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10 Greatest/most Iconic Fountain Pens Ever Made



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Here's my list:

1/ Sheaffer Snorkel

2/ Esterbrook J

3/ Pilot VP

4/ Parker 51

5/ Parker Duofold

9/ Parker 45

 

I have all the above the remaining pens so I agree with the list (although perhaps not in the same order) because each of the pens introduced something new to the world of fountain pens.

 

Don't have a Lamy, Waterman, Eversharp or European pens so cannot comment but a Sailor 1911 would not be out of place and neither would the Sheaffer PFM with the inlaid nib or a Parker 75 cisele finish.

 

For the tenth spot I would consider a modern Parker Duofold Centennial or a Parker UK Duofold - both beautiful pens. As you can see, I am a Parker fan

 

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The question was which were the most iconic, not which pens represented the most significant technological developments or which were best. I take iconic to mean which pens said fountain pen to people.

 

1. Early BCHR Waterman of some sort, the 12 maybe

2. Parker Duofold

3. Parker 51

4. Sheaffer Snorkel

5. Sheaffer cartridge pen

6. Montblanc 146

7. Lamy school pen

 

I dont think there are 10, so ill stop there.

 

You have the basic history of the pen as commodity in this selection: beginning (Waterman) and popularization (Duofold), perfection (51), maturation (cheap/school pens), decadence (Snorkel, MB)

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Lamy Safari

Lamy 2000

Parker Big Red

Parker 51

Sheaffer Snorkel

Pelikan 400

MB 149

MB Heminway

Waterman Edson

Waterman 55.

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Conway Stewart Duro (1933 Reverse Cracked Ice Jade Green)

De La Rue Onoto Mammoth

De La Rue Onoto Magna

Mabie Todd Swan L645/88

Mabie Todd Swan Visofil

Mabie Todd Swan SF230/61

Wyvern 101 Lizard

The Burnham 1930

Summit S175

Parker Duofold Aerometric

Regards,

Eachan

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The lists already given are pretty good, but I can't believe the Waterman Patrician hasn't been included anywhere.

 

Also, while oft engendering strongly polarized opinion, I think the Pilot/Namiki Vanishing Point deserves a place on the list. It's been around for... what, probably close to 50 years now? Besides, what icon better represents the fountain pen's valiant, but largely futile, response to the ascendency of the ballpoint, than the Vanishing Point?

 

The Lamy 2000, the Parker 51 was also designed to compete with the new fangled ballpoint pens, until Parker developed the jotter.

Edited by sandy101
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Pelikan 400 (classic user vintage pen that is widely available)

Parker Vacumatic (king of gimmicky and intersting filling systems)

Parker Duofold (great highly sucessful pen with a great style)

Mont Blanc 149 (the epitome of class for so many)

Parker 51 (like a pen from another planet)

Pilot Vanishing Point (the retractable nibbed fountain pen)

Esterbrook J (Iconic inexpensive pen for so many)

Sheaffer Targa (inlaid nib=enough said)

Waterman's no. 7

TWSBI Diamond 530-580 (best represents the current state of the hobby)

 

I really like this list! It's a great mix of old and new.

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MB 149

Pelikan M800

Parker 51

Parker Duofold

Lamy 2000

Lamy Safari

Sheaffer with inlaid nib - ex Pen For Men or Legacy Heritage

Waterman Carene

Cross Townsend

Pilot Vanishing Point

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Waski_the_Squirrel

This was a challenge. Thank you for that!

 

My list, not in any kind of order:

 

1. Aurora 88 - the original design is a truly iconic pen

2. Parker 51 - This pen is't a personal favorite, but it led to a lot of new thoughts in pen design

3. Parker Duofold - Wait...pens don't have to be black?

4. Lamy 2000 - It's vintage and modern...there is a reason it has lasted so long!

5. Sheaffer Snorkel - This is a silly system, but it is a great example of survival and the innovation it breeds

6. Sheaffer Legacy II - It's the last hurrah of vintage pens. It's a truly stunning pen and I'm so lucky to own one.

7. Waterman 52 - A classic of the pen world with amazing nibs

8. Esterbrook J - A classic of the American pen world

9. Kaweco v-series - I particularly love the Kaweco v14s, but these are amazing pens that write beautifully

10. Pilot Vanishing Point - I don't like the pen, but it is a classic in the pen world and sets the standard for retractable nibs.

Proud resident of the least visited state in the nation!

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I am a user more than a looker-atter. So my favourites are my most-used pens.

Parker Senior Maxima 1939

Sheaffer PFM IV

Duofold Centennial (any of them)

Parker 51 Vac fill

Namiiki Vanishing Point

Pilot Custom 835

Aurora Internazionale (2019 model, with customized nib)

Sheaffer OS Balance with lever fill

Pelikan 800

Bexley non-catalogue, custom-made iridescent blue size huge

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In no particular order:

 

1. Montblanc 149

2. Lamy 2000

3. Parker 51

4. Pilot Custom 823

5. Pelikan M800

6. Any Sheaffer Snorkel

7. Lamy Safari

8. Montblanc 146

9. Pilot Metropolitan

10. Sailor Pro Gear

 

I don't own all of these, but I based my list off reputation of the pen (more iconic than greatest)

Edited by WLSpec
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I note the title of this thread had the word "iconic" as versus "popular" in the title. Most of the lists are comprised of "popular pens". Some of the suggested pens are not terribly distinctive from a photo. Certainly those who are a fan of those specific models would be able to accurately identify them, but in the commonly accepted sense, they are not Iconic. (example, without some kind of scale in the photograph, many could not tell you the difference between a Montblanc 146 vs a 149 with the cap on). (I know some of you can, so please do not get defensive).

