PEN HISTORY The traditional quill fountain pen was replaced by the now well know fountain pen in 1884 when Waterman devised a way to avoid the constant need to dip the quill pen into an ink bottle. The fountain pen remained supreme until the ballpoint pen took off in popularity around 1947. The inventor of the ballpoint pen was Mr. John J. Load, a citizen of the United States, residing at Weymonth, in the county of Norfolk and Common Wealth of Massachusetts, patented the first ballpoint pen. The first patented ballpoint pen was registered in the US as No. 392, 046 on October 30th, 1888 by Mr. John J. Load.
Fountain Pen Care
Taking care of your fountain pen[s] is not very difficult. First, simply follow the instructions the manufacturer gave you for the maintenance of your pen. A pen loves to be used! Ink in a fountain pen will flow most smoothly when the pen is used on a regular basis. When writing, use a constant pressure on the nib avoiding pressing down hard or excessively as that may damage the nib. Often, a problem with writing may just be due to the fact that the pen needs to be cleaned and refilled. Cleaning you pen is simple: Empty the ink using your converter or built-in filling mechanism to fill and flush the pen with cool water, repeating this process several times until the water runs clear. Wipe excess water from the nib using a soft cloth to dry it. If the pen is very clogged, fill the pen with cool water, leave the uncapped pen soaking overnight in a glass of cool water with the nib facing downwards and entirely submerging the nib in water. When not using your fountain pen, store it in an upright position with the nib facing up. Remove the ink and clean the pen with cool water as noted above if you will not be using this pen for a week or two. Make sure your fountain pen is capped when not in use so that the ink will not evaporate or become thicker. Make sure you use good quality paper when writing with a fountain pen as paper that is too coated will not absorb the ink well and if too fibrous may actually clog your pen. Traveling with your favorite fountain pen is only a small challenge. You can either completely fill you ink resevoir [making sure not air is trapped] and cap it securely or empty the resevoir entirely.
Fountain Pen Nibs: You've all had the experience of buying ballpoint pens from the same manufacturer. One may write quite nicely and the other one skips or doesn't feel right in your hand! Fountain pen nibs are different as well. A nib, besides its size [fine, medium, wide/broad] should be flexible as well as durable. Does the nib fit your writing style? Variety "is the spice of life". Most accommodating to different handwriting styles are nibs that have a rounded or smooth tip. "Stub" or "oblique" nibs are not rounded. Nib sizes are determined by the shape of the ball and are either fine, medium, or wide/broad. How you write, your pen "speed can factor in your choice of nib. If "slow & steady" is your pace, then a fine nib may work best for you. A fine nib is also great for writing numbers, i.e. accounting work. If you pace is more into "third or fourth gear" when writing, then try a medium or wide nib. More ink will flow over the paper with these nib sizes. Want your signature to stand out? The larger the point size, the more ink your paper gets. A broad or wide nib will give you that "John Hancock" look to your signature. Left-handers who "push" the pen might find the regular oblique nib good to use. If you are a leftie who "pulls" the pen, the reverse oblique nib might be a better option. Right-handers who write with a distinct angle might also find the oblique nib to be to their liking. Make my nib out of?. Want gold? Great, it is available and is terrific looking. However, it, being a softer metal than iridium will be more fragile. Iridium, being harder, is less flexible and is more durable. Try both and see which fits your needs best. I really do not know enough about the various nibs used in calligraphy to make any intelligent comment on them. I'll leave that to my calligraphy enthusiast friends to give you their opinions. Each nib, even nibs of the exact same size and composition, will write in their own distinct fashion. Try a few different types and enjoy the difference! Have any favorites of your own to share? Send them via mailto: firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll add them on here. Thank you!
Filling Fountain Pen from a Bottle of Ink:
Many of you may never have had the pleasure of filling a fountain pen from a bottle and this is a new experience for you. Never fear, not as hard as it seems, but it can be messy. Go ahead and place your ink bottle on an absorbent surface in case of a spill and grab a pair of gloves to put on your hands in case you get a little generous with the ink. Take the fountain pen nib with the ink converteor in the nib block. Place the nib into the ink well. Make sure that the "feed" area behind the nib is completely submerged in the ink itself. Expell all of the air out of the convertor by twisting [or pushing if that type] the plunger counter-clockwise. Get all the air out. Now draw the ink into the resevoir by twisting the plunger clockwise. You have successfully filled your pen with ink. Wipe off the nib with a clean cloth or sturdy absorbent paper. Put the fountain pen nib/convertor back into the body of the pen and away you write!
