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The Five Pens In Your Daily Carry


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#1 yogalarva



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Posted 10 August 2014 - 11:58

Howdy!  I wrote this piece yesterday for my blog and I thought it might be fun to post it here as well.  :-)


I was thinking this past week over the themes that I think show up in almost every daily carry.  Now, you might have more or less than five pens, but I bet that if you look carefully you will find these five pen archetypes showing up in your rotation regularly.  





  1. The non-fountain pen
    Let’s face it - as much as we all wish we could, we can’t use fountain pens for everything.  Even if you are completely unfazed by the idea of marking up plywood with your Montblanc or smushing a soft gold nib into carbon-copy forms, you still need a loaner for those times when someone who doesn’t carry an assortment of writing instruments asks to borrow one of yours.  Mine is a Fisher Space Pen, because I am a physicist and I need to be ready to write nerdy things at all times, even in zero gravity.
  2. The workhorse
    The pen has seen it all.  It goes everywhere with you because it can survive anything.  Usually a sturdy plastic or metal, it once had a glossy finish.  That has long been replaced with a unique “patina” of scratches and scuffs.  You could pick this pen out of a pile of other people’s pens because it is such an extension of your hand.  Like many other people, I have a Safari in this position because it seems (so far) to be impossible to kill.
  3. The attention grabber
    This pen is a looker.  Whether it has a pricey brand name attached to it or is just visually attractive, you grab this pen when you want people to take note of you taking notes.  It’s a big pen, with a big nib to match.  No way will someone mistake it for an inferior rollerball.  If it’s a demonstrator then it does double duty by holding your attention while you watch your ink slosh back and forth instead of paying attention during that meeting.  I like to use my TWSBI Vac 700 to make sure people know I mean business.
  4. The almost perfect
    This pen is like that person that you dated and broke up with, dated and broke up with, over and over again.  You love the idea of them, but it never quite works out in the long run.  It could be your favorite pen, if it was just lighter, or had better ink capacity, or had a slip cap, or didn’t have that annoying clip, or… You will never get rid of this pen because you have a strange, irrational connection to it even though you never use it for more than a few lines.  Instead you’ll just keep toting it around and staring at it wistfully, longing for what might have been.  I’m looking at you, Lamy 2k in stainless steel…
  5. The one that just works
    Continuing with the relationship analogy, this pen is the best friend that you fell in love with slowly and now you’ve been married for years.  It might not be that flashy or have the smoothest nib, but this pen always works when you need it.  When you reach into your pen case, this is the one you are looking for and when you forget it at home your whole day seems a bit darker.  It’s the reason you got into using fountain pens in the first place, because at the end of the day it’s not about having a big collection or fancy calligraphy or trying every ink, it’s about taking the basic experience of writing to a higher level.  This is my Pilot VP, and I know I will always have one in my carry because it just works.


What do you think?  Do you have these five pens in your rotation, and if so, what are they?

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#2 shawndp


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Posted 10 August 2014 - 12:14

I think I have more or less a similar grouping -


The Non FP is a cross BP - looks like a solo in matte black or an MB Starwalker fineliner if I am in a tie


Workhorse - Kaweco Sport in clear or a Lamy Al-Sport (nice yellow Safari BTW)


The Attention hog is a titanium nibbed Stipula that always raises eyebrows and always inked in some supersaturated colour


The Almost Perfect is a Waterman Carene - I love it and have had it longer than most but just wish it had a finer nib


The one that Works - a Waterman Phileas - purchased back in college and seen moves across provinces, countries, contitnents, see me wish and dream- I've lost most everything I purchased back in those days but this one has been with me all time - writing a smooth, wet blue line and never skipping a beat.

