14 November 2012


Long time ago, at the beginning of this blog, I wrote a text vindicating the role of the nib –and of the feed—over the rest of the pen. A fountain pen, I wrote in Spanish, was a system to control the flow of a fluid on its way between a deposit and the paper. And therefore, materials, colors, filling systems, shapes are secondary as long as they created no problem in the act of writing.

However, current commercial trends seem to be focused on these secondary elements, and pen companies indeed charge a lot for those. Precious resins, colorful celluloid, exotic lacquers, intricate ornaments, rare wood, new materials, … revival of pneumatic filling systems, pistons, plungers, eyedroppers… The business of new fountain pens is no longer based on the utility or on the need to write. Fountain pens are a commodity, a symbol of status, a sign of snobbism. And craving over need determines what we, users and collectors, end up buying.

But some people do not want to forget that fountain pens are writing tools. And that is why people like Yamada or Nagahara and those many masters in adjusting a nib are so necessary.

Pilot Elite pocket pen, posting nib – Pilot Blue

Bruno Taut
Shinjuku, November 9th, 2012
labels: plumín, Mercado, estilofilia, Yamada, Sailor


Shangching Huitzacua said...

I totally agree with you. I am a firm believer that fountain pens should be used and not just for displayed. Fortunately, I have not been swayed by fancier looking pens (besides a Platinum Maki-e), simply because it is not practical for both my wallet and usage.
Thank you for a sober article.

Anonymous said...

A thousand times, yes!

A fountain pen is just a controlled drip past a metal point or edge. It's not difficult to get right, and it's not expensive to manufacture. Lamy can do it with the Safari and Pilot with the Plumix. Once this is achieved competently, there's not much left to improve.

I've sometimes thought it would be nice to get something fancier, just for the pleasure of it, not because I think it would write better. But for italic choices, there's not much between Safaris or Plumixes and pens that cost a month's rent.

Though some pens may feel better in the hand, when you look at the writing, you can't tell whether it was done with a Montblanc 149 or a Pilot 78g.

Writers Tool said...

This is always an interesting topic - the age old debate of tool versus artistic instrument or item of use versus item of display (in other words price and prestige over function). I am always amused with the view that something artistic, beautiful and worthy can only come from a so-called instrument of equal beauty. That you must possess something "special" before you can produce something "special". So much for the creative genius within.

The same applies to inks.

The pen and the ink are designed to interact, to combine so you may communicate and share with others (and perhaps other generations); yet many a pen has never touched the ink it was designed for. Sadly, somewhere along the way, it became an ornament.

Ink it!

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