You may have noticed that over the past few months I have introduced a few new pens among my more usual vintage fare. I much prefer old pens. They have a history that we can research and talk about and sometimes they even have a provenance. There’s undoubtedly a romance about older pens that have been someone’s daily companion in a way that rarely happens now. Cell phones, perhaps, but fountain pens are no longer that most personal of personal possessions that they once were. New pens, it seems to me, lack a whole dimension simply because they are new and have not accumulated history.
That said, in my easily diverted way, I will often find my eye caught by something about a new pen that I find appealing or admirable or just plain interesting. If it’s cheap enough I’ll buy it. The “cheap enough” limitation is an important one; you’re not going to find an Omas or a Montegrappa suddenly appearing my blog. Not unless I win the lottery, which is quite unlikely considering that I don’t buy the tickets. However, cheap but good pens will appear from time to time, and maybe even cheap and bad. So far, I must say, I’ve been quite impressed with the quality of several of the low-cost modern pens I have bought. I’ve had a couple of Pelikan’s school pen offerings and they’ve been very impressive. Even some of the Chinese pens that have come my way seem much better than than their predecessors of ten years ago which were, really, not worth having at any price. The Italix pen I wrote about some weeks ago was very good and would have been a keeper if it was lighter. It was just too heavy for me to use for any length of time. However, some fountain pen users these days like a heavy pen so it has had no difficulty in finding a market.
There’s another point in the favour of new pens like the Italix: they’re providing employment and they’re a start-up opportunity for entrepreneurs. That’s something I approve of and would wish to support. I’ll never do that writing only about pre-1960 pens.
Fear not, though. This does not herald a major change of focus in this blog. My interest, nay, my obsession, lies with the older pens. Most of my posts will be about Swans, Conway Stewarts, (no, not the new ones), Mentmores, De La Rue Onotos, Parkers, National Securities, Stephens, Summits and all the other glories of the British fountain pen industry of yesteryear.