#3 zepp


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Posted 10 August 2014 - 12:14

non fountain pen would be that parker vector rollerball that i never use but it's there


workhorse: all of them


attention grabber: pretty much all of them, i guess it's hard to go unnoticed in a place where absolutely nobody uses fountain pens and are completely blown away from how expensive they are (besides i dont like demonstrators very much, even though it's very eye-candy-ish with the ink thing...)


the almost perfect would be pelikan m200, mine has 14k vintage OB nib fitted on it, and it has quite a small sweet spot, extremely smooth on rhodia but picky on other kind of paper, would like the pen to be slightly heavier, a little bit longer when capped


all my pens work very well, unfortunately, i only have 3 pens that i use regularly, so some ended in more than one place

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#4 jar


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Posted 10 August 2014 - 12:37

I don't think I have ever carried five pens at once except when going to a show-n-tell. Once I remember carrying a one pen, a ball point and a pencil but that didn't last long.


I doubt that I carry a non-pen (roller ball or ball point) more than one day a year but I will sometimes carry just a pencil.

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#5 The Blue Knight

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Posted 10 August 2014 - 12:50

I don't see the point of carrying 5 pens. I carry 1 and a mechanical pencil.


I have divided my pens in to a simple set of 4 different type

  1. Everyday carry which is any pen that cost me less then £20 which are pens I can use and abuse.
  2. Mid range pens that cost from £20-70 that I have to be careful with and will be occasionally taken out.
  3. Expensive that live at home that cost more the about £100.
  4. Pens to sell that live at home until they are sold


I know there are gaps in the inequalities however these could go either way. 

Edited by The Blue Knight, 10 August 2014 - 12:51.

#6 Mezzie


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Posted 10 August 2014 - 14:15

The Parker Jotter is my non-fp.

I have two workhorses with me at work: both Lamy Al-Stars. One of mine was trampled in the mud, and it's still going strong.

I also carry around a fine-nibbed Platinum Balance for grading on particularly crappy paper. I suppose it could be the "almost perfect." It's pleasant to write with, but the barrel unscrews a bit as I write, so I have to screw it tight several times during a long writing session.

I often also have a fun pen with me, most often a yellow VP. That one isn't as showy as if I were to bring my Raden VP to work, but it still is very pretty and turns some heads. I use it because it writes like a dream, though, so I suppose it meets "the attention grabber" and "the one that just works" criteria.

So... your categories mostly work for me. I combined two and have two workhorses instead, but that's about what I take around daily.

#7 cellmatrix



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Posted 10 August 2014 - 14:23

Like blue knight I also only carry 1FP - a parker 51 in my shirt pocket which I use a lot (and a fisher space pen in my wallet, which I hardly ever use). I used to carry more fountain pens but found that if I keep only one pen inked at one time, maintenance, cleaning, dry out clogging etc is dramatically reduced.

Edited by cellmatrix, 10 August 2014 - 14:53.

#8 risingsun


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Posted 10 August 2014 - 14:27

Okay, I'll play...

Non-fountain pen: a green marbled Waterman Phileas with a red G2 refill in it. This always hangs around my work desk, but seldom gets used. I wish it were a FP. I fear the capping action may eventually wear out, as I have read that is a problem.

Workhorse: Probably a Lamy 2000, as I always seem to have one of these inked. I love the balance and looks and feel of the L2K, and it is probably quite close to my perfect pen (and because of this, I have several.)

The Attention Grabber: My Pelikan M625 sterling and blue. This pen screams BLING. I love it but don't use it much, because of its ostentatious nature.

The Almost Perfect: Could be one of many I own, but I am going with a recently purchased Pelikan 400NN brown tortoise. The pen is gorgeous, just the right size, great filling mechanism, fabulous vintage nib, but it seems to have a very slight leak to it as the feed is often so saturated that it will fling ink off it without any warning; on the tablecloth, on my tie, on my keyboard, etc). Not sure if it is a piston seal leak, or around the feed/collar (collar isn't cracked on this one), but if it would hold its ink better, this would be a top 3 pen for me. There is hope.

