Aug 14, 20181954 views

Interest Check: Fountain Pens

Hi all,
We'd love to hear more details on the different fountain pens you like. We do our best to source a variety of different brands, types and styles, and are always looking to stay in tune with the interests of the community.
· What do you look for in a fountain pen? · What kind of nibs do you prefer? · Are there particular models and brands you like?
Your suggestions and feedback are taken into account when we look for new products to put on the site so tell us what you like, what you don’t like and any preferences you have in between.

Check out our past and current fountain pens here:
Betti Thomasian, choiceweb0pen0, and 16 others

Somebody posted a picture of a helix fountain pen that looked amazing, would love to see that sold here!!
I like unusual but inexpensive fountain pens. Also, I wish you offered a greater nib variety, particularly broader, more flexible nibs and like stub and italic.
I happen to like flexible nibs (both vintage and modern) in Japanese sizing where the points are one to two sizes finer than Western nibs. My current daily writers are a TWSBI VAC-700 with an Eversharp Symphony nib and modified feed, as well as a Pilot Custom Heritage 912 with a Falcon nib.
This is a bit of a long shot but I've always wanted to see higher end pens find wider distribution, such as Franklin-Cristoph, Romillo, Nakaya, and Sailor's fancier stuff.. Having tried out a lot of those, each pen has certain characteristics that are interesting and distinct.
Ultimately, my decisions for fountain pens come in threes: capacity, nib feel, and hand feel. If the pen writes well but runs out of ink quickly, it is hard to take it on the go to be a daily writer. Similarly, if the nib (and feed) have a hard time getting started or have a tendency to burp while on the go because of a bumpy ride, it reduces overall enjoyment of the pen. The feel of the pen in the hand is hard to quantify, but posted or not it should extend a little past the crook of my hand over the knuckle with a medium weight.
A Nakaya Decapod is actually really good in all of these aspects, but the cost is pretty expensive and the manufacturing process takes quite a long time. Modern made pens like TWSBI's stuff are pretty good and a great platform for tinkering. I feel like Asian manufacturers are represented the least inside of the drops available on rotation, and I'd love to see more of them!
I had a number of fountain pens some years ago - I sold most but still look for good, USEFUL pens...not big ornate things you'd pull out to sign a Treaty... I have some Lamy daily users, but also Pelikan, Omas, Cross, a big Montblanc in a black base - I have a pair of cool colorful Bexley pens and another older blue Bexley set. I probably carry the colorful Bexley set as much as anything. Roller + Fountain I generally only use them to sign things, and generally like Broad nibs - I find I don't use the fine/medium nibs that I still have.
I own quite a collection of fountain pens. My tastes have changed over the years. I used to buy very inexpensive pens, but as time has gone on, I purchase more moderate priced pens in the $50-$100 range. While I drool over some of the more beautiful and expensive pens, I must acknowledge that it is not something that I would buy on Massdrop, but rather in person at a pen show.
What I look for: more narrow barrel with clean shape, unusual barrel colors with visual interest, a well sealed cap that keeps the nib functional during times when the pen is not in use, a smooth nib that lays a clean line of ink, and a cap that can be posted.
Nibs: I usually will buy a fine or EF nib. I also like the finer italic nibs that Nemonsine offers.
Models: I'm not married to particular brands. If a pen from a smaller manufacturer comes available that hits my criteria, I would purchase it. Brands of pens that I own currently: Nemonsine, Lamy, Platinum, Pilot, Cross, in no particular order.
Bring back the Lamy 2000 drop please!
Other pens I'm interested in include all Sailor pens and any pen made with copper (LOVE the patina!).
· What do you look for in a fountain pen? Nib, fill mechanism (I have avoided vacuum and piston to this point), and visual appeal (though this is very far down the list).
· What kind of nibs do you prefer? I have enjoyed the Japanese EF and Flex nibs that I have tried, and tend to stick to them as I find >= F to be a bit bold for my taste and handwriting. That said, I would eventually love to try a stub out.
