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Calling All College Students Using Fountain Pens!

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Hey all you college kids like me who use the fountain to take notes/general writing.


Decided to see how many of us are on the forum. I apologize if theres already a topic like this one, I couldn't find one! Anyway.


Lets give each other a picture of where, how, and when we use our pens.


I am an American Student but would be totally open to hearing about students studying in other countries and their experience.


Heres some loose guidelines to start the discussion.


1. Age(if desired), The school you go to, Etc...

2.When did you start using pens?

3. How do you use them?

4. The pens in your collection...

5. Whats the general response of others(peers)?

6. Why use a fountain pen?



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1. 20, Pasadena City College, Nutritional Science.

2. Late 2014

3. Notes, letters(yes i still send those), doodling.

4. Lamy Safari, Platinum 3776, Twsbi 580

5. People think im more classy or intelligent and or old fashioned. It doesn't bother me at all, just keep on writing regardless.


6. I like fountain pens because it forces me to really focus on what im writing especially when I'm taking notes. I also enjoy the character that different pens and inks give the writer.

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22, University of Connecticut, Pre pharmacy


Fall 2013


Primarily note taking. I probably write about 15-20 pages of notes a day.


Lamy safari [2], lamy al star, lamy 2000, parker 45, kaweco ac sport, 1920s ring top flex pen, 1930s Schaeffer balance, pilot vp, dollar piston filler [2], nemosine singularity ED, Sailor 1 911


No one else seems to really notice. Only once did someone say, wow is that a real ink pen?


I use fountain pens because it makes me enjoy writing. I spend most of my day handwriting notes and fountain pens make that time more fun.


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1. 29, Skyline College, Auto Tech

2. Off & on since elementary school. My first "decent" fountain pen, a PSP/Ranga/Sheaffer Imperial mashup, September '14.

3. Everyday writing, including notes, assignments, tests, whatever. At home, I mess around more with flex & italics.

4. Ooh boy...


-Aurora Ipsilon red resin broad, stubbed by Art

-Desiderata Western frontier with a Zebra G

-Esterbrook J black with a 9668

-Esterbrook LJ blue wave with a 9788 flex medium

-Italix Captain's Commission burgundy with a 1.3 italic

-Osmiroid 65 aerometric with a medium italic

-Parker 51 cocoa demi aero medium

-Parker 51 burgundy demi aero medium

-Parker 51 navy grey demi aero fine

-Parker 51 burgundy Special with 1mm 14k Minuskin stub & grey jewel

-Parker 51 midnight blue full size aero medium with matching .9mm aero pencil

-Parker 51 navy grey full size aero fine

-Parker 61 Mark II black fine

-Parker 61 flighter fine

-Pilot Elite 95S medium

-PSP/Ranga/Sheaffer 4CS Imperial steel fine (actually just a nib section atm)

-Sheaffer Skripsert green cartridge pen fine

-Sheaffer Valiant Tuckaway blue, not sure on nib size

-Sheaffer Stateman (open nib) burgundy touchdown medium

-Sheaffer Valiant burgundy touchdown, not sure on nib size

-Sheaffer Imperial IV touchdown

-Sheaffer NoNonsense, 3 black & 1 orange, 1 fine italic, 1 medium italic, 2 broad italic

-Sheaffer Lifetime cartridge pen 14k inlaid broad italic with PSP/Ranga 4CS green ripple ebonite body

-Sheaffer 14k inlaid broad stub with PSP/Ranga 4CS blue green ripple ebonite body (actually the one my steel fine nib section came in)

-Stipula Passaporto translucent blue 1.1mm italic

+2 unrestored Parker 51 vacs with fine nibs, 1 unrestored Parker Duofold, & a capless Parkette


5. Aside from my mother & sister(s) eye rolling at yet another pen, I've never gotten any reaction.

6. I love the design of different fountain pens. The writing experience vs other writing implements. The line variation of flexy & italic nibs. The fun of being able to use a metric f ton of different inks.

Edited by NinthSphere
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19 University of Oxford (Mathematics)
I started using fountain pens in primary school, I started collecting them much later like in 2014

i use them for everything that involves writing - note taking, letter writing. etc.

pens in my collection: couple of lamy Safaris, Lamy Vista, Lamy Logo, Lamy Studio

Hero 100 (the old nice type)

parker vector

Pilot decimo (VP)

a couple of pens that i don't really know but write smoothly that I brought from china (Jaguar something and ....)


