

It was 1988, and I was distracted.  I did lend it to a beautiful young woman (who is

still my good friend, after 25 years).  She dropped it.  It landed nib down.  I suppressed

tears, and spent $50 for a new nib.  Never did get to see her naked.

 

Lessons learned.  Some are easier than other.

 

I hope your Waterman recovers.


Auf freiem Grund mit freiem Volke stehn. 
Zum Augenblicke dürft ich sagen: 
Verweile doch, du bist so schön ! 


#47 TwelveDrawings

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Posted 29 August 2013 - 19:36

I was very proud of my sterlin silver Parker 75.  It was a gift from grateful "buddies".

It was 1988, and I was distracted.  I did lend it to a beautiful young woman (who is

still my good friend, after 25 years).  She dropped it.  It landed nib down.  I suppressed

tears, and spent $50 for a new nib.  Never did get to see her naked.

 

Lessons learned.  Some are easier than other.

 

I hope your Waterman recovers.

Re your post: I laughed. I cried. I can't wait for the movie! :)

 

Re my crimp-nibbed Phileas: It was I who dropped it. So far, everyone else has handled my pens very respectfully and successfully.

 

—www.TwelveDrawings.com


 


#48 Silvermink

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Posted 29 August 2013 - 19:42

I've never had a particularly bad experience lending a fountain pen, though most of the people who get to write with mine are other FP users from Vancouver Pen Club. I'm a little more wary with people I think might not have written with one (I'll usually remind them not to push down), though I probably wouldn't hesitate to offer a sturdy-nibbed pen like my 21 or one of my AL-stars.


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#49 Namru

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Posted 29 August 2013 - 20:12

I let someone borrow my Kaweco; came back with a downward bent nib and a cracked feed. I was more impressed that someone managed to break it in such a way.
I don't normally lend stuff out, but she was kinda hot and had a Canadian accent. Sue me, or whatever.

I've since bought a nice Cross Townsend ballpoint with my name engraved on the side. I figured someone one day will "forget" to give it back and will feel shame every time they see my name enblazoned on it.

Edited by Namru, 29 August 2013 - 20:14.


#50 Knock_Kneed_Man

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Posted 29 August 2013 - 20:28

I used to carry a MB Classique rollerball for lending out, but since my girlfriend has now claimed that as hers, I have started to lend out my fountain pens. I have lent out almost every fp that I own and have had no issues and do not expect to have any. The place that I work, and the quality of people that I work with know how to handle nice things and would gladly fix / replace anything that was damaged or broken.



#51 georges zaslavsky

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Posted 29 August 2013 - 21:35

I only lend my fps to fp users or friends that are fp collectors otherwise I will give a bic to the person who needs something to write


Pens are like watches , once you start a collection, you can hardly go back. And pens like all fine luxury items do improve with time

#52 tonybelding

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Posted 29 August 2013 - 22:15

A fountain pen is a specialized tool that requires experience to use correctly.

 

It's no more "specialized" than a car with a manual shifter.  Of course I should add that fewer and fewer people know how to operate one of those either, these days.

 

I haven't had any pens damaged, but I've cringed as I watched people try to write with the back or side of the nib.  How can anyone not understand that much, at least?

 

On the other hand, I had the satisfaction of loaning a Bexley to an old lady at the post office who said, "Oh, I haven't seen a real pen in ages!"



#53 DrCodfish

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Posted 29 August 2013 - 22:21

" But seriously, how could anyone accidentally press hard enough to bend metal?"

 

Most of the folk I work with appoint themselves with very low quality ball point pens, and many of these are crappy writers to use technical jargon.  The solution to getting ink on paper with one of these is to push harder, or if that does not work  push HARDER! 



#54 GemMayhem

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Posted 29 August 2013 - 23:29

It's no more "specialized" than a car with a manual shifter.  Of course I should add that fewer and fewer people know how to operate one of those either, these days.

Fun analogy.   :) If a fountain pen is a "real" pen, is a car with manual transmission a "real" car?  I humbly submit, "Yes." Both are much more fun to drive than their counterparts!  :P



#55 ethernautrix

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Posted 30 August 2013 - 00:17

I don't always do anything, and I don't never do anything. Of course, now I'm trying to think of contrary examples, but I will apply this statement to letting others try or use my pens.

 

Despite having had my pens dropped or the nibs ruined, I still allow others to try them (I wasn't becoming known as Nakayanautrix for nothing).

 

Context. Maybe it's the crowds I used to run around with or in or encountered. I've said in similar threads, sometimes a stranger just wants to use a pen and isn't interested in a "teachable moment."


