fountain pen friendly paper
We spend a lot of time discussing and blogging about fountain pens and ink. An important aspect of our hobby is finding paper suitable for fountain pen ink. What are some of the qualities of pf paper that make it fountain pen friendly? The color of the paper maybe be important depending on the color of the ink you are using. White paper is very popular because of the nice contrast of the ink against the page. The thickness of the paper is important because we don’t want feathering or spreading of the ink thru the fibers of the paper. Along with feathering, we don’t want the ink to bleed thru to the other side of the page. Drying time of the ink is important as well. As with many things we need to carefully balance these factors when selecting suitable paper. Currently I prefer Rhodia notebooks and pads, however, I do enjoy trying paper from different manufacturers. What are your thoughts on this topic? Please share with the followers of the blog.
buy in store or on line?
In the spring of 2018 I had an article published in Paul Erano’s Fountain Pen Journal about the merits of the brick and mortar pen shop. Whether it is a vintage pen or a new pen, I prefer buying pens in a pen shop. Why? Because I can try the pen before buying. I can see how the pen fits my hand and how it writes. I had a friend recently tell me he only buys pens face to face. That being said, there are a number of very reputable people selling pens on-line whom I patronize. I also sell pens on line. Buying on-line may be the only way some people can buy pens as they may not live close to a store or have access to a local pen group. What do you think? I would love to know your thoughts.
Happy New Year!
As we approach the end of the first full week of 2019 I thought it would be nice to reflect on pen activity in 2018. It was a busy year for me – a trip to Shanghai in April afforded me the opportunity to purchase a number of inexpensive, good quality fountain pens. The Commonwealth Pen Show in September was a big success for everyone and a lot of fun! While I do love collecting vintage fountain pens and pencils, I did purchase a few modern fountain pens in 2018 which I do enjoy. They include 2 Franklin Christophs, an Opus 88 Koloro with eye dropper fill and a big ebonite ASA from India. All great writers and reasonably priced. I would love to hear what your pen activities were in 2018 and any interesting purchases you made.
what size is this pen?
I hope the holiday season is treating everyone well and that you have acquired some wonderful new treasures. I wrote the draft of this blog post with my newly acquired Wahl Eversharp circa 1929, a wonderful pen. Another recent find is a beautiful Parker Duofold Senior in burgundy. The Duofolds are a favorite of mine and I have been collecting them in various colors and sizes. The senior burgundy has company, ie a Parker Duofold Junior in burgundy purchased a few years ago. Somewhere along the way I found the smallest pen in the photo, also a burgundy. The question is – what size is this pen considered? I looked thru my copy of “Fountain Pens and Pencils” by George Fischler and Stuart Schneider. From what I see it could be a Juniorette. Or it could be a vest pocket Duofold. What do you think? Please chime in with your opinions.
Happy Collecting and Happy Holidays!
Normally when I am looking for a fountain pen I head to Bromfield Pen Shop in Boston, my local pen group and/or a pen show. Recently I’ve come across fountain pens in unexpected places. During a recent stroll along Charles Street in the Beacon Hill section of Boston we came across a very nice shop selling stationary and cards amongst other things. In need of a birthday card I started looking thru the selection when something caught my eye. It was a small selection of Ooly fountain pens. I had never heard of this brand and there they were in 3 colors – green, blue and red. Each pen came with 3 cartridges that matched the color of the pen. And the price - $5.95! I bought a green one and have enjoyed writing with it ever since. Earlier in the year I was in Logan airport waiting for a flight when I saw a very nice bookstore. While looking thru the books I bumped into a Lamy display. There were pens and pads at the display so you could try them yourself without needing help from anyone. And hey, if you are about to board a plane and forgot to bring a fountain pen – a Lamy Safari makes a great companion. Have you come across fountain pens in unexpected places? Please do let me know.
