In this day and age with our smart phones and tablet computers it would appear that fountain pens would be well and truly consigned to the pages of history. While it is true at the fountain pens did indeed see a significant drop in popularity with the introduction of the cheap and cheerful ball point pen, recent times have seen a resurgence in the use of fountain pens and ink. My own fountain pen journey began quite a few years ago. In Sri Lanka primary school students ‘graduate’ from using pencils to using fountain pens before transitioning to ball points. My first fountain pen was a hero, a smaller clone of the classic Parker 51 fountain pen. I have memories of inky fingers, stained white school shirts and bent nibs. I also have fond memories of watching my Grandfather using his Parker 51 of the beautiful penmanship and forbidden treasured pens and inks in his study.
That was my earliest encounter with fountain pens, but like many of us I too moved on from pens and inks, onto ballpoints, rollerballs and not thinking about pens in my daily life. Pens became yet another tool to be used and disposed of when empty. I had almost forgotten about fountain pens and and switched to using ballpoints exclusively. Around 9 years ago i rediscovered the wonder of fountain pens and inks. My return to that world began through on of those great first fountain pens – the Lamy Safari. The Safari gave all the benefits of a fountain pen in a German engineered plastic body without an exorbitant price tag. I rediscovered why these pens were so ubiquitous and popular for so long.
Fountain pens require little or no pressure to put ink on paper. I take a ridiculous amount of notes in my work and this feature has meant that i no longer get strained hands after long spells of writing. They also have opened me up to the world of inks, a world of almost infinite choice of colours. The refillable nature of ink pens also means that they are re-usable. In today’s disposable society it feels good to minimise waste and refill pens from an ink bottle. The reusability of ink pens also means that they will all likelyhood out last my lifetime. I have also discovered the collectability of fountain pens. The world of vintage fountain pens offers a great range of pens that have lasted lifetimes and still function today. In the years since my return to fountain pens i have added many vintage and modern fountain pens to may daily use collection, each with its own character and feel.
So if you are feeling curious i say go forth and explore, a wonderful world of pens and inks await.