March 14, 2018

The Fountain Pen Experiment /1

I’ve always been fascinated by pens, pencils, and other mark-making tools. However, I’ve never turned that interest into much more than a passing glance. Recently I finally decided to try something out that I’ve been looking into for some time: the fountain pen.

Being a graphic-design student, I was certainly particular about my writing and drawing tools. I picked up a lead holder, and Micron pens, both of which I still use and love, but neither of which were ever particularly great for note taking or writing for long periods of time.

Since then I’ve always been interested in getting a “fancy” pen. Something that I can call my own, that is unique, and that has a bit more personality than the cheap ballpoints I was using for actual writing. I also wanted something that would write smoothly, and that would encourage me to write more.

Because I didn’t know much at the start, this actually led me to, well, ballpoints. There are some very nice ballpoint pens out there. In fact, I’ve got my eyes on one right now. But then I came across fountain pens. I had always thought of fountain pens as old, impractical, and high maintenance. But the more I saw of them, the more I wanted one. Even Myke Hurley was jumping on board! Plus, they just look so cool!

So, after doing some research, the first thing that caught my attention was how “normal” they can seem to the people that use them. Sure, some people collect them, but most also use them, and a lot! I found high school and college students taking notes with them. I found people using them at work. I found people using them to sign checks, or fill their journals, or write a thoughtful letter. And they did all of this with something that other pens can’t-at least not to the same degree-style and intention.

Above anything else, it was those two things that got me really intrigued. I rarely feel motivated to write, but I almost always want to. As silly as it sounds, I thought that a more intentional, personal, and stylish writing utensil might give me a little push to pick up that pen and just write. The fountain pen certainly seemed to fit the bill.

So I got one.

And it was really that easy. I just, got one. Sure I did a bit of research, but not much. I knew I wanted something I could throw in my pocket and one that would be easy to “learn” with as a newbie. But I didn’t really know what that meant in a fountain pen. As I sit here writing with my Kaweco Sport, I guess I made a pretty good guess!

Kaweco Sport Fountain Pen on desk

I wouldn’t recommend guessing, though, if you’re thinking about getting your first fountain pen, as there are many factors that go into a fountain pen to be aware of. I won’t go into detail here, but if you’re reading this and are interested in these fine writing utensils, you’ll want to at least Google around a bit. First, think about what you want in a pen, and then go from there.

There are many resources to look at in regards to fountain pens, so here’s a short list of some of my favorites:

Anyways, thus begins my little experiment. So far, I love writing with my fountain pen, but I’m not entirely sold on its practicality. It still feels very novel compared to a good ballpoint (the Fisher Space Pen even writes underwater!). I guess we’ll see how I feel in time…

© Chris Colvin 2019