1 A slice of History
Writing Tools improved through the age, from basic Feather pens to nib pens (or Fountain pens), men have always tried to improve his writing instruments.
Before the art of writing was only known by a few people, with the development of knowledge and education the needs for a practical fountain pen that would not stain or leak has exploded.
Wikipedia tells us that we found traces of the first nib pen in Maghreb in the second half of the 10th centuries. But we have to wait nine centuries and discover three major inventions: free flowing ink, hard rubber, and iridium tipped gold nib, to finally create performant fountain pens.
Recognised by the public, fountain pen makers started to mass-produce in the 1870’s 1880’s, and it is a now well known mister Waterman who won the race of the fountain pen manufacturers until the 1920’s.
Around 1950’s 1960’s Foutain pens sales slowed down due to the development of the ballpoint. Nowadays fountain pens can be considered as status symbols since some brands started to advertise them as luxury items.
As we will discuss it more down below, Fountain pens can be real pieces of art using the latest techniques and the finest materials.
This serves the fountain pens cause, in fact a little like F1 cars are used by car makers as research and development, luxury fountain pens write the story of their kind.
In French: Pour plus de détails sur l’Histoire du stylo plume jetez un oeil sur fruitymag.
2 Visual Presentation
Sometimes images speak more than words, here are three videos to know more about Fountain pens.
This video presents the different parts of a fountain pen and its making process :
A classy Montblanc corporate video introducing their manufacturing process in 35 steps:
A Namiki corporate video about the “art” of Maki-e :
3 My perfect FP
There is no such thing as « The » best foutain pen, since that is really depending on ones tastes.
Large hand writers usually choose longer pens.
Light or heavy? Then again, as I said before, it is completly personal. If you use a pen all day, for example, if you are a calligraphy artist or planning to become one, a lighter pen could eventually bring you more fluidity and comfort considering the long writing hours.
The nib :
Different needs + differents budgets = different nibs.
First, the material from Stainless steel to platinum, nibs makers are using different materials. Gold is mostly used since the 19th century among the High standards fountain pen manufacturers. Gold is in fact resistant and much better to corrosion. It is used in various proportions (Reminder: 24K gold is what we call « pure » gold since it litteraly means 24Grs of Gold per 24Grs of material).
But Gold can also be a soft material as more gold = more chances to see your nib bend easily.
14K Gold is a good compromise regarding to softness, durability and cost (for more details about nibs material).
The shape of the nib
The more lenght gives us flexibility, nowadays most nib manufacturers sell hard nibs since they are simply more durable for most users. They are widely used among beginner writers.
The lenght isn’t the only aspect to ensure flexibility. In fact the smaller the iridium point will be, the more flexibility you will get since iridium is known as the hardest steel that exists.
Just remember, long nibs usually are more flexible if combined with the right materials. So naturally, it will give experienced writers more freedom on the paper.
Now Let’s move to the types of writing:
Here, again it is completly personal. You have a picture below which shows you the differences between different types of nibs on the paper.
For the most perfectionist people, you may be intrested in creating your « perfect » fountain pen. Many retailers propose customized pens such as :
Last tip The important aspects of ink and paper:
Depending on the way you like to write, slow scolar writing or fast more contemporain writing, the ink fluidity and the type of paper you are using really matters.
Usually wet pen makers sell drier inks. German manufacturers Montblanc, Lamy and Pelikan are the three major pen makers which introduce the set to their clients.
But after Reading all this above, you should know that only yourself can define what’s best for you. So the best way is to go ahead and experiment as much as you can.
As I mentioned before, very flexible nibs pens are usually associated with very fluide ink. As you can imagine, this is quite risky to be used for slow writting since you have more chances to see your lettering turned into « drops ». It is important to find the right combination regarding to the results you are trying to achieve.
Hope you will be able to hand-write like a real calligraphy master, here is a little video to help you identify your own style :
4 Legendary Fountain pens:
Now we are entering the exciting section for those who would like to invest. To understand a little more about the perfect matching pen and how some iconic pens became legacy, here’s a video for you.
Montblanc Meisterstück 149 Probably the most recognisable Montblanc since Roger Moore used a solid gold one to kill Christopher Lee in “The Man with the golden gun (1974).
Albert Einstein was apparently using a Pelikan 100 (N or C debate is still on among aficionados!), he was carrying it in 1940 for his U.S citizenship celebration day.
Paulo Coelho advertises Montegrappa, he was the face to promote this special pen.
Parker 51, occupies a place in the design collection of the Museum of Modern Art.
Barack Obama Official signing pens, a long- held U.S Presidents tradition:
To see all the pens that were used by U.S Presidents you can check this website: http://www.loringpage.com/attpensetc/penbookupdate.html
5 Famous brands
Many Fountain pen makers propose limited edition pens.
As we all know rare = expensive, and this combinaison attracts investors. Many vintage Founatin pens can actually sell very well on the auction market, see the archives of Artcurial, the number one auction place in Paris.
But of course, these specific items can be very pricy and only few people on earth can afford them. Here is a list of the most expensive Fountain pens ever.
Most expensive pens in the world are:
1. The most expensive fountain pen in the world in 2013 is the Aurora Diamante with a retail price of $1, 470,000.00.
2. The second most expensive FP of history is Caran d’Ache 1010 diamonds and was sold for $1,000,000.00.
3. The third most expensive FP is The Heaven Gold Pen design by a lady (Anita Tan) for a Lady for $1,000,000.00.
Just for fun, finally let me introduce you to the smallest functional fountain pen (appart from nano pen) and it can also be a necklace!!
To find out about the up coming Pen Events :