I enjoy the diverse range of colours and pen styles you can choose from and the fact that its not as wasteful as other pens

reaction: parents: OMG how can you spend .... on this pen?? otherwise no other reaction

Edited by perrywang123
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1. Age(if desired), The school you go to, Etc...

22, National University of Singapore, Law (LLB) Freshman

2.When did you start using pens?

Early 2008 (15yo), though I only really stopped destroying them stupidly in about 2011 (18yo)

3. What do you use them for?

i. Tutorials--one of my profs believed that you remember things better when you write them down instead of typing them. He also advised us to draw diagrams, which are much harder on iPad.

ii. Letters--communication just feels more personal when handwritten, and is definitely more considered when natural limits to energy and patience force you to put down your best/most significant thoughts.

iii. Almost everything else--debit card counterfoils (waiters in busy restaurants appreciate me freeing up the ballpen), forms etc. Must admit that carbon paper is one of the places where the ballpen wins. Thankful for the replacement of carbon counterfoils with NCR paper.

4. The pens in your collection (in regular use)

Platinum 3776 Century Chartres Blue, Lamy knockoff from Jinhao. The acquisitive bug seems to have left me, and I am very happy with what I have now. My wallet thanks me :b

5. Whats the general response of others(peers)?

Curiosity, mostly, as far as there is even a response. Then again, I suppose I'm odd enough in other ways that odd looks could be caused by any number of things. Many want to examine and try it. I usually consent only to the former. There have been some who have been more curious than others, including one I have converted, who now uses a Sheaffer Imperial 330. Fortunately, I have found at least 3 other FP users in my year of 250, one of whom graciously lent me a pen when mine was damaged. :)

6. Why use a fountain pen?

Aside from the reasons mentioned in s3, it reduces writing fatigue and vastly improves writing feel, even with my epicly nonstandard holding position. Also, things feel more special when written with a quality tool. I think a "proper" pen in a shirt pocket is a mark of white-collar professionalism, but that's probably just me...

Edited by adichew

Adi W. Chew

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1. Age(if desired), The school you go to, Etc...

2.When did you start using pens?

3. How do you use them?

4. The pens in your collection...

5. Whats the general response of others(peers)?

6. Why use a fountain pen?



1. 25. Recently finished my masters.

2. At the age of 7, before going to school.

3. I used them to learn how to write and later-on, used them for actual writing.

4. No so many now. My first pen was a Hero 336 or similar.

5, They ignore me and happily buy the lowest quality ballpoints to do their writing.

6. I use a fountain pen because i always used one and i haven`t figured out any better way of writing. Ballpoints put too much resistance on paper, and i can`t afford quality ballpoints/ gel pens etc. So fountain pens are the best and cheapest way of doing things.

Edited by rochester21
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  • 3 weeks later...

1. 24

2. 5 months ago

3. Taking notes in class, group meetings and at work.


  • Lamy Safari (F)
  • Platinum Preppy (EF)
  • Noodler's Ahab
  • TWSBI 580 (M)

5. Lots of questions from other students and co-workers. Lot's of curiosity towards the Safari especially.

6. I use a fountain pen because it actually makes taking notes enjoyable. I look forward to writing notes now that I use a fountain pen.



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1. Older than I wish to admit to. I attend a major Canadian university as a PhD student.

2. Started using fountain pens as a child (5 or 6) then picked them up again in my mid 20s.

3. I use them for everything - notes on papers, jotting ideas and outlines, taking notes in meetings, as fidget objects in those same seemingly unending meetings...

4. Here we go...

  • Waterman Hemisphere (red), medium nib
  • Waterman Hemisphere (green), fine nib
  • Waterman Harmonie (cashmere), medium nib
  • Waterman Harmonie (blue), fine nib
  • Waterman Carene (garnet red), broad nib :wub:
  • Parker Urban, medium nib (I have two - one is bright pink the other navy blue)
  • Pilot Metropolitan, medium nib (two of these - one black, one silver)
  • Stipula Passaporto with 3 nibs, fine, medium, and cursive italic
  • Visconti Rembrandt, medium nib (two of these, one purple, one orange)
  • Acme Robbie House, medium nib :wub:
  • Acme Coonley Playhouse, medium nib :wub:
  • Acme Asymptote, medium nib :wub:
  • Eversharpe Symphony, 24K flex nib
  • Rosetta Napoleon II, medium nib
  • A handful of others that escape my mind at the moment...

