Fountain pens are my favorite tool for handwriting, and combined with a profound passion for pens one can easily collect quite a few… For further introduction, please visit the page of ‘Fountain Pens’.
Fountain pens for life
Fountain pens are awesome, with personality, a smooth run and loadable with any color of ink imaginable.
Fountain pens are keepers and besides the environmental benefit, they only get better while writing and collecting memories.
Cartridges & converters
You can choose to use cartridges for convenience. They can be brand sensitive but if you have the right cartridge, swapping is fast and easy and ink rarely spreads unintentionally.
The ‘reusable cartridge’ known as a converter, gives you access to all the beautiful colors of bottled ink, and if you’re particularly lucky, after filling, your color of choice reveals on your fingers.
A selection of pens has a built-in converter, a piston ink-filling mechanism, to slurp up ink from the bottle. They hold a great amount of ink, and are very convenient if you prefer bottled ink.
Regarding nibs, I prefer fine or extra fine. They leave a smaller amount of ink which reduces both drying time and requirements for your paper. Choosing a small nib is a bit of a compromise though as larger nibs tend to run more smoothly and give the color of your ink so much more value. But I write quite small and using a large nib entails massive and less readable letters, so no more than a medium nib for me for normal handwriting.
Pilot Metropolitan/ MR
A lacquered metaled pen with a classic cigar shape and a band across the middle to spice it up.
The snap cap works well and the pen feels solid. The nib writes smoothly with no hiccups, but the grip section is a bit thin.
The Falcon is a soft or slightly flexible pen with a modern look.
I bought my Falcon for an assignment with a lot of calligraphic lettering. The customer had chosen some rough tags and the pointed dip pens constantly caught fibers, making a mess. I went with a Soft Extra Fine (S EF) nib to imitate the result of the dip pen and the Falcon did a wonderful job – the amount of mess was remarkably reduced, as was time spent dipping.
The S EF nib produces a precise and incredibly thin line when writing without pressure and offers a fine line variation – it does not come easy, but it is there.
I runs surprisingly smooth despite the very pointed nib, but it does make a rather scratchy sound as you write – to me that is not one of the finest factors.
Though i rarely use it, it does have a funny feature – as in contrast to most other pens you can flip it and produce paint brush like strokes with the back of the nib, how about that…
Regarding ink; Thicker lines consume more ink, so I find the included converter very handy – if you like you can use cartridges though.
Pilot Justus 95
When speaking of the Justus 95 the first thing that comes to mind is adjustable nib tension, changed by twisting the front section of the pen.
Personally I do not feel that big a difference though…
But the nib is wonderful – smooth running and soft enough for me to enjoy creating beautiful line variations as I write.
The pen is classy, big but light and well balanced and I just adore the sense and sound when writing.
The Kaweco Sport is a compact, lightweight pen with a cap designed to cover most of the pen barrel when closed, while adding length to provide a comfortable writing experience when posted.
Due to the light materials this required placement of the cap is not a problem, though the reason why I haven’t replaced my plastic Kaweco Sport with one of those tempting metal models is my fear of the weight and balance. Besides I can not complain about the durability of the plastic – this was one of my first fountain pens and it is still going strong after 20+ years.
At the time of buying it I was not quite aware of the importance of the nib size and went with an M. It is beautiful and runs well, but it is a bit big for my small scrolls.
The Lamy Safari is one of the most famous starter pens with an easily recognizable design and fascinating colors. Yearly special editions with crazy tempting colors – and knowing they might become collector’s items – doesn’t make it easier to restrain oneself…
The Safari is no doubt made of plastic, especially the glossy ones. Somehow the plastic impression is diminished by a matte finish, making a model like the Umbra my favorite Safari pen.
When pulling of the snap-cap you find the iconic triangular grip section – allegedly made for children to get the tripod grip right.
If you have the ‘right’ grip, it may feel natural, otherwise it can be most uncomfortable. When writing for a long time, I like to change my grip a bit now and then. As this is not really a possibility, the Lamy to me is for shorter ‘safaris’.
While running nicely across the paper the nib lays down a lot of ink, making it quite convenient to be able to keep an eye on the ink remains through the windows on the sides of the barrel.
Speaking of ink – you can use cartridges or a converter with bottled ink.