INK SELECTION What a terrific way to use your fountain pen! Many different colors of ink to choose from. What to pick? Base your own choice on the color preferences that you have. Brand-name recognition should not be a main factor in your selection. If your preference if for brightly colored inks, you might find that using them in a dedicated pen for those colors will be the best way to use that pen. Use a specific pen for the specific bright color and you'll be happier than trying to clean the pen of a darker color and switching back and forth. India Ink is one that should never be used in your fountain pen. This type of ink contains a lacquer product. That lacquer can seize up the mechanism in the fountain pen resulting in irreversible damage. Have a great time looking at all the terrific ink colors available. INK CARTRIDGES Many fountain pens will take an ink cartridge besides using the converter. The following brand-name pens use full sized cartridges: Aurora Lamy Parker Waterman Most other brands, including Cross, Delta, Mont Blanc & Caran d'Ache use a smaller or min-cartridge [also called "standard international cartridge"]. If you have a fountain pen that use a full size cartridge, you can substitute a mini-cartridge into the barrel by doing the following: first, take one mini-cartridge and place it narrow side down into the barrel, then you may plug the other mini-cartridge into the nib. This will create a snug fit.
Ink & Stains
Ballpoint ink�yes it does stain! Place the garment that is stained face down on white kitchen towels. Blot with a commercial stain remover designed for ballpoint ink or use rubbing alcohol. Rinse, then launder. Gum & perfumes from hairspray, which some people recommend for ballpoint ink removal, can cause their own problems. Alcohol is the important element. Fountain pen ink is ammonia soluble. Various commercial cleaners are available. Try simply using Windex as this may work very well without irritating your hands. Another commercial product that has received some great reviews is "Amodex". It has the consistency of a lotion and is gentle on your skin. A recent tip received from a customer is as follows: "Several years ago, a ballpoint pen leaked onto a lace bedspread. All I knew at the time was to spray it back and front with cheap, wet, drippy hair spray. I sprayed and cold-water washed [did not dry in the dryer], sprayed and washed some more,probably about 4-5 times. It did a great job of getting rid of the stain"
Have any of your own tips to share? Just send them mailto: email@example.com and I'll put them into this free "tip" for the future and for others to enjoy.
Pen Choice: Which is the right pen for me? As in most things, it is a matter of taste. Your taste will and has changed. Remember those "bell-bottom" pants or the "latest" women's hairstyle of the '70s? Often times, it is a little trial-and-error experimentation. Try different pen brand and different fountain pen nibs. A "fine" nib that works great for accounting purposes and writing numbers won't look as good when writing your signature on a letter or when taking notes as if you would use a "medium" or "wide" nub. Different ink colors will make your writing experience even more fun and exciting. Think of how your Christmas cards would look if signed in a brilliant red or stunning green! There are many various shades of blue and black inks for your fountain pens that will make your documents stand out. Your pen choice must also fit your wallet. No, not literally, but buy affordable pens and do not over spend your budget. Tell your family and friends about that "expensive" fountain pen you have had your eye on for your birthday, anniversary or Christmas gift. A fountain pen's weight is also critical. If too heavy, your wrist and hand will feel fatigued after some writing. Too much ornamentation on the cap, while looking pretty fancy, may just weigh your pen down too much and not make the balance right for your hand. Choose a pen that "sits right" in your hand, especially with the cap on the barrel of the pen. The cap itself should stay on the pen without difficulty and especially stay on when you are writing. The clip of the pen should be sturdy and functional. Think of how you will be carrying the fountain pen,in a shirt pocket, inside coat pocket, purse or carry-all? Think ahead when selecting a pen as each has its own type of ink capacity. A piston reservoir will need close watching. Cartridges, while portable, may not always flow easily onto the paper. A pen that can hold both a cartridge and has a converter might be a better selection for you. Great thing about fountain pens is the fact that you do have many choices and that there are many options. Jump in! Get a fountain pen you think you would like and take it for a test drive. One ink may work well with that pen and may not with another one of your pens. Different "strokes" for different pens. Enjoy the journey.
Have any favorites of your own to share? Send them via mailto: firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll add them on here. Thank you!
