We found ourselves in the middle of the electronic communications age. For many, communication via some electronic means is the only way to reach loved ones, business contacts or as in the case of the thousands of special interest blogs, like minded individuals.
The daily checking of the mailbox for that special letter, has been replaced by instant or real time, online communications. The careful planning, wording and writing of that special letter, is now done via a keyboard and instantly corrected with your spell checker. These modern advances are not all bad, and I am not proposing that the old ways were better. We did forgot how to spell, how to think before you write so as not to make mistakes that can only be corrected by rewriting the whole letter (if you don’t want to draw a line through your mistake), how to train your handwriting and to practice to develop this skill so you can be proud of it.
No wonder then that many skeptics regards writing instruments, especially something so specialized as a fountain pen, as belonging to a forgotten era. Cheap biros, or the old favourite, a pencil, can still have a place in the office for quickly jotting down notes or ideas to be formulated later on the computer.
Yet, the production of fountain pens is at an all time high. Numerous factories all over the world produce pens ranging from a couple of dollars, to hundreds- if not thousands of dollars each.
How can we explain this? I guess every fountain pen user or collector will have their own explanation. The reasons would eventually fill many pages. Some of my special reasons are pride of ownership, pleasure of using, the personal touch these delicate instruments adds to every line you write, the different writing experience that can be had with each, and many more. Just like many nearly forgotten or threatened with extinction crafts, such as blacksmithing, spinning and weaving, lace making, leatherworking, glassblowing, hand knitting, and many, many more, the ability to write neatly, controlled, readable, faultless, is another art that is facing extinction.
Try to get hold of some old handwritten manuscripts and look at the standard of penmanship exhibited by the writers. If writing by hand was your only means of communicating your thoughts to someone far away, you have to make sure that your writing is not going to be prone to misunderstanding. Words that are totally illegible, a handwriting that puts strain on your reader in order to decipher your thoughts and a writing instrument that spoils your work with poor performance, would not have been tolerated.
As is the case with all other crafts, the more you practice something, the better you become at it. A fountain pen that fits your hand, your writing style and, your aesthetic requirements, invites you to write more, to hone your skills and develop your own penmanship. For this, the best writing instrument, is still a fountain pen.
Available in a wide variety of nib sizes, pen sizes and weights, inks, and a writing experience that can be controlled much better than roller ball or biro pens, the fountain pen is unbeatable. Add to this colour and aesthetics and you can really have a field day in deciding which pen (pens…) you like to add to your collection.
Before I can start reviewing any pen, I wish to inform readers that the basis of my reviews will be my own, personal experience. I am not a professional pen technician or industrial designer. I do not posses any special, in depth knowledge on the materials used for these pens, the manufacturing processes or the technicalities of how different ink feeding systems functions. I will be evaluating these pens on the same basis that you, as the everyday user of these pens would experience them. Things that will impact directly on how satisfying or not you will experience them in daily use. Most of us have tight budgets, so cost will be an important factor. That is why the majority of my reviews will be for affordable, easily available pens, so as to assure the pleasure of owning and using a fountain pen, is within the reach of everyone with the responsibility of a household and looking after a tight budget.
I will start by reviewing some of the pens in my own collection. Most of these pens will be new, but from time to time I may include an old favourite, such as an Esterbrook or Parker 51. I will evaluate all pens against everyday use requirements, writing on different types of paper and using ink available in your local stationary. For the purpose of stocking my pocket organizer, I am very happy with 80gsm printer paper. However, in a days work I often make notes on paper of much lower quality. For the technical specifications I will include information obtained directly from the manufacturer. If you have a different experience of the same pen, or you can add something, please let me know. There is not always a right and a wrong in evaluating something, and adding your opinion to mine, may just benefit someone else in their choice.
Please visit again, and see what you think of the first fountain pen I have reviewed.