“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”
Although they may lack some of the convenience of more modern writing instruments, writing with a fountain pen can be a great pleasure and can often improve one’s handwriting, as little downward pressure on the nib is required. But also, fountain pens often have very pleasing designs and decoration, which makes them very collectable.
I am from the generation brought up to write with fountain pens and in my youth ballpoint pens were still considered unacceptable in schools and in many other situations. Indeed, early ballpoints were not good writers, requiring a fair bit of pressure on the paper, to the detriment of handwriting. (Even today, for casual note taking, I much prefer a rollerball). At primary school, we were taught to write with dip-pens fed from inkwells at every desk. Ink Monitors would be tasked with refilling these from large stone jars of ink. We learnt to write in Marion Richardson script, which was a good introduction to ‘joined-up writing’. We were then allowed to use our own fountain pens at school. My father had a Parker 51, which would have been quite expensive, but we were given cheaper Conway Stewart ‘school’ pens. Both my parents had excellent handwriting in the classic cursive style and at around the age of 11, my father taught me to develop my handwriting along the lines of his, though I’ve never quite mastered all the loops and flourishes.
Given my interest in fountain pens, it is perhaps surprising that I have little clear recollection of what pens I used down the years, until 1985 when I bought a Parker Arrow Flighter pen and pencil set. Before that, I think I must have used various cheap models of fountain pen from makers like Conway Stewart (now very collectable), Platignum, Osmiroid and maybe the odd cheaper Parker. Of these, only the Osmiroid and Platignum calligraphy pens survive.
During my time in business, there we many ‘corporate gifts’ received, but with one or two exceptions, these would always be ballpens or ballpen and pencil sets; fountain pens had ceased to be fashionable. Some other cheap fountain pen gifts were disposed of when they fell apart.
On this site I have displayed most of my pen collection and provide some comments on them. Aside from Parker pens which were produced in several countries, I have grouped the pens by country of manufacture, though there is still the problem of a British pen made with a Chinese body and German nib…
I hope you enjoy the site.