5. Most people don't notice or don't comment. Those who do are fascinated. One colleague frequently notes my pens and compliments my good taste in writing instruments.

6. They make for a more comfortable writing experience, they are pleasing to look at and use, plus I have the flexibility of choosing and changing ink colour or characteristics at will.

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college kids... who use the fountain to take notes/general writing...

1. Midlife. First opportunity to do a degree. Online uni doing a psych degree with subjects derived from 4 campus-based unis but in the end awarded by one, Australia.

2. Fp in 30's. One. Used for journalling briefly.

3. Now as everyday pens, except exams. Can't quite bring myself to convert for that yet.

4. See current signature. Plus my first custom nib grind on its way :)

5. Kids, fascination. Especially ink colours. I don't use 'normal' colours. Adults - a strange look, an interested look, or no look. Uni peers - all online, so no peering peers whatsoever.

6. Flex. Colour. Inky wetness (I always sought out the finest, wettest rollerballs before I rediscovered fp's again late last year). Novelty.

Edited by Intellidepth

Noodler's Konrad Acrylics (normal+Da Luz custom flex) ~ Lamy AL-Stars/Vista F/M/1.1 ~ Handmade Barry Roberts Dayacom M ~ Waterman 32 1/2, F semi-flex nib ~ Conklin crescent, EF super-flex ~ Aikin Lambert dip pen EEF super-flex ~ Aikin Lambert dip pen semi-flex M ~ Jinhao X450s ~ Pilot Custom Heritage 912 Posting Nib ~ Sailor 1911 Profit 21k Rhodium F. Favourite inks: Iroshizuku blends, Noodler's CMYK blends.

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1. 20, Junior Nursing student at a private Catholic University in Erie, PA.

2. I remember using some Sheaffer italics when I was in grade school for fun, but I just got into it in early 2014.

3. Typically, I use them for taking notes and writing up care plans for classes, though the occasional letter finds its way in there.

4. Pens:

Pilot Metropolitan Black Medium

Vintage (70s) Pilot Elite Black and Gold Extra Fine

Noodler's Konrad Demonstrator Flex

Noodler's Nib Creaper Cardinal Darkness Flex (The pen I use the most)

Zebra V301 Stainless Medium

Parker 51 Gray Medium

Parker 45 Gray Medium

Sheaffer Viewpoint Black 1.3 Italic

Vintage (70s) Sheaffer Triumph III Touchdown Medium

Esterbrook J Copper 1461

Esterbrook LJ Blue 9550

Esterbrook SJ Green 9968

5. Most people don't notice that I use them (or they just don't care). When someone does notice, usually they are intrigued and want to try it. I have only had a few people actually notice, though.

6. I use fountain pens because it adds a little enjoyment to a normally boring task. Choosing a pen and an ink for the day and then having the pleasure of using a pen that writes better than just about anything else is fantastic. Also, when it comes to vintage pens, it is neat to use a tool that has been around in some instances for 60+ years is an added bonus!

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  • 4 weeks later...

It's interesting to read other students' posts...


1. Undergraduate at a "Great Books" college.


2. I first began using a fountain pen (on a regular basis) probably about six years ago.


3. As a student, I use fountain pens for class assignments and note taking. When I'm not bogged down with school work, I like to journal and write letters.


4. My collection:

Sheaffer Legacy I, 841 - 18K M

Sheaffer WASP Addipoint, Green Shell - 12K M

Pelikan M215, Lozenge - Steel B

Esterbrook J, Green, Gray, and Copper

Faber Castell Loom, Violet - Steel M

Lamy Safari, Neon Coral, Neon Yellow, and Charcoal

Pilot 78g, Teal - Steel M


5. I attend a college where most students/faculty/staff are enamored to an extent with old tomes...often times people's reaction is one of admiration. Occasional furitive jealous glances, and once in a blue moon, confusion.


