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How To Buy Your First Fountain Pen

How To Buy Your First Fountain Pen


Writing by hand and with using a fountain pen stays elegant, even in fashionable occasions. At the moment’s information will stroll you thru methods to purchase your first fountain pen, issues it is best to take note of, issues that don’t matter, and anything that you simply need to know to discover a pen that fits your wants, your fashion, and your character.

After I grew up in Germany, we needed to drive with fountain pens at school. Within the US today, younger youngsters don’t have to jot down with a fountain pen, ever. So, why would you need to spend money on a fountain pen within the first place? Properly, it’s a really conventional elegant option to write, and the nib, which is the tip of the fountain pen that you simply write with, can provide your handwriting a really particular look.

A very unique handwriting look using a fountain pen
A really distinctive handwriting look utilizing a fountain pen

So, regardless of whether or not it’s a signature, a word in your journal, or a thanks word, it actually enhances the character of your handwriting and makes it tougher to faux, particularly if in case you have a particular nib. In spite of everything, the pen could be mightier than the sword, however within the first place, it’s a must to purchase one so you may truly make it occur.

1. Decide How You Intend To Use Your Pen

So, the very first thing it’s a must to do earlier than you exit and purchase a fountain pen is to find out the way you’re going to make use of this pen, and what you’re going to jot down with it.

A more personal take on using your robust fountain pen
A extra private tackle utilizing your sturdy fountain pen
One can use a pen stand at home
One can use a pen stand at residence

Let’s say you intend to hold the pen with you each day together with your EDC. Properly, in that case, you want a extra sturdy pen that may stand up to each day use and abuse. On the identical time, you most likely need it to look elegant and refined, as a result of folks will see it, and it’s considerably an extension of your outfit. Alternatively, for those who solely plan to make use of your pen at residence, possibly you want a pen stand, and you’ll have one thing that’s extra fragile as a result of it gained’t be subjected to the identical use on daily basis.

You positively need to pen this snug to carry and which doesn’t make your hand cramp. Sure, you’re not going to get a cramp for those who simply put your signature down on a receipt, or in a card, or in a contract, but when it’s a must to write for 5 hours, that may harm. In spite of everything, you don’t need carpal tunnel, do you?

Using a black and gold calligraphy fountain pen.
Utilizing a black and gold calligraphy fountain pen. [Image credit: Mirabellemakery]

Let’s say you need to get into calligraphy. Properly, now there’s a complete set of nibs, weight distributions, grips, and so forth that enable you obtain the look that you really want. However these fountain pens are very completely different out of your on a regular basis fountain pen, for instance.

Lastly, possibly you by no means actually need to write together with your fountain pen; it’s simply there to impress for just a few signatures. Properly, in that case, go all elaborate and get one thing that displays your character and elegance.

2. Set A Funds

A variety of fountain pens from the most expensive one to the least.
A wide range of fountain pens, from the most costly one to the least.

Mainly, there are fountain pens in each value class underneath the solar. You’ll be able to spend a whole bunch of hundreds, or just some {dollars}. I might say, with regards to fountain pens, there’s an enormous distinction between an affordable fountain pen and a cheap one.

We did a information for greatest fountain pens underneath 100 {dollars}, so you may test it out and get some particular suggestions there. We additionally did a publish on a section between 100 and 300 {dollars}, in addition to one on the Mont Blanc Meisterstück, which, today, prices north of a thousand {dollars}.

Signing an important document using this popular brand Mont Blanc Meisterstück 149
Signing an vital doc utilizing this common model Mont Blanc Meisterstück 149

In case you’ve by no means heard of it, the Mont Blanc Meisterstück 149 is the pen that most individuals have used to signal vital paperwork, contracts, and so forth.

