fountain pens, inks, paper, calligraphy, writing, envelope art

Archive for March 1, 2009

Fountain Pen Collecting

Accumulating may be a better word than collecting in my case. How did this become a hobby after years of owing and using various fountain pens? I’ll blame it on the internet! Prior to being online, my focus was on the use of my pens, not acquiring more of them. One day I searched for “fountain pens” online, bookmarked a page, and about a year later got back to it. Of course there were links to a lot of other sites and I saw a lot of pretty pens. 🙂 I was amazed to see the array still produced, as well as vintage pens–some just like I have. The rest is history.

This a photo of my 1st fountain pen which I purchased in 1953.

At this point, I guess I could say I’m back to focusing more on use again, after exploring and trying out a number of brands of pens and various nibs. But I know I’ll still buy a new pen now and then. However, my wish list has become pretty short. As a lefty overwriter that holds pens at a 75-85 degree of elevation, many pens just won’t write well for me. Mostly, I’ll be sticking with what I know works well.

Hello Pen Friends!

I’ve surprised even myself at the changes in what, how, and how to organize what I want to collect. My fountain pen drawers have gone from color grouping, to brand grouping, to grouping inked or non-inked pens. And more. Not long ago I decided to ink virtually all of my pens, as I don’t want to bother with rotating pens in & out of use. This was an eye opener. (I have close to 100 pens.) My go-to pens became more apparent–and these weren’t always my most treasured for various reasons.  What constitutes a go-to pen, for me?

  • Starts immediately, even after non-use for a reasonable time, i.e., at least a few weeks.
  • Doesn’t skip or miss at the beginning of a stroke, or miss strokes in a certain direction.
  • Must not leak into the cap and onto the section.
  • Ink must not turn dark in the pen quickly, i.e., in a few days (preferably not within several weeks!)
  • Must show the ink I want to use it with to its best advantage–not too light or too dark to begin with.
  • Pens with pointed nibs must write with a fine enough line to suit me.
  • Ink flow must not be so fast that I have to write faster to keep up with it & destroy how my handwriting looks.  (Usually, a flow this fast means a wet writer–which I won’t keep anyway–as a lefty overwriter that has an issue with smearing.)

How will/has this affected my ideas on pen collecting & organizing?  Yes, I’ll keep some that are  favorites for one reason or another but that may only be inked “once in a blue moon” (favs for looks, sentimental reasons, etc.)  These will be stored separately. Some pens will be traded or sold. I’ll be buying fewer pens, and those I buy will mostly be brands that I know I do well with.

As to ink, I like to use 11-12 general colors. I used to think it would be nice to have various brands of at least 3 or 4 of each for variety. But I began to feel that I was swimming in ink! So this, too, has changed for me.

For awhile, all of these changes in direction seemed slightly disturbing, but upon reflection, I guess this is part of what keeps the hobby interesting. :)