6. I use fountain pens because I love them. They're beautiful, a pleasure to use, and they allow for a more tangible relationship to the words I put down.

μὴ ζήτει τὰ γινόμενα γίνεσθαι ὡς θέλεις, ἀλλὰ θέλε τὰ γινόμενα ὡς γίνεται

καὶεὐροήσεις. - Epictetus



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1. Age(if desired), The school you go to, Etc...

Mid-life, New Zealand's oldest University (Otago), studying epidemiology right now, public health later (hopefully!).


2.When did you start using pens?

Hundreds of years ago when I was at secondary school, stopped and then started again in 2014.


3. How do you use them?

Notetaking, letter writing and journaling.


4. The pens in your collection...

Ooh crikey, there's a few... mostly I use my Parker 51s and Pilot 78Gs at school.



5. Whats the general response of others(peers)?

Nobody notices, or at least nobody has said anything, yet.


6. Why use a fountain pen?

Because it has helped me to focus on what I am writing, and the experience - mind and hand - is pleasurable.

Edited by Cardboard_Tube
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1. 28, PhD in Law, UCC, Ireland.


2. 20 years ago this year!


3. Note taking, drafting, correcting, brainstorming, doodling.


4. Way too many to list. This week I have rotated in two Pelikan M400s, two Lamy Safaris, one L2K and my Esterbrook SJ. All of my pens have B, BB+, italic or stub nibs.


5. Peers think it's a quirk. All positive. I previously worked for the EU in Brussels where every other person used FPs to make a statement, so its strange to get comments now.


6. I love to write and I love how it feels when I uncap my pen and the ink flows blissfully across paper.

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1. Age(if desired), The school you go to, Etc...

19 years old, Medical School

2.When did you start using pens?

Started using fountain pens about 7 years ago when my uncle sent me my first fountain pen, a Waterman Phileas which I still have and use.

3. How do you use them?

I take notes with them at uni and use them for general writing.

4. The pens in your collection...

Waterman Phileas. 7 years old, has been dropped on the nib (which bent and I later managed to straighten out). My smoothest writer but writes with a pretty broad line. It's a medium.

Pilot Metropolitan - when it works, it's lovely. The flow just isn't too well and I find the nib rather scratchy. I tried aligning tines and cleaning it without luck. Still, it's the pen that I use on a daily basis due to it being a fine nib.

Desiderata Flex Pen - a LOVELY pen that needs a new nib :( One of my good friends tried it yesterday, got a sudden phone call and left it on the table. It then rolled off the table and onto the floor and the nib needs to be replaced. Good thing that they don't cost more than £2 each.

Soon - A Parker Vacumatic with a lockdown filler - with an arrow nib. Will be my first 14k Gold Nib fountain pen.

5. Whats the general response of others(peers)?

They find it a pretty interesting hobby and many don't understand why I spend so much money on it when a ballpoint does the same job.

However, when they see my writing with my Desiderata Flex Pen, they're amazed and their reaction is priceless.

6. Why use a fountain pen?

I like the flow when a pen works well. When it doesn't, it's very frustrating (looking at you, my dear Metropolitan), but my Phileas is extremely smooth despite being handled quite rough. My Desiderata Pen is in its own league. I love flex writing as it makes you focus on each letter you write. Absolutely fantastic pen.

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I'm long out of college, but have some comments based on what I went through.



I ALWAYS carried 2 pens; primary and backup.

That way, when the primary pen ran out of ink or had other trouble, I simply switched to the backup pen and kept going. Very little time was lost in the change over, as the backup pen was in my shirt pocket and quickly brought into use.

My 2 pens were Parker 45s with F nibs. The P45s were the equivalent of the Lamy Safari, inexpensive and reliable.

The F nib allowed me to write more on a page than a wider nib, and the ink lasted longer.

Note that the old US Parker F nib is like a Lamy Safari XF.

I used cartridges in my pens. When I ran out of ink in the middle of class, I switched to the backup pen. Then between classes, would hassle with the cartridge change. Don't try to change cartridges in the middle of class, the professor will not stop his lecture and wait for you.

Were I to use converters or a piston pen, I would refill the pen every night. That way I would start the day with a FULL pen, to reduce the likelihood of running out of ink. I would still carry a 2nd/backup pen.

