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I work in a busy Emergency Department and frequently someone will need a pen momentarily. I often don't have enough time to explain and check if they know how to use a fountain pen. I will happily lend my pens (nice or not) to other people who usually carry FPs. However when it's hectic I simply don't have the time to make sure that people aren't misusing the pens so I always carry BP reinforcements.

When it's quieter I will happy lend out FPs with some guidance but unfortunately most people severely underestimate even the value of my FPs - cheap or expensive and I feel I wouldn't expect them to repair a nib or replace a pen that they didnt realise was worth even a meager $50. I can only see the other person's perspective, borrowing a pen and suddenly the person you borrowed it from wants $50 to replace a nib he claims you ruined - even though the FP novice could never get the damn thing to write!

 

Whenever I have the time to guide someone's use of a FP I find they often will have a few questions relating to ink and the nibs and where to buy them etc. I find this kind of interaction very rewarding and aim to always try to share the FP love!

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  • TwelveDrawings

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My mother has beautiful handwriting, and while I was growing up, she had either a Parker or a Sheafer fountain pen that she had gifted to herself when she graduated from nursing school in the early 1950s. I was inspired to write like her, and would sit and watch her when she "paid the bills", just so I could oogle at the pen and her amazing writing. It was clear that she loved that pen, because she always put it where it was hard to reach for us kids. That is, until my littlest sister (it's an unofficial "cold case" as there was never enough physical evidence to point conclusively to who actually committed the crime) probably took the pen and either lost it or damaged it, because one day it was there and then it was not. This happened fourty years ago, and mom still laments that pen's early demise.

 

A more recent event involved having my recently acquired Waterman Gentleman sterling silver barleycorn at work and inviting a co-worker to give it a whirl. He picked the pen up, and nervously tried to unscrew the cap, but it's a pull off cap and like a well rehearsed Abbot and Costello routine, he figured out it pulled off at the same time I said "It pulls off", which startled him into pulling the cap so hard that he juggled the barrel in the other hand until it bounced out of his hand and dropped nib first about three feet straight down onto my non-cushioned desk top. I snatched the pen up and saw immediately that the right tine had taken a direct hit and was bent underneath the left tine. I lied, saying it would be okay and immediately took it to a repair shop where the pen meister put it back into working order (14kt gold nib). A slow learner, I more recently was showing the same coworker another new pen, but just held it up and said - you can only look. He said he was glad, because he didn't want to drop another $40 pen! What he will never know is that the Gentleman was a $200+ purchase, and the one I wouldn't let him touch was a $50 purchase! Live and learn.

Breathe. Take one step at a time. Don't sweat the small stuff. You're not getting older, you are only moving through time. Be calm and positive.

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First post!

 

I lent my Namiki Falcon to a friend. I didn't say anything like «be careful» or «use a light touch». I turned my back while he wrote. Well, he applied so much pressure there was ink splashed on the page and the pen it leaked for a good while after that. The nib needed to be fixed. :(

 

In retrospect, I'm not surprised that my friend used the pen ham fisted as he's not the most careful in regards to other peoples things.

 

I usually offer my fp to anyone in need of something to write a quick note in my office. Most if not all refuse politely.

 

Next time, I'll give a few instructions since it can instigate an interest.

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TwelveDrawings

I work in a busy Emergency Department and frequently someone will need a pen momentarily. I often don't have enough time to explain and check if they know how to use a fountain pen. I will happily lend my pens (nice or not) to other people who usually carry FPs. However when it's hectic I simply don't have the time to make sure that people aren't misusing the pens so I always carry BP reinforcements.

When it's quieter I will happy lend out FPs with some guidance but unfortunately most people severely underestimate even the value of my FPs - cheap or expensive and I feel I wouldn't expect them to repair a nib or replace a pen that they didnt realise was worth even a meager $50. I can only see the other person's perspective, borrowing a pen and suddenly the person you borrowed it from wants $50 to replace a nib he claims you ruined - even though the FP novice could never get the damn thing to write!

 

Whenever I have the time to guide someone's use of a FP I find they often will have a few questions relating to ink and the nibs and where to buy them etc. I find this kind of interaction very rewarding and aim to always try to share the FP love!