· Are there particular models and brands you like? I have liked the Platinum, Pilot, and Sailor side of things so far. I am not opposed to other brands, just don't have experience with them as they typically don't specify the nib size (or use Western nib sizes).
Between my wife and I we have over 25 Fountain pens. I guess you can call it an obsession. My favorite to take out in the company of others is the oversized Delta DolceVita. However, the Pelicans write best.
This is a fun thread to read. Here is my (more detailed) response.
I’ve used fountain pens for over 50 years, and accumulated more than a hundred pens.
Fountain pens are like screwdrivers: different pens are great for different uses. I need pens to take rapid extensive notes. I like pens that can add a flair to my signature. I like pens that can write a beautiful thank you or condolence note. I like historical pens. And, I like pens that work as jewelry. (My wife has her necklaces.)
Good note taking pens have smooth, fine, relatively wet nibs. Good ink capactcity is a big plus. Not much line variation, but they start right away every time with no pressure on the paper. Some people describe these as “nails.” There are a lot of good pens in this category. Some of my favorites are Sailor, Platinum, Pilot, Pelican, Lamy, Cross, and Parker.
My favorite signature pens or thank you note pens are the flexy nib pens. Nothing flexes better than a vintage Waterman, but these pens suffer from age, leaking, and cannot travel on an airplane. I have also had custom made flex nibs from Richard Binder or Montishaw. The Pilot Custom Heritage 912 with the FA nib is my best modern flex nib.
The italic, stub, or music nib pens also give great line variation. (Italic type) The flex nib works on pressure. The italic type nibs create line variation depending on the direction of the stroke. Good for signatures or thank you notes. Italix, Bexley, Sailor, Pilot, Parker, and Platinum make great versions of these.
I like some historical pens. The Parker 51 makes a great nail pen. Ring fillers, vacumatics, eye droppers and others have been fun to use and to admire the interesting filling systems.
Jewerly pens are pens that I like to wear just for their looks. (Sometimes they are good in another category). Bexley makes interesting colors, and has great nibs, I also love the look of my Leonard Bernstein Mont Blanc, and sterling silver pens. Also in this category are special pens to commemorate life events. A favorite is the custom Kullick Jerusalem Wall sterling Parker 51 with my wife‘s and my name cast for when we got married.
A special category is travel. When I have to travel for work my favorite pens are the Cross Townsend or Mont Blanc Traveler. These modern cartridge pens can store an unused cartridge in the back of the barrel. A handful of cartridges, and your good all week.
I almost always carry four pens: A flex or italic for signature; Two good smooth writers; and, a ball pen to lend a friend.
I believe you mean Mottishaw, my good fellow.
rarity and exclusiveness. reliability out of the box is good too, fiddly pens are not always the greatest.
italic/ music nibs. flex too.
sailor has some really unique nibs, they also do a fair amount of collaborations and limited editions.
What do I look for in a fountain pen?: Comfort, durability, ease-of-use
What kinds of nibs do you prefer?: fine/extra fine nibs are my preference, because I write small, and the loops in my letters close up if I use a medium.
Are there particular models and brands you like?: Since I don't have a pen store nearby to try pens before buying, I stick with pens under $100 ("Don't gamble what you can't afford to lose"). I rely heavily on reviews. I only have 3 brands/models of fountain pens. All get used regularly. I like them all. I used to have 3 others, from big-box craft stores, and hated them. They were ultimately discarded. If I could put the fine nib from the Pilot Metropolitan or Lamy Safari on the Kaweco Sport AL or brass, all of my pens would be metal Kaweco bodies with another brand of nib. I don't care for the Lamy All Star body or Pilot Metropolitan body, though they're OK.
Fountain pens I'd like to try: Traveler's brass fountain pen. TWSBI Eco. Jinhao x750 (to try a variety of nibs). Preppy markers and highlighters (not technically the same thing, but bottled-ink refillable).
I use fountain pens instead of ballpoint/gel/felt for several reasons, including comfort (less pressure, so less fatigue), simplicity of refill, and ink options.
Something broad and italic. Not another generic bland thing like black pen in extra fine.