As for exams, I took FP, ball pen and pencil. I used whichever writing instrument worked best on the exam paper. Whenever possible I use a pencil, so I could erase. So I was not married to the FP.



Most of you know about this, but I had to hunt for and buy only specific paper that would not blot/feather with a FP. I did not hassle with trying to make the FP work with the junk dept store paper, but instead got paper that was FP friendly.

I took my notes on loose paper, then took them home and put then into a binder. So once home, the notes were safe from water/coffee. I was also not carrying a semesters worth of notes around with me.

I also carried plastic bags in my briefcase. When it rained, I put my papers and calculator into the plastic bags.

Today you guys need a plastic bag to protect your tablet.



My ink was standard Parker Quink in cartridges. I did not use "bulletproof"/permanent ink, as I did not want my clothes permanently stained, although I did use a pocket protector. I did not worry about getting the notes wet, I carried plastic bags to protect them when it rained.

If you have to hand in anything written in ink, use a medium to dark ink that is easy on the eyes to read. Having been a grader I can tell you that it was not fun to read a homework/quiz/exam that was written in pink or some shades of purple ink. You really do not want to upset your grader, as it is very easy to loose points if the grader does not want to dig in your essays for the answers. Your own notes, use whatever color ink you want.


On stuff that you hand in, PLEASE write legibly, even if you have to print. I cannot tell you the trouble and head ache I had trying to read the scratch that some student called handwriting. And I am certain that some/many of those students did not get all the points that they could have gotten, IF I could have read their handwriting easier.

PS, writing in print does not take a long time. I did my CPA exam in nothing but block print. I wanted all the partial credit that I could get, and did not want to give the grader an excuse to not give me all the points he could.


I wish you all the best of luck in college.

San Francisco Pen Show - August 28-30, 2020 - Redwood City, California


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Parse Error

1. 20, Cornell University Computer Science

2. 15

3. Writing, mathematics

4. Visconti Homo Sapiens, Lamy Safari, Pilot VP, Lamy 2000

5. Nobody really notices... until I lend them my pen. Then they have trouble writing with it.

6. They're cheaper than Uniball Vision Elites.


Also, I write novels longhand, so (6) gets really expensive really quickly compared to fountain pens...

Visconti Homo Sapiens; Lamy 2000; Unicomp Endurapro keyboard.


Free your mind -- go write

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1. UMass - Mechanical Engineering

2. ~3 years ago when I started with a Lamy Safari Vista - sadly I lost this one just a few months ago

3. Mostly note taking, working out maths, filling out forms

4. Pelikan M200 Cognac (I nib), Pelikan M200 Cafe Creme (F nib), Pilot Metropolitan (F nib) - I really like to use this one as a "beater" in situations where I don't want to risk anything happening to a Pelikan, the extra fine line width also makes it great for math - I also have a Lamy Safari Charcoal, which I think might actually be a fake based on some threads I've seen here, but I'm not 100% sure.

5. Very few seem to notice. I try to keep them to myself unless I'm carrying the Pilot or the Lamy, the way most people handle fountain pens scares me

6. Being in school now I find myself writing far more then ever before. I think that it's pretty natural when you find yourself doing something more and more to want to upgrade the equipment you use, cooking, camping and photography come to mind here. I also think that buying nicer pens has helped me to take better notes, because I'm more conscious of my handwriting when I use a fountain pen, and I enjoy using my pens.

Edited by public alias
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Joe in Seattle

College was 45 years ago, but I used several Pelikan 120's with ordinary Sheaffer ink.

"how do I know what I think until I write it down?"

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Looks like I'm not the only one in New Zealand!

1. 21. University of Auckland, New Zealand - Biological Sciences

2. Started using them in my first year of university

3. Use them every time I write anything. Notes, assignments, journals.

4. Currently in rotation - Kaweco Skyline Sport Mint, Lamy Safari aquamarine (F), Apple Green (M) & White (M), Parker Sonnet, Parker Urban Premium Pearl, Pilot Vanishing Point and Faber Castell E-Motion in black pear wood.

5. They ask why I use them and why I spend 'so much' money on pens. Some are interested and ask to use them.

6. Less hand cramps! (also because there are so many pretty inks)

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