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10 Greatest/most Iconic Fountain Pens Ever Made



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I am neutral on MB generally, but, with the Parker 51, the 146 and 144 are the best pens I have used. I will say that during the late 80s and 90s when every jerk had an empty NOS MB in his pocket I almost threw all of my MBs away. So, I am not unsympathetic to dislikers of MB. I demur at the point of cutting off my nose to spite my face, though.

 

 

"NOS MB"?

 

 

uninked

"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.

 

 

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I am neutral on MB generally, but, with the Parker 51, the 146 and 144 are the best pens I have used.  I will say that during the late 80s and 90s when every jerk had an empty NOS MB in his pocket I almost threw all of my MBs away.  So, I am not unsympathetic to dislikers of MB.  I demur at the point of cutting off my nose to spite my face, though.

 

 

"NOS MB"?

 

 

uninked

 

 

 

 

 

Great answer, and a great turn of phrase. I didn't see it coming, but it was brillian!

 

Bravo!

Cheers,

 

“It’s better to light a candle than curse the darkness

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I think there have been some good lists put out there. One I am a "little" surprised isn't on the list is the Parker 45 - especially a Flighter version. If memory serves wasn't it the P45 that popularized (if not introduced) the cartridge/converter filling system? Regardless of how you feel about them (C/C's) generally, it was a large step forward in filler technology.

 

Would i not include the P51? Of course not.

 

Not sure what else I would include. And I don't own either of the above pens!!

Brad

"Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind" - Rudyard Kipling
"None of us can have as many virtues as the fountain-pen, or half its cussedness; but we can try." - Mark Twain

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de_pen_dent

My list:

 

1/ Parker Duofold -- has spawned an entire industry of copycats

2/ MB 146/149 -- the quintessential cigar pen: everyone knows about it

3/ Parker 51 -- speaks for itself

4/ Sheaffer PFM -- that inlaid nib also speaks for itself

5/ Pelikan -- some variant of the 100/400 belongs here, certainly: either in tortoise or the classic Pelikan green stripe

6/ Lamy 2000 -- design classic

7/ Waterman Hard Rubber -- pick your model

8/ Esterbrook J and variants

9/ Aurora 88 -- quiet elegance

10/ Pilot Vanishing Point

 

IMO, Safaris, Kawecos and certainly TWSBIs hardly meet my definition of "iconic" - although some of them might very well become so in time. A short product history is also what precludes pens like Sailor King of Pen, Homo Sapiens, Nakayas, etc from making the list.

 

A few other pens I have left out b/c only pen geeks know about them: or because, despite whatever revolution they might have ushered in, they are simply not as well-known or well-recognized.

Edited by de_pen_dent

True bliss: knowing that the guy next to you is suffering more than you are.

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My list:

 

1/ Parker Duofold -- has spawned an entire industry of copycats

2/ MB 146/149 -- the quintessential cigar pen: everyone knows about it

3/ Parker 51 -- speaks for itself

4/ Sheaffer PFM -- that inlaid nib also speaks for itself

5/ Pelikan -- some variant of the 100/400 belongs here, certainly: either in tortoise or the classic Pelikan green stripe

6/ Lamy 2000 -- design classic

7/ Waterman Hard Rubber -- pick your model

8/ Esterbrook J and variants

9/ Aurora 88 -- quiet elegance

10/ Pilot Vanishing Point

 

This is a perfect list. I would change nothing.

---

Please, visit my website at http://www.acousticpens.com/

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Montblanc 149

Pelikan M1000

Lamy 2000

Lamy Safari

Parker 51

Pilot Vanishing Point

Pilot MYU

Waterman's Ideal

Sheaffer PFM

Omas Paragon

The pen I write with, is the pen I use to sign my name.

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jeanvaljean27

Interesting suggestions from all; I do have one question though. Why are japanese pens so under-represented in these lists, considering pilot/namiki, platinum and sailor have been around almost as long as some of these other makes? Are there no true classic japanese pens? Or is it just that we never had exposure to them in europe and america until the last few decades?

 

JVJ

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Interesting how neither Pelikan nor Montblanc made your list. I think they are pretty iconic......

 

I think a MB is only Iconic if you're an MB fan.

 

It sure doesn't fit what I feel is Iconic.

 

Bruce in Ocala, FL

 

I say that with every pen on the original posters list. There will never be a general consensus.