I appreciate your point of view and how clearly you have expressed it. -- T.D.

 

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TwelveDrawings

First post!

 

I lent my Namiki Falcon to a friend. I didn't say anything like «be careful» or «use a light touch». I turned my back while he wrote. Well, he applied so much pressure there was ink splashed on the page and the pen it leaked for a good while after that. The nib needed to be fixed. :(

 

In retrospect, I'm not surprised that my friend used the pen ham fisted as he's not the most careful in regards to other peoples things.

 

I usually offer my fp to anyone in need of something to write a quick note in my office. Most if not all refuse politely.

 

Next time, I'll give a few instructions since it can instigate an interest.

Heartbreaking to hear. Blind generosity and blind trust are not always rewarded, in pens or in life. -- T.D.

 

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I think I might be blessed with careful and considerate coworkers and friends. I have passed around my pen-wrap on occasions where we have been sitting down for beers and I have never had any problems. They write carefully and the use my pens properly. I work in a bookshop, and I don't lend my pen to customers. Not because I think they will ruin them, but the paper I have to ask them to sign is of a kind that is highly FP-unfriendly.

 

I have dropped four pens myself. Twice has it resulted in damaged inner caps, where the cap does not snap on as securely as it used to. Once it has resulted in a slightly bent nib and once it seemed to go alright.

 

My daughter has bent the clip on my MB 149 :(

 

All in all, I'm not too anxious about lending my pens. I usually tell them when I hand it over if it's a screw-cap or not (Except with the vanishing point, because it's funny to watch them try to figure it out).

Instagram: @fountainpensnorway

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In summary, if someone wants to use my fountain pen, they can buy their own. I just refuse, and don't care what they think, it is my property and I can do anything that I want with it, provided it is lawful.

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I once lent my pilot vp to someone to jot down a note. The person had no experience with fp's, and pressed down hard bending the nib. It took forever to fix the nib. Now I ask if they have used a fp and before I loan it out I warn them of the cost of the pen (typically an edsion pearlette or TWSBI). Typically they move on to someone else.

The education of a man is never complete until he dies. Gen. Robert E. Lee

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TwelveDrawings

I will say again, I was initially surprised that anyone could ruin a fountain pen truly by accident. This thread helps me see how it definitely can happen. The offenders mean no harm...rather they make a simple mistake I believe I could easily have made.

 

Just last night, I needed to jot something down. The only pen I could find was a ballpoint. When it failed to write on the first try, I immediately pressed very hard and as I tried again. When that did not work, I pressed even harder and scribbled the point hard in a circle several times. For me, this is a natural reaction to a ballpoint pen that won't write.

 

Had I treated a fountain pen in exactly that way, I would have bent the nib severely.

 

As someone who lends out my fountain pen fairly regularly, I know full well I am taking a risk. I breathe a sigh of relief when I confirm that the returned pen is in perfect shape. The day will probably come when I receive one back that is as bent as a pickle fork. I suppose I am accepting that as a risk. And like most people here, I would not demand that the borrower pay for the ruined nib unless they had shown clear intent to ruin the tip.

 

I have the same feeling when I hand the keys of my car to someone. Do they know what they are doing? Is my car different enough from theirs that there may be a problem? The next time I see my car, will it be damaged? All of these questions flash briefly through my mind. But if there is a legitimate reason to lend my car, I do it.

 

But for all of the above reasons, I don't blame anyone who would never ever dream of lending their pen....or their car....to anyone under any circumstances.

 

-- www.TwelveDrawings.com

Edited by TwelveDrawings

 

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These experiences have been fascinating! I honestly never gave it much thought.

 

I had a colleague's wife want to borrow a pen at a wedding a few weeks ago. I get her borrow my Prera without even thinking about it. Save for dropping them, I really didn't see them as fragile. I honestly don't think she looked, first, at what I'd given her, and she started writing with it upside down, stopped, looked, and then turned it around and got it writing correctly. I did notice that she wrote a bit heavier with it. I'm really flumouxed as to why people do that with fountain pens, or really any pen. I've not had any pen I've had to press hard with to get its ink to flow.