Collecting Pens: What makes a fountain pen valuable? Answer that and get the key to your own treasurer box. I tried collecting in the past. My passion as a younger man was both stamp and coin collecting. I found out that I pretty much always bought at the high-end of the market and, for some unknown reason, was only able to sell back to the "experts" when the market was down. Barely made any money on those, if any at all. My opinion on collecting is pretty simple. "Collect" those fountain pens [or anything else] that you like. If they gain in value, terrific. If not, you'll still have years of great writing from them. What nicer gift to give your grand-daughter or grand-son than a pen once owned and loved by their grand-mother or grandfather? I know I would love to have one from any of my grandparents. How can you place a price on a fountain pen like that?
Have any favorites of your own to share? Send them via mailto: email@example.com and I'll add them on here. Thank you!
Pen Terms you may not know
Pen Terms: Ink supply: Reservoir: area within the pen which holds the ink. Built-in-piston: installed device to draw the ink into the reservoir. Converter: removable piston attached to the feed. Cartridges: disposable, pre-filled ink containers which attach to the feed. Pen Body: Nib: actual writing tip of the fountain pen; usually has two equal sides [tines] separated by a slit. -sizes: fine, medium, broad/wide -tip is usually rounded and made of gold flexible, softer]or of iridium [more durable, harder]. -nib may have an angle [oblique nib and reverse oblique]; good for left-handed people if you "push", use the oblique nib and if you "pull" your pen, use the reverse oblique. Feed Unit: located underneath the nib. -regulates the flow of ink from the reservoir. -usually made of hard rubber [vulcanized] and usually has multiple grooves to increase the surface area and decreasing the chance that ink would flood the pen. Barrel: the largest part of the body and it will hold the reservoir and does connect to the nib.
Gel Ink Stains
From a Passion4Pens.com client who wanted to share his experience and knowledge with all of us comes some suggestions as how to clean stains from "gel" ink.... "After my last mishap I think I have found how to clean them. It may take 2-3 washings , a lot of rubbing alcohol poured on (like a whole bottle used in the last mishap), and non-chlorine (colorsafe) bleach poured directly on the ink stain right after the alcohol during the last wash, got the ink spots out of most of it. It seems extremely important to take care of the ink stains while the clothes are WET. I think this is probably because the gel is water based, and because gel ink doesn't readily dissolve after it dries." I would be interested in finding out how this works for you or if you might have an additional suggestion.
Pen Manufacturers Service Departments
This is certainly not an all-inclusive list and is presented to you in hopes that it will make any repair problem a little easier to handle:
Caran d'Ache 1-718-482-7500
No USA repair facilities all pens to be sent to: Cleo Vertrieb Jahnstr. 12 19336 Bad Wilsnack Germany
Conway Stewart Luxury Brands: 1-770-881-7131
David Oscarson 1-636-458-4345
S.T. DuPont 1-800-341-7003
Ferrari da Varese 1-877-707-4681
Grayson Tighe 1-905-892-2734
Hampton Hadden for Sheaffer for Waterman 1-215-438-1200
Kaweco Luxury Brands: 1-770-881-7131
Parker 1-800-BEST-PEN; 1-800-523-2486
Platinum Luxury Brands: 1-770-881-7131
Retro 51 1-800-466-1951
Stipula email: firstname.lastname@example.org Think 1-847-215-0011
Great tip from Spain!
Dear Sirs, another way to keep the nib up, I have been using since my student years (45 years ago!) of chemistry at the university, is using a stand for test tubes (they were made with nice wood, and now with PVC, PMM, etc.); you have the pens at stand up position, and with a perfect look order on every one. regards from Barcelona. Victor M. Serra / President of the CPC/Catalonia Pen Collectors/Organiser of the Barcelonapenshop.com [name and all information here with the expressed permission of Mr. Serra]
Another Passion4Pens.com,Inc client's tip!
Hello, Another tip for ink that is dried in an older fountain pen: soak the nib in vinegar. I have had some great success with this technique....Frank
Difficult ink flow:
Dip the nib in rubbing alcohol (once the cartridge is in and has been squeezed. The ink will often flow down. This should help start a difficult flow whenever you use either a standard international size ink cartridge or "long" cartridge.
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Replacing or Inserting Ink Cartridge into a Fountain Pen
For those of you who are new to inserting ink cartridges into your fountain pen or you just need a refresher, here is some information from a You-Tube Video. Just copy and paste into your search engine to view....
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