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TwelveDrawings

Okay, the above title is misleading. I have no horror stories to tell.

 

If someone says, "Does anyone have a pen I can use for a second?" I willingly hand them my Waterman Phileas fountain pen. That act has drawn gasps from friends who were taught to never NEVER lend anyone a fountain pen, not even for a moment. One knowledgeable friend said the pen would never write the same way again. (I wondered if the pen could sense betrayal—the way a horse can "smell" fear.)

 

I admit, I am not as careful with my fountain pen as most people are. I use my Waterman Phileas the way a teengager uses their skateboard. No big deal. It gets me from here to there. If I bang up the black enamel, so what. It stopped qualifying as "new" as soon as it got even a slight scratch. No more babying after that.

 

I'm not here to argue; I know no one is going to advocate pen promiscuity. But I am inviting you to share your experience regarding pen lending.

• Have you lent your fountain pen, only to have it handed back as bent as a pickle fork?

• Have you noticed a distinct shift in the "personality" or feel of your pen after someone else uses it?

• Is your pen totally chaste...never ever having been used by any hand except yours?

 

As I said above, I do not yet have any horror stories to share here. I have handed my Phileas to store clerks, people in line at the grocery store, even to a grade-school kid. I have noticed a very similar reaction each time. They stop, examine the nib as if they have never seen such a thing, then carefully (and I underscore "carefully") set the pen to paper. The only strange moment was a humorous one, when a friend carefully turned the nib upside down (fude-style) and signed their name perfectly. No harm, no foul.

 

[DISCLAIMER: Do not try this simply because a complete stranger (me) claims to have done it safely. For all you know, I am a bad guy trying to trick you.]

 

So please lend me your experience on the subject. I know you have heard horror stories, but I am particularly interested in first-hand accounts. Who knows, you may help others avoid an awful experience.

 

www.TwelveDrawings.com

Edited by TwelveDrawings

 

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I have a little experience in this area.

 

Over the last half century or so I've often let someone use one of my fountain pens. Perhaps I've just been lucky but in the hundreds of instances I've never had a pen damaged.

 

As to "pens becoming tuned to one hand and never being the same after someone else used it", I have a fair number of previously owned and used fountain pens, some maybe even having been owned and used by several folk. So far not one has refused to write because my hand was holding it.

 

Look at the fountain pen sales today. Would you guess that more new or used pens get sold?

 

My Website

 

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I used to be quite circumspect in this regard until I came to the realization that by sharing my pens, I may spark an interest in someone who has yet to discover their pleasures. I fortunately have no 'horror stories' to share.

 

I mentor at at elementary school (ages 6-9) and one day when the kids asked me about the pen I was using (Pelikan M1005), I let them each write with it. We turned it into a "teaching moment" and I guided them in how to correctly hold and use the pen. Was I a little nervous seeing one of my favourite pens in their hands? Yes, but in the end it was a terrific experience. Some of their initial writing still adorns my office. Now they always ask me what pen is in my bag. :) I ended up buying some 'school pens' and will give a pen and cartridges to any student who would like one.

 

Admittedly, it's easier to guide a child in the proper use of a fountain pen, but I've found that a little humour (self-deprecating) removes any potential bad feelings when I gently guide a co-worker or stranger who asks to borrow a pen.

 

I adore writing with vintage pens and, like jar, I've never had one balk because it was in my hand instead of its original owner's.

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TwelveDrawings

It is premature to declare "Myth Busted", but I am pleased by the answers so far. Surely those with a bad experience will share as a warning to others. -- www.twelvedrawings.com

 

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No horror stories to share of here either. I usually only lend to people that I know well though; they generally have a sense of how to use FP's without any problem. Even my Lamy 2000 has seen other people's hands, and has come back unscathed.

Calculating.

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At that purpose there is always a balpen ( sometimes even a MB le grand ) in my pocket or on my desk. The FP is a no go except for very close relatives.

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I handed a Lamy Safari to my friend just this evening. She couldn't write with it so she asked her boyfriend for a pen. Since I lived with him this summer he bought a Parker Rialto and that was the pen he gave her. She couldn't write with that one either and asked: "WHAT IS THE DEAL WITH YOU GUYS?" as she reached for a ballpoint. We just laughed as we were in an informal meeting and couldn't explain to her how to properly use it. Different strokes I guess.

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PrintersDevil

Can I say that this is a great thread and thanks for starting it.

I too had heard the great myth that if you let someone else use your pen, it will destroy the nib etc etc etc.

Well, myth busted indeed.

I think every time you hand your pen over to a non user and they marvel over the experience, then you may have created a convert to this wonderful way of writing.

 

I don't have a horror story, but I do have a regret.