 

With that view, I can't help but feel that any list which does not include a Crescent filler pen and a Coronet pen is likely incomplete. Both of families of iconic pens are instantly recognizable (one of the criteria to be an "Icon"). There are other very iconic pens as well, but the two examples given, are put forward for consideration.

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Ten, chosen more or less off the top of my head for being either style setters or otherwise truly distinctive, and also for enduring. Whether I love them or not has no bearing. And I didn't particularly fine-tune the order.

Parker "51", the finest instrument for writing with ink on Earth ever made.
Lamy 2000, one of the finest piston fillers ever made, and absolutely distinctive.
MontBlanc Meisterstuck 146/149, the epitome of the gold trim black cigar shaped pen.
Eversharp Skyline. It is INSTANTLY recognizable.
Sheaffer Flat Tops, including No Nonsense.
Parker Duofolds, especially the Big Red.
Sheaffer Balance (and Balance II).
Parker 45.
Wahl-Eversharp Doric (Omas Paragon too, if you like).
Pelikan 400.

Honorable Mentions: Pelikan Souveran, Sheaffer inlaid nib pens (starting with the PFM and Imperials, continuing with Targas), Parker Vacumatics, Sheaffer's Triumph nibs, Esterbrook J, Waterman hard rubber (especially BCHR), Kaweco Sport, Conklin Nozac, Conklin Crescent Filler, Sheaffer School pens, Parker 75 and 180 (and heck, Sonnet) in cisle.

I'm sure there ought to be others, but I can't bring them to mind at the time.

Unlike ele, I think the most gimmicky filling system ever is not Parker's Vacumatic, but Sheaffer's Snorkel.

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Estycollector

Im surprised no one is mentioning the Sheaffer Triumph nib which reminds me of the Parker hooded type. Not sure it functioned the same or if even if that was the intent.

 

The LAMY Safari is a pen most anyone can afford.

 

Yes, on the Esterbrook, but the nib is what touches the paper and there were many.

"Respect science, respect nature, respect all people (s),"

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I don´t own too many Sheaffers but their products from the Golden Era look almost like Apple products today with really cool designs previously unseen in fountainpendom.

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Im surprised no one is mentioning the Sheaffer Triumph nib which reminds me of the Parker hooded type. Not sure it functioned the same or if even if that was the intent.

The Triumph nib is a conical nib that wraps all the way around the feed. Parker's hooded nibs are small tubular nibs surrounded and mostly covered by the hood, like the cowling of an aircraft engine.

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I agree with you but most of us will need to own all the "popular pens" first before getting to that level of discernment. I always thought the MB 146 and 149 as quite ordinary pens. But I bought them anyway to see if I would change my mind. Well, I still find them quite pedestrian both in design and writing quality. There is also a retrogressive view on this. Suppose there was a revolutionary pen that came out in the 1960s. It has a revolutionary design. Then a zillion of these are made since by numerous other companies, where is the line between popular and iconic?

 

I note the title of this thread had the word "iconic" as versus "popular" in the title. Most of the lists are comprised of "popular pens". Some of the suggested pens are not terribly distinctive from a photo. Certainly those who are a fan of those specific models would be able to accurately identify them, but in the commonly accepted sense, they are not Iconic. (example, without some kind of scale in the photograph, many could not tell you the difference between a Montblanc 146 vs a 149 with the cap on). (I know some of you can, so please do not get defensive).

 

With that view, I can't help but feel that any list which does not include a Crescent filler pen and a Coronet pen is likely incomplete. Both of families of iconic pens are instantly recognizable (one of the criteria to be an "Icon"). There are other very iconic pens as well, but the two examples given, are put forward for consideration.

 

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I agree with you but most of us will need to own all the "popular pens" first before getting to that level of discernment. I always thought the MB 146 and 149 as quite ordinary pens. But I bought them anyway to see if I would change my mind. Well, I still find them quite pedestrian both in design and writing quality. There is also a retrogressive view on this. Suppose there was a revolutionary pen that came out in the 1960s. It has a revolutionary design. Then a zillion of these are made since by numerous other companies, where is the line between popular and iconic?

 

 

 

I would have thought iconic meant that the pen in question was groundbreaking either in design and/or technical aspect/s and/or usability and/or bang for buck and hence, hugely popular among users. As a result, the pen enjoys longevity in production/sales and usage by the pen community. Additionally, it introduced design concepts that were adopted and continued by other pen designers/producers.

 

 

I'm not into vintage pens; not in an informed way. I just haven't given vintages, i.e., pens no longer in production at the time when I purchased, a try.

 

My icons in no particular order would be:

 

- Lamy 2000 - needs no introduction

- Kaweco Sport - great pocket pen that IMO has started a pocket pen revolution

- TWSBI diamond 580 - affordable piston filler and demonstrator

- MB 149 - if cigar shaped pens are based on its design. Be that as it may, it's hugely popular and has certainly stood the test of time considering it was first launched in 1952 with not much change to the basic appearance. Truly iconic if you ask me.

- Parker Duofold - since 1921! Still going....

- Pilot Custom 823 - the vac filler that few do not love.

- Pilot Vanishing point - This pen has certainly done well. Very well executed and I do consider it an icon.

- Platinum 3776 - with their great nibs and slip and seal cap. Loved by many and a huge bestseller.

- Pelikan Sovereign - this line of pens - definitely iconic IMO.

- Lamy Safari - an icon in the affordable/starter pen category.

Edited by maclink
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