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The current fountain pen landscape


BambinoFortunato

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10 hours ago, austollie said:

 

That's not an attribute that I associate with modern pens.  My Parker 25 (which I bought in the late 1980s, when I was at Uni) and my Parker 75 (which came out in the 1960s) have the cap flush with the barrel.  I think they look sleek.  From a practical perspective, the step down does not bother me at all.  I hold the section much lower down.

 

The Parker 75 was discontinued in favour of the Parker Sonnet, which does not have a flush barrel and cap.  Personally, I prefer the look of my Parker 75 over my Parker Sonnet.

 

The classic flush look has been around for decades and, dare I see it, is here to stay.  It just looks classy.

The "attribute" with a negative implication is not the flush with the barrel look (of course), it's the step downs!

The Parker 75 is a great pen  (ok 60 years ago is not exactly contemporary, but I agree we can call it modern) but it has no step down! Which goes to show that flush but no step down can be done!

large.1750493378_P1160523-3Parker75Cisele.jpg.52d076024ffbc04dcd4226950746e09f.jpg

 

my problem, (and I think the OP was mentioning this when indicating "the massive step so many modern pens have from barrel to section)  is when, often in order to achieve that flush look, pens show a steep step from the barrel to section once uncapped.

To some of us that makes holding the pen uncomfortable, and for that reason I own very few pens that have such feature (the step down).

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just to further explain, here is a pen I own that does have a step down.

 

It is clear this pen has a step down so that when capped the pen has a streamlined look.

large.3868574_P1200115-3NewtonOrwilleyelloebonite.jpg.c5a134de1672438d182fbf9577119a70.jpglarge.17698039_P1200116-3NewtonOrwilleyelloebonite.jpg.304336d6fe08b370f6a765776b6f1ac2.jpg

 

Nonetheless this pen is still comfortable to hold. The reason clearly is because the step is so far back that even for the way I hold pens, the step is still out of the way.

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I'd read about step down pens here, and that many didn't like them. I didn't care for their looks. When I tried a couple in a B&M, didn't like them at all....

And that was before I switched from classic tripod to forefinger up grip.....so step down wouldn't work for me at all. I couldn't get a long thumb on it.

So I'd guess one is forced to use a tripod grip on it.

German vintage '50-70 semi-flex stubs and those in oblique give the real thing in On Demand line variation. Modern Oblique is a waste of money for a shadow of line variation. Being too lazy to Hunt for affordable vintage oblique pens, lets you 'hunt' for line variation instead of having it.

RIP...200's once great nib, now a double ball.:crybaby::wallbash:

 

The cheapest lessons are from those who learned expensive lessons. Ignorance is best for learning expensive lessons.

 

 

 

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The step down is far more pronounced on acrylic pens than it is on metal pens. The latter are usually slimmer, and the step is commonly shallow enough that they are often comfortable enough to use even for me with my 'so last century' pen hold.

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that is of course true, as metal caps can be very thin and the step only needs to be very shallow to achieve streamlined looks, especially when the cap is slip on.

 

 

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Get the French P-75, no triangle grip.

Like a fool, I didn't go looking for one in the depression.

German vintage '50-70 semi-flex stubs and those in oblique give the real thing in On Demand line variation. Modern Oblique is a waste of money for a shadow of line variation. Being too lazy to Hunt for affordable vintage oblique pens, lets you 'hunt' for line variation instead of having it.

RIP...200's once great nib, now a double ball.:crybaby::wallbash:

 

The cheapest lessons are from those who learned expensive lessons. Ignorance is best for learning expensive lessons.

 

 

 

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Okay, let's digress a bit, and talk about pen holds since how one holds a pen affects one's choice of pens.

 

Let's start with the tripod grip.  I took a 30 second peek using google and found these: The correct way to hold a pen (lamy.com)  Tripod Grasp: A Fine Motor Skill With A Big Impact - OT Perspective 

 

Then there are these: How To Hold A Fountain Pen | LuxiPens™  How to Write with a Fountain Pen | JetPens

 

Coming full circle, this: How do I hold my pen properly - Calligraphy Discussions - The Fountain Pen Network

 

I didn't list the any of the multitude of You-tube videos one can peruse.

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10 hours ago, sansenri said:

On the other hand, step downs are not an issue for everyone, as Paul says, it usually mostly impacts users who hold the pen far up.

 

The step-down from barrel to gripping section on some pen models annoys me in actual use.

 

7 hours ago, ParramattaPaul said:

The step down is far more pronounced on acrylic pens than it is on metal pens.

 

Actually, the step-down on the Pilot MR (aka Pilot Cocoon in the Japanese domestic market; and often misnamed ‘Pilot Metropolitan’ predominantly by US-based hobbyists online) is among the most annoying to me. The Diplomat Aero a tad less so, but still deters me from using the pen for long writing sessions.