 

I'd also argue that "Greatest" and "Iconic" are not the same thing. I'd suggest that because I bought them the pens I own are the greatest, therefore the top 10 greatest pens are my favourites from my collection. I'd be very surprised though if people thought they were iconic - I think I could potentially argue that one of mine is, definitely not 10 though.

My Collection: Montblanc Writers Edition: Hemingway, Christie, Wilde, Voltaire, Dumas, Dostoevsky, Poe, Proust, Schiller, Dickens, Fitzgerald (set), Verne, Kafka, Cervantes, Woolf, Faulkner, Shaw, Mann, Twain, Collodi, Swift, Balzac, Defoe, Tolstoy, Shakespeare, Saint-Exupery, Homer & Kipling. Montblanc Einstein (3,000) FP. Montblanc Heritage 1912 Resin FP. Montblanc Starwalker Resin: FP/BP/MP. Montblanc Traveller FP.

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Interesting suggestions from all; I do have one question though. Why are japanese pens so under-represented in these lists, considering pilot/namiki, platinum and sailor have been around almost as long as some of these other makes? Are there no true classic japanese pens? Or is it just that we never had exposure to them in europe and america until the last few decades?JVJ

 

I think this is a good point, some of the Japanese pens (and nibs) are classics (Sailor KOP for one) which are easily equal to some of the excellent examples quoted. Also some of the Maki-e pens, which are works of art in their own right, give us an iconic style.

Happiness isn't getting what you want, it's wanting what you've got.

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My list:

 

1/ Parker Duofold -- has spawned an entire industry of copycats

2/ MB 146/149 -- the quintessential cigar pen: everyone knows about it

3/ Parker 51 -- speaks for itself

4/ Sheaffer PFM -- that inlaid nib also speaks for itself

5/ Pelikan -- some variant of the 100/400 belongs here, certainly: either in tortoise or the classic Pelikan green stripe

6/ Lamy 2000 -- design classic

7/ Waterman Hard Rubber -- pick your model

8/ Esterbrook J and variants

9/ Aurora 88 -- quiet elegance

10/ Pilot Vanishing Point

 

IMO, Safaris, Kawecos and certainly TWSBIs hardly meet my definition of "iconic" - although some of them might very well become so in time. A short product history is also what precludes pens like Sailor King of Pen, Homo Sapiens, Nakayas, etc from making the list.

 

A few other pens I have left out b/c only pen geeks know about them: or because, despite whatever revolution they might have ushered in, they are simply not as well-known or well-recognized.

 

This would be my list as well.

Experience is a hard teacher. She gives the test first, the lesson afterwards.

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My list:

 

1/ Parker Duofold -- has spawned an entire industry of copycats

2/ MB 146/149 -- the quintessential cigar pen: everyone knows about it

3/ Parker 51 -- speaks for itself

4/ Sheaffer PFM -- that inlaid nib also speaks for itself

5/ Pelikan -- some variant of the 100/400 belongs here, certainly: either in tortoise or the classic Pelikan green stripe

6/ Lamy 2000 -- design classic

7/ Waterman Hard Rubber -- pick your model

8/ Esterbrook J and variants

9/ Aurora 88 -- quiet elegance

10/ Pilot Vanishing Point

 

This is a perfect list. I would change nothing.

 

+1

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I think there have been some good lists put out there. One I am a "little" surprised isn't on the list is the Parker 45 - especially a Flighter version. If memory serves wasn't it the P45 that popularized (if not introduced) the cartridge/converter filling system? Regardless of how you feel about them (C/C's) generally, it was a large step forward in filler technology.

 

Would i not include the P51? Of course not.

 

Not sure what else I would include. And I don't own either of the above pens!!

 

I may be biased because I have several 45s and enjoy them all, but I tend to agree. This pen was produced from 1960 to 2007 with only a few cosmetic changes (even the iconic 51 had several changes in filling systems alone over its long production life). The heart of the pen didn't change. Based on an Eversharp design, the cartridge/converter system became an industry standard and is seen in everything from cheap school pens to Japanese maki-e pens costing thousands of dollars like the Namiki Emperor series.

 

TWSBI may have come up with a great idea with a piston filling pen that can be completely disassembled by the user quite easily using a tool they provide, but the 45 was decades ahead of them with a pen that can be disassembled with your bare hands. They're remarkably tough/resilient, too. I have received pens from eBay sellers that have obviously sat for years filled with ink and all it takes is a good soak or ultrasonic cleaning to have them good as new in no time. Parts, including gold or steel nibs, are readily available and easily swapped.

