Fountain pen collectors like myself often find that the biggest question we have doesn’t relate to which ink to use for which pen, or what size nib we like best; usually, the hardest question to answer is “which pen should I use today?” Sadly, for me, it’s not one I ever ask, because my “everyday carry” consists of the following:
From left to right, my collection includes:
1. A no-name vintage flex eyedropper pen that is inscribed with “Union Trust Co. Providence, R.I.” – I use this one mostly for letter writing.
2. Vintage Esterbrook SJ with a 9968 Broad Firm nib – this is one of my go-to pens now that I have a nib I can write with; the original one was a stabby little needlepoint fine nib that I could have used to work on my cross-stitch. Every time I used it, I poked holes in the paper and I really hated this pen until the nib change.
3. Kaweco Classic Sport special Jetpens addition – Come on, I’m a musician and I love fountain pens. This was a no-brainer addition to my collection. I turned it into an eyedropper with a squirt of ink and some silicone grease and it writes very well for such an inexpensive pen.
4. Visconti Van Gogh Vanilla Midi – This one is my latest purchase and it writes every bit as well as I thought it would. The steel nib flexes a little, which surprised me (steel nibs are usually pretty rigid) and the colorway is kind of like caramel or butterscotch and is based on Van Gogh’s painting “A Pair of Shoes.
5. Lamy Safari – my mother gave me this pen back in 2010 when I was just getting back into fountain pens. I use it quite a lot in my journaling and letter writing.
6. Lamy Al Star – I liked the Safari so much, I bought this one somewhere around January 2011.
7. My Pilot Vanishing Point – I believe this was a 2010 special edition but I’m not sure. I love the funky look and the backwards clip (the clip has to be at the nib end so you can clip it in your pocket nib side up) and it lays down a thick solid line of ink. It’s got the smallest nib of any of my pens, but the only drawback is how squeaky it is. I don’t use this one in office meetings very often for that reason, but I give it a workout in my blogging and creative writing (I keep handwritten copies of everything these days).
8. Edison Beaumont Pneumatic – the crown jewel of my collection. Edison Pen Co. made this one for me with a broad gold nib….gorgeous pen and well worth the money I spent on it.
9. Noodler’s Konrad flex pen- The Black Python in Pearls light variant color just struck me as awesome looking, and for $40, it’s as pretty as my Edison, at about 1/10 the cost. This one has to be used on certain paper since flex nibs feather and bleed like crazy on regular paper, but I love using it.
10. Noodler’s Creaper – I bought this flex pen first to see if I even liked the Noodler’s brand before I committed to a fancier flex pen. This one will probably phase its way out of my everyday carry since I now have the Konrad.
11. TWISBI Diamond 580 with 1.1mm Italic stub nib – Until I found the right ink, I wasn’t crazy about this pen’s ink flow, but Iroshizuku inks seems to work best with this pen. Or maybe that’s just my justification for a $25 bottle of ink. Either way, it works well now and looks cool loaded up with Murasaki Shikibu.
12. Waterman Harmonie – I got this one years ago when there was a pen shop between the C and D concourses at the Philadelphia airport. It’s long since been discontinued, but it’s a nice writer, with a medium gold nib. The only drawback is that the new Waterman converters don’t fit the old pens, so I have to use the Florida Blue cartridges. Still, that’s not much of a drawback.
13. Aurora Ipsilon with broad gold nib – This pen is an abuse victim. I dropped it and cracked the barrel, which the lovely folks at Pentiques repaired for me, and now the nib is askew somehow. Despite all that, this pen still works well and lays down a lovely line of ink. I really should treat this one better.
14. Sailor Clear Candy – I won this one from JetPens and it’s ok. Not my favorite, but a good starter pen and the brand I chose to give to my niece and nephew for Christmas.
15. Pilot Varsity – yeah ok, so they cost $2 and are disposable. They have nibs and write well so that makes them fountain pens.
16. Pilot Kuru Toga Mechanical Pencil – yeah I use pencils. I also use Rhodias and Blackwings. Don’t judge me LOL!
All my pens are inked and ready to go at a moment’s notice. I probably rotate through my collection in about a week, but I’d rather have a pen inked and not used than want to use it at work or away from home and not have it inked.