Thursday, June 2, 2011

From the Pen of Inky Pete - Why I Use Fountain Pens!

Diplomat Excellence A Fountain Pen

Inky Pete is our (pseudo-)resident pen expert. Whenever we're considering a new range of pens or just need some help and advice about writing, we get in touch with Inky Pete - a man who has used more pens than most people have ever seen! With our recently launched Pen Amnesty, we asked Pete about just why he insists on a fountain pen and the following post betrays his unfailing devotion to the love triangle that is nib, ink and paper.

Omas Arte Italiana Cruise Fountain Pen

When I travel I tend to take more time deciding which fountain pens to take with me rather than clothing. There are a few things that influence my choice.

Diplomat White Pearl Fountain Pen

Am I flying ? That rules out a few of my vintage pens that don’t travel well. How long will I be away? Pen’s ink capacity becomes a consideration.

Cross 23Kt Gold-Plated Nib

Last week I attended a conference out of state. I chose an old Parker 75, a Lamy Studio and a Lamy Safari. Also a couple of Clairefontaine notebooks but that’s another story.

Platignum No. 5 with a hooded nib

At the conference I pulled out my Lamy Studio to start making notes. It soon became the conversation point with two fellow delegates somewhat taken aback that people still use fountain pens. When was the last time someone asked you about the ballpoint you were using? It doesn’t happen.

Faber-Castell Precious Resin Ivory Fountain Pen

We talked about why fountain pens are still made and why I would choose to write with one (several actually).

Platignum No. 5 Studios

Fountain pens really have character. I find that using a fountain pen actually helps me write. It becomes an extension of my hand as you get a response from writing with a nib rather than a small ball that adds nothing to your writing experience.

Omas 360 Fountain Pen

You can feel the nib on the paper – in fact the combination of the two works together to provide the writing experience. I find a ballpoint just rolls over the paper. It’s a boring experience for me. Try a fountain pen and you will soon understand what I mean.

Cross ATX Basalt Black

You can’t just write any old way with a fountain pen. You need to have the pen on the right writing angle to get that smooth flow of ink to paper. A ballpoint just lets you write anyway you want. No character, no feeling.

Lamy Safari with Medium Nib

If you haven’t tried a fountain pen since you were at school (showing my age now), or maybe you have never had the experience at all, then now is the time to take that step.


  1. Oh, I totally *get* this. I was an exchange student in (then West) Germany in 1989 and was amazed to see everyone using fountain pens. I was given a black Pelikan and a white Lamy Safari. I have upgraded to a silver Safari as the white one dirtied quickly. I adore using them both.

  2. I agree - I have two Lamy Safaris (one has an EF nib, the other F) and they are my pens I absolutely must have with me to write. And I adore the Lamy peacock blue ink!

  3. Thanks for your comments on my post. If you love your Lamys then think about trying another model. The Studio is very similar and has the option of a gold nib. I love my fountain pens - here is a public confession - I have over 100 now, but about 10 make my daily use rotation. The Lamys are my workhorses. But IO also love my Parker Duofolds and 75s (from 80s and 90s)and myParker Vacumatics from the 40s. Fountain pens tend to get better with age as the nib wears to your exact hand.
    Happy writing.

  4. I agree. There is nothing in the world like the slightly springy Esterbrook flex nibs. I could write for days with a 9048/9128. Such gorgeous feedback.

  5. Having grown up in an age without fountain pens at school, I had never used one. Even when I became a draftsman (as a trade) during a time when pen skills and a drawing board were still the norm, I had not gotten around to using a fountain pen. That all changed a couple of years ago. No I own a couple of Sailors (best), couple Lamy Safaris, a Pilot Capless and a few others. Owning these has encouraged me back to using Pen and Paper, and your post here is spot on. These pens have character that is inescapable.