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.
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.
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!!!