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#56 Houston

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Posted 30 August 2013 - 12:58

I don't tend to lend my pens, because back in university, I lent one that came back five minutes later with a mangled nib and no apology. I've even been known to swipe my FP out of my boss's hand, letting him know that the nib is fragile and I'll find him a ballpoint. Mostly, I use the gambit others have mentioned: asking, "Do you know how to use a fountain pen?" Most folks demur, not wanting to risk a dance with the unfamiliar.

Just the other day, however, I handed over a Franklin-Christoph to an admirer (of the pen, not of me), and he stuck his thumbnail under the clip, springing it out at a rakish angle. He hadn't written a word, and had completely fracked the pen.

Fortunately, the customer service at Franklin-Christoph is so fantastic, I had step-by-step instructions about how to repair the clip to pristine condition within 36 hours.

I agree that the manual transmission analogy is apt. Unless I'm already pretty sure you know how to drive my car, I'm not going to learn you can't by listening to the gears grind.

#57 TwelveDrawings

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Posted 30 August 2013 - 13:00

" But seriously, how could anyone accidentally press hard enough to bend metal?"

 

Most of the folk I work with appoint themselves with very low quality ball point pens, and many of these are crappy writers to use technical jargon.  The solution to getting ink on paper with one of these is to push harder, or if that does not work  push HARDER! 

I would add that this impulse to push harder must occur very quickly.

 

Others have made a comparison to manual vs automatic transmission cars in this thread. I drive only manual transmissions by choice. The first time I drove an automatic, I stomped my foot hard where the clutch pedal usually is. I did not THINK, I simply ACTED. Hopefully, you've never done this, but it was the brake pedal I stomped on and the immediate screeching halt scared everyone and embarassed me. It happened that quickly and there was no good explanation other than confessing it was a beginner's mistake.

 

I suppose that's what this thread is about. I doubt anyone has strong objection to using a fountain pen once they know how. But if they are uninitiated to its uniqueness, they can do harm without meaning harm.

 

So as I offer a fountain pen to anyone, I will be doing BOTH of us a favor by making comments like:

 

"This pen requires a light touch."

 

"Have you used a fountain pen before?" (and if they decline to try or seem not to show interest in learning, offer them a backup ballpoint pen.)

 

"This pen works like a ballpoint pen, except you do not press down. The ink just flows out."

 

"Not everyone likes a fountain pen. Have you used one before?"

 

Since a fountain pen may momentarily fail to write, especially in a faltering hand, I touch it discreetly to my fingertip or scrap paper to make sure the nib is charged with ink before passing it to a novice. After all, the novice has a reasonable expectation that a pen will write immediately.....and it requires knowledge to troubleshoot the lack of ink when that happens. As pointed out here, an inexperienced person will promptly press HARDER.

 

Can you suggest another gracious way to preserve your pen and their dignity?

 

--www.TwelveDrawings.com


Edited by TwelveDrawings, 30 August 2013 - 13:59.

 


#58 teenytina

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Posted 30 August 2013 - 13:49

I lend my fountain pens to everyone, even after my first real fountain pen, a burgundy MB, was driven into the paper and out of alignment by a high schooler who never asked to borrow it before she did.

 

Usually when I'm out and signing credit card slips, I whip out the ol' awesome pen, whichever daily carry I happen to have on me -- usually a TWSBI 580 and the Namiki Falcon. I give them the TWSBI and tell them, "Fountain pens are wonderful. They do not take as much pressure as a ball pen, and they glide like you've never seen." Then people have to try the gentlest touch possible to get it to give them ink. They hand it back with much trepidation. Sometimes I use that same pen to write a Spencerian "thanks" for them to keep and remember the experience. It kindles interest, let me tell you.

 

I have yet to carry around donor pens, but that's something I'd like to do. I feel such pity for people who constrain themselves to ballpoints and rollerballs.


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#59 Sailor Kenshin

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Posted 30 August 2013 - 14:04

It's no more "specialized" than a car with a manual shifter.  Of course I should add that fewer and fewer people know how to operate one of those either, these days.
 
I haven't had any pens damaged, but I've cringed as I watched people try to write with the back or side of the nib.  How can anyone not understand that much, at least?
 
On the other hand, I had the satisfaction of loaning a Bexley to an old lady at the post office who said, "Oh, I haven't seen a real pen in ages!"


Because they've never seen one before, and you can't know what you don't know. It's not their fault.

#60 TwelveDrawings

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Posted 09 September 2013 - 17:27

I carry the message of Twelve Step recovery into the correctional system. I was at a meeting when one of the men asked if anyone had a pen. Without hesitation, I handed my Phileas to him. For the rest of the meeting, he and another man traded the pen back and forth so they could mark relevant passages in the literature. I noticed one of them examining the tip, but other than that, they used the pen without any problem. When the meeting was over, the man handed it back and thanked me. Strangely, the pen seemed to write even BETTER than it did before....more responsive, finer lines, better feel. Curious thing indeed. -- www.TwelveDrawings.com


 






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