Recommend a Fountain Pen

Discussion in 'The Nib' started by TonyH, Jun 13, 2010.

  1. I will be returning to school next month after a 15 year hiatus, and I'd like to get myself a nice(ish) fountain pen to celebrate and to take notes with.

    Can anyone recommend a pen that comes in the $25-50 range? I have zero experience with this, and therefore no biases.

    I am a lefty who can be slightly heavy-handed if not paying attention, and I'd like to improve my penmanship.

    Also, I don't like a really scratchy pen, like the tiny roller balls.

    Otherwise, you tell me....
  2. I love my Lamy Safari with an EF nib. :thumbup1:
  3. Gruder

    Gruder Moderator Emeritus Contributor

    First, congrats on returning to school!

    You'll get plenty of Lamy recs, and nothing wrong with those, but a vintage Parker 21 or Esterbrook J would serve you quite well.
  4. Austin

    Austin Moderator Emeritus

    Check out There is a lot of information and recommendations. Their selling forum has some real gems at reasonable prices. Make sure you inquire pens for lefties. I believe there are pens for guys like you.
  5. My dad's a lefty, and he really likes the Waterman Laureat I gave him. It was his first FP. It's a medium nib and is easily the smoothest pen I've ever used. I would recommend getting a modern pen for your first. You'll find