Fountain Pen Books – Peter Twydle: Fountain Pens

Initially, this book surprised me. Not to put too fine a point on it, it’s a very generalist, introductory publication, and the hobby is already well-served by books of this standard. I wondered why Mr. Twydle, a second-generation pen repairer with many years of experience, would choose to write such a book. The answer lies in the publisher: Crowood Collectors’ Series.

The Crowood Press publishes books on collectables, everything from British Army Cap Badges to Vintage Radios, some comprehensive, others introductory. No doubt they have a template for introductory works, and it is this format that Mr. Twydle has had to conform to. Given his background I feel sure that Peter Twydle has a great fountain pen book in him; sadly, this is not it.

The book has chapters on understanding the fountain pen, its history, brief notes on some of the manufacturers, guidance for collectors, pen care, and how to choose a pen to suit your hand and writing style. There is an appendix on Arthur Twydle, Peter Twydle’s father. He was a pioneering pen repairer who taught many of the current generation of British pen repairers and restorers.

With a list price of £19.95, it’s an inexpensive introduction to the hobby for an absolute beginner. It can be found deeply discounted at Amazon Marketplace and Abebooks. If you are completely new to the hobby and would like to see a general overview before you commit, this might provide an inexpensive entry for you. Otherwise, put the money towards something more specific and informative.

4 thoughts on “Fountain Pen Books – Peter Twydle: Fountain Pens

  1. What do you think are some other good choices for general introductions for newcomers to the hobby? And can you recommend a few that move beyond the generalist vein? I recently got Fountain Pens and Pencils, after seeing it well reviewed in several places, and while the pictures are nice, and clearly that counts for a great deal, the text and actual information is pretty sparse.

    And it seems from some of the comments you’ve received that you sell pens, or have in the past. Do you have a website, or online selling presence? Thanks!

  2. Hi Matt,
    I haven’t seen Fountain Pens and Pencils. Mechanical pencils are fairly poorly covered so doubtless that book will be useful from that viewpoint, at least.

    In my view, it’s best not to spend much time or money on the purely introductory books. Something like Jim Marshall’s Pens & Writing Equipment, which I discussed some posts back, would really be all anyone needs in that way. There are some generalist books that are really useful. The Chronicle of The Fountain Pen by João Pavão Martins, Luis Leite and António Gagean (also reviewed earlier) is in this category. Getting down to monographs, there’s the recent book on Conway Stewarts which I wrote about a few posts back. There are also relatively recent studies of Waterman and Mabie Todd. I haven’t seen those and opinions vary as to their quality.

    I restore pens and sell them on eBay. Unfortunately I’m experiencing some fairly serious health problems which are likely to get worse before they get better, with the result that I haven’t been selling since April, and it looks like it may be a few months before I begin again.


    1. I’m sorry to hear that. We’ve had health issues here recently as well, and I know well their effects on time and energy. Hope you’re feeling well soon. I’ve had another chance to look around the blog a bit more, and it’s excellent. I hope you can keep it up during your recovery. I’ll subscribe, and look forward to learning more from you. Strange how fountain pens can go from completely irrelevant to utterly consuming almost overnight.

      1. Sorry to hear you’re having troubles as well. Glad you like the blog.

        I’m not posting quite as often as I was, mainly because I’m not doing restoration, so not seeing so many pens. I’ll keep plugging away though.


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