The Joy of Writing With a Fountain Pen

My two fingers on a typewriter have never connected with my brain. My hand on a pen does. A fountain pen, of course. Ballpoint pens are only good for filling out forms on a plane. (Graham Greene)

The Joy of Writing With a Fountain Pen

I have fallen in love once again. I am having a beautiful affair getting to know all the wonderful things about fountain pens. My mother who wanted me to develop good penmanship first introduced me to the fountain pen when I was about 9-years-old. I do not remember much about that particular pen just that it was black with a silver cap, and I do remember it being a Sheaffer. It had a little lever on the side. When you inserted the nib in a bottle of ink and pulled the lever ink went into the pen. I loved writing with it.

I had several fountain pens after that and each one was a treasure to me. The more I used them to write the more I fell in love. The various fountain pens went with me through high school, college and my first job. I had a wonderful little collection of them. At some point they because less popular as ballpoint pens flooded the marketplace. I kept my little collection of pens for many years; however, at some point during a move they were either lost or stolen. It was several more years before I was able to find one in a little out of the way resale shop. Fountain pens are personal instruments and over time will get use to the hand pressure of the one person who is majority user, therefore, they should not be passed around the way other writing tools might be. Luckily, there was no evidence of anyone ever having used it. It did not take long for my interest to peak and I slowly begin to collect them again.

A Little History

The history of the fountain pen dates back to the 10th century and writing instruments long before that when cave dwellers sharpened stones to crave symbols and drawing to communicate with others. However, the fountain pen, using ink, revolutionized writing and continued to evolve as inventors kept improving on each new discovery.

Early on pens were filled with eyedroppers, slowly and painstakingly. As pen designs improved filling the pen with ink became easier, and the eyedropper was replaced with the button filler, the click filler, the lever filler, the matchstick filler, and the coin filler and finally the easier and much cleaner cartridge was introduced.

I am enjoying my journey of both using and learning about fountain pens. I do not know anymore than what I have found on the internet but it is very interesting to read about, and see the different pens through the ages.

A Dying Art

The art of writing notes and letters has all but died. The computer, internet, cell phones, smart phones, texting, emails, and sending electronic cards have replaced the “personal” in “reach out and touch”. Except for my grandchildren, I cannot remember the last time anyone sent me a card or letter through the United States Mail service.

If you have not experienced writing with a fountain pen you really should try it. It is unlike anything I can describe. Your writing takes on a new purpose and you begin to want to sit with paper and pen to capture the words that must escape from their hiding place. I usually have two in my purse and use them for everything from jotting down ideas to writing grocery list.

I recently decided to purchase a fountain pen for each my grandchildren to help them improve their penmanship. It did not take them but a minute to think they possessed something really special. They each now have their own little collect of pens they enjoy using for writing and drawing.

There was a golden age of fountain pens when everyone owned at least one. Now, it is as much a luxury as it is a love of the feel of it gliding across a sheet of paper. I've made myself a promise to to send an actual hand written letter to a few friends to get their reaction. I know it will be a good one. Do you remember what it felt like to go to the mailbox and a letter was there waiting for you to read?

Final Thoughts

The material came bubbling up inside like a geyser or an oil gusher. It streamed up of it’s own accord, down my arm and out of my fountain pen in a torrent of six thousand words a day." (C.S. Forester). It would be wonderful if this could be the case for all writers.

Using a fountain pen is different, it feels different….it just somehow feels better. Mark Twain, in a letter to the Writ Fountain Pen Company, Oct. 11, 1898 wrote, “With a single Wirt Pen I have earned the family’s living for many years. With two, I could have grown rich.”

Love to all,


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Comments 15 comments

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Chris Hugh 4 years ago

I love writing with a fountain pen. It just makes it fun. I've got a Waterman and a couple Lamy. If people want to be green, fountain pens are the way to go over disposible. You just buy ink. Another advantage is people are too intimidated to try to borrow your pen.

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Dee aka Nonna 4 years ago Author

I like the Lamy pen that I have. It writes really smooth. I love them all, but do have a couple of favorites that I use if I'm going to write a lot of notes, etc. Thank you so much for stopping by and leaving a comment and I hope you will visit again.