Doc Kinne

Somerville, MA

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TwelveDrawings

I will happily lend out burlier pens, and indeed keep a Hero 616 around as bait-- anyone who needs to borrow a pen by my desk is going to be handed an FP. On the other hand, the more sensitive objects don't get offered to anyone I don't know has the understanding of FPs, and to them I'll say something like, "This one calls for a light touch".

 

The quote from Ernst (above) bears repeating. It is respectful of all involved to say the words, "This one calls for a light touch" when lending one's fountain pen. It will put the borrower on notice that brute force is NOT the solution should the pen fail to write immediately. Phrasing it this way gives the borrower the chance to enjoy their experience more and it greatly increases the chance of an undamaged pen in return. Thank you, Ernst! -- www.TwelveDrawings.com

Edited by TwelveDrawings

 

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"This one calls for a light touch"...

 

You know, that probably works great - IF you know that people will actually listen to what you say. I'm not sure what combination of being female, being short, looking younger than I am, sounding younger than I am, or whatever, but I find it not uncommon to have people totally discount or ignore what I say.

"I though you were exaggerating."

"I figured you didn't know what you were talking about."

"I didn't know what you meant, so I ignored it."

"Oh, huh... I guess I should have listened, eh?"

*grin* But you know, whatever works!

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TwelveDrawings

 

You know, that probably works great - IF you know that people will actually listen to what you say. I'm not sure what combination of being female, being short, looking younger than I am, sounding younger than I am, or whatever, but I find it not uncommon to have people totally discount or ignore what I say.

"I though you were exaggerating."

"I figured you didn't know what you were talking about."

"I didn't know what you meant, so I ignored it."

"Oh, huh... I guess I should have listened, eh?"

*grin* But you know, whatever works!

I feel your pain! Yet I find myself wondering what the actual proportion is between bad outcomes and good ones. The number of good experiences described here have outweighed the bad. But when it comes to having a coveted fountain pen damaged or ruined, one bad experience is too many.

 

I have not yet heard anyone propose a 100% fool-proof way to lend a pen. The risk is inherent no matter what. In your case, nekosan, the problem is people's inattention. If people tend not listen to you for their own reasons, you have no obligation to lend your fountain pen to anyone.

 

I do think that Ernst came up with an appropriately helpful phrase that will probably get through to anyone who is willing to listen.

 

---www.TwelveDrawings.com

Edited by TwelveDrawings

 

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Sailor Kenshin

If a person has never before seen a fountain pen (and they are legion, lol) then how is he supposed to know what it is and how to use it?

 

If I ever again carry fountain pens and if someone wants to borrow, he will first get a mini-lecture, then a mini-demo. If not, the Zebra Sarasa will report for duty.

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TwelveDrawings

As some here have noted, there are fountain pen phobics....people who realize the pen you are offering to them is strange compared with what they are used to. Rather than being delighted to try something new, they recoil. To each his/her own. -- T.D.

Edited by TwelveDrawings

 

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On the other hand (and after reading so many horror stories) I'd like to add that I let someone here at work use my 51 to sign a letter (I had no BP and there were no other pens around - my office is rather BP unfriendly!) and he pulled the cap, placed the nib on the paper, squinted, hesitant as if looking at an alien gadget, and the other co worker who was in my office at the time, read the confusion on his face and told him: "yup, that's a real pen, not a piece of (bleep) you write with". Laughter ensued and he asked me how to use it, signed the letter (gingerly) and gave it back, saying he had never used one before and had no idea they felt so right.

Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen. - Winston Churchill

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TwelveDrawings

On the other hand (and after reading so many horror stories) I'd like to add that I let someone here at work use my 51 to sign a letter (I had no BP and there were no other pens around - my office is rather BP unfriendly!) and he pulled the cap, placed the nib on the paper, squinted, hesitant as if looking at an alien gadget, and the other co worker who was in my office at the time, read the confusion on his face and told him: "yup, that's a real pen, not a piece of (bleep) you write with". Laughter ensued and he asked me how to use it, signed the letter (gingerly) and gave it back, saying he had never used one before and had no idea they felt so right.

YIPEEEEEEEEEEEEEE! I love a happy FP story! -- T.D.

 

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