The One that Just Works: There is almost always a Lamy Al-Star inked up in this house. If I am not using one, my wife is. Within our collection is the whole lineup of colors and available nibs to choose from, and they provide great variety and they are an extremely well-made but cost effective pen. Easy to fully disassemble for a full cleaning as needed. Easy to tweak a nib if it isn't perfect. I still don't like the clip, though.

Disclaimer: If you asked next week, you could potentially get 5 different answers. Such is the case with a large collection.


#9 Paddler


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Posted 10 August 2014 - 15:11

I only actually carry one of these because I don't have to go to work anymore. I am an "American Idle". However, the rest of these pens are on the desk and inked.



The non-fountain pen: Waterman Phileas ballpoint. This is reliable, hell for strong, writes a medium line, and doubles as a center punch when I am butchering wood.



The workhorse: Black Esterbrook SJ. It rides in my shirt pocket every day. Yesterday, it jumped out of the pocket twice and into the garden. I found it both times. If it wants to abscond, that is OK; I have more of them.



The attention grabber: This is a marryin' and buryin' pen. I use it to sign the guest registers at weddings and funerals (at my age, this happens a lot). It is a baby blue Valiant of the Snorkel species.



The almost perfect: Black Touchdown Sheaffer desk pen with a medium Feather Touch nib. Smooth with just a touch of tooth. Perfect balance for me. I can write all day with it (and frequently do).



The one that just works: About 60 other fountain pens in the "Also Ran" category. They are all reliable. Pick one? Parker 45 with a fine nib. I can't bring myself to take it out of rotation.

Edited by Paddler, 10 August 2014 - 15:19.

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#10 PorterPie


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Posted 10 August 2014 - 17:13

Non-fountain pen: Zebra 701. It also is an attention getter.

The workhorse: Lamy Safari. Easy to tell if it has ink, always starts.

The attention grabber: TWSBI Mini demonstrator. Usually has a colorful ink in it.

The almost perfect: Waterman Phileas. I love the size. But it's a medium nib, which is a little too wide although it is really smooth.

The one that just works: I guess the Lamy fits this the best - I always take it along, as pen #2 if I'm carrying a different pen.

#11 ISW_Kaputnik



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Posted 10 August 2014 - 19:30

Well, I don't know about the categories necessarily, but let's see.  I might have five fountain pens inked some of the time (right now it's three), but I probably wouldn't carry a roll of five of them with me.


Non fountain pen.  The same model of Fisher Space Pen that the OP shows, sitting in a fob pocket.  Also a 1.1 mm mechanical pencil.  I have some Esterbrook, Wearever, and Skilcraft pencils that are good for that.


Workhorse / Just works.  I don't see these as being separate categories.  If I'm carrying a pen around with me, it could be described by either of those terms.  It will do anything that I'm likely to want it for, reliably and without quirks.  Some are just nicer than others.  Pilot Custom Heritage 92 (FM) nib.  Pilot VP (fine nib, clip removed).


Attention grabber?  Back when my most common pen was a Parker Jotter ballpoint, and my nicest one was Flighter model, I'd get as many appreciative comments about it as I do about any of my fountain pens, which is to say, not many.  Trying to get people's attention by flaunting a nice pen isn't worth the trouble.  I'll have to settle for being impressed myself.  Mind you, it's hard to believe that people don't notice my beautiful old celluloid Parker Vacumatic (not a 51) with it's nice gold nib, but apparently they don't.   Or they keep it to themselves. B)


Almost perfect.  That would have to be a subcategory of "workhorse/just works".  The Pilot VP and CH 92, my Montblanc Noblesse, Lamy 2000.   Only, coming back to take a second look at the OP's post, I see that I'm thinking of something different than he was.  By "almost perfect", I mean almost good enough to make me question why I bother with other pens.  Almost, but not quite.


None of these include some very nice vintage pens which I like to use at home, but might be a bit finicky, or feel a little too delicate to risk at work.

Edited by ISW_Kaputnik, 10 August 2014 - 20:31.