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moonlake 4 years ago from America

I use to love writing with a fountain pen but my writing has gotten a little crazy never looks good. I do most everything on the computer, except for signing cards. Nice that your grandchildren like them. Voted Up

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Dee aka Nonna 4 years ago Author

Thank you moonlake for reading and commenting. I've been doing some research today and took most of my notes with one of my fountain pens.

Thank you for the vote. I so much appreciate you and your thoughtfullness. Take care.

alocsin profile image

alocsin 4 years ago from Orange County, CA

I love the look and feel of fountain pens but a problem I've had with them is that I always get ink on my fingers and on spots in the paper. I seem to be the only one with that problem. Voting this Up and Interesting.

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Dee aka Nonna 4 years ago Author

Hey alorsin, I've had that problem as well. I think it has to do with the pen or the nib not fitting properly. Thank you so much for stopping by and leaving a comment and thank you for the votes. I appreciate you very much.

Tonipet profile image

Tonipet 4 years ago from The City of Generals

Hi Dee. What a wonderful article. Using a fountain pen is truly different, because it carries a sway of elite-"ness" and the most envied "prim" when it come to writing something. I don't know, that's just how I see it, lol. Perhaps because it's smooth and graceful.. could be!:=) Thanks for this.

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Dee aka Nonna 4 years ago Author

Tonipet, I so agree with you. I have had young people ask me "what is that" when they see me writing with a fountain pen and those who know what it is always look at me like I just might be someone special. Love you comment. Thank you so much for reading my articles and for taking the time to comment. Made my day.

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Edward J. Palumbo 3 years ago from Tualatin, OR

We share an appreciation of fountain pens! I enjoyed your article and your perspective. Definitely interesting!

Dee aka Nonna profile image

Dee aka Nonna 3 years ago Author

Thank you Edward J. Palumbo for stopping by and reading about my affair...LOL. I do love fountain pens. I have two on my writing desk that I use most often. I carry two in my purse, and they are in various placed throughout the house. I also have a collection that I keep in a special box. I am happy that you have an appreciation for them as well.

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Many Moods 2 years ago

My husband I recently became interested in fountain pens and now we each own several! I'm still learning how to write with a lighter grip and it's somewhat of a struggle because I grew up using ball point pens and never really learned how to hold a pen gently! But I love all of my pens and it's turning into kind of an addiction! Not only that, but there are so many lovely inks and papers!

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Dee aka Nonna 2 years ago Author

Hi Many Moods and welcome to the world of fountain pens. I love your comment that they are turning into an addiction......because I became addict some years ago. I have so many that I have to rotate the use of them. However, I do have many that I just use for display because they are older and kinda delicate for use. Thank you so much for your comments and yes there are lovely, lovely inks and papers.

Edward J. Palumbo profile image

Edward J. Palumbo 24 months ago from Tualatin, OR

Many Moods, There are pens and inks that suit your mood and writing style. You will have favorites, pens that seem to "fit" and bring out the best in your penmanship or better express your mood. I'm pleased that you enjoy fountain pens; they are very personal instruments. You may find that the bond paper often used for printing resumes (curriculum vitae) are greta for fountain pens, or you can print lined paper on your printer if you use the paper of your choice. Enjoy every bit of it!

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Dee aka Nonna 24 months ago Author

Edward J Palumbo....Thank you for that wonderful comment to Many Moods. Most people who discover the fountain pen fall in love. Since writing this article I have added several to my collection. I adore them all.

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Many Moods 24 months ago

Thanks Edward. You're right! What I love is experimenting and discovering different combinations of inks and papers that work well for me. I do switch between pens and some are easier than others. I particularly like my Safari with the italic nib. A very nice person on Fountain Pen Network sent me ink and paper samples! I discovered that some inks flow better and some papers are easier to write on than others. And I have actually been printing lines onto my favorite practice paper, HP laser jet presentation 32 lb. It's a bit heavy for stationery, but very smooth and relatively inexpensive.

Gradually, my grip is getting better, but I have to concentrate. It's very easy for me to slip back into my old habits, and that's frustrating!

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