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?
“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,