Although the advent of the ballpoint pen has mostly made the fountain pen seem like an antiquated relic, scripting something with a quality fountain pen remains the most satisfying, fluid and customizable writing experience in existence.
It is because of this that they will always be a tool used by many of those who take their penmanship seriously. Just like any great tool, there are many manufacturers designing and producing them; we will walk you through the major factors that you need to consider when shopping for the right fountain pen.
Writing with a fountain pen is a satisfying experience, but you may not want to sacrifice your ability to churn out handwritten documents at a reasonable pace for a satisfactory writing experience.
2. Wet versus dry nibs
There are a few things about your fountain pen that you need to take into account in order to keep yourself from sacrificing writing efficiency, but the most important one is whether it writes with a wet or dry nib.
Wet nib writing adds to the fluidity and elegance of your script, but it also releases a lot of ink; this means that flipping to the next page of your notepad during a meeting for which notes are vital will be impossible. By not laying ink liberally, a dry nib sacrifices smoothness and flair for the practicality of quick drying action. Ink reserves also last longer in dry nib pens.
3. Ink sacs
Speaking of ink reserves, an ink sac-the thing in the pen that holds your ink-should be your second priority when determining just how efficient your pen will be. Larger ink sacs cause the pen’s body to be bigger, which can make writing slightly more difficult for those with smaller hands, but they also hold a lot more ink, so you won’t have to stop writing to refill as often.
4. The nib
Unlike ballpoint pens, which use a downright ugly ball bearing to lay ink on the page, fountain pens use elegant spade shaped tips known as nibs. Nibs come in a variety of styles that should be considered when investing in a fountain pen.
5. Broad and Pointed nibs
Like their names suggest, broad nibs are wider with flat edges, and pointed nibs are slimline and pointy. Broad nibs are better for those who prefer to write at different angles to create stroke variance; the stroke on a pointed nib can be altered by changing writing pressure.
6. Nib Flexibility
Nibs also vary in flexibility. A highly flexible nib will allow you to make the thickness of your writing vary so greatly that it will be as if you have written with both a broad and pointed nib on the same page. Flexibility levels vary greatly.
There are flex, flexi, flexible, semi-flex and wet noodle nibs; each of these offers an increasing level of control over the style of your writing. They can, however, be very awkward and messy for those not used to them. A stiffer tip is a safer bet for someone who prefers a more utilitarian writing tool
7. Nib Material
The material of the nib is just as important as the style. Because it is ubiquitous and inexpensive, the most popular nib material is steel, but people often complain that the coarse material scratches paper, so gold is a common alternative. Platinum, which isn’t as rough as steel, but provides a more solid writing experience than gold is becoming another popular nib material option.
8. Size weight and balance
Much like a sword, the size, weight and balance will help determine a writer’s skill with his pen. Some fountain pens are weighty, top heavy and wide; others are thin, balanced and light. They come in a variety of packages, so try them out and figure out which combination of attributes works best for you.
One of the main reasons that people switch to fountain pens is because of their flashy style. You are making an investment in your fountain pen, so don’t feel guilty if you finding yourself more interested in the look than the nib type. Their styles are extremely varied, so take your time.
Fountain prices are as varied as their styles. Some are priced at ten dollars, and others carry price tags closer to a thousand dollars. Before deciding on what fountain pen features and accessories that you have to have, consider what the cost will be.
Now that you know…
Now that you are an expert in fountain pen lore, it is time to go out and find the pen that works for you.