Is It Price It? – Mont Blanc Pens

So, the following time you see a politician or some vital particular person signal one thing, take a better look. Likelihood is, they’re utilizing a kind of pens. I’d say, once you decide your funds first, and don’t go overboard. If that is your first pen, don’t spend an excessive amount of; get type of conversant in it, see for those who prefer it, and you’ll all the time spend extra afterward. You can too promote your outdated fountain pens. There’s all the time a marketplace for that.

Raphael personally like to use a smaller fountain pen that has extra fine details.
Raphael personally likes to make use of a smaller fountain pen that has additional superb particulars.

Additionally, it’s a subjective factor. I’ll love an EF nib and a smaller pen as a result of I’ve a smaller hand, and it fits my writing, and you might hate it. So, simply because another person likes one thing doesn’t imply you’ll. For those who’re something like me, the primary pen might be not your final one.

3. Analysis Respected Manufacturers

Fortuitously, the web is stuffed with fountain pen fanatics. You will discover large YouTube channels and web sites like The Ghoulee Pen Firm or small blocks like The Gentleman Stationer, who’re actually enthusiastic in regards to the matter, and speak about completely different manufacturers and types. So, relying on how a lot you need to analysis, this is usually a good first step.

The Gentleman Stationer is one of many fountain pen enthusiast you can find online.
The Gentleman Stationer is certainly one of many fountain pen fanatics you will discover on-line.

Sure, there are smaller manufacturers that I’m positive make wonderful fountain pens, however in fact, you even have bigger model names which have been within the fountain pen enterprise for years, and you’ll know what you get there.

For well-known manufacturers, for instance, you may have a look at Mont Blanc, that are positively pricier however carry a sure status. However there are additionally different manufacturers, like Cartier, Caran d’Ache, Faber-Castell, Lamy, Pelikan and so forth,   which all make wonderful pens.

Mont Blanc pen website
Mont Blanc Pen Web site
Browsing through Cartier website.
Cartier Pen Web site

My very first Mountain pen was a Lamy one which price 5 {dollars} that I utilized in elementary college. My first upscale fountain pen was an Omas 360 that I purchased on eBay. Because the expertise wasn’t a lot nicer than my five-dollar fountain pen, I bought it once more on eBay for a revenue.

A fountain pen that has a cufflink lead Raphael's interest into business.
A fountain pen that has a cufflink led to Raphael’s curiosity within the enterprise.

So, I give up my paperboy job and purchased and bought fountain pens, and someday, I got here throughout a variety of Mont Blanc fountain pens that contained some cufflinks, and that sparked my curiosity in basic menswear, which then led me to begin the Gentleman’s Gazette. So, right here you will have it — the fountain pen began this enterprise.

For those who’re extra on a funds, taking a look at smaller manufacturers equivalent to Kaweco or Ancora is usually a actually nice option to get a variety of worth to your cash. Additionally, when you get a grasp on completely different manufacturers, you see for those who like a sure aesthetic, or the supplies they use, or the detailing on them. Once more, it’s a really private factor. Some folks just like the outdated black Mont Blanc fountain pens, and others need one thing extra unique.

On a budget scale you can use Kaweco brand,
On a funds scale, you should utilize the Kaweco model. [Image credit: Kaweco]

4. Analysis Respected Sellers

Why is that? At a time when you should buy just about something on-line, why would you need to go to an precise retailer? Properly, sure you may analysis all kinds of issues; specs, sizes, materials, content material, and so forth on-line, however once you maintain a pen, how the load is distributed particularly in your hand, and the way in which you write just isn’t one thing you may perceive by simply doing on-line analysis.

Your weight matters when you write more specifically using a fountain pen.
Your weight issues once you write extra particularly utilizing a fountain pen.

You most likely gained’t imagine how a lot distinction the load and the load stability makes when writing with a pen. I’ve comparatively large fingers, so writing with a small fountain pen, particularly for something longer than a signature, might be fairly painful in a short time.

While you’re on the fountain pen store, they’ll information you in numerous instructions, however you can even write with them, so you may see what your handwriting appears like with completely different nib widths, with completely different fountain pens, and even with completely different ink colours.

