Sunday Ramblin’

There are so many options with fountain pens: an unlimited range of brands, firm or flex, fine, medium, broad, heavy or light – I’ll stop before this gets too boring. The main divide in the pen world for me is vintage and modern. Most people reading this have an interest in old pens, I should think, but I know that there are a few who like new pens too.

Most of the pens in my box are old ones. As you would expect most of them are British – Conway Stewarts, Swans, English Parkers, an Onoto, an Altura Waterman among many others. There are a couple of US Parkers of different vintages, several German piston fillers, mostly prewar, and 60s/70s Japanese pens, if that’s not too modern to be considered vintage.

I use modern pens also, mostly low-cost (but excellent) Japanese pens. I’m writing this with a Sailor Lecoule and I also have modern Pilots and Platinums. I have a Waterman Carene, too – a great modern pen. And then there are the mechanical pencils, mostly Fyne Poynts by Mabie Todd.

What do you use? Are you vintage only and spit upon any modern pens you see? Or maybe both, like me? I think it’s unlikely that I have many readers who only use modern pens but I’ve been wrong before and maybe I am again!

16 thoughts on “Sunday Ramblin’

  1. Most of my pens are modern, I do have one vintage waterman which was perfect when I got it but now it gushes ink, so I’ve done something wrong. I hope to try more vintage as and when I cn afford it.

    1. I would also heat set the nib and feed and if the section is hard rubber you can heat it gently and sort of roll it between your thumb and index finger to heatset/form the section to the feed and nib.

  2. In my carry, is a beat up PFM5, with a wonderful stub oblique nib, a maroon Pelikan 120, nice flex nib and a Chinese Parker51 demonstrator vac clone. All different, which is the joy of fountain pens.

  3. I unintentionally began my collection decades ago at architecture school with a Lamy Safari and was focused (but with no specific direction) on modern inexpensive pens. About 15 years ago my father in law gifted me an Omas Gentleman one Christamas, my wife a Parker Duofold for a birthday, and then a year ago my son gifted me a M1000 for father’s day. Since then, I have had two passions; bespoke US pens (Atelier Lusso, Tailored and Brady; waiting on a Newton) and vintage, since unboxing four from my parents and grandparents (two Parker’s, a Sheaffer and an Esterbrook). My purchases since, have been English and German from 1930’s to 50’s (with one pen from 1904, an Aristokrat), predominantly black, and with an eye on the furniture in particular (clips & bands). What a great community of people the collectors are. Diverse, encouraging and friendly. BTW I use my pens, many of them (about 25 inked at present), each day in my profession.

  4. Mostly Swans, including an Eternal from the 1920s that writes as well as anything modern and some of the big black pens from the 1940’s. I have bought modern pens recently as collectable vintage Swans have become so expensive. I have a Pelikan M805 that must be the best pen ever made and two Chinese Duofold “tributes” that cost next to nothing but look good and write well. Also several Italix pens, beautifully made and the vintage items of the future. And finally a handsome Kaweco Dia 2 that refuses to write, whatever I do to it.

    1. That is a shame about the Dia! I think we might differ on modern Pelikans – I haven’t found one I like. Your collection of Swans sounds good and interesting. I have one of those Chinese Duofold tributes on my desk at the moment. Height of cheek and yet a very good pen that I have used since I got it some weeks ago.

  5. My collection of over a couple hundred pens is almost completely vintage, before the 1960s. I currently have 3 modern pens in my active collection. A Danitrio, a custom made demonstrator, and a Visconti which I had a hand in it’s coming into being. I prefer before the 1960s. My youngest”vintage” are pens such as the Sheaffer PFM. My collection spans the Big Four , Pelikan, Mabie Todd which is a brand I have absolutely fallen in love with, and Conway Stewart.

    Anything from the 60s on really does not capture my attention with the exception of very few. For instance, I had a Pelikan, M805 Stresemann And Visconti Dark Ages that I fully regret getting rid of but I got vintage pens in exchange that I absolutely could not pass up. I shall have those two again someday!

  6. I have a twisbi, I use it for my pocket book as I am now slightly forgetful. Its not a pen for elegant writing but is does for quick notes and it does not require filling very often. its better than a biro (just)

  7. I mainly use a Parker Junior, e.g. to write a daily diary, but I also have a Chinese pen which writes well, bought from you ;)) I used to write with a Lamy Safari daily, and before that with a Parker Slimfold, but I have largely switched to using gel pens at work. I normally write with older pens. I have a wonderful Pelikan 400, which writes well with a broad nib, and some Conway Stewarts (a couple of 15’s). My Parker 45 is good, but it occasionally leaks. I also like pens which have some sentimental attachments – Dad gave me his school Wyvern Perfect Pen (which I keep meaning to have repaired, since the sac has perished) and a blue Parker Duofold, bought for him by Mum in the early 1960’s from a small shop near College Green, Dublin. I have also kept my own school fountain pen, which is a black Platignum Cadet. There can be few items which can be bought at relatively low cost, but which give so many years of reliable service as a good pen.

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