I want an every day writer, not a fashion statement. Italic nib with reasonable rate of ink flow, i. e. not too wet but starts easily. I prefer 1.1 mm although I have some smaller Osmiroid nibs I use in Esterbrooks. I've never spent more than $80 on a pen. I have had and still have some decent quality vintage pens, mostly Sheaffer because they're easy to repair. In modern pens I have a Montegrappa that I like. I also have a Sheaffer Balance reissue. I ground the broad nib to a cursive italic. It writes beautifully although the resin body isn't as cool as celluloid. I have a Levenger that I bought here that looks great--steel body--but it doesn't start well if it's left longer than over night. TWSBI makes some very cool pens. In flex I've had vintage Moore and Mabie Todd pens although I was never able to get the ink flow regulated properly. The modern Noodler's flex pens require more pressure than I like.
I went to grade school in the '50s. For some reason my school stuck with dip pens and inkwells till I was in 5th grade. We weren't allowed to use ballpoints. As a result I never became comfortable with them. I've always used a fountain pen.
I'd like to see some Montegrappa, TWSBI, customized Jinhao with Bock or JOWO nibs, Nemosine, lower end Pelikans with the full range of nibs available. Conklins look cool but I've read mixed reviews about them. I have a cheap Pilot with a stub nib that's as good a writer as anything although the body looks cheesy.
Fair warning: This is long-winded, so feel free to skip.
I have collected a number of pens over the years that I include among my favorites. My favorites at this time are Pilot/Namiki, Sailor, and Platinum. This is primarily because I can get fine nibs that don't skip or scratch (although if they've sat for a while there might be a few skips till I get the ink flowing properly again), and at the same time don't blob on the page or smear (the perils of being left-handed, even though I'm an underwriter). No matter which way I hold the pen, and I do adjust my grip regularly while writing, they are always able to adapt.
That said, however, my all time favorite is from Reform, a company that no longer exists. Back in the 1980s I purchased several sets of their Fountain/Ball pen bundle with a fine nib, and they are always my fall-back. Reform stopped producing pens, but continued to produce nibs for a short time, I believe, so occasionally I find a pen with a Reform nib on eBay, but the version of the pens I like is a rare thing to find, especially with a Fine nib. These pens were relatively inexpensive, even for the time, at about $20 to $30 a set, but are among the best performers I have.
I also have a Namiki vanishing point (fine) that I absolutely love, and is my go-to pen for most applications. I have a Platinum Carbon Black desk pen which is always inked and produces a beautiful, clean line on almost any paper. The Lamy Safari/Al-Star series is also a regular (I have several).
I find that price is really not a consideration when choosing a favorite pen. My expensive Vanishing Point and my Carbon Black are wildly different in price, but they tend to be my favorites because of the way they feel in my hand and the way they write. I even like my Preppy collection (partly because of the array of colors and the choice of nib size).
My suggestion for anyone trying to choose a new or favorite pen, is "close your eyes and think of how it feels when writing" because that will identify your favorite. Then take into consideration your perception of filling the pen, how fragile or stable it is before deciding whether it is worth the work involved with cleaning and refilling to break the tie. The last thing to consider is price. Often the most expensive is not a favorite.
VAC or piston fill. Smooth nib. Balanced pens that can be posted. Favor M, MF and flex nibs. Take function over “bling”
Style and function come in pretty evenly matched - I don't want a fancy pen that writes terribly, but I'm not looking for any basic plastic pens just because they write well either. I got a Platinum Preppy as my first foray into fountains, but now that I have it I don't need more like it. As far as nibs, Fine and Extra Fine for normal writing. I have an interest in flex, cursive and stub nibs but won't amass much of a collection of those. Not a lot of use for medium or bold nibs.
It's all about write-ability. Does the pen glide across the page effortlessly and easily? Then I'm looking for distinctive style. When I pull the fountain pen out of my suit jacket pocket does it catch the eye and do others see it and comment on its style and class? I love transparent pens for this reason. They just have the look - kind of a retro, old-time but very cool look that causes people to say "I want to see that up close!" It's a great conversation starter!