A year or so ago I was at work writing with a Pelikano Junior that I had bought just for fun.

A very cute young lady, who was from India, came into my office for a discussion when she spotted my fountain pen.

She said, "Oh my you are using a fountain pen! I have not seen one of those since I was a school girl in India.

That is all that we wrote with."

So we talked about fountain pens for awhile.

My regret?

That I didn't hand over this $15 pen over to her and say "Here, you can have my pen since it reminds you of your childhood. Take care of it, write on."

 

If I could only have a do over on that day.

 

Joe

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TwelveDrawings

Can I say that this is a great thread and thanks for starting it.

I too had heard the great myth that if you let someone else use your pen, it will destroy the nib etc etc etc.

Well, myth busted indeed.

I think every time you hand your pen over to a non user and they marvel over the experience, then you may have created a convert to this wonderful way of writing.

 

I don't have a horror story, but I do have a regret.

A year or so ago I was at work writing with a Pelikano Junior that I had bought just for fun.

A very cute young lady, who was from India, came into my office for a discussion when she spotted my fountain pen.

She said, "Oh my you are using a fountain pen! I have not seen one of those since I was a school girl in India.

That is all that we wrote with."

So we talked about fountain pens for awhile.

My regret?

That I didn't hand over this $15 pen over to her and say "Here, you can have my pen since it reminds you of your childhood. Take care of it, write on."

 

If I could only have a do over on that day.

 

Joe

PrintersDevil,

 

Wow...what a poignant scene. I have sometimes looked at this handful of Phileas pens that I own (covet?) and wondered why I don't share them with young family members. I can only write with one pen at a time. I am not a true collector, and there is merit to sharing the FP experience as others have just described here.

 

You have inspired me to lighten up and loosen up. Thank you.

 

-- Twelvedrawings

Edited by TwelveDrawings

 

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Nice thread.

 

Pens, in my opinion, are meant to be used. If someone were to ask to borrow mine I would certainly let them. I do find most people a bit apprehensive when they see it's a fountain pen.

 

You can hand anything to anyone and they can break it, mess it up, or ruin it. This is just they way things are. I don't think, or live my life, in terms of 'what wrong can happen here?' and 99.9% of the time it doesn't.

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SharkOnWheels456

The first time I lent a pen to someone to try (not just for signing a name or testing a word, but to actually write a couple of sentences with it), they bent the nib. I now have to pay the $15 to get it replaced, which isn't a steep price, but the fact that I need to go through the effort to order the nib and go days without this pen makes me think that I will be very stingy with my pens in the future.

 

It's even worse since I only received the pen a week or two ago -_-

Edited by SharkOnWheels456

“I say, if your knees aren’t green by the end of the day, you ought to seriously re-examine your life.”-Calvin

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On the rare occasion that someone has asked to borrow my pen in order to make a quick note, I find that they are often frustrated in not being able to work it properly and they do not have the patience when I offer to show them how to do it. GemMayhem's post is interesting as I suspect that young children are more open minded in this regard.

 

But my one amusing story about "ultimate" borrowing experience goes back about seven years ago. I was attending a pen show and had signed up for a morning seminar that was going to discuss different varieties of pens as well as papers, a Fountain Pen 101 so to speak. Well, much to the instructor's disappointment, there were only two students who showed up: myself and another gentleman who seemed to have far more experience with fountain pens than I had. The instructor was an enthusiastic young lady who unfurled the longest pen roll that I had ever seen along with about a dozen or more different brands of paper. She was gracious to permit us to try many of the pens from her collection on the various papers. One by one she handed the two of us a fountain pen and talked about its qualities. It was a great opportunity to learn more, but here is the rub. The other student (I will call him Jim - not his real name) received the stink eye from the instructor. She kindly asked Jim not to press down on the nibs of the pen, but Jim kept doing it. And, she kept telling him "Jim, please don't press so hard on the paper." Sadly, Jim was a bad boy and continued to misbehave. The request from the instructor for Jim to be more considerate kept getting more emotional with each sampling. By the end of the hour, our instructor was a bit red faced, yet she persevered in the interest of sharing her pen knowledge with those who sought to learn. I suspect this experience gave her pause about repeating the seminar. Although it was not intended, one of the memorable lessons from this class was the importance of setting boundaries when you loan a fountain pen. It's okay and good to share, but if someone is not treating the pen with respect, it's time to cap it and be on your way.

Edited by Bennett
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TwelveDrawings

The first time I lent a pen to someone to try (not just for signing a name or testing a word, but to actually write a couple of sentences with it), they bent the nib. I now have to pay the $15 to get it replaced, which isn't a steep price, but the fact that I need to go through the effort to order the nib and go days without this pen makes me think that I will be very stingy with my pens in the future.

