Many moons ago my husband and I used to mentally put together the ideal motorbike. If I was to do the same thing with vintage fountain pens it would be something like this:
Starting at the pointy end, I like exposed nibs for two reasons (1) Gold nibs are things of beauty and (2) with a hooded nib I have to check that I’m holding the pen properly every time I use it. There’s a fashion for flexible nibs these days but I don’t subscribe to it. Firm and fine is how I like my nibs though I do occasionally use a medium if it’s a good one and I like stubs, oblique or straight.
I like a section with a good “stop”. Again, this rules hooded nibs out because of their slippery hoods. The barrel (and section) should be comfortably thick. Very thin pens give me pain after a short while. I’m not talking about huge modern pens or even Swan sixes or eights. Swan pens bearing number two, three or four nibs are good
Filling systems are not so important that they become a deal breaker. The note-taker on my desk can be a piston filler. Otherwise I prefer a pen that holds less ink. That rules out eyedropper fillers too though I do admire the early ones. Sac fillers, Leverless, lever or button are ideal for me. There are some inks you’re not supposed to put in sac fillers but I’m in the fortunate position of having replacement sacs to hand – not that I’ve had to replace sacs often.
I prefer a pen with a clip to stop it rolling off the desk. I like threaded caps. I don’t care about colour. Nice patterns don’t make pens write better. You can be sure that the colourful pens I have were chosen because they’re great writers. Not that it matters much but I have a slight preference for black.
My Leverlesses, 0160 and 1060 are all black. My Parkers are almost all black button fillers, the exception being a Lapis Lazuli Duofold Junior and a mixed colour Frankenpen. And an English Duofold Junior that fills by the Aerometric system.
That’s a quick outline of my pen preferences. Other factors will come in too but that’s enough for a discussion. What are your preferences?