- What do you look for in a fountain pen? · First of all, comfort - the pen has to sit nicely in my hand (I have fairly large hands), and write smoothly. Second, I really like pens that do not dry up if I don't use them for a week or two. Third, I prefer pens with built in filling systems or at least a good converter. In the past year or two, I have also found myself attracted to some elegant designs or unusual colors - such as aluminum and brass bodied pens, or special colors like a bright speckled orange Conklin pen, or a deep red or burgundy Sheaffer Imperial... - What kind of nibs do you prefer? My favorite pens have mostly Fine and a few Medium nibs, I like gold nibs, but also find gold plated stainless steel and some stainless steel only nibs to work well for me. - Are there particular models and brands you like? My current favorites are Pelikans (almost any model, I have a few 140 and 400 models), Sheaffer Imperial ( I love their inlaid gold nibs), and Kaweco pens (especially their pocket Sport models)
Would love to see the pelikan 805 go on sale again!!
What do I look for in a fountain pen? Well it’s always about the nibs - pilot has a few that i personally would like to try - the FA nib the posting nib and the waverly not to mention the stub and other exotic nibs
· What do you look for in a fountain pen? Functionality, durability, and looks in that order. I tend to keep them unprotected in my pocket, and as a stagehand i bump against things.
· What kind of nibs do you prefer? I've been using mostly ef nibs since i write small. I do have a Goulet 1.1 stub that's pretty nice though, and. A pilot double broad that's neat, but scratchy. It's whatever fits my whimsey at the time. Though for smoothness currently i think my monteverde jewelria medium is my smoothest
· Are there particular models and brands you like? Pilot has been my goto brand, but I'm trying to expand. I've been meaning g more towards the Japanese brands personally.
I especially like piston filler fountain pens. I currently have a Pelikan M200, and I would love to see Massdrop offer the Pilot Custom Heritage 92.
I have quite a few fountain pens, my first one a Waterman I purchased in London in the early 80's. In general, the inexpensive pens, like my Lamy Safari's and Parkers, write more reliably, and are simply more functional, though I've been disappointed by the Acme pens and their plastic parts -- the threads aren't very accurately made and loosen up almost immediately. My favorite pen is a toss-up between my Lamy 2000 and new Ensso Piuma. I love the design of both, and both write well and reliably. The Ensso has a more flexible nib, though, which makes writing more fun. I also find that the shape, and threaded cap, is perfect for stashing anywhere, as it doesn't get caught on anything or come apart. I'm looking forward to purchasing one of the new Caran d'Ache 849 pens at some point, to go with my FixPencils. They're a wonderful fit in the pocket and hand.
Picked up an ebonite fountain pen from Peyton Street Pens last weekend at the SF pen show. Has a Jowo nib that's ground medium cursive italic. And I absolutely love it. The Jowo nib unit can take any of the others that Franklin Christoph or Edison uses. Just posting because I bet this would be a great drop because the pen is very comfortable, smooth, and most of all, cheaper than most.
I love pens from smaller US artisans - Franklin Christoph, Bexley, and others, as well as colorful, acrylic or resin pens, and a nib selection that offers more than the standard F, M & B options - stub nibs, cursive italic, etc.
Opus 88, with a stub or broad.
· What do you look for in a fountain pen? I use fountain pens at work and I look for a smooth writer that doesn't bleed through paper too much.
· What kind of nibs do you prefer? While working in the office, EF is my main go to, while I love using my 1.1 when addressing envelopes.
· Are there particular models and brands you like? Pilots have great EF and F nibs. And Conklin has great acrylic designs. Also love the classy Franklin Christoph lines as well.
I've got two Frankin Christoph and they are some of my favorite to write with. My #1 current favorite are Vanishing Point and Sailor 1911. I don't want to pay more than $100 for a pen without a gold nib unless they are something special (FC music nib, .8 italic). I prefer a smaller nib, but I want smooth writing as well. I want a good looking pen but it will never see the light of day if you can't write with it easily. I don't collect pens I can't write with, so I wont spend more than $160 (my personal choke point).