I've loved fountain pens forever. After a recent bout of serious pen cleaning, I am indulging in some refilling, and am trying some new inks. For years I thought the pen was the thing. I've never owned a really expensive pen, at least not the kind serious fountain pen collectors pursue. But looking at the motley assortment above, I can see that a bit of pen greed has indeed sneaked in through the years. My standard solution to "this pen isn't writing the way I want" has clearly been "oh well, I'll buy another one."
I'm pretty sure my love affair with fountain pens started when I changed piano teachers in 7th or 8th grade. My beloved first teacher, Mrs. Claire Stewart, was retiring to full-time momdom, after producing a series of blonde babies in my first years studying with her. Somehow my parents discovered that the 'famous' Dr. Raymond Foote, who was reputed to be a higher level teacher, lived just across town from us. Though he was rather intimidating as a teacher (I later found out he had studied at Juilliard with Rachmaninov himself), I was fascinated by his studio and above all, by his pen!
An unspoken rule for musicians is to mark printed scores using pencil only. But Dr. Foote used a fountain pen! He wrote the date IN INK on the top of each new piece I studied
Somewhere I found and bought my first fountain pen, a cheap Sheaffer, and I filled it with the closest color I could find to Dr. Foote's ink: 'Peacock Blue'. I thought it was very romantic-sounding and grownup. I even thought the way I got ink all over my fingers whenever I changed cartridges was romantic.
Good thing, too, because 50 years later, I still get ink on my fingers most of the time when I refill a pen. And, silly me: I still think of it as romantic.
My ink collection is small, but that can be changed:
Who doesn't need a little extra mojo now and then?
Dull name, pretty good ink.
and the classic
Here's a new ink, and a new-to-me company. J. Herbin, making ink in France since 1670. No fooling.
I don't speak French, but I see Black Pearl, Blue Night, Wild Ivy, Golden Button, Tender Rose, Anchor Rust..... be still, my heart. I am smitten. I feel a wee ink order coming on.
After a protracted fling with calligraphy nibs (Osmiroid! Esterbrook!) in company with my wonderful college roommate, Mara, I devolved back to regular writing nibs in the early '90's and moved beyond the basic drugstore cartridge pen.
Although I am currently having a love affair with a new Lamy Vista demonstrator pen (clear barrel so you can see the ink supply), the bottom pen in this photo,
my fave of faves is still Li'l Blue, a small Pelikan pen.