Help for picking fountain pens

Discussion in 'General Attire & Accoutrements' started by Phil, Aug 5, 2006.

  1. Phil

    Phil A-List Customer

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    I do love fountain pens, they add a touch of class to what I write and they just feel more classy. Anyways, I was hoping I could get some help on selecting a practical fountain pen. Right now I have a Scheaffer fountain pen. It has a plastic body, a nice nib with a fairly even ink flow. I like it, but I feel like I am writing a symphony with a crayon sometimes. I can't afford a very fancy one, but I am looking for a practical pen that can last me for a while. So, I'm open to your suggestions and pointers.
     
  2. Daisy Buchanan

    Daisy Buchanan My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    Hemingway Jones and I a few years ago discovered the Waterman Phileas fountain pen.
    It writes beautifully, has a choice of fine or medium point, a lovely gold and silver color nib, and comes in a variety of colors. We got the fine point, and are quite happy with it. Don't think I would want anything thicker. To top it all off, they are very reasonably priced. The most expensive I've seen it is $50. They usually can be found for between $32-$39. For Wateman quality, and it is quality, that is a superb price. I have the roller ball too, it's quite nice, but I like so much about the fountain pen. It has a sort of romance to it, it is elegant.
    We both bought ours at Staples, but I just checked out their web site and they only had the roller ball version. So, I would suggest doing a search under "Waterman Phileas". Could not find it on Amazon anymore either. But did find a few pen shops offering it.
    Here's the link to Waterman's description of it, and a picture. They do make it in a variety of colors; marbled green, red, blue and a classic flat black as well. This is how they describe them "Waterman Phileas Collection: PHILEAS takes its inspiration directly from the Art Deco period, with its oblong shape, cigar band ring, its 23 carat gold electroplated, engraved nib and stylish clip. A journey in time through the world's most beautiful colors. Phileas is available in fountain pen, rollerball, ballpen and select 0.5 pencil. All Waterman pens have a worldwide lifetime warranty."

    http://www.waterman.com/sanford/consumer/waterman/collection/collectionDetail.jhtml?
    Here's a link to a few nice pen shoppes that have them in stock
    http://www.dalyspenshop.com/store2005/product.asp

    http://www.pendemonium.com/pens_waterman.htm
    attributeId=WATERATT1000012&currentType=WATATT10001
    [​IMG]
     
  3. Katt in Hat

    Katt in Hat A-List Customer

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    This repost shoud start you off. PM John in Covina

    Thread: My humble entry into fountain-pen life View Single Post
    04-14-2006, 07:01 PM #1
    adamgottschalk
    One of the Regulars

    I took note of a list that John in Covina posted a while back, a list that summarized nice vintage pens and had them assorted in to categories from "working class" to "high end." I've been working my way up the list, having selected target pens in each category. Mine are:

    Working Class: Esterbrook J
    Medium low end: Parker Parkette
    Medium high: Eversharp Skyline
    High: Parker Duofold Senior

    So far I've gotten an Esterbrook--$25 from Pendemonium, and a Parker Parkette--$19.75 on eBay. Here's pics:





    The Esterbrook is set up so you can screw whatever (compatible) nib you want onto it. Mine came with a medium nib. I bought a Venus (not Esterbrook strictly speaking) fine nib and put it in. I found ink started to gather a little around the base of the nib. I thought, oh, it's a cheap nib, it probably doesn't fit quite perfect. So I put the Esterbrook medium nib back in. Same thing. I talked to Sam at Pendemonium today and she said, a) that can happen, oddly enough, when the pen is running low on ink, b) with climate changes, c) if the nib isn't screwed in tightly. I filled it full again. and made sure the nib was nice and tight. So far so good. The Ester has Parker blue-black Quink in it.

