Why Use a Fountain Pen?

I mean seriously, do people even use fountain pens anymore? Actually, YES! Although they may seem like an archaic writing tool, fountain pens have a very devoted and loyal following. It seems like more than ever people are reaching for the 100 pens for $2 deal on disposable ballpoint pens. So why do so many people continue to use fountain pens when ballpoint and gel pens are so readily available and much much cheaper?

Many of the people using fountain pens today grew up doing so. Fountain pens used to be on the list of required school supplies. Those writers may simply be accustomed to using fountain pens or enjoy the nostalgic feeling that comes with it. Using a fountain pen may remind people of simpler times, when good handwriting skills were praised, rather than how many words per minute you can type. Fountain pens also used to be a great way for students to interact, sharing fountain pen ink, or trading nibs was similar to trading your ham sandwich for your best friend’s chocolate chip cookie.

The laundry list of advantages that come with using fountain pens is endless. In my research I found a few things that attracted people to fountain pens. The novelty of using of a fountain pen is a great conversation starter and many like the attention they get when they use it. A student using what could be described by other students as a “grandpa pen” might enjoy the onslaught of “why are you using THAT?” or “Hey, that’s really cool”.  In a sea of laptops, ipads, and tablets, a student using an actual pen, let alone a fountain pen, can be shocking, and on some occasions, very much appreciated.

There are also technical advantages of using a fountain pen. The liquid ink flow requires less pressure when writing which reduces cramping and overall discomfort when writing. Fountain pens are great for those with weak wrists or hands, and carpal tunnel. The quality and variety of fountain pens is also very attractive. Fountain pens, if well maintained, can last for decades. Fountain pens may be more expensive than a pack of ballpoint pens, but they last for a lifetime, making them much more “eco-friendly” than your usual go-to disposable pen. There is also more variety when it comes to fountain pens. They can be tailored to suit the needs of their user. Left-handed options, pen styles, nib sizes, and the vast spectrum of ink colors allow users to customize their pen to fit their unique personal style.  In addition to their unique design, fountain pens offer a larger range of writing styles. Depending on nib, hold, and angle of the the pen, writing styles can be altered and changed accordingly.

So why, with all these advantages are people still reaching for disposable pens?  There some aspects to using a fountain pen that may be off-putting for some. Fountain pens need careful maintenance in order to prevent leaking and promote long lasting use. Refilling your fountain pen can be messy and tedious, and although fountain pen inks can be sold at rather inexpensive prices some view buying them as unnecessary expenses. Taking fountain pens on airplanes can be risky because the air pressure changes at high altitude may cause ink explosions, and unless you like to unintentionally dye your clothes, most people view this as an inconvenience. Fountain pens must also be paired with high quality paper for best performance, which for some may also seem as an inconvenience. Although there may be some disadvantages with using a fountain pen, with proper maintenance and a thrifty eye most of these inconveniences can be avoided.

Let us know why you still use a fountain pen! We would love to hear your feedback!

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12 thoughts on “Why Use a Fountain Pen?

  1. I use a Parker Vector steel fountain pen!It is a long lasting and stylish pen!I use it with black ink!It does not skip and if well maintained it can last for then 20 years!The reason i use it is it is sleek and stylish and a quality product!

  2. I’ve used fountain pens for decades! My favorite now is the Lamy Al-Star. Young people, especially young men, seem to think a graphite Al-Star with a black nib is the coolest thing in the world and immediately want to know where they can get one.
    I prefer a fountain pen because it enables me to make virtue of necessity: I have a bit of arthritis in my wrists and have trouble writing legibly with a ballpoint, and a good fountain pen writes with almost no pressure at all.
    The distressing thing is how many people, given a change to try writing with a fountain pen, have no idea how to hold it and try to write with the nib on the underside!

  3. Another advantage of the fountain pen is that the nib and overall pen slowly shapes itself to the user. It is distinctively yours. A new pen or someone else’s pen will not feel the same.
    And ultimatley, using a fountain pen (even just for signatures and whatnot) conveys a sense of style. Like a good watch or piece of clothing, a lot can be said from what sort of fountain pen a person uses.

  4. I use a Sailor 1911 Large Demonstrator fountain pen. The pleasure of writing with a fountain pen can, at best be experienced, rather than told. Its smooth, puts less pressure on your wrist, and the handwriting is a drawing, rather than a writing. With the flow of each word, comes a satisfaction that is immeasurable, and which no roller or ball point can match. Of course, it has its drawbacks too, like most inks being water based, can smudge your written documents if they come in contact with water, especially checks. So, choosing a waterproof or ‘bullet proof’ ink is as much important, and then, if you are a frequent flyer, placing your fountain pen in an airtight container is important to avoid air pressure variation playing truant with your business suit. But then, like people, no pen is perfect in this world!

  5. Yeah, using a good pen sure is a great experience! It just depends on if a person is ready to invest the money, time and patience required. I’ve been using fountain pens for the last six years, and I’m not stopping now!

  6. I have 9 fountains and write with them all. I have 3 demonstrators which I use with my casual wear. I have a couple of Parker 51’s. I use the black one for special occasions, business meetings because it sleek, classic and timeless. I also love the way my handwriting looks, and love the way the ink flows on the page. In this day in age, writing with a fountain pen is a food thing with all of the touchscreens, iPhones,many emails. Writing with a flu gain pen adds a perusal touch!

  7. I use a fountain pen for the novelty of it. I am a student and all the other kids get excited by my fountain pen. Also, I absolutely love how I have to put no pressure at all on the paper to write.

  8. I’ve been using an FP for nearly a year, now. I like them because they make the experience of writing real. You can watch the ink flow behind the pen as it dries, it’s effortless, so on.
    I don’t think your drawbacks are all that bad. Maintenance- simply flushing the pen when you switch inks or store it is enough.
    I can refill the pen in just a couple of minutes, and if I wipe the rim of the bottle with a paper towel before I fill, it isn’t messy at all. I’ve done it at my desk at work.
    I haven’t used a ballpoint since I switched, except when that was the only choice.

  9. J – I’m with you – since I started using fountain pens I never want to go back to using a ballpoint. The fountain pen writing experience is so superior!

  10. Signing your name means something. Mine is worth more than to give with cheap plastic pen. I own a lot of fountain pens but my favorites are my Pelikans.

  11. I like the feel of a fountain gliding on good paper, and I love the w ay my handwriting looks, varying in line width and shading as compared to the mechanical line from a ball point pen of any kind. More than that, I like the idea of being able to change the style of my writing and the width of the line just by swapping the nib — and I do so frequently. Ball writers come in either broad or medium, and it takes a good eye to see the difference.

    Finally I would be bored if my only choices were blue or red or weak green refill for a ball writer, the latter two hard to find and only fitting a few brands. Compare that to the rainbow of colors available from Noodler’s, Private Reserve or any of several other makers. And those work in almost any fountain on the market. Match that, ball writer users!! I dare you even to try.

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