1. inkyliddlefingers
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    inkyliddlefingers Member

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    Using fountain pens - old fashioned method?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by inkyliddlefingers, Sep 12, 2013.

    Hi all

    I am a huge fan of writing my drafts with fountain pens and different coloured inks, even though I know it bucks the trend in this digital age. Imagine my joy when I found, not only are fountain pen sales increasing, but that Neil Gaiman does it 'my way' :)

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-18071830

    Are there any closet fountain pen users among you? Now is the time to stand up and be proud! ;-)

    TTFN
    ILF
     
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  2. thewordsmith
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    thewordsmith Contributing Member Contributor

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    I never go anywhere without a fountain pen (and a spare) and an actual paper notebook. Battery power may go down but as long as you've got paper and pen, you're never without resources. And I love the fluid motion of a real fountain pen - not to be confused with a ball point pen. Just the look of the ink on the page is so completely unique and even comforting. Even if you've got crappy handwriting, it still looks nice when laid out on a page with real liquid ink. I once worked for a judge whose last name is Waterman. His first day on the bench, he gave everyone in the office a Waterman inkpen - kinky plastic cases but in gift boxes with cartoon and movie characters on the boxes. I still have even the box mine came in - Lara Croft, Tomb Raider. And the pen is bright yellow. He's no longer on the bench, but he's still giving out those lovely and fun fountain pens.

    Many times I have been found to abandon my laptop in the office and go out to a park or just the picnic table in back of the building and sit and write the "old fashioned" way. Sometimes I absolutely have to do it that way just to slow my brain down enough to form coherent thoughts! (ADHD you see. Mind tends to go faster than I can keep up sometimes and I have to remind it to slow down!)

    Now, of course, that means I have to go back to the keyboard to input everything I've written longhand. But that hiatus from the keyboard sitting in the peaceful quiet of a shady tree seems to help me to write more and better once I do get back to the keyboard. So, yeah, I'm in your camp on this one. And, not only do I have a large collection of antique typewriters (some dating back to the 1800's, but I have a large collection of fountain pens and even a few old calligraphy pens as well.) And, did you know, a broad nib in your fountain pen makes for a lovely medium for calligraphy writing.


    (And stupid U.S. schools are actually eliminating cursive writing in schools, can you believe that?!? Continually shortcutting education.)
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2013
  3. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    I write with fountain pens as well. I don't switch up the ink colors during a draft, but I prefer using a fountain pen to another writing instrument, or to typing initial drafts on a computer.
     
  4. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    You guys are making me want to try fountain pens. I've never used one before. I think I was always under the impression I'd have to hunt down and kill my own goose, or something. But it turns out that people manufacture these things!
     
  5. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    @minstrel Mont Blanc made some really nice 75th anniversary fountain pens. I think I saw one of them on ebay last week for about $60,000.00. No need to kill a goose, just get out your credit card.
     
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  6. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Dahlink,

    Not only am I a user, I am a collector and refurbisher of vintage writing instruments. Long story, short: I worked at an antiques auction house during university. The auctioneer, David, did not like consigning vintige pens because they were never in working order when brought to the auction house. I taught myself to refurbish them and get them in working order for auction. I get all my parts and sundries from The Fountain Pen Hospital in New York.

    Here is but a small example of what I own:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
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  7. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Yikes! Sixty GRAND?? Must be made of unobtanium! Either that, or the $20 one I just ordered is made of worm shit. I guess I'll find out tomorrow. :confused:
     
  8. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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  9. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    @minstrel - what kind did you order? The only one in that price range I've ever had didn't write consistently, and also had a tendency to leak a bit. But that was years ago. I have a Cross pen for around $40 that writes nicely, and a Waterman Hemisphere series pen that I really like a lot (it ran about $70).

    I've heard you can get some pretty good ones on the low end of the price scale, but if that $20 disappoints you don't let it taint your view of fountain pens :D
     
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  10. thewordsmith
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    thewordsmith Contributing Member Contributor

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    I am absolutely drooling over your collection! HOW PURELY AWESOME! (And now I understand my fascination with the instrument. My mother's maiden name is Conklin. Maybe I come by it honestly.) Of course, now I'm hungry to go out and buy another fountain pen. Flea markets watch out!
     
  11. Annûniel
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    Annûniel Contributing Member Contributor

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    I've always wanted to try my hand at writing the old feather pen and ink bottle, but I always figured I would struggle with ink spots and such. Maybe I should practice with the fountain pens first?
     
  12. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Ha! :) Thank you. That last picture is a jade green, laminated celluloid, Parker Vacumatic from the early half of 1932. You can tell easily because the end of the cap has a "jewel" made from the same laminated celluloid. Earlier and later models were made with a monotone "jewel'.

    What you are describing is referred to in the trade as a quill or a standard.
     
  13. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I ordered a Lamy Safari, $22.10 from Amazon. It had some good reviews there, and the price seemed reasonable.
     
  14. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Nice, @minstrel . Let me know how it works for you. The cheap one I ordered some time ago was from China. A pretty pen, but the quality wasn't very good.
     