    The Parkette was more of a gamble, as the seller couldn't tell me much about it. I lucked out. John told me to first test it by trying, gently, to fill it with water. If the lever (this is a lever filler) was smooth, he said to fill it with cold water and let it sit for an hour to check for leaks. All good so far. Then soak the nib for 20 minutes--John recommended 1 part 409 to 3 parts water; as I'm a poor cheapskate who doesn't have any 409, I used Simple Green I happen to have. Then flush "a whole bunch" with cold water. I filled and emptied the pen probably 10-12 times; at first a little bit of blue ink was coming out of the pen, then that turned to black ink, then finally all clear. I let the pen sit for a minute or two, wiped it dry. Filled it with Pelikan Brilliant Brown ink...and she's a writin' machine.

    I'm not sure, but the nib on the Parkette might be set up for a lefty of something. I can't tell if it's scratchy or not, but I do notice that it writes much more smoothly if I write with my right hand at and exagerrated angle, almost perpendicular to the writing line. Maybe the nib needs some work?

    Thanks for the guidance into fountain pens, John in Covina! The Eversharp Skylines, next on my list, seem to be available in good condition for no more than $35, so I might get one of those after the next bank deposit.
    __________________
    I cannot too often repeat that Democracy
    is a word the real gist of which still sleeps.
    --Whitman
     
  4. Dixon Cannon

    Dixon Cannon My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    Meisterstuck...

    Back in 1966 my Dad gave me a Parker fountain pen for school. I still have the red beauty today after using for years. In 1983 I read an article in an inflight magazine about a German company and their Meisterstuck pens. That company was Mont Blanc.

    My girl at that time bought me a Mont Blanc that has become a rare collector's item now - a Noblese. A year later we visted Salzburg, Austria where I purchased a Meisterstuck for myself - that was 1984 - I still carry that pen everyday of my life. It is what I use to write.

    If you're asking me what fountain pen a gentleman should consider for purchase, despite all the Cross's, the Waterman's and the Parker's, I will always suggest the Mont Blanc Meisterstuck.

    [​IMG]

    Mont Blanc now has stores in most major cities where all their pens are on display. They will allow you to write with them and they'll demonstrate their quality. Take a look at them here: http://www.montblanc.com/products/26.php

    -dixon cannon
     
  5. Daisy Buchanan

    Daisy Buchanan My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    Mont Blanc makes a beautiful pen. My dad has carried one since I was a child, and my grandfather carried one as well. But, if I recall, I know this is a long term investment, but aren't they quite pricey?? Do they make a resonably priced, very nice quality, entry level fountain pen? It was my impression that that was what Phil was looking for. If they do, I'd love to get one. In our research we couldn't find one, and that's why we went with the Waterman, which by the way is amazing for it's cost. Wouldn't lose any sleep if I lost it, and as the description says, it's Art Deco inspired, quite beautiful. But, it would be nice to know if I missed something in my searches and there is a well made Mont Blanc at such a reasonable price??? I have always wanted to have one, but too risky with the way I lose pens.:D
     
  6. Mike in Seattle

    Mike in Seattle My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    My everyday workhorses are Lamy. I've got a medium point with black ink for things I have to sign in black. Everything else I use an extra-fine point with brown ink. I've always loved the look of brown ink on ivory stationery. I got the medium point at Borders Books for, I think, $25. That's for the pen, a converter (so you can use bottled ink), a couple ink cartridges and a case. Mine are the Vista line - clear so you can see how the ink draws up. The Safari line is exactly the same except in brighter colors (yellow, red & blue) and the Al-Star is brushed aluminum in a couple colors. What I like about the Lamy line is they're relatively cheap and will take a beating, plus have converters so you can use bottled ink, and most important for me, you can get them with extra-fine, fine, medium & broad nibs. One of mine is 10 years old, the other about two years, and I've also got a Safari that's closer to 15 years that I haven't used in several years mainly because the pocket clip snapped off.

    Waterman Phileas are also relatively inexpensive (about $35), come with converters, and great quality for the price. Most stores only carry the medium nib - they say others are available, but seems like nobody can get the fine. They look a little more "vintage." I've also had and liked Shaeffers but they're a little more expensive. They're also a lot heavier in a shirt pocket.