 

This under-appreciated pen may not be a darling of a lot of collectors but there are still millions of these pens out there making FP users just as happy as they were when they were new. To me, that's the sign of great design - excellent quality and durability in a low priced pen.

 

Regards,

 

Brian

Grace and Peace are already yours because God is the Creator of all of life and Jesus Christ the Redeemer of each and every life.

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Edgar Allan Bo

My personal list:

 

1. Parker Duofold "Big Red"

2. Pelikan 100

3. Parker 51

4. Sheaffer Balance

5. Waterman 52 (or any similar)

6. Montblanc 149

7. LAMY 2000

8. Esterbrook J/LJ/SJ

9. Kaweco Sport (the vintage one)

10. hmm, and something italian... but I never had one yet.

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Imho:

-Visconti HS Bronze

-Omas Extra Lucens

-Omas 360

-Lamy 2000

-Parker Vacumatic

-Esterbrook J

-Waterman Red Ripple

-Wahl Eversharp Doric

-Aurora 88 Big

-Pelikan 100

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I guess many Japanese pens don't make the list because they started off as clones, that being said I find the VP and the MYU/Murex to be very innovated and so they appeared on my list.

The pen I write with, is the pen I use to sign my name.

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  1. TWSBI Diamond series (cheap, user serviceable, utilitarian design, much loved company and pen line)
  2. Sheaffer Snorkel
  3. Pilot VP (first retractable pen that gets everything right)
  4. Platinum 3776 Century (beautiful pens, deceptively high quality, slip n seal mechanism is a revelation)
  5. Lamy 27 (superbly utilitarian, vastly superior to the P51 in my opinion)
  6. Parker 51
  7. Sheaffer Touchdown (not as iconic as the Snorkel, but still a fantastic system)
  8. Lamy Safari (cheap, made fountain pens widely accessible to all ages, and still a highly recommended first pen)
  9. Pelikan M line (appeals to any budget, piston filler is the best available today)
  10. Esterbrook J line (HUGE variety of nibs, screw in/screw out nib swapping, cheap)

Visit my blog Pentorium!

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  1. TWSBI Diamond series (cheap, user serviceable, utilitarian design, much loved company and pen line)
  2. Sheaffer Snorkel
  3. Pilot VP (first retractable pen that gets everything right)
  4. Platinum 3776 Century (beautiful pens, deceptively high quality, slip n seal mechanism is a revelation)
  5. Lamy 27 (superbly utilitarian, vastly superior to the P51 in my opinion)
  6. Parker 51
  7. Sheaffer Touchdown (not as iconic as the Snorkel, but still a fantastic system)
  8. Lamy Safari (cheap, made fountain pens widely accessible to all ages, and still a highly recommended first pen)
  9. Pelikan M line (appeals to any budget, piston filler is the best available today)
  10. Esterbrook J line (HUGE variety of nibs, screw in/screw out nib swapping, cheap)

Why did you included the Parker 51 if you find the L27 Vastly superior? Interesting thought with the Platinum...I wouldn't call it iconic though...

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I can't really do a list - I just don't have the breadth of experience of FPs, but I notice lists here that don't include the P51. That, for me, is plain absurd. The P51 really is THE iconic fountain pen, IMO....

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queenofpens

I'm still thinking about my list.

 

But I agree with the person who put the old Shaeffer transparent cartridge pen close to the top.

 

And there is a reason for me.

 

Have you checked Ebay lately? Or your local antique mall?

 

There were millions of these out there. And they are still in demand.

 

I did some math the first time I saw one for sale - $1.00 all through the 60's bought what about $20 buys today in a lot of commodoties. So, in good condition, they go for anywhere between $15 and $25 second-hand. Maybe a little higher for new old stock.

 

Which means they have held their value and still are priced about what they always were, because so many people want to replace them or add to the few they saved.

 

After more than 50 years. That's an iconic achievement.

 

I learned to write with these and I notice a lot of others on FPN say they did, too.

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My personal list: 1. Parker Duofold "Big Red" 2. Pelikan 100 3. Parker 514. Sheaffer Balance 5. Waterman 52 (or any similar) 6. Montblanc 1497. LAMY 2000 8. Esterbrook J/LJ/SJ 9. Kaweco Sport (the vintage one) 10. hmm, and something italian... but I never had one yet.

I strongly recommend one of these for that empty position

http://www.fountainpen.it/images/b/b0/Lucens-Anellata-Capped.jpg

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