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Pens For Small Hands?


melissa59
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I recently passed up a couple of Waterman vintage "super flex" pens in my price range because I was unsure about the pen size. :(

 

There are no local FP stores in my area and I don't know anyone in 'real' life who uses fountain pens. So, I'm calling on the FPN members to help me compile a list of pen models -- new and vintage -- that would be appropriate for someone with small hands like myself.

 

I am looking for pens that can be purchased (new or vintage) for less than $250. However, a list that includes costlier pens could help out someone with more money to spend. Bonus points (that will earn you nothing but my gratitude) for mentioning pens known for smooth-writing fine or extra fine nibs.

 

My FP goal for 2020 is to purchase two pens: 1) a nice vintage flex and 2) a fabulous daily writer.
Fabulous = comfortable to hold; Beautiful to look at; Smooth, not-scratchy, fine-point nib, Easy to fill; Easy to clean.

 

My current go-to pens are the Lamy Safari and Esterbrook J. The Esterbrook is almost perfect in every way. This might sound weird, but I absolutely love the feel of the plastic (celluloid?) body. Smooth and slick but not at all slippery. The J is a size that I can easily write with posted or unposted. I find the fine (9556) nib pleasant to use. I also like that it is a tiny piece of history. My biggest pen is a Noodler's Ahab, fun to play with but terrible for writing. While not unweildy, I would say that it is at the large end for someone with small lady hands like myself. Capped and unposted, the Ahab is the same length as my Lamy Safari (Ahab is slightly longer posted). Yet the Ahab's girth makes it feel bigger.

 

So, I would say the small hands pen size would be something between an Esterbrook J and a Noodler's Ahab.

"You have to be willing to be very, very bad in this business if you're ever to be good. Only if you stand ready to make mistakes today can you hope to move ahead tomorrow."

Dwight V. Swain, author of Techniques of the Selling Writer.

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Pens that spring to mind for a daily writer under $250 would be anything Pelikan from the 200 to 600. They are different sizes, but I think you will probably find a 200, 400 or 600 that will suit your hand. It might also worth considering buying 2nd hand.

 

Other pens to consider are Platinum's modern Make-i which are light, quite small and come with a lovely 18K nib. The Platinum #3776 has a thicker grip (not by much) and also comes with various trims and prices.

 

Sailor's pro-gear slim is also worthy of consideration. The posher trims come with a lovely 14K nib, but you may want to consider a medium, rather than a fine - as the Sailor nibs are not as wide as other manufacturers - so the fine might be a bit too toothy.

 

Parker's Sonnet Special Edition form 2018 - which also come with 18k nib, and are rather nice to use. The Sonnet posts and remains balanced - and is a very nice writer. A decent search means you probably won't have to pay list price (I got a 50% discount on the Stratum). Parker still has a nib exchange program. You might find it easier to buy a medium, and then ask Parker to swap the nib to a fine. You can do within 30 or 60 days of purchase.

 

The Cross Century 2 also makes a nice daily writer. Again, Cross's pens usually come with hefty discounts. In my opinion the gold nibs are nicer than the steel ones, but whichever one you get, they make reliable writers. Not as exciting as other brands, but something that will put a line down all day, every day without fuss.

 

It's International Fountain pen day this Friday (1 Nov), so you may find some of these pens available with some discounts.

Edited by sandy101
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The Estie J is not particularly small, so your choice would appear to be very wide.

Sticking with Esties, the UK made Relief (sometimes called "M" model) is slightly smaller than the J and has a gold screw in nib by default.

 

The Conway Stewart 36, 73, and 93 models might all suit your spec,

 

The Summit S130, S160 & S185 will all be very affordable

 

and of course with the weak £ and cheap UK to US postal rates shopping on ebay UK is a bargain hunt at the moment

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Vintage: Sheaffer Balance Jr. I also have two vintage Sheaffer ring tops that are quite small.

 

The only experience I have with modern pens are a couple of Chinese pens that are small - Jinhao, I believe. I bought them five or six years ago.

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daily writer Pelikan M200

I know I'm obsessed with M200s but if you've never tried one you should, it's smallish as requested too

 

some beautiful finishes to choose from too

 

Edited by sansenri
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I like Pelikan M200/M205 for every day writing. I just got a Pelikan M200 smoky quartz special edition, including a bottle of edelstein ink for $86 plus shipping from drop.com

https://warehouse.drop.com/collections/writing/products/pelikan-m200-smoky-quartz-special-edition-set-91261 It is still available in EF, M,and B nibs. My EF is a smooth writer, and I think I like this better than my 15+ year old M200 EF. I'm not sure how reliable drop.com is. They did mess up my order of paper I ordered at the same time. They sent a single notebook rather than a 5 pack, but they refunded my money promptly.