    Cross also makes fountain pens, but personally, I've never liked the feel of their pens when writing. They don't seem to flow well - they seem to really drag across the page. It's hard to explain - it's not "scratchy" and the ink doesn't skip but it just seems to take more effort.

    Also...it takes a little while before a pen's broken in and you feel comfortable with it. If someone else uses it, it's going to take awhile before it feels "back to normal" when you use it. I can pick up one of my pens and I immediately know my partner's borrowed it to sign something in a pinch.

    And I recently broke down and ordered a Mont Blanc Meisterstuck - it'll be here Monday. But that's something I consider a long-term investment. I've wanted one for years and my partner gave me a long-needed little shove for getting it. As he said I know how to take care of a pen, this'll last me a lifetime and every now and then, you owe yourself a little extravagance. But it's definitely not an "entry-level" fountain pen by any means.
     
  7. Polyhistor

    Polyhistor Familiar Face

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    Austria
    I second the Phileas!
    I myself don´t have one, but everyone who does seems to be very happy with it.

    Depending on how much you want to spend, I would suggest you also take a look at Pelikan pens, especially the M200. I too was looking for some pen that would last me for years and couldn´t afford one of the more upscale models, so I opted for the 200 and I´m still happy with it (in fact, I bought a second one this summer, one´s now filled with Waterman Havana Brown and one with their Blue-Black).
    The Pelikan is a piston filler, though, so if you´d like to use cartridges, the Phileas would probably be your best bet.
     
  8. scotrace

    scotrace Head Bartender Staff Member

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    Hooked

    The Fedora Lounge has brought about many new interests (and expenditures!) at my house, Fountain pens being one.
    I now have two Esterbrooks, two Watermans (Phileas) and a Parker Duofold ca: 1929. I'd really like to get my hands on a Pelikan.
    My inks are Pelikan blue-black and brown, and Noodler's black for writing checks and signing documents. I have been unable to make this ink smear or run under a steady stream of cold running water, or after soaking the paper unti it falls apart.
    Trvia: A character in the new King Kong is carrying a brand-new Waterman Phileas.
     
  9. Hemingway Jones

    Hemingway Jones I'll Lock Up Bartender

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    Scott, which of your pens do you prefer?
     
  10. SGB

    SGB One of the Regulars

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    Fountain pen collecting

    I have a lot of vintage fountain pens, as well as a lot of contemporary ones. I have the whole Mont Blanc line in black, Meisterstuck included, as well as a bunch of new Parkers, Lamys, Waterman, etc. I collected seriously around 1989-1991. Three years ago I went to the SF Pen Show to sell off a chunk of the collection of the vintage stuff, and was I in for a surprise. The prices have dropped tons, apparently when I was collecting it was the "Golden Age" for pen collecting, price-wise. My pens were now worth about 1/2, and I have some nice ones, almost all restored and working. My Blue Diamonds were worth 50% of what I paid, so I kept them all. I traded off a few, but nothing significant. The good thing is pens don't take up much space, my roll-top desk is crammed full, dangerous to open it, but at least all the pens are basically in one place. My favorites are the more colorful ones and the original mint boxed sets, as well as my Grandmothers restored, engraved, Gold conklin she used in Grammar school.

    Generally I wrote with a Mont Blanc when I did a stint in retail, impresses most people, but they are not really my favorite nor collectible for me. But, they are available everywhere and easy to get. I used to use a new Parker Duofold a lot too.

    SGB
     
  11. Daisy Buchanan

    Daisy Buchanan My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    They do sell a fine point, and it writes beautifully. Check out the links in my earlier post, those will get you to the fine point version. For some reason they are no longer offering the Phileas at Staples and other large shoppes.
     
  12. Aaron Hats

    Aaron Hats Vendor

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    Does it matter?
    My wife bought an Aurora a few years ago from Colorado Pen. It's this pen except it's red, http://www.coloradopen.com/product/1095/153. The red color has since been discontinued.