 

(That's just picking from prominent examples of recent ‘original’ designs for metal-bodied pens in which overall sleekness when capped is obviously one of the design goals.)

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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16 minutes ago, A Smug Dill said:

 

The step-down from barrel to gripping section on some pen models annoys me in actual use.

 

 

Actually, the step-down on the Pilot MR (aka Pilot Cocoon in the Japanese domestic market; and often misnamed ‘Pilot Metropolitan’ by predominantly US-based hobbyists online) is among the most annoying to me. The Diplomat Aero a tad less so, but still deters me from using the pen for long writing sessions.

 

(That's just picking from prominent examples of recent ‘original’ designs for metal-bodied pens in which overall sleekness when capped is obviously one of the design goals.)

I don't own any Japanese pens.  The two metal pens I have and use are both machined aluminium.  They are an Irish-made Gravitas Entry and a German-made Stilform.  Only the Stilform is 'streamline' with a same diameter cap and barrel.  The step on it approximates 1mm.  Both pens are comfortable to use gripping with the tips of my finger and thumb at the feed/barrel joint as I do.

 

I'm off now to re-ink a number of pens...TTFN

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1 hour ago, A Smug Dill said:

Actually, the step-down on the Pilot MR (aka Pilot Cocoon in the Japanese domestic market; and often misnamed ‘Pilot Metropolitan’ predominantly by US-based hobbyists online) is among the most annoying to me.

I have small hands so the step-down on those is not an issue for me. But I can see where they might be a problem for someone with large hands.

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth

"It's very nice, but frankly, when I signed that list for a P-51, what I had in mind was a fountain pen."

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12 hours ago, MuddyWaters said:

Step down and tripod grip are annoying designs.

 

Each to their own.  Step down does not bother me and I actually prefer the tripod grip pattern to a round section.  I guess we're all different.

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Steps and threads both bother me. I'm OK with small steps if the grip section is long enough, particularly if it's somewhat chamfered or a series of smaller steps, rather than an abrupt sharp square corner. Almost all threaded section pens I've handled, really irritated me though.

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Ironically, for my first Parker Vacumatic, which is a really small (Sub-Debutante size) I was worried that the section would be too small for me....

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth

"It's very nice, but frankly, when I signed that list for a P-51, what I had in mind was a fountain pen."

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On 9/25/2021 at 4:44 AM, BambinoFortunato said:

Hi all,

 

I'm really glad that fountain pens seem to be gaining more traction and are being rediscovered by so many people. However, there are plenty of things happening with modern pens that are a total bummer. Modern pens seem to be getting bigger and bigger, and not just that but...chonkier. What's that about?

 

For example, the new Esterbrook JR isn't just bigger than the original J...like so many new pens, it seems like the plastic is too thick and inelegant, like a little kid tried to draw an Esterbrook J with a crayon. You see this with the modern Conklin crescent fillers. They look like a cartoon rendering of the vintage versions, which weren't nearly as formless and lumpy as the modern ones.

 

Modern pens also seem to be moving towards less definition in the section. The taper section that ends in a sort of flared lip on vintage pens is great: looks nice and comfortable to hold. A lot of pens now seem to be going for ever flatter sections. I love my Pilot Custom 823, but I wish the section had a bit more of the concave flare and definition of shape of the old pens. 

 

There's also the massive step so many modern pens have from barrel to section, the disappearance of lever fillers (so convenient!), and the increasing amounts of just too much metal trim.

 

I'm not against new designs, change, etc, but I wish there were more variety so that stuff that suits everyone's taste could be available rather than just all-or-nothing movements in the direction of one specific trend. It boggles my mind that, with the prices skyrocketing on vintage pens, someone hasn't brought back a chased hard rubber flat top design or that Parker hasn't just started making its Vacumatics again. What's the deal with all this? With the internet, you would think it would be much easier for people to make stuff like that and find their niche customer base.

Parker are extremely unimaginative these days. The newest (bleep) thing they did is take the Waterman Allure, slap an arrow clip and change the imprint on the nib and color of the pen and they call it a Parker Vector XL now. Like come on!!!

p.S Both Parker and Waterman are owned by the same company, but this thing is beyond idiotic.

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On 9/26/2021 at 7:56 PM, A Smug Dill said:

 

Funny you should mention ‘all-or-nothing’… I think any single physical or functional attribute one could reasonably want in a fountain pen can be satisfied by some product in the market today, with the expectation that the prospective buyer or user will have to accept some compromise in the candidate's (or candidates') other attributes. Being able to get something, let alone a range of alternatives, that tick ‘all’ the boxes at once and on entirely one's terms — including (but not limited to) two particular attributes that has nothing to with physical or functional requirements: price and country of origin of a product — is what is unrealistic; but some shoppers are self-limiting with an all-or-nothing mindset, i.e. if they can't get a perfect fit, then they conclude there is nothing in the market to suit their preference in whichever headline attribute or quality.