A Lamy does not like to be neglected! It dries up quite quickly, so be sure to keep it ‘alive’ by using it on a daily basis.
Oh and one more thing, when choosing the size of your nib – they tend to run a bit on the thicker side.
The design takes after the Safari, though the AL-Star it is slightly bigger with transparent – still triangular – grip section. Cap and barrel is made of aluminum, adding a little weight.
To challenge collectors, new appealing colors are launched on a regular basis.
It was the delicious chocolate-like brown finish of the Maroon pen that attracted me to the LX – then I had to add the Ruthenium. Luckily there are only three more colors…
The LX is the luxurious version of the Al-Star with barrel and cap made of anodized aluminum, for improved surface protection. The metal wire clip is plated to match the rest of the pen and the top and bottom trims have had a metal upgrade.
The transparent plastic grip section looks like the AL-Star – still triangular – but the nib deviates by having a darker black, glossy and more smooth coating.
As I am a sucker for details, enjoy a smooth nib and adore the color range, the crispy LXs are the Lamys landing in front of my drawer.
Wondering if the world of fountain pens is for you?
Give the Platinum Preppy a go!
Though it is crazy cheap it performs better than most of the other pens I own. It’s accurate with a consistent ink flow and an amazingly smooth run. The snap on/off cap makes it a fast mover and even if you keep it unused for months, it still writes, making it a great pen if you are not fond of maintenance – a dried out pen takes a lot of work…
It is a dry writer that still puts down a solid line, and if you pick an extra fine 0,2 mm nib – according to my husband – you get the perfect pen for lefties, as the ink dries up before you can smudge it.
Though a bit more scratchy – you can flip the nib upside down to obtain an even thinner line of about 0,1 mm.
It takes Platinum cartridges or a converter or you can make it into an eyedropper.
The plastic is a bit fragile and in the long run the cap snap mechanism wears out, but what the heck, by then you’ll know if you have a new addiction, and if you like the nib you can always upgrade to the Platinum Plaisir where the nib/grip section from the Preppy fits perfectly in the Plaisir barrel.
The Platinum Plaisir shares grip section, feed and the beloved comfy nib of the Preppy, but is covered by a sturdy yet lightweight aluminum cap and body, with a round, kind of classic design and a silky scratch-resistant finish.
Like the Preppy it comes with a pull off cap for quick access and of course the Platinum “Slip & Seal” technology making sure the pen starts writing without hesitation even when keept for months without use.
You can use Platinum cartridges but as I prefer my bottled ink I bought myself a converter – due to the aluminum body this can not be turned into an eyedropper.
The ECO was designed to be as economical as possible while remaining quality.
The design of the barrel and cap is a bit too ‘edgy’ for me, and when I have the chance of choosing the smooth faceted quality Diamond 580s, I take it.
But it is a TWSBI and has a smoothly running nib and piston filler mechanism with a remarkable ink capacity.
TWSBI Diamond 580
The TWSBI Diamond 580 is a modern, aesthetically pleasing take on the traditional fountain pen. It has a classic yet cool, industrial look with a beautifully faceted, window-clear barrel revealing the impressive piston mechanism and the magnificent amount of ink.
At the same time TWSBI has some of the most exquisite nibs I have ever tried, giving you a silky smooth, seamless writing experience – even the extra fine feels comfortably soft.
The pen comes with a wrench and some silicone grease, so if you are up to it, you can take apart the piston unit for maintenance.
TWSBI Diamond 580 AL
My beloved daily driver with piston and grip section made of aluminum. A bit more luxurious than the clear 580 and without the grooves of the ALR model, so no grooves collecting ink and grease.
TWSBI Diamond 580 ALR
The ALR was my very first TWSBI. The feeling of the pen itself combined with the smoothness of the nib just blew me away.
With the R part of the name comes a matte, brushed, grey anodized aluminum grip, piston and cap top. The fine rib texture on the grip prevents your fingers from sliding, but the grooves also holds on to dirt and gets all inky every time you fill the pen – the reason I bought the AL.
TWSBI Diamond 580 Clear
The cool crispy model with a clear grip and piston made of plastic. It is slightly lighter than the AL and ALR, though I don’t find the switch from aluminum to plastic reduces the weight noticeably.