    About a month ago she dropped it the wrong way and something inside broke. She called Colorado Pen and they gave her instructions to send it back with a check ($12) to cover shipping. She called last week to check on the status and the pen is in Italy being repaired. Great service.
     
  13. The Reno Kid

    The Reno Kid A-List Customer

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    Another vote for the Waterman Phileas

    I have one and I plan to get another. I have never used the plastic cartridges so I can't tell you about them. But the pen comes with a piston reservoir that makes it easy to fill from a bottle. I recommend the fine point, as the medium is quite wide compared to other makes. It's a very nice pen with a great vintage look and feel.
     
  14. Dixon Cannon

    Dixon Cannon My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    Repairs

    My Mont Blanc began to crack where the two components screw together on the barrel. My car seatbelt rides across it. I took it to the Mont Blanc store at a mall in Phoenix. They replaced the treaded fixture with a brass one, replaced the inner cap clutch and cleaned the pen - all for no charge - while I waited! The Meisterstuck has been worth every penny I paid for it 22 years ago and it seems to be guaranteed into it's next life in this new century!!

    -dixon cannon
     
  15. scotrace

    scotrace Head Bartender Staff Member

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    Small Town Ohio, USA

    I enjoy writing with the Parker the best as it is a family heirloom I had restored. But I find myself always reaching for the Esterbrooks. A very smooth line and the pen is a beautiful weight and size. They are inexpensive to buy as well (I bought a matched 1947 vintage pair in blue with leather holder for around $25).

    The Phileas' are loaded with Noodler's and I use those for writing che(que)cks. The Esterbrooks are so slim that the Phileas feels like a horse's leg by comparison.
     
  16. The Reno Kid

    The Reno Kid A-List Customer

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    Hey, that's a feature!lol

    But seriously, the size is one of the things I really like about the Phileas. It feels substantial.
     
  17. Phil

    Phil A-List Customer

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    Iowa State University
    Thank you!

    Wow, thank you all very much. I only expected mabey 3 or 4 replies. I'm am actually beside myself with joy. With all this newly aquired knowledge I have from this thread, I should be able to go out to a nice pen shop and make a very wise investment. It sounds like there are a lot of good pens out there. My grandfather has a very old Mont Blanc pen that he's had since WW2. Actually, I visited my greandfather today. Sadly, he is dieing, but he told me words that I will never forget. He said," If this is the last time that we speak, I want to leave you with what I think is important for you to know in life. Every respectable man needs a nice suit, a nice formal hat, a good fountain pen, a loving wife, and most importantly, a good, strong set of morals and beliefs." So, for his funeral my mother is buying his suit, but because of what he said, I'm buying him a fedora and will stick his pen in his jacket pocket. He was a respectable man in life, and will be in death. What I'm trying to get at is that this advice that you all have given me is choosing the pen that I may keep for the rest of my life may too be buried with. I know it's a morbid thought, but I'm trying to say that all of you have contributed to my future success.
     
  18. Daisy Buchanan

    Daisy Buchanan My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    I just wanted to let you know that you and your family are in my thoughts. Your Grandfather sounds like a wonderful and smart man. I think your buying him a fedora is a lovely act that will be treasured by all those affected by this loss.
    My condolences to you and your family. May you find some peace during this trying time, and may all of your fond memories bring some light into your lives.
    Please take care, and keep us informed as to how you are doing.
    Daisy
     
  19. Dixon Cannon

    Dixon Cannon My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    Honor

    That's what Gents and Ladies do! And you are amongst 'em here. Thanks for honoring us with your presence. :eusa_clap

    Kindest Regards,
    Dixon Cannon
     
  20. Phil

    Phil A-List Customer

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    Thanks again. Daisy, I can not thank you enough for such a kind gesture. Dixon, you are one of the greats. It's amazing how we have never formally met in person, and yet we can be so close and caring of one another. For this, I would like to than you two and everyone at the Fedora Lounge. This is truly a fine establishment:eusa_clap .
     

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