An Introduction to Fountain Pens
Despite my heart’s deep desire, fountain pens aren’t named so because they squirt inks into the air. 😦 Or even because they were found at the fountain of youth. A fountain pen is called a fountain pen merely because it has a reservoir of ink for a continuous flow rather than constantly dipping them in ink as opposed to dip pens. The first guy to be credited with the invention of fountain pen was Petrache Poenaru in 1827.
The Fountain pen writes with ink delivered through a metallic nib (stainless steel, gold, iridium,titanium etc). The ink is stored in a hollow body which rests on the writer’s hand. It may be made of metal or plastic. The ink may directly be stored in the body or in a cartridge/converter. The primary force that sends the ink to the nib is our most hated physicist Newton’s Gravity and Capillary Action.
Now, what makes a fountain pen different?
Many reasons actually. It is eco-friendly, lots of customisations of body weight, nibs types and inks are available. It adds a certain style to your personality. Fountain pens have that rustic old charm even when they are made of cutting edge technology. Fountain pens force you to slow down and pay attention to what and how are you writing. It is temperamental, lasts a lifetime if taken proper care of, will be a great conversation starter and will become a writing companion to you, if you let it be.
But none of the above compares to holding a pen in your hand that isn’t disposable. The mere act of holding that pen is what I might say, transformational. The ritualistic process of refilling and flushing (a fancy term of washing) your pen, the weight of the pen, the unique design of the writing nib, the ease of ink flow, the body that reminds you of a love tucked away in the corner of your heart makes you want to write things out on a paper. Get yourself a quality paper and fancy ink and you’ll feel the poetry of motion. This might even inspire you to write poems/letters dedicated to your loved ones, or even make you want to write that book you always wanted to write.
I get it, not all of you would like to have a writing instrument with a personality. Just give a try and who knows? Maybe you’ll find yourself in a lifelong affair. It’ll definitely give your signature and your handwriting some metaphorical weight.
A fair bit of warning though, the pens come in variety of costs, sizes and nib types. Make sure to do a bit of research before spending a lot of money on a pen that you turns out to not be what you have imagined. Or even worse, you might become an addict and start hoarding various types of inks and pens. Keep in mind, the pen is not an end. You need a decent quality paper and ink to truly enjoy the writing instrument. A basic information on how the ink flows through the veins (feeder and nib) of the pen, typical issues like nib drying, ink being too wet or too dry on the paper, false starts, jumping, etc will make your life a bit easier.
If you are one of them who use pens just of a quick note or doodle, or just plain hate any maintenance on your writing instruments, but still want to upgrade your writing instruments, by all means use a gel or a ball or a roller pen. If you feel that you are comfortable with pens and still want to level up, buy a dip pen or use feathers as quills. Don’t blame me if it proves to be too demanding.