Back when fountain pens were what everyone used, people only ever had one pen, not a boxful as most of us have today. I suppose for many people any pen would do so long as it worked but we are more selective than that, aren’t we? What would be your everyday pen, the only pen you would have? I think we should leave boring modern pens out of it. Select any vintage era where vintage = whatever you think it does.
There are so many pens with different wonderful qualities to offer. If I was especially concerned about the quantity of ink my pen would hold it would have to be an Onoto or even a Ford Patent Pen, but actually I don’t mind filling my pen occasionally. Most sac fillers hold more than the average cartridge, so that’s enough for me.
Colour and pattern might distract me. I do appreciate the wonderful patterns that Waterman produced in the 30s and especially the subtle 1920s and 30s Swan patterns. Post-war Conway Stewarts have a colourful glow to them as well.
But colour won’t decide which pen I choose. The nib is what the pen is about. I would want something firm and fine – at least as fine as a Japanese EF. Not many of the major manufacturers produced nibs as fine as that in the vintage years (my vintage ends at 1960). In the late 30s Waterman (or actually Altura) produced an accountant pen with a near needlepoint nib. A plain-looking pen, invariably in black so far as I’m aware. That would be my one and only pen