Reputable shops do carry different types of fountain pens.
Respected outlets do carry several types of fountain pens.

Usually, fountain pen outlets additionally carry a spread of various pens. Generally, they’ll even have classic pens, which might be fairly completely different than fashionable fountain pens, and the proof is basically within the pudding. Take them, write them, get an understanding of what you want and what you don’t like. In fact, they might nonetheless attempt to push the sale, however having watched this video, you can be extra assured that you’ve got a primary understanding of what to search for.

5. Decide Your Writing Type and Desired Writing Expertise

Having a good fountain pen gives a more desired writing experience.
Having fountain pen provides a extra desired writing expertise.

A fountain pen ought to complement the way in which you write, so that you get pleasure from it and use it extra usually. Are you right-handed or left-handed? Does your hand sometimes cramp up once you write, or are you able to write quite a bit by hand with none points? Do you largely print? Do you largely write in cursive, or do you do each? Do you propose to jot down for longer intervals of time? What sort of paper do you need to write on, simply easy printer paper or good, cotton inventory that’s thick and splendid?

Additionally, being conscious of the terminology and what you need will enable you clarify to the salesperson the fountain pen retailer what it’s that you simply’re searching for.

6. Choose options based mostly on wants and supposed use

So, when you’ve decided them, in step six, it’s time to pair your traits with fountain pen options. For extra in-depth assessments of those, we already did a fountain pen information, which you’ll try right here.


An important a part of a fountain pen is the nib, which sits on the ink feed. It’s a finely crafted piece of metallic, sometimes on prime of one thing else. It may be a plastic, it may be completely different materials, but it surely principally will get the ink from the principle compartment. It may very well be a piston, it may very well be a cartridge to the nib, after which onto the paper.

The nib is a really delicate factor, so it is best to by no means push on it or maintain it from the facet, as a result of not solely will your fingers get soiled, however you can even change the attribute of how the pen writes.

By far, the most well-liked nib measurement is M for center or medium. If a fountain pen doesn’t say what nib with it’s, likelihood is, it’s M. There are additionally finer nibs, that are EF and F, additional superb and superb, and there’s broad, BB – broader and 3B, which is even broader.

Fountain Pen Nib Writing Samples
Fountain Pen Nib Writing Samples

Particularly with the broader nibs, you may see a distinction between the horizontal and the vertical strains, and as you write, particularly cursive, it may possibly look fairly engaging. It’s additionally very nice for signatures.

However then there’s not simply the widths, however there’s additionally one thing referred to as indirect nibs, which is principally a slanted nib, so it may be for a right-handed particular person or left-handed particular person. There are italic nibs or stub nibs, that are very huge and extra meant for calligraphy. Once more, there isn’t any common proper or unsuitable. It’s important to strive it out and see what you want together with your handwriting, and issues can change over time.

After I began out, I feel I appreciated broad nibs as a result of they have been extra distinctive, after which afterward, I switched to additional superb. Generally, producers also can change a nib, however I discovered it may be fairly pricey. You’re most likely higher off simply shopping for a distinct pen and promoting the one that you’ve got. Personally, I like my handwriting to be not run-of-the-mill, so I attempt to keep away from medium nibs or M nibs, as a result of that’s what most different folks have.

Aside from private preferences, there are additionally sure causes to go along with one nib over the opposite. For instance, for those who like extraordinarily skinny or small letters, EF is a good nib measurement for you.

For those who write a number of Asian characters, EF is a good nib as a result of it means that you can be very detailed and draw superb strains. A BB nib will be the unsuitable nib for you, in that case. The strokes, in fact, additionally seem very skinny and uniform, so possibly you want that, possibly you don’t.