 

A cheap possibility for trying a flex pen is Osmiroid copperplate or sketch nibs from ebay. Apparently this nib units screw into Esterbrook pens. Of course, compared to a vintage flexy Waterman, this will be disappointing, but cheaper.

 

Waterman vintage pens I'm somewhat familiar with that are reasonably small are 3, 3v, 32, 32v, 92, 92v and the half size versions of these. Also, the Lady Patricia pens are small.

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If you want to go the vintage route, look at ringtops. They are generally on the small side and usually priced a bit lower than full-sized pens.

You’ll have to compete with me, of course.

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How small hands are we talking? My handspan is 20cm/8in and I find a TWSBI Mini quite comfortable. Unposted. Mine has a Fine nib and writes smoothly without being too wet (I'm also left-handed).

 

Definitely a contender for Everyday Pen: easy to fill (especially if you get one of the ink bottles the pens plug into, to allow for refills without the bother of mopping up the nib), easy to dismantle for cleaning (comes with spanner and grease), and definitely within your price range.

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Among the vintage pens you might consider are the Waterman 3V, Waterman Lady Patricia, Parker 51 Demi, Parker Duofold Junior, and Pelikan 140. There are surely many other suitable ones, but I am answering from my own experience. Any of these would be smaller than your Esterbrook J and well within your price range. The vintage Watermans can be found with flexible nibs, at a higher price than those with rigid nibs. The Pelikan 140 is widely considered semi-flexible, but if you write with a light hand, as I do, you might not notice.

 

Among modern pens, the Sailor Pro Gear Slim is small--again, smaller than your Esterbrook, I think--and comes in many colors, some of them plain, brightly colored plastics, but others less plain. (I have one that is dark purple with sparkles intended to evoke a starry sky.). They are also well within your price range and have very interesting nibs.

 

My favorite pen is the Parker 51 Demi. It writes smoothly, feels wonderful in my hand, and is a beautiful dark plum color that matches the purple velvet hat I usually wear. (Of course, they come in several other colors.). Some people say the Parker 51 is difficult to clean. I cannot comment, because I always use dark purple ink and wouldn't necessarily notice if there were residue of the previous ink left after flushing. Also, the pen is available with either of two filling systems; I have an aero metric, which I understand is easier to clean than the alternative, Vacumatic filling system.

 

My best writer, which I think is probably similar in size to the Esterbrook J, is a Parker Victory Mk 1, but perhaps you would not regard it as beautiful to behold. Mine is in the celluloid pattern called Burgundy Marble.

 

If you do not plan to make your purchases until 2020, you might want to attend the Los Angeles International Pen Show in February. At a pen show, there are thousands of pens to see and admire. The adventure would probably be well worth the drive to Torrance.

 

In the meantime, I highly recommend that you monitor the website of Peyton Street Pens in Santa Cruz, California. Teri tends to have a large selection of vintage pens, the listing for each pen says how long the pen is. You'll see that there are many vintage pens in smaller sizes.

 

Rick Propas is another very reputable and pleasant vintage pen dealer in California. He carries mostly vintage Pelikans. You should have no trouble finding a beautiful pen no larger than your Esterbrook J.

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The nicest daily writer that works in my small hands is a Pelikan M300 with extra fine, fine and medium nibs. This is a jewel of a pen and the extra fine is quite fine. This is a smaller pen than most, smaller than Parker 51 demis, those sailors and MB 144s. Not cheap, but I like it and trust it.

"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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Lots of good advice here. Thanks!

 

DeborahMakarios, I just measured my hand (first time for everything!) and it is 6 3/4 inches from the heel of my hand to the tip of my middle finger. While I'm not a fan of demonstrators, I have often looked at the TWSBI mini and thought they would make great purse pens. Portable, not so costly that I'd freak if I lost one.

 

I have one ring-top pen by the National Pen Co. It says it is a Lincoln Pen. Maybe it was named that because the pen material looks like a log that Lincoln might have cut into firewood in his youth? Anyway, I received it in a giveaway on this site five or six years ago. I wish I could remember the member who did that giveaway because I would like to thank them again. It has a little Warranted #3 14k nib. The nib is fine, scratchy and not at all flexible. But it has a bit of "bounce" that I've never experienced with my other pens. I really like it.

