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  1. bokchoy1's Avatar

    I'm going to start a thread about some less-than-cutting-edge technology. Europeans and Asians may not see anything out of the ordinary here but I'm a deprived North American who learnt to write using pencils and ballpoints . People who see my fountain pens ask me:

    a.) Why I spent more than $0.30 on a pen (aren't pens free?)
    b.) Why I like leaky antiques
    c.) Who uses fountain pens anymore, aside from boring snobs?

    Well, I hope I can convince you that none of the pens in this thread are leaky, extremely expensive or antique (aside from my grandfather's 70-year-old pen pictured above). "Modern" and "mass-produced by machines" are much better descriptions. While there are pens that cost hundreds of dollars, there's a point after which you're paying for nicer body materials and gold nibs (the nib is the "business end") rather than writing performance. On the other hand, cheap pens are sometimes lacking in the QC department. If you get a lemon, your only choices are to buy another or fix it yourself (some manufacturers and sellers test pens before they're sold - not likely with cheap pens).

    So why do I like fountain pens?

    In short, a good fountain pen is smooth, requires less pressure than ballpoints, rollerballs and gel pens, can be refilled with hundreds of differently coloured inks, and potentially has line variation.

    Let's talk about my collection of <$10 pens (cheap for fountain pens):


    From top to bottom:

    1. Platinum Riviere PTR-200: $2 from Daiso
    2. Pilot Petit1: $5 pocket pen
    3. Pilot Plumix: $7, comes with a 1mm italic nib
    4. Manuscript Calligraphy Pen: $10 (I paid $6), comes with a set of 3 differently-sized italic nibs
    5. dip pen (not a fountain pen - it needs to be periodically dipped in ink): $4 for the holder, $2 for the flexible nib (Brause 361 Steno) for a total of $6

    Some popular cheap pens that I don't own include the Pilot V-pen/Varsity (~$3 but disposable) and Platinum Preppy ($3-$5). Beware twist-caps; many fountain pens (e.g. pens 3 and 4 above) have them and yanking on them may break the pen.

    Pens 1-4 are refillable pens (whereas 5 doesn't hold ink at all). A bottle of ink holds much more ink than the equivalent number of Pilot Hi-Techpoint or Uni-ball Vision Elite rollerballs for the price. If you stick to one fountain pen and one bottle of ink, you can probably save money over time. Cartridges are more expensive, so being the utter cheapskate that I am, I've been refilling the cartridges these pens come with using a syringe. On the other hand, when you own several pens and start playing around with impractical ink colours (like turquoise, orange and purple ), you're in it for fun instead of economic reasons, else I'd be collecting Bic Cristals instead.

    Line Variation
    Have you ever wondered why some old handwritten documents have thick and thin lines? One of the best things about fountain pens is the possibility of line variation. Pens 1 and 2 have very practical round nibs with no variation, pens 3 and 4 have italic (broad-edged) nibs and pen 5 has a flexible nib. Italic and flexible nibs have different types of line variation as seen below:


    I used a dip nib because flex-nibbed fountain pens tend to cost more than $10. Sometimes a lot more. And while I drool over pens with a variety of fascinating nib types and filling mechanisms, many of them are also out of my budget . Hence my collection of <$10 fountain pens. They're not lookers like some more expensive pens but they write.

    THE END.

    Tell me I'm not the only stationery nerd out there?
    Last edited by bokchoy1; 06-15-2015 at 04:16 AM.
    Guytronic and etad putta like this.
    06-15-2015 03:07 AM
  2. Guytronic's Avatar
    You aren't by any means I love writing with quill pens myself and I know of another VIP within these forums that loves them as well...
    06-15-2015 03:11 AM

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