Because the nibs get broader, they get visually extra different, and due to this fact to many individuals, extra fascinating. However a broader nib additionally delivers much more ink to the paper, and if the paper just isn’t suited to that, it would bleed and look fuzzy and really ugly. So, for those who usually have to jot down on commonplace printing paper or you may’t management the paper, you’re higher off with a superb nib that distributes much less ink, so it really works in most conditions. Additionally, when there’s extra ink in your paper, you’re extra more likely to smudge the ink or have it find yourself in your fingers, and never the way in which you need it on the paper.

The nibs of inexpensive fountain pens are sometimes made out of metal or different metals. Larger-end fountain pens sometimes have a nib made out of gold as a result of it’s a extra versatile materials, and with completely different stress, it gives a nicer consolation once you write, and likewise a nicer consequence. The nib also can have very completely different grinds. There are spherical nibs, stub nibs, each day italic, cursive italic, architect italic, sharp italic, or crisp italic nibs. Once more, it’s greatest to expertise these completely different nib grinds in particular person so you recognize what works for you and what doesn’t.

For those who see numbers on the nib, it sometimes refers back to the metallic alloy. 750 is the equal of 18 karat in gold. 585 is the equal of 14 karat, and so forth. Due to the excessive value of gold and the workmanship wanted to create an awesome nib, a fountain pen with a gold nib will set you again a number of hundred {dollars}, no less than, merely due to the quantity of gold that’s in it.

So what’s a stub nib? It principally appears prefer it’s lower within the entrance, but it surely has rounded edges. It gives some line variation, slim horizontal strokes, and broad vertical strokes and is comparatively straightforward to make use of.

LizSteel Fountain Pen Sketching Line Variation
Fountain Pen Sketching Line Variation [Image Credit: LizSteel]

An italic nib, at first look, appears like a stub nib, but it surely has straight edges that result in slim horizontal strokes and broad vertical strokes, with a larger relative variation in stroke thickness. It additionally results in a considerably much less easy writing expertise. As a result of it’s very attentive to stress, it’s often higher for calligraphy functions.

An architect nib is considerably of the reverse to the stub or italic nib. It creates broad horizontal and skinny vertical strokes. It’s nice for print or boxy handwriting. Initially, it was utilized by architects and engineers for drafting, therefore, the identify. It have to be held at a sure angle for the most effective impact, and it requires some coaching in your half. So, most likely not the most effective pen to begin out with, until you recognize precisely what you need.

Fountain pen using an architect nib.
Fountain pen utilizing an architect nib. [Pennadict]

There’s additionally the inverted architect nib, which is an EF nib with an architect grind. It’s choice for those who want radically completely different stroke breadths in a single nib, but it surely’s not a perfect grind for novices.

Then there’s the Hebrew nib, which is similar to an architect nib, but it surely’s designed to jot down Hebrew and Arabic letters higher.

After which as I discussed earlier than, there are the indirect nibs, that are slanted both for left-handed folks or right-handed folks. OB nibs or OBB nips or OBBB nibs are sometimes favored by calligraphers.


There are most likely dozens of extra grinds accessible there are even bespoke grinds, however once you’re simply beginning out, you most likely don’t need to take into consideration all that stuff. Simply go to a retailer, see what’s accessible, and begin from there. If you wish to study extra in regards to the softness of a nib, and the way that impacts the whole lot, try our methods to write with a fountain pen information.

Easy methods to Write with a Fountain Pen

Or, if you wish to go down the rabbit gap, The Gentleman Stationer explains intimately what he does, and it’s good to study from somebody who’s really captivated with the subject material.

Personally, at one level, I had north of 100 fountain pens, however as my curiosity in basic menswear elevated, my curiosity in fountain pens decreased. I nonetheless have just a few to today, and I get pleasure from them, however I largely use them for signatures.

Ink Filling System

Piston filler is a more traditional way of filling an ink.
Piston filler is a extra conventional means of filling ink.

Not like ballpoint pens, the number of ink you may get from fountain pens is large, and I take into account it to be a bonus as a result of you may really customise the way in which your writing appears. No, it doesn’t simply need to be black or royal blue. You’ll be able to have a malachite inexperienced, orange or simply ocher, or chartreuse.

