Fountain pens

· general ·

When I was bemoaning the state of my handwriting a while ago and asking for advice on how to go about improving it, several people suggested that a good pen — particularly a fountain pen — helps a lot. While my handwriting has improved a lot as a result of all the good advice I got, I felt that a good fountain pen would probably make it even better — or at least more comfortable.

I've had a Lamy Safari fountain pen for a number of years, but I've found it to be a bit unreliable as far as ink flow goes. It also has a rather broad nib, and forms a rather wet, blobby line on the paper in my Moleskine. So I decided to splash out on a decent pen. After a lot of shopping around, and writing "The quick brown fox..." in a slightly embarrassed fashion on numerous pen shop testing pads, I settled on the Rotring Newton. In fact, this is the very pen that Lyle recommended in the comments of my post.

I love the sturdiness of this pen. It's very solid metal, and looks as if you could run over it in a tank without ill effects (to the pen). I like to think that if I'm ever in a super-villain's secret underground lair with some huge stone door about to crush me, I could probably save myself by wedging the door open with the Rotring. Happily, it also writes very well. It is — as Lyle pointed out — nicely weighty in the hand, and I find that this helps the stability and regularity of my writing a lot. The nib is very smooth, and the perfect 'three bears' happy medium between a smooth but wet broad nib and a dry but scratchy narrow one.

I don't like cartridges (they always seem like a waste of money and hassle to get hold of) so I bought a convertor to use bottled ink. It took a couple of goes to fill the pen from dry, but the flow is now very even and reliable. To complete my conversion to fountain pen fanaticism, I've even ordered a couple of bottles of Noodler's Ink on the recommendation of several people on the 43folders list.