 

It's even worse since I only received the pen a week or two ago -_-

SharkOnWheels456,

 

I am very sorry that you lived the nightmare. Good to hear you were able to react with composure.

 

You don't have to answer this. But in hindsight, is there anything you now see that might have lessened this change of that mishap....short of refusing to lend the pen? I am genuinely curious.

 

Thank you for weighing in.

 

www.TwelveDrawings.com

 

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TwelveDrawings

On the rare occasion that someone has asked to borrow my pen in order to make a quick note, I find that they are often frustrated in not being able to work it properly and they do not have the patience when I offer to show them how to do it. GemMayhem's post is interesting as I suspect that young children are more open minded in this regard.

 

But my one amusing story about "ultimate" borrowing experience goes back about seven years ago. I was attending a pen show and had signed up for a morning seminar that was going to discuss different varieties of pens as well as papers, a Fountain Pen 101 so to speak. Well, much to the instructor's disappointment, there were only two students who showed up: myself and another gentleman who seemed to have far more experience with fountain pens than I had. The instructor was an enthusiastic young lady who unfurled the longest pen roll that I had ever seen along with about a dozen or more different brands of paper. She was gracious to permit us to try many of the pens from her collection on the various papers. One by one she handed the two of us a fountain pen and talked about its qualities. It was a great opportunity to learn more, but here is the rub. The other student (I will call him Jim - not his real name) received the stink eye from the instructor. She kindly asked Jim not to press down on the nibs of the pen, but Jim kept doing it. And, she kept telling him "Jim, please don't press so hard on the paper." Sadly, Jim was a bad boy and continued to misbehave. The request from the instructor for Jim to be more considerate kept getting more emotional with each sampling. By the end of the hour, our instructor was a bit red faced, yet she persevered in the interest of sharing her pen knowledge with those who sought to learn. I suspect this experience gave her pause about repeating the seminar. Although it was not intended, one of the memorable lessons from this class was the importance of setting boundaries when you loan a fountain pen. It's okay and good to share, but if someone is not treating the pen with respect, it's time to cap it and be on your way.

Bennett,

 

Well-described and worth heeding. As I read about the lady's reactions, I marvel at her generosity and wonder what was behind it. She was no novice and certainly could have called a halt if she saw a dangerous line being crossed.

 

Perhaps she had a justified confidence that good pens can withstand forceful pressing UP TO A POINT. Clearly, she was not pleased by what she was seeing, but she continued to hand him new pens for the full hour. Let's hope he was merely showing bad form (and bad manners), but did no harm.

 

www.TwelveDrawings.com

 

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I've lent all my pens to friends who were curious and had good experiences, even with people who write with a different hand. So far I haven't had an instance of someone just wanting to borrow any pen.

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While my husband was having a family discussion with his brother and SIL, I was charged with entertaining my 6 year old niece. I pulled out the set of pens I had that day (5-6 in total, all with different colored inks), and we set to drawing pictures. All was good until my niece dropped my vintage Waterman with a flexible gold nib to the floor, nib first. Did i mention this was a restaurant/bar with a concrete floor? I chose to not mention to her mother the value of said pens because I knew it would set everyone on edge.

 

Nib bent enough that subsequent writing usually resulted in twisted tines and splattered ink. I finally had it repaired by MikeItWork, and learned how fortunate I was that gold has some give to it. It is truly good as new.

 

Would i do it again? Yes, with the caveat that we only hold pens over the table at all times.

 

Sharon in Indiana

"There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self." Earnest Hemingway

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Well, let me see. With my cheap steel-nibbed pen, the people i lent it to either held it by the nib (despite my warnings to hold it higher up) and were aghast at getting ink all over their fingers, or pressed down so hard (despite my warnings to press very lightly) that ink splattered about when they wrote.

With my gold-nibbed pen, the first person i lent it to pressed down hard enough to bend the tines out of alignment. I was able to bend them back, but it wasn't such a good writer afterwards. Luckily (?) not long after that, another person borrowed it and dropped it nib-first on the ground, necessitating a full nib repair, which got my nib got back to happy.

I did lend my gold-nibbed pen to one person who was able to write with it without making an inky mess and without damaging the nib.

Maybe i just have a lot of clumsy friends; I'd say I have about a 5% success rate with lending out a fountain pen. Nowadays, I don't let anyone but me write with them. If someone reaches for my fountain pen, I snatch it away and hand them a rollerball. Rude perhaps, but I don't want to deal with the consequences of other people's clumsiness.

If someone says that they would like to try a fountain pen, I'd be more than happy to buy them a cheap one and give it as a gift.

If I ever met another everyday fountain pen user in real life, I would have no problems with lending them any pen I own.
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