Fountain Pen Resurgence

About two weeks ago, I rediscovered the joy of writing with a fountain pen. I know, I know, you’re going to say they are messy and “no one uses one anymore.” Yes, they can be messy, but they seem to be making a resurgence, which I am glad for. It’s that old adage, everything old is new again.

So, how did I rediscover fountain pens? I was at a local chain craft store, looking at pens for my Bullet Journal, and noticed some pens I hadn’t seen before. It turns out that Pilot Pens and Zebra Pens both make a disposable fountain pen in seven different ink colors: black, blue, red, teal, purple, pink and green. I had a field day and bought red, pink, purple, blue and green pens in both Pilot Varsity and Zebra Fountain Pen varieties. I have been having fun writing with them.

I always enjoyed using a easy-writing fountain pen. I used fountain pens all the way through college and graduate school, until it became very difficult finding ink, and pens. Fast forward 3 decades… Fountain pens are back, you can find them in you local big box office supply store or craft store for about $3 – $4 each in a variety of ink colors. Oh, and you can even get a refillable Zebra V-301 fountain pen at Walgreens!! That happens to be a very nice $4.00 fountain pen. In addition, I just ordered a Jinhao 993 Shark in bright pink and ink to match just for fun. It hasn’t arrived yet.

I still have the two Parker 51 fountain pens that my father used, plus the one he gave me as a present when I went to college. All three are refillable using bottled ink. One uses a bladder cartridge (called the Aerometric filler) and the other two use a pump to suck up the ink into the ink reservoir (called the Vacumatic filler). I would periodically use one of the Vacumatic pens or the Aerometric pen. I just to enjoy writing with them. I figured that eventually, they would become obsolete because I wouldn’t be able to get the ink for them anymore. Wow! Was I wrong, or what?  As I said at the beginning of this post, fountain pens have made a resurgence.

You can pick up a nice, inexpensive nice-writing, refillable, fountain pen for under $20. You don’t have to break the bank or live on spaghetti or Ramen Noodles to have fun with a fountain pen. Over the past week, I have picked up three inexpensive refillable fountain pens. I am so glad that there is now a variety of pens, and ink colors.

So now I have four refillable, usable fountain pens and two that need some TLC and restoration. Those four pens are Pilot MR Animal, Parker 51, Parker Jotter and the Zebra V-301. They have either fine or medium nibs (the part that spreads ink on the paper). Which nib size one uses is a personal decision. To find out more about nibs, and fountain pens in general, there is a very good Web site, called the Fountain Pen Network.

Fountain Pens, Capped

From left to right:  Capped Parker Jotter, Parker 51, Pilot MR Animal Zebra V301.

Of the four pens that I am currently using, the Parker 51 is the most interesting. When I was growing up, that was the most popular fountain pen around. Parker Pens made the 51 for about 30 years. To learn more about Parker 51 fountain pens, Parker 51 is an excellent Web site to go to. I was able to use that Web site to determine the age of my Parker 51. It’s older than I am! The pen was made in 1949. It is in beautiful condition. After giving it a good cleaning, it’s writing like it always had. It has a fine point nib (my preference) and uses bottle ink. It cannot use ink cartridges. My father gave me that pen as a gift when I went to college. I used it all the way through undergrad and graduate school.

Fountain Pens, Uncapped

From left to right:  Uncapped Parker Jotter, Parker 51, Pilot MR Animal, Zebra V-301.

So, now I am having a blast using fountain pens. Ink in all sorts of colors and makers is available on-line which makes it even more fun. If you have a yen to try a fountain pen, pick up a cheapie pen and have at it. I would suggest to try the Pilot Varsity or the Zebra disposable pens before going headlong into the fountain pen rabbit hole.

Have fun and keep writing!!!

sheep-icon-03  Barbara.

Winter Snowstorm of March 14,2017 – Update

WooHoo!  It’s finally over.  According to the National Weather Service (NSW), Binghamton, NY received 31″ (78.7 cm) of snow.  That is a lot.  Fortunately, not that much fell at my house.  The final tally is 23″ (58.4 cm).  Why the discrepancy, you ask?  First, the NSW is at the Broome County Airport, which is on top of one of the highest points in the county.  Second, I do not live anywhere the airport.  In fact, I live at the diagonally opposite end of the county.  It’s all location, location, location.

Snowstrom 170314. 23

Snowfall:  23″ as measured on the trunk of my car.

So, here are the results.  23″ (58.4 cm) of snow landed at my house.  I couldn’t use my gas grill to measure the amount of snow because the wind started blowing and blew off that wonderful cone of snow that was growing.  I had to measure the snow depth on the trunk of my car.  The car was not visible this morning.  It was just a mound of white.  It took a while to excavate my car, but I finally found it under that mound of snow.

The barn was totally surrounded by a nice drift that wasn’t there yesterday.

Snowstorm 170314.  The barn.

The barn adrift in snow.

My bird feeder was more like an igloo than the all seed bird buffet.

All seed bird buffet.

All seed bird buffet.

Squirrel …oops… bird feeder in summer.

Last photo in the series will also provide a good perspective of the amount of snow that fell.  The bridge is a small footbridge that is over a ditch that diverts water from the hill above.

Snow buried bridge.

Thanks for stopping by and checking out my record of the Blizzard of 2017.


Winter Snowstorm of March 14, 2017

After a winter with wild temperature fluctuations, why shouldn’t winter end with a blizzard.  Winter is making up for last year when hardly any snow fell.  I guess all those students wishing for a snow day  put multiple pairs of socks on inside out before going to bed last night.  I guess they got their wish.

As I do with most major snowstorms, I like to keep track of how it progresses.  So, here goes.

First of all, the snow didn’t start until around 1:00am this morning.  Don’t ask me how I know other than I was up then.

When I took the dog out this morning at about 8:20am, it was obvious that a significant amount of snow had fallen, 11″ (28 cm) to be exact.  My dog,  Mindy, was not happy about it at all.  Three hours later, when I went back out at 11:30am, another 5.5″ (14 cm) had fallen.  The snowfall rate was 1.83″/hr (6.5 cm/hr).  I would agree that would be considered and significant snowfall rate.

11" (28 cm) snow

11″ (28 cm) at 8:23am as measured on my grill.

16.5" (41.9 cm) snow

16.5″ (41.9 cm) of snow at 11:30am.









My car under 16.5" of snow.

My car under 16.5″ (41.9 cm) of snow. View from porch.

My car is somewhere under 16.5″ of snow.  You can make out the left front wheel, left side view mirror, and left tail light.  I was standing on my porch when I took this photo.





18.75" of snow

18.75″ (47.6 cm) of snow at 1:10pm

At about 1:10pm I went back out for another measurement.  I had to use an old-fashioned yardstick because my 18″ steel ruler was just a bit too short.  In less than two hours, another 2.75″ (7 cm) piled up for at total of 18.75″ (47.6″).

Bird feeder on my porch.

… And the snow keeps





My car under 18.75″ (47.6 cm) of snow.



Less and less of my car is visible.  Pretty soon it will be nothing but a snow-encrusted blob.



Latest snowfall check at about 5:40pm. 21″ (53.3 cm) of snow has falling and it has no intention of slowing down.   I actually thought it was slowing up a bit.  It’s started up again.  The wind has picked up as well.  Oh, well.  Sigh.  Let the blizzard continue.

21″ and still falling.


My car under 21″ of snow. Not much visible.