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Fountain Pens Anonymous

November 20, 2007

I had to drop off a Mac PowerBook at the local Apple repair outlet this last week. They keyed everything in their online form and produced the repair chit for me to sign. Ballpoint pens are not my writing utensil of choice so out came my fountain pen. As I was signing the form with it the younger sales clerk stated “I’ve never seen one of those, is that a fountain pen?”.

Now I am really feeling old. Is this guy into Gel pens or what. He asks if he can use the pen which usually is a problem for me (if you use a fountain pen you know why) but it was a Lamy and they are pretty sturdy. As soon as he wrote with it you could see the lights come on. It was neat to see someone really appreciate the use of some “old” technology.

I have been asked numerous times why I use a fountain pen. The answers are:

* cheap on ink. Do you know how long a bottle of ink lasts?

* you hardly ever loose them. There are exceptions. Why? because you never consider them disposable.

* you are always practicing your calligraphy

* there are numerous ink colours and variations. Use the colour of ink that fits your mood

* there is a ritual when filling your pen with ink that always is important

* the more expensive ones are true works of craftsmanship

* when you have had the same ones for years they really become an extension of who you are when you write

* you can easily discern good writing paper because bad paper is so tough to write on

* they are great conversation pieces

* whenever you run into another fountain pen fanatic its like a long lost and very likeable relative

Perhaps the biggest reason is that of your signature. When you sign anything you make an effort to make it as much of yourself as you can. That makes it a task that you never take for granted.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. November 21, 2007 9:41 am

    Great post, Gene! I think I know what the next new ‘toy’ on my list is…or maybe Santa’s. I used to use a fountain pen all the time for pretty much all the reasons you’ve said. Can’t remember why I stopped.

  2. November 21, 2007 10:58 pm

    Thanks Gene, I agree. I used to have two fountain pens, one of which I bought when I backpacked through Europe after high school. Why did I ever stop using them? Thanks for the reminder!

  3. November 22, 2007 10:57 pm

    Oooo! I’m in! but, would that be a classy stocking stuffer, or the main event? What kind of price ranges go with these?

  4. November 26, 2007 10:54 am

    Lovely thoughts! Your fountain pen story underscores why I still believe in handwritten correspondence–it’s not (yet!) a think of the past.

    There’s something lovely about the sweep of a pen, which one doesn’t get from typing on a keyboard.

    When a letter is particularly heartfelt, I also get out my wax seal for a final touch. Some older technology is indeed superb!

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