Some among us fountain pen users take the matter very seriously and regard the use of a ballpoint as a form of treachery. What, then, do we think about using the earlier technology, the dip pen? Am I now a miserable traitor to the fountain pen cause because I have dipped into dip pen use?
In truth I’ve tried to use a dip pen before. Unlike those a little older than me I didn’t use one in school but I bought a few nibs and a handle a few years ago and proceeded to make a terrible mess. Very disappointed, I laid them aside.
Recently a friend (thanks Paul) gave me a variety of nibs and a different style of handle. The handles I had used before were very thin. less than a wooden pencil. This one has the girth of a fountain pen – much better. However the nibs didn’t work for me, not even the famous Macniven & Cameron Waverley. They took enough ink to maybe write a three-syllable word and perhaps a conjunction or an article and then it was time to dip again. Also, after dipping, even after removing the excess ink against the top of the bottle, the nib at first laid down too much ink, then too little. I’m sure the expert dip nib writers among you are holding their sides laughing by now.
Then I saw a nib with a curved piece of metal over the nib itself. I tried that one and the difference was immediate: the sun came out from behind the dark clouds and I faintly heard Beethoven’s Fifth! Each dip of the ink provided enough ink for a line and a half. The ink was laid evenly. No great streams of ink on the page.
I wrote a letter; two sides of an A4 sheet. Not a blot! I have mastered the dip pen! Of course the ethics and morality of what I have done is another matter. I do hope that hundreds of you are not leaving my blog in disgust at my infidelity, never to return…