 

I think it's perfectly fine if someone is not able to get the size of pen, the type of nib, or level of affordability they want from, say, Italian brands and must look to Indian, Japanese and Chinese brands to tick that box. A landscape dotted with ‘imperfect’ choices does not support the argument that there is insufficient variety available to make for a healthy market.

Except for a "wet noodle". You can't get those in modern pens. Or am I mistaken?

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Semi-flex and down the flex ladder  as far as I know are not made. By name companies any more.

The what ever 'flexi' Aurora is, is not even as good as the semi-flex era of Aurora that ended a decade ago.

 

I'm not sure about Modern MB having only a Woolf that appears to be regular flex. Pelikan only makes regular flex in the 200. There are Japanese pens that are regular flex. the half moon cut out Pilots are reputed to be semi-flex.

 

One has to remember investment in new products cost bonus money; worse than that if someone went 'old fashioned' about making a good nib, they would have to advertise and that has been proven to be detrimental to the bonus. Especially in a tiny nitch market...........besides which the ball point trained users would bend those nibs into pretzels and demand the weak things be fixed at cost to the bonus.

 

Resource management is grinding up the lemon tree for mulch before moving on to a new job doing the same, not about making Lemon Meringue pie, from a crop of lemons. 

 

Investment management for increasing market share  is cylindrical so is not safe for a steady bonus.....besides which Banks don't like that old fashioned stuff....it is not good for their bonus.

 

Only small companies .... employing one or three people, can worry about what folks want and their increase of market share is only big to themselves. ...And to us.

 

German vintage '50-70 semi-flex stubs and those in oblique give the real thing in On Demand line variation. Modern Oblique is a waste of money for a shadow of line variation. Being too lazy to Hunt for affordable vintage oblique pens, lets you 'hunt' for line variation instead of having it.

RIP...200's once great nib, now a double ball.:crybaby::wallbash:

 

The cheapest lessons are from those who learned expensive lessons. Ignorance is best for learning expensive lessons.

 

 

 

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All I can say is there have been many options and I ended up with several grail or very nice pens I'd given up on, at affordable prices (between $16 and $100), with a couple of screaming deals. Just as important to me, there's also a wide variety of inks, the game has been matching inks and pens, so while I have prettier pens the rather plain Jane Pro Gear renders Tsuyu Kusa magnificently.

 

I salute the effort made by some sellers to bring out original pens (so, alas, no Chinese vendors), the blue pura Leonardo Momento something something is stunning but it's twice my max budget, so I will salute it from afar. I have yet to seek a truly flexible vintage fountain pen given my handwriting style, I could try to restore one.

 

In all honestly I would not have expected to end up with more than 40 pens, and even less with some that as nice as (to my eyes):

 

Parker 75 x2, 50, 105.

Pelikan 400, 140, M100, M600, M205 x 3.

Sailor Professional Gear, 1911S.

Waterman Man 100, Strong, W5.

Pilot 91.

 

Grail pens:

 

Waterman Carène x 2 (accidental grail pen).

Pelikan M605.

Geha Goldschwinge.

Parker Vacumatic.

 

Even a humble Pilot Metropolitan has a lot of charm when it produces a very special hue of Kon Peki.

 

 

 

"The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt."

 

B. Russell

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2 hours ago, senzen said:

In all honestly I would not have expected to end up with more than 40 pens

I can remember thinking as a noobie; 12 pens would be more than enough and 8-10 inks.:lticaptd:

@ 90 pens and the same in inks....and I don't half the inks ....but my 90 is a life time supply........need to get rid of half the pens too.

 

Could get by with 30 great nibs....most of my old pens have good to great balance.

German vintage '50-70 semi-flex stubs and those in oblique give the real thing in On Demand line variation. Modern Oblique is a waste of money for a shadow of line variation. Being too lazy to Hunt for affordable vintage oblique pens, lets you 'hunt' for line variation instead of having it.

RIP...200's once great nib, now a double ball.:crybaby::wallbash:

 

The cheapest lessons are from those who learned expensive lessons. Ignorance is best for learning expensive lessons.

 

 

 

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I have about 40 pens (mostly vintage pens), but only six inks; four Diamine and two Blackbird inks.  One of the Diamine inks is currently not being used and sits alone and forlorn at the back of the shelf.  I have five pens in use and inked currently.

 

I know; I'm BORING!

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