My Ideal Pen

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?


2 thoughts on “My Ideal Pen

  1. Deb šŸ™‹šŸ»ā€ā™‚ļø To prevent a reply comment that could end up longer than your post,

    The red ripple 52s and Swan SF230s in red woodgrain pretty much have all my preferences rolled into one.

    I’m very partial to the bhr early MT eyedroppers, especially around the time they started putting the flared section on too …

    And for me it’s XF-BB+ flexible gold nibs ( not that I hate firm ones , I have lots )

    We seem to share quite a big overlap in our taste in pens šŸ–Œ

    Interesting blog as always šŸŒ¹

    1. Hi Rob,
      Indeed we do have some overlap. Red ripple 52s and MHR SF230s are among the most attractive of pens. The only broad nib I have is a Lamy stub that I use for addressing envelopes. I really admire Swan eyedroppers but I don’t use them. You have to keep them quite full to avoid blobbing and I’ve lost patience with all that.

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