I recall fondly using the Sheaffer Student Cartridge fountain pen throughout high school in the 1960s. I had several at a time—a red and a blue and a green transparent barrel with the silver metallic cap. I think I may also have had a clear barrel. My favorite was the red. I suspect they all had a medium nib—I don’t remember if other alternative nibs were offered. I used the washable blue ink—they came in packages of five cartridges and were large enough each to contain a decent amount of ink. I remember the satisfying sense as I screwed down the nib section into the barrel as the cartridge was pierced. These were certainly durable pens and very reliable. It seems like the pen only cost a dollar or so and you could get two five-packs of cartridges for around fifty cents.
I stopped using fountain pens in college. Afterwards, I had a desk set with both a ballpoint and fountain pen, but I routinely relied less and less on the fountain pen. It’s difficult to say why I got away from using a fountain pen altogether for nearly 40 years. In the last several years, the simple uni-ball vision needle roller ball has been my go-to pen, even though I have many, many other pens from which to choose.
I gave my father a Montblanc 146 Bordeaux fountain pen more than 25 years ago. (He had been a fountain pen user also--Parker and Sheaffer but no Montblanc.) I had his initials engraved on the clip—small and tastefully done. I also included a bottle of Mont Blanc black ink (52 ml bottle apparently back then). He used the pen a few times (perhaps only briefly) before he passed away a year or so after my gift. Sometime later, my mother gave the pen to me (with the box and warranty papers) along with the ink (still in the box that says it is with "Supercleaner SC 21" and with the price tag of $5.95).
I pulled the MB pen out a few months ago having not used it—it is still in mint condition. The ink appeared to be in perfect condition as well with no evaporation. I excitedly (and a little nervously) filled the pen with ink. As I started using the pen, the memories came flooding back—the nostalgia and my affection for the fountain pen in high school and, significantly, the memories of my father. More notably, I also re-discovered the true enjoyment of using the fountain pen.
I was in a meeting a couple of weeks ago when I pulled out the Montblanc pen to use it, and as I unscrewed the cap, several people immediately remarked on the pen. While the pen is indeed beautiful, I think it was the mere action of unscrewing the cap that probably caught their attention and elicited their reaction.
My primary attraction to the fountain pen includes all the things everyone here obviously already understand and appreciate. I must admit that the favorable comments from the others in that meeting a few weeks ago also got me more interested and excited about using a fountain pen exclusively.
I proceeded to look up information about my Montblanc pen. That naturally led me to discovering the whole world of fountain pens on the internet. It seems as though I’ve fallen down a rabbit hole as I’ve watched numerous videos and have enjoyed hours of reading posts on this site. I have no doubt my recent journey or re-discovery or conversion or epiphany—you pick the word—is similar to many (most) on this forum.
I am now making lists of fountain pens--principally vintage fountain pens but also a few modern or current pens--that I want to own or try out. And certainly different inks. (And paper as well as various accessories!)
I am excited to now be a part of this forum--and all of the helpful advice that is here--as I enthusiastically return to the world of fountain pens!