 

I really like the classy looking Pelikan stripe pens, especially the blue and the Stresseman. I might pick up a used stripe one of these days. Good to know that I can go with an M200/400/600. The $86 smokey quartz with ink is a great deal. The cost caused me to take double notice. But I want silver trim. I saw an M215 with silver rings on the body for $120. It is beautiful, in an understated way. But the idea of being able to have a nice gold nib in my price range intrigues me. The Sailor Pro Gear Slim in pretty purple shows up at $180 on several sites. At the moment, that is the one I'm leaning toward.

 

I like the look of the Parker Sonnet but after seeing a couple eBay sellers from China selling new $10 Parker Sonnet pens and a bunch of random sellers dumping their Sonnets at similar prices, I'm a little leery of picking up a counterfeit pen.

 

Northlodge, Walter and ENewton, thanks for the vintage model numbers. One of the flex pens I passed up was a Waterman 92. Oh well. There will be other vintage flex pens for sale, right?. Now, with a few model numbers in hand, I can be a more informed shopper.

 

The drive to Torrance would be about two hours, a little less, a little more depending on the traffic. It might be fun to make it a mini vacation, get a cheap motel the night before and go into the show refreshed and with an idea of what I want. I went to a show in 2013, not long after getting my first Lamy and Esterbrook. I walked in and was immediately overwhelmed. I made a loop through and left empty handed -- not even a bottle of ink.

 

Oh, and thanks for the seller recommendations. I never know who to trust when shopping online. In the past, I purchased my Lamy pens and my inks from Goulet Pens. Unfortunately, Goulet does not sell any Sailor pens and their Pelikan pen line is limited to the M200 Ruby Red and the much more costly M600-M1000 lines. Not a single M400, not even in the "out of stock" status.

"You have to be willing to be very, very bad in this business if you're ever to be good. Only if you stand ready to make mistakes today can you hope to move ahead tomorrow."

Dwight V. Swain, author of Techniques of the Selling Writer.

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if you want the silver trim, M405 exists as black, blue striped, stresemann, and dark blue (the latter rare)

 

more choices are available on the M200 I think

 

the blue swirl M205 is quite nice

fpn_1572554835__p1180784-3_pelikan_blue_

 

oh, and you can screw in a gold nib if you want to, M200 and M400 nibs are interchangeable

Edited by sansenri
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I really like the classy looking Pelikan stripe pens, especially the blue and the Stresseman. I might pick up a used stripe one of these days. Good to know that I can go with an M200/400/600. The $86 smokey quartz with ink is a great deal. The cost caused me to take double notice. But I want silver trim. I saw an M215 with silver rings on the body for $120. It is beautiful, in an understated way. But the idea of being able to have a nice gold nib in my price range intrigues me.

_...‹snip›...

Oh, and thanks for the seller recommendations. I never know who to trust when shopping online. In the past, I purchased my Lamy pens and my inks from Goulet Pens. Unfortunately, Goulet does not sell any Sailor pens and their Pelikan pen line is limited to the M200 Ruby Red and the much more costly M600-M1000 lines. Not a single M400, not even in the "out of stock" status.

You can get a M205 Ruby Red with steel EF nib and a 14K gold 'replacement' M400 F nib for £167.74 (inclusive of shipping to the US) from Cult Pens today. That's approximately US$217, and well within your target budget. You can get the M205 Olivine or M205 Blue Marbled and an extra gold nib for even less than that.

 

I've bought from Cult Pens several times and the experiences have consistently been positive: good prices, quick shipping, no problems with either the quality/condition of the goods and actual delivery.

 

My fiancée has small hands — and has to shop in the kids section when looking for gloves that fit her — but she uses anything from a Pelikan M205 or Lamy Logo to a Sailor King of Pen or Platinum Izumo (tamenuri). I think she likes using Pilot Capless (both Vanishing Point and Decimo) pens the best, though.

I endeavour to be frank and truthful in what I write, show or otherwise present, when I relate my first-hand experiences that are not independently verifiable; and link to third-party content where I can, when I make a claim or refute a statement of fact in a thread. If there is something you can verify for yourself, I entreat you to do so, and judge for yourself what is right, correct for valid. I may be wrong, and my position or say-so is no more authoritative and carries no more weight than anyone else's here.

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"My fiancée has small hands — and has to shop in the kids section when looking for gloves that fit her". Tell me about it! My hands are just over 6 1/2 inches from heel to middle finger tip, and gloves always seem to be either flapping on the ends of my fingers or decorated with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Or hot pink. :-(

 

What did they do back in the day when kids learned to write with fountain pens in primary school? Were there smaller school pens, or did the kids just learn to handle full sized ones?

