Buying a pen or fountain pen: everything about the stationery + buying tips

Fountain pens have been used for years. You may not see them appear as much as a ballpoint pen, but the writing comfort is much better according to the users. There is a good chance that you first came into contact with a fountain pen in education. Years later, you decide to look for this refined pen again. Very understandable, because this pen is very popular for personal use as well as for a unique gift. We list all the important things!

Pens: which types can you choose from?

There are a number of different types of pens. Think of a fountain pen, a ballpoint and a rollerballpoint. Chances are that you use a ballpoint the most at home, at work or at school. Oil-based ink comes out of the ball in the tip of the pen, so the ink doesn’t smudge.

A fountain pen contains water-based ink. This allows you to write more fluently than with a ballpoint pen. In addition, this pen has a more classic or more luxurious appearance, which means that the pen is often used on special occasions. A rollerball pen combines the two pens: it works like a ballpoint, but writes like a fountain pen.

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What is a fountain pen?

A fountain pen is a pen where you write with liquid ink. As a writer you can fill these with ink yourself by means of an inkwell or ink cartridges. The fountain pen is different from a ballpoint pen, because you cannot refill the ink yourself with this second type. The big advantage is that you can use a fountain pen for much longer, and you don’t have to throw the pen away when the ink runs out. You simply refill the ink, and then you can put words on the paper again.

How does a fountain pen work?

You are probably used to writing with a ballpoint pen, but a fountain pen writes better and feels better in the hand. The writing instrument has few parts and consists of two parts that can be screwed or clicked together: the body and the cap.

When you take the cap off, you will see a metal plate that can be bent. This will be the nib of the pin and is fixed to a cylinder. That cylinder comes out of a holder, and behind it is a tube. It is precisely that tube that is important, because it leads to the ink reservoir in the holder.

When the nib pen was invented, people called it a fountain pen because you no longer had to dip into an inkwell. It just came out as if there was a fountain of ink as a source in the pen. Hence the English term ‘fountain pen‘ is.

How do you write with a fountain pen?

If you are used to writing with a ballpoint pen, you will have to get used to having a fountain pen in your hands. Remove the cap first, then grasp the pen with the hand you use to write. You hold the pen between your thumb and index finger, with the pen itself resting against the middle finger. Place your other fingers on the paper so that you cannot slip while writing.

You then place the tip on the paper at a 45-degree angle. This angle is so important because the fountain pen has a pointed tip as opposed to a rounded tip on a ballpoint pen. You need to control the pen with your hand to stay in the correct position. To do this, move your arm and shoulder. Keep your fingers and wrist stiff. You don’t need to use a lot of force to get ink out of the fountain pen. Therefore, carefully place the tip on the paper and practice writing.

Refilling ink from a fountain pen: what should I do?

Refilling a fountain pen can be done in three different ways. This depends on the type of pen you have: a loose-fill pen, converter fountain pens, or piston fountain pens. Below we describe the differences and how you can refill the ink.

Fountain pen with loose refills

This first loose-fill pen is the most popular and also the easiest to fill. You throw away the loose refill when it is empty, and you exchange it with a new one by opening the pen.

Converter Fountain Pens

Converter fountain pens, on the other hand, are refillable with ink, so you don’t have to throw away a refill every time. For this you use, as the name suggests, a so-called converter.

Piston fountain pens

The piston fountain pen is very similar to the converter fountain pen. The biggest difference is that you don’t need a converter to refill the ink. A piston fountain pen has its own built-in filling system, which makes it even easier to refill your pen with ink.

Fountain pen nib with different thicknesses
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How did the fountain pen originate?

About 4,000 BC, during excavations from Egyptian tombs, objects very similar to fountain pens were found. Very little is known about how these objects work. The Romans used objects whose function was clear. The pens they used were made of bamboo with a sharp point. The inside was made rough, so that the ink slowly slid down through the channels of the bamboo.

The more famous predecessor of the modern fountain pen is the quill pen. Fun fact: you could only grab one of the first five feathers of a goose wing. In addition, right-handers had to take a feather from the left wing and vice versa. It was not until around 1850 that a mechanic built a fountain pen that closely resembles today’s pen. And even though the world is digitizing more and more, the fountain pen is still extremely popular!

Borrowing a fountain pen: do or don’t?

It used to be that a fountain pen went to your hand. A good reason not to lend the pen and keep it all to yourself. With the advent of the ballpoint pen, we are used to pressing harder on the pen to be able to write. As a result, the fountain pen has been developed over the years, and the nib has been made stronger.

The advantage is that the point breaks less quickly, but the disadvantage is that the point is no longer adjusted to your hand. You will therefore have to come up with something else to avoid having to lend out your fountain pen. The ‘excuse’ that the point will change to another hand is a fable these days.

Popular fountain pens of the moment
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The most popular fountain pens of the moment

There are many different brands of fountain pens in all price ranges. Some well-known brands that have been used for years are the Parker pen, the Lamy pen, Bruynzeel and Waterman. We describe some of these brands to introduce you to different options.

Lamy fountain pen

Lamy is a family business and has been around since 1930. They not only design fountain pens, but also have ballpoint pens and rollerball pens in their range. The Lamy fountain pen is mainly known for its unique design. A recurring feature is a quality stainless steel or gold nib. Are you left handed? Lamy has developed pens with a cone-shaped nib for this, which makes writing very comfortable. The Lamy pen ‘Safari’ is a very popular version, which is known for its lower price and correct quality.

Parker fountain pen

The Parker Pen Company has been around since 1889. Since that time, the company has developed many innovative systems to Parker pen to make it even better. Think, for example, of the anti-leak system ‘Lucky Curve’ or a filling system that can hold twice as much ink. Today well-known versions of the fountain pen are the Parker fountain pen Vector and the Parker fountain pen Sonnet. Thanks to years of experience and innovation, these pens remain popular worldwide.

Buying a fountain pen: all buying tips at a glance!

There are several factors to consider when buying a fountain pen. Of course there are cheaper models, but also very luxurious fountain pens that are provided with a personal touch down to the last detail. It starts with determining your budget. After this, it is especially important that the pen fits comfortably in the hand. Make sure that you buy the right pen if you are a left- or right-handed person.

Finally, there are different thicknesses of a nib. A thinner nib allows you to write smaller, while a thicker nib can be used for other purposes. The most suitable pen is therefore very personal and trying it out ensures that you discover your favorite fountain pen!

Buy luxury fountain pens
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Dahee Jeoung
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Buying a pen or fountain pen: everything about the stationery + buying tips