This ink must be saved someplace. Conventional strategies embody a piston filler, the place you principally maintain the highest of the nib into an inkwell, after which flip or push on one thing, and the ink is principally soaked contained in the fountain pen. We confirmed you the way to do this in our different video. Nowadays, the most well-liked choice might be the ink cartridge, so you may simply purchase the cartridge in numerous colours after which simply put them into your fountain pen.

The most popular these days is an ink cartridge
The most well-liked today is an ink cartridge. [Image credit: Unsharpen]

After I was little, my mother would take a syringe from the hospital, take an inkwell, suck the ink into the syringe, and push it into my cartridge so I might reuse them, and that was quite a bit inexpensive than shopping for new cartridges over and over. There are additionally eye-dropper fountain pens, however I counsel you stick both with the ink cartridge or the piston to begin out with, as a result of they’re less complicated. There’s only a lot to discover.

In order for you distinctive inks and distinctive colours, you positively need the piston, until you need to refill the ink cartridges one after the other, as my mother did again within the day. If you wish to study extra about ink, we bought a writing ink information and likewise a stationary information.

Handwritten Sentiments: The Gentleman’s Stationery Information

Pen Physique

An ebonite barrel type of fountain pen.
An ebonite barrel kind of fountain pen. [Image credit: Andersonpens]

By way of the fabric of the principle physique, additionally referred to as the barrel, there are many completely different choices. You’ll be able to have plastic, which is quite common. You’ll be able to have rubber or ebonite. There’s considerably light-weight and have a stable grippy really feel. Generally you additionally discover pens product of metals, typically even treasured metals. Usually, it’s only a casing. In any other case, they’d be means too heavy.

One other common materials today is resin, which for instance, the Mont Blanc Meisterstück is made out of, and it’s materials for novices. Personally, my favourite materials is celluloid as a result of it permits for this sort of marbled uncommon colour results that I discover very fairly.

Classic taste for a barrel is this celluloid type of material
The basic style for a barrel is that this celluloid kind of fabric. [Image credit: Nibs]

With regards to the cap, your largest focus might be if it’s a screw-on cap or a push-on cap, and if you wish to put the cap on the again of the barrel once you write or not. 

Having collected fountain pens, placing the cap on the again of the barrel once you write will finally result in cracks within the cap. So, I personally by no means did that. Additionally, for those who add the cap to the again of the fountain pen, it distributes the load dramatically. So, strive it out and see what works for you.

Fountain pens where cap are placed at the back of the barrel.
Fountain pens the place caps are positioned in the back of the barrel.

For those who plan to truly use the clip that’s on the cap to clip it into your jacket, for instance, or into your shirt, be sure that it really works with the clothes you need to use them with, as a result of there’s variations within the clips; some are sturdier, some are stiffer, some are softer – simply determine what works for you.


By way of upkeep, fountain pens sometimes require a bit extra upkeep than, let’s say, a ballpoint pen. For instance, for those who depart your ink in your fountain pen and also you don’t write with it, it could dry in, and so forth.


You all have the options of choosing your own fountain pens.
You all have the choice of selecting your personal fountain pens.

By way of design, it’s actually as much as you if you’d like extra of a classic-looking fountain pen or one thing extra fashionable.

The place To Purchase Your First Fountain Pen

If in any respect potential, I strongly argue in favor of an area vendor, but when on-line is your solely choice, right here’s what to think about. I’d say, attain out to them by e-mail or cellphone, possibly they’ve any choices to ship you quite a few tester fountain pens in change for a deposit, so you may strive just a few issues out at residence. Work out what works for them.

Buying online for fountain pen could be an option also.
Shopping for a web based fountain pen may very well be an choice additionally.