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#12 ac12


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Posted 10 August 2014 - 19:43

My "office pens" or out of the house pen

non-FP - generic brand-X ball pen

workhorse - Baoer 388 and 801, because of the stainless steel flighter finish. 

attention grabber - Baoer 388 and 801, very nice looking in flighter finish. 

- Ohto Tasche pocket pen.  When this pen comes out of my pants pocket most people don't expect it.  It usually comes out to sign credit card receipts.

almost perfect -

the one that just works - Parker 88 (this was a surprising pen, as I got this as a "freebie" with another pen, but it is a great writer and has become a favorite).


My home use pens (not my collection pens)

non-FP -

workhorse - Parker 51 desk pen, Esterbrook LJ, Parker 45

attention grabbber - Pelikan M200, Sheaffer touchdown desk pen (This category does not make much sense at home, since I don't have to impress anyone but me.)

almost perfect - Lamy cp1 (just a little tail heavy when posted, deinked to limit the number of pens I have inked)

- Cross "original" Century (this is AP only because I made a decision to limit the amount pens that I have inked at any one time so I deinked it).

the ones that just works - Parker Classic/180, Esterbrook LJ, Parker 51 desk pen

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#13 orfew



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Posted 10 August 2014 - 20:43

Non- fountain pen- Meisterstuck historical pencil, MB John Lennon RB

Workhorse-MB 3-42 G

Attention Grabber-MB 146 Silver Solitaire with MOP star and diamond clip

Almost perfect-MB 25 in coral red

The one that just works-too many to mention

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#14 FountainPages


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Posted 10 August 2014 - 23:06

My daily workhorse is a Lamy 2000 EF. My only other edc fountain is a Hero 382. The pencil of choice is a 1928 Parker Duoflold Celluliod.


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#15 Icywolfe


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Posted 10 August 2014 - 23:55

I sort of have a different scheme/pen setup. (This is on my physical body and not my pen case in my bag)


The Workhorse - Pilot Vanishing Point (F) (Noodler's Black) (This pen if you write it side ways it can be used on carbon paper oddly.)


The Artsy pen (Anyone of these in random days I want a little flowering in my notes/life. Never all at the same day only one.)

- Pilot Parallel 6mm

- Noodler's Ahab Flex (Pilot Kon-Peki)

- Noodler's Konrad Brush Pen (Pilot Kon-Peki)

- Kuretake Plastic Brush Pen (KTC)

- Platinum Desk Pen (EEF) (Noodler's Black/Platinum Carbon Black)

- Preppy with DeAtramentis Cola Scented Ink

- Preppy with DeAtramentis Fir Scented Ink

- Deleter Dip Pen (G-Nib) with Deleter Black #1 Dip Pen ink (Yes, a damn dip pen. I was rocking a dip pen in class.)


The Security Pen - Platinum Preppy with Noodler's Blue Ghost (It's my anti theft measure. When A classmate steals my assignment and covers up my name and turn it as his own. I have my name written of ever paper in random places with blue ghost.)


All those above is on my body. Only the Artsy pens I randomly choose to bring to class or where ever I go to give a little flair. Also as you can see I don't carry a Ball Point nor a pencil on me.


Now for my pen bag.


Only for Scantron test time: (Either or. Which ever I see first on my desk)

- Uniball Kuru Toga Lead Pencil (0.5 mm)

- Pentel Graphgear 500 Lead Pencil (0.3mm)


Freebie FPs/Pens: (Pens I giveaway or let people borrow when they ask.)

- Pilot Varsity (All Gone for now. I need to restock this.)

- BIC Disposable Fountain Pen (4 in stock)

- Sharpie Pen (2 in stock)


You ask me for a ball point and I might give you a FP instead.


#16 AG_ORD



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Posted 11 August 2014 - 00:43

What a fun topic!  My listing is as follows:


Non fountain pen: Fisher AG-7.  I like this pen because it will write on absolutely anything, at any angle, even upside down, because of the pressurized ink cartridge.  Besides, this is the same model NASA used on the Apollo moon missions....how cool is that??!