  15. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I'll report back, of course, @Steerpike. Actually, given the interest people here have in fountain pens, I'm kind of wondering how different they are from normal ball-point pens. I'm wondering if I need to take a course in using them or something. I'm starting to get intimidated! :)
     
  16. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Hehe this reminds me of my mother's pen set from the 80's. She got this marvelous pen set as a gift with like 50 pens in every color imaginable - pink, peacock blue, emerald green, orange, banana yellow. She didn't use it much so she gave them to me. I was 10 at the time and had this teacher who yelled a lot. When he was nice I wrote in sky blue, when he was obnoxious I'd do my homework in banana yellow. I'd look over and see him tilt my paper up to the light trying to read it- lol.

    I used a fountain pen for a while but it seemed to go through a lot of ink.
     
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  17. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    You'll learn quickly enough the best angle for your pen, minstrel. I've found it varies a bit from pen to pen, so I don't know that I can give advice on writing with it other than to find out what works best (@Wreybies may have advice along those lines).

    One thing to remember is that you don't press down with a fountain pen like you do with a ballpoint. You're just going to let the pen glide over the surface. You also want to get decent quality paper, because the ink is more watery and will bleed into cheap paper.

    It doesn't take long at all to get the hang of it.
     
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  18. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Maybe you were just writing a lot ...

    ;)
     
  19. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    All of this is correct, actually. ;)

    If you're one to really press the nib, you may quickly damage it. In the days when fountain pens were the only pens, manufacturers made special, snub-nose (stub) nibs of a heavier weight for those who press. Also, many people unconsciously roll the barrel of a ballpoint during writing pauses. If you're a roller, you may find a period of discomfort with the fact that the fountain pen needs a particular angle of presentation to the paper in order to write. You cannot roll it. Most rollers don't know they're rollers until they try a fountain pen. ;) Even the highest quality of fountain pens are not items to toss around or treat brutishly. They will leak, all of them, when treated that way. And if you're a southie, a fountain pen is not your friend. There are fountain pens for southies, but the best they can do is polish the iridium tip at a different angle to smooth the writing. There's no way to deal with the edge of the palm of your hand passing over wet ink if you write in the over-hand hook fashion. I adore fountain pens, but ballpoints were invented for a reason. ;)
     
  20. LeighAnn
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    LeighAnn Member

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    I love fountain pens, but I get even "geekier" as my sister calls it. I have quills and bottles of ink. I write entire manuscripts with fountain pens, but really special prose gets the quill. Also, all poetry gets the quill. Ballpoint pens are annoying and make my hands hurt.
     
  21. Andrae Smith
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    Andrae Smith Gone exploring... in the inner realm... Contributor

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    Ha! I love writing by hand. I don't do creative writing by hand as much simply because it's easier to change things and keep track of things. But I do have notebooks for when I start new projects! I also keep a hand-written journal (I'm on my fifth volume now as it its kind of an ongoing thing). I've even taken to writing letters by hand and sending them through the mail. It's kind of gratifying to see a letter in your mailbox when your out alone at college. :p

    This whole thread really makes my want to try a fountain pen! I've only ever used ball-point, so I can't compare them. I can say that I typically prefer fine-point pens, but as long as it writes smooth I'll use it. I have nice handwriting. :)
     
  22. Porcupine
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    Porcupine Contributing Member

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    I still have a few fountain pens at home. All dried up. I tried using some of them, but I write so little at work these days, and I type much faster than I can write by hand (plus legibility is so much better!) that there is, sadly, little use for my fountain pens anymore.
     
  23. Ari
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    Ari New Member

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    I love my fountain pens and use them at every opportunity; my go-to pen is a Lamy Safari.
     
  24. inkyliddlefingers
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    inkyliddlefingers Member

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    Wow! Looks like Ive really started a fire here! Lovely to know there are some of you still holding on to the REAL way of writing...:)

    I have over 90 pens and 50 bottles of different coloured inks - yes they really do make that many shades: see here http://diamineinks.co.uk/listings.aspx?catid=67

    Diamine is a fantastic ink manufacturer. They sell small 30 ml bottles at a very good price so ou can try out a colour without too much expense (but 30ml will last for over 30 fills of a pen, on average, and that equals many words on paper).

    Minstrel: The LAmy is a good first pen. You can buy a variety of nibs which just slot in and out. This enables you to find the right line width for you See here

    http://www.thewritingdesk.co.uk/showproduct.php?brand=Lamy&range=Z50 nib&cat=Spares&subr=

    I have my nibs specially ground now by a nibwright, so that the slope/angle, width and ink flow are custom 'built' to my hand, but then I am a total fountain pen anorak...

    You don't need to go to the lengths I do, of course just buy a good quality pen with a medium nib and some ink, and enjoy! The pens I would recommend for a complete novice would be either the Lamy Safari (You will need to always buy Lamy carts or have a Lamy converter to use bottled ink) or my (and Neil Gaiman's) absolute go-to pen, the TWSBI, in which the whole barrel
     
  25. inkyliddlefingers
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    inkyliddlefingers Member

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    Sorry, above post ended abruptly! It continues...

    the whole barrel is filled with ink from a bottle. You can see these amazing pens on the Writing Desk website. In my opinion they are worth twice the price charged and are better than many pens which retail at £200+.

    BTW - I have no affiliation to any of the above companies, I just love the products they sell.

    Now, don't get me started on paper and notebooks or we'll be here for days...

    (If anyone wants info on pens, inks, paper etc I am at their disposal. Just PM me.)
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2013

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