Do you use a fountain pen?

  Forum Editor 13:08 01 Dec 2007

I recently decided to treat myself to one - partly because I like the feeling of writing with a 'real' pen, and partly because I fancy the idea of impressing the clients when I sign a contract with a nice pen - it's a vanity thing, and I freely admit it.

What surprised me, when I went to the pen shop, was the sheer variety available, and to be told that they sell in huge numbers - apparently it's a bit of a growth market, especially the 'prestige' pen part of it. People are routinely spending upwards of £150 on a pen, and doing it in their thousands.

It's the opposite of what I had thought, and it got me wondering how many of you are 'real ink' people. Sixty years ago everyone used one; I'm in the middle of reading a book composed of extracts from the Mass Observation project conducted by the government in the 1940's. The idea was to discover what ordinary citizens were doing and thinking, and how they were coping with the privations brought about by wartime conditions - rationing and other restrictions. Volunteers from all sections of society were asked to keep diaries, and submit them to the government. Some of the entries relate to the invention of the 'Biro' the ballpoint pen that was developed as a response to the difficulties of using a fouintain pen in RAF aircraft - the altitudes and temperature differences played havoc with the pens.

Now everyone uses ball-points, roller-balls and fibre-tips - or so I thought, until I ventured into the world of real pens. Mine's a beauty - do you use one?

  Woolwell 13:15 01 Dec 2007

I should use one as my handwriting improves markedly with one (without I make a doctor's handwriting look good).
However I am not surprised that the market is growing. This company click here make fountain pens in England not far from where I live. They are beautiful objects in their own rights.

  Totally-braindead 13:19 01 Dec 2007

Can't say I do myself though I do know a few businessmen that do. Perhaps its vanity but when you look at something written with a fountain pen you can see its completely different from something written with a biro and to me at least its more attractive.

Caligraphy is somewhat popular so that might account for some of the sales as well and many people who make their own cards, which is also very popular use fountain pens.

I don't do a lot of writing at the moment as I'm not working but my writing is very legible but rather poor so for me at least a fountain pen would be a complete waste. It would be like buying very expensive wallpaper for a room when you're useless at wallpapering. If you don't write well to start with then a fountain pen will make no odds and might make it look worse.

Thinking about it a few of the doctors at my local surgery use fountain pens and their writing is horrendous. Often wonder how the Chemist can read it.

  Blackhat 13:23 01 Dec 2007

I had no choice when I went to senior school, biro’s were not allowed. After leaving school I hated them. That was 30+ years ago.

I treated myself to an engraved gold fountain pen 10 years ago when I got my first big commission, its on my office desk now but rarely used.

  Forum Editor 13:28 01 Dec 2007

Yes, I suspect that a large number of these lovely pens are bought as 'special occasion' presents, or - as in my case - by people treating themselves for no particular good reason.

My new pen looks and feels beautiful, but I couldn't claim it improves my handwriting. My wife thinks it's just the boy in me indulging himself, and she's probably right - she usually is.

  Woolwell 13:33 01 Dec 2007

Actually I do find that a fountain pen improves my writing. I think that this is because I write slower with a pen and perhaps it makes me take more care.

  v1asco 13:36 01 Dec 2007

It definitely improves my writing, maybe because I write a little slower and their is more of a flow, if you can understand that.

Alas, nearly all of my writing now either has to be done on computers (standard forms, instructions etc) or I have to use biro because of copies.

I have tried every Biro,Gel,Roller on the market and still I cannot understand my writing using them.

  anskyber 13:43 01 Dec 2007

I have a Sheaffer and a Parker. I use it for signing letters and when I was at work for important documents.

I think writing may not necessarily be improved by the pen but I think it looks so much better, particularly a signature. The reason I think is because the nib has a profile to thicken a down and upstroke but be thinner using an across stroke.

It's entirely pretentious but I love it.

  Quickbeam 13:48 01 Dec 2007

I used to use a fountain pen with my best copper plate writing when applying for jobs. I always got an interview on the strength of that presentation.

Now everyone expects easily readable word processed writing or e-mailed applications. Modern managers can't read traditional handwriting of the type that I used to get may knuckles rapped for if it wasn't extremely tidy!... But as I've worked for myself for the last few years, I don't need to try anymore.

  Si_L 14:00 01 Dec 2007

I prefer Biros, and I could never justify spending £150 on a pen. I don't even have that much money to my name come to think of it.

  spuds 14:04 01 Dec 2007

I still have a couple of old pens with gold-plated knibs (!) and a part used bottle of Quink. Dare not attempt to fill and try them. in case the rubber tubes inside have perished.

Surprising the amount of professional people who have or are returning to the 'smudgy' ink pens.This week alone, I have witness my GP, solicitor and a pensions adviser all using these implements.

One thing that I have noticed, is the increase of calligraphy sets being sold on the high streets. Not very expensive neither.

Whatever happened to the cheap gel pens, with the flowing ink ?.

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