Workhorse: currently I am using a Pilot Elite 95S.  The reason it is my workhorse is because the long/short format allows it to fit in any of my work shirt pockets, the slip on cap is more convenient than a screw type for fast deployment, the 14K nib is a dream to write with, smooth and expressive.  The only potential downside is the small ink capacity.  For me, that is not a problem as I keep my inks at work and it allows me a Zen like break to replenish as well as opportunities to change colours if so desired.


Attention grabber: without a doubt, my Waterman Edson sapphire blue.  It was the first fountain pen I bought and is still near and dear to my heart, though I don't use it often as it is a nail.  The translucent blue and 24K gold trim, as well as the smart, French styling, is reminiscent of Art Deco period.


Almost perfect: sad to say, it is my Pelikan M600 with 14K nib.  I love so many things about the pen, from huge ink capacity, filling mechanism, perfect weight and balance, and timeless design, (mine is the green striped celluloid).  Alas, I did not fall in love with the nib as it is a little stiffer than I would like, though buttery smooth.  Hopefully after Greg Minuskin finishes his magic on the nib, the pen will be elevated out of the ranks of "Almost Perfect".


The ones that just work: Namiki Falcon.  What can I say, for me, it is a very reliable pen.  I love the fact I can use as a quick writer, yet also allows me expressive writing if I so choose to employ some flex.  The balance  is near perfect for me, both posted and unposted.  The nib is very smooth and the feed keeps up well with my writing style.  I also appreciate the weight as it is feather light and helps me to control the pen as well a  preventing hand fatigue during long writing sessions.

#17 lurker


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Posted 11 August 2014 - 00:58

Non-FP: A friend "makes" pens, I like to use his.

Workhorse: Lamy 2000 and Pilot VP and Lamy Safari

Attention grabber: Probably my TWSBI, since it is a demonstrator

Almost perfect: Pilot VP

Just works: Lamy 2000

#18 william2001


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Posted 11 August 2014 - 02:33

I carry Parker Sonnet and Parker 75 with me.

I used to carry more, but I found it not useful for me.

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#19 oldmatekev


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Posted 11 August 2014 - 03:54

I usually have 5 somewhere around me too.


In my shirt or jacket pocket I have my non-pen, It's a Parker 45 pencil with nice 0.9mm Pentel 2B leads.


In the same pocket is the pen I always carry, no matter what; a Caran d'Ache Dunas with a M steel nib, always inked with Pelikan 4001 Royal Blue. It never leaves me and never fails me (except that time when the section threads snapped clean off......)



The other 3 are in a leather case that sits on my desk through the day.

Currently it contains:


Workhorse; Parker 45, medium nib, Architekt Ebony ink (Black with plum overtone).


Attention grabber; actually, it's a little bit ugly since its ancient, worn and has a broken clip, but it's a 1935 Swan M2 in BCHR, filled with Chesterfield Night Sapphire (blue black).


Almost Perfect; Pelikan MK30, B nib (hand stubbed by me), filled with slightly diluted Parker Quink Blue. It's so good, but it's so so so wet.



My case contents change from time to time, and I often have a few others around attached to notepads and such, but I think the five categories you've described are spot-on.

#20 inkstainedruth


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Posted 11 August 2014 - 17:38

The categories make for a good guideline.

It's just that my EDC pens tend to change.

Most recently it's been 2 51 Aeros, two modern-ish Pelikans, Noodler's Konrad and a Noodler's Ebonite Konrad; ironically, the "attention grabber award goes to the Ebonite Konrad...).  This fall the Silver Pearl Vac Major is going back into rotation, and I might finally sit down and get a bunch of pens re-sacced.  And I just got a Parker 61 at DCSS and want to play with it; I was told by the seller how to flush it, but was wondering what would happen if I filled it with distilled water in the *normal* P61 manner.  Oh, and  the Vectors want to play with the Akkerman inks, and I got a Snorkel Statesman repaired so *it* needs filled....

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