I recently had the good fortune to take a business trip to Shanghai. We went a few days early to do some site seeing and discovered Fuzhou street which has numerous stationary and book stores that sell fountain pens. The pens range from inexpensive cartridge/converter models to some fairly high end models. I did buy a 10 pack of Hero 616’s which was turned out to be about $2 per pen. Don’t let the price fool you – the Hero 616 is a very good replica of the aerometric Parker 51. In another shop I bought a bottle of Hero blue-black ink. I immediately inked up one of the Hero 616s and wrote in my journal. We also stumbled upon a Parker store, check out the pic with yours truly. While shopping for pens in the US has mostly been relegated to the internet, brick and mortar shops selling pens in Shanghai are plentiful. All in all it was a fun shopping experience in an amazing city.
I know that pen!
Every once and a while I see a period tv show or movie with people using vintage fountain pens. It’s fun to try to identify those pens. Sometimes mistakes are made. For example, a couple of years ago I watched a series called Mr Selfridge on PBS. It’s the story of an American businessman who went to London in the early part of the 20th century and opened a department store. In one of the seasons, during the opening credits, someone was placing what should have been a Parker Duofold of the era in a case. Unfortunately the Parker Duofold shown was a modern one! Recently I started watching the Crown on Netflix and just about every episode has someone using a vintage fountain pen. I think I spotted a Parker 51 in 1 scene. I would love to hear from anyone else that watches the show and has ideas about the identification of some of the other pens. The pen police are busy these days spotting mistakes in other media as well. For example, in a recent issue of a very well respected pen journal there was an advertisement for a pen shop with a photo of a Parker Sonnet. Unfortunately the text was for a Parker Duofold. I am deputizing all readers of this blog to be on the look out for pen mistakes.
bottled ink or cartridges?
Caution – this topic may be more controversial than last year’s election! OK, now that I have your attention I have a simple question. Do you use bottled ink or cartridges in your fountain pens? One can make arguments for both sides. On the one hand there are many, many choices of bottled ink. Visit any pen store and you will be amazed at the choices of colors from a variety of manufacturers. On the other hand if you travel, particularly by plane, it may not be so convenient to carry bottles of ink in your luggage. In that case cartridges might be a better choice. On a recent trip to Bromfield Pen Shop in Boston I was pleasantly surprised by the many choices of cartridges. I realize most vintage pens and some modern ones only fill from a bottle. That being said, there are many pens available today that can go either way. What do you prefer? Please share your thoughts.
A pen under the tree?
Time was a fountain pen or a fountain pen and pencil set was a traditional Christmas present. I’ve seen old print advertisements with folks beaming as they unwrap a Parker Vacumatic set. What about giving a fountain pen for Christmas 2017? We need to consider the recipient of the gift. Does the person currently write with a fountain pen? If so, do they like vintage or modern pens? If they have never used a fountain pen before then maybe a modern pen like a Lamy Safari or a Pilot Metropolitan might be a good place to start. These pens are easy to use, very durable and relatively inexpensive. If the person currently uses fountain pens and you think they may be ready for a vintage pen I would recommend a Parker 51. The Parker 51 is relatively indestructible and although it might cost a bit more, nice 51s can be found at reasonable prices. Just like back in the day the person will be beaming when they unwrap the pen on Christmas morning! Oh – don’t forget the ink and paper!
Happy Holidays and Happy Collecting!
Fountain Pen Day – 3 November 2017
I just finished reading the October 2017 issue of Pen World magazine and there was a nice reminder about Fountain Pen Day which is the first Friday in November. Now, one could say everyday is Fountain Pen Day for those of us who carry and write with fountain pens on a daily basis. I for one am glad that fountain pens are in fashion and are getting their special day. How will you celebrate? Will you attend a meeting of your local fountain pen club? Will you go shopping for a new or vintage pen to add to your collection? Will you ink up a pen you haven’t used in a while? Perhaps some will share the joys of fountain pens with a younger generation. No matter what it will be a fun day. Now, isn’t Fountain Pen Day the day with turkey and all the trimmings? It’s not? Well, it should be!
Neil and Vicky Lander are happy to share their thoughts and news here!