In fact, in the event that they’re nearer to your private home and never overseas, you don’t have any customs and duties points. So, that’s preferable. In fact, for those who’re simply placing just a few {dollars} on a fountain pen, you might simply need to threat it; purchase one and see for those who prefer it, if not, you simply transfer on.

Fountain Pen Dos & Don’ts

1. Do Take heed to the Recommendation from a Respected Salesperson

Listen to experts when buying your fountain pens.
Take heed to consultants when shopping for your fountain pens.

They know their inventory of starter into fountain pens, they usually can information you as you inform them what you want.

2. Do Make Knowledgeable Choices

Spend time to analysis, and because you’re watching this right here, you’re already doing that. Congratulations!

3. Do Attempt a Number of Pens Earlier than Making the Choice

Trying out different nibs to get the right ones for you.
Attempting out completely different nibs to get the correct ones for you.

Do strive quite a lot of completely different nibs, grinds, and widths earlier than you decide on one thing. It’s merely onerous to say, “That is greatest for me,” for those who haven’t tried all of them. Additionally, remember that the nib designations of medium, superb, or broad might not be the identical throughout completely different manufacturers. Usually, Japanese nibs are typically somewhat finer than extra Western producers’ nibs.

4. Don’t Assume the Most Costly Equals the Greatest

Always keep in mind that not all expensive things are the best.
All the time remember that not all costly issues are the most effective.

Don’t simply purchase the most costly fountain pen, and suppose it’s the most effective for you, as a result of regardless that it could look good, it has a gold nib, it could be horrible to jot down together with your hand.

5. Do Purchase a Pen You’re Keen to Use (and Maybe Lose!)

Be wise when buying your fountain pens.
Be clever when shopping for your fountain pens.

I’d say, it’s your first fountain pen, do purchase a pen that you simply’re prepared to make use of and likewise lose. For those who purchase one thing that’s too costly, and also you by no means need to take it with you since you really feel you may lose it, then it’s type of pointless.

Finally, a fountain pen is a writing instrument, and sure, they’re lovely examples. For instance, the restricted version one from Montegrappa for James Bond may not be for you.

6. Keep away from Classic for Your First Purchase

Classic fountain pens are good. I personally want them over fashionable fountain pens, however there are much more issues to find out about them, so that you simply purchase an outdated pen off of eBay or at a flea market; likelihood is it’ll want some work.

Vintage fountain pens on ebay.
Classic fountain pens on eBay. [Image credit: Ebay]

So, I’d solely advocate shopping for a classic fountain pen in particular person from somebody who has many classic fountain pens and know one thing about them, and may information you alongside the way in which, based mostly in your wants. In any other case, it’s most likely not clever to go classic for those who purchase your very first fountain pen. Why? There are just too many pitfalls, and likelihood is, you gained’t get pleasure from writing with them.

7. Don’t Make Newbie Fountain Pen Errors

Lastly, don’t make newbie fountain pen errors, as outlined in our different information.

Newbie Fountain Pen Errors

So, what do you suppose is your first fountain pen going to be? Tell us within the feedback under.

Outfit Rundown

At the moment, I’m sporting a double-breasted brown sport coat with a double windowpane overcheck. It’s made by Isaia, and you’ll study extra in regards to the model in one other publish. My shirt is from Eton, which we additionally coated.

The tie is from Fort Belvedere, identical to the yellow boutonniere. It’s a silk knit tie, and you will discover them each in our store, identical to my socks. These are shadow stripe socks in khaki and navy, which work effectively with my chino pants, that are a prototype lower that we’ll hopefully launch quickly. 

My footwear are Gaziano & Girling Barclays in darkish chocolate suede with distinction stitching. My pinky ring is properly embellished with a brown tiger’s eye that picks up the colour of my jacket, my footwear, and my white-beige brown striped shirt.

My fountain pen is a Mont Blanc Meisterstück 149, which might be 30 years outdated. It has an OB nib, which is slanted, and I’m right-handed, so it really works for me.


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