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ringtops are exactly what you want, or 1/2 size if you don't want to post.

 

Waterman 52 1/2 V or 52 1/2 will get you PRECISELY where you seem to be describing.

 

The vintage pelikan 140 or 400NN will also fit your hands perfectly. All their nibs are wonderful soft semiflex.

 

They can all be found in great shape for under 200. Keep an eye on Greg Minuskin's site for great deals on well restored ones, but check daily because he sells them as soon as they're posted.

 

The pelikan 400 is going to also be tough enough for daily use.

 

But if you like a super thin pen that is great for small hands, and want some prestige, a new old stock (they're still common on ebay) cross spire is FABULOUS. 18k nib, comfortable, durable, perfect clip for pockets. I adore mine. got it for $80 and I'll never give it up. 1/2 turn to cap, 3/4 turn to post (and so narrow it spins off and on with the barest effort) only downside to the spire is that you have to use cartridges OR get a squeeze bladder converter (if you do try this option, and I do recommend it, PM me and I'll make you a super high capacity converter for free)

 

For a cheaper everyday pen that will work with small hands, the lamy CP-1, or faber castell neo

Edited by Honeybadgers

Selling a boatload of restored, fairly rare, vintage Japanese gold nib pens, click here to see (more added as I finish restoring them)

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For a cheaper everyday pen that will work with small hands, the lamy CP-1, or faber castell neo

Or the O.P. could buy a Lamy cp1 Platinum, fitted with a Z55 14K gold EF nib out of the box, for less than US$250. It's silver in colour all over (cf. silver trim), nice-looking (with a guilloche finish), slender and has a gold nib. That's one candidate that ticks all the boxes.

I endeavour to be frank and truthful in what I write, show or otherwise present, when I relate my first-hand experiences that are not independently verifiable; and link to third-party content where I can, when I make a claim or refute a statement of fact in a thread. If there is something you can verify for yourself, I entreat you to do so, and judge for yourself what is right, correct for valid. I may be wrong, and my position or say-so is no more authoritative and carries no more weight than anyone else's here.

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Im surprised that no one has mentioned the sailor 1911. Its a fantastic modern gold nib pen, but sized more like a vintage pen. The platinum 3776 looks downright chonky next to it...

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Firstly, the Sailor 1911 is not a model, but a product family covering models with several different form factors, different materials for the pen bodies, and even shapes (1911 Young models have flat ends, and are not cigar-shaped).

I take it you only meant the Sailor Profit Standard (プロフィットスタンダード), aka 1911 Standard, models and others that have the same shape and form factor.

Secondly, the Profit Standard models tend to look plainer than similarly priced Professional Gear Slim models and their siblings by any other name. For the price of a plain black Profit Standard, one could get a Shikiori Setsugetsu-soraha which has the form factor and shape as the Pro Gear Slim, and the same type and size of gold nib as on the Pro Gear Slim as well as the Profit Standard.

If plain looks are not a concern, then a Sailor Promenade would be equally as good as the Profit Standard. Then there is the cheaper and more slender Platinum Vicoh PTL-5000A which still sports an excellent 14K gold nib. The Platinum Sheep PS-10000N is also a slender, gold-nibbed pen.

I endeavour to be frank and truthful in what I write, show or otherwise present, when I relate my first-hand experiences that are not independently verifiable; and link to third-party content where I can, when I make a claim or refute a statement of fact in a thread. If there is something you can verify for yourself, I entreat you to do so, and judge for yourself what is right, correct for valid. I may be wrong, and my position or say-so is no more authoritative and carries no more weight than anyone else's here.

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Hi Melissa

 

When I read pen for small hands I assumed that you would be looking for a small pen, the Esterbrook J isnt so small but if it works for you then this will mean that there are lots of options available to you.

 

How a pen looks is very personal and it is very difficult to give you advice on a good looking pen, we are all differentI

 

'I also like that it is a tiny piece of history.' Not many people on here get this concept, for me it is not that a pen is old, it is the fact that 60+ years ago someone was working in a factory producing a pen, not knowing whether it would last 6 months or 6 years and here we are, 60 years later, and you are still holding and using that pen, however humble that pen might be, it is still around.

 

Of course, there will also be one person who will respond to this and say - 'how do you know that not many people get this concept' !!

 

Personally, I avoid all Japanese pens and I think that the advice you have been given to look at new Pelikans is the best of all for your edc and possibly a vintage Pelikan for your flex special. You may want to think on as to whether a flexible nib is good for you, they do not suit everyone and you need a particular writing style to make them work at their best.

 

Hope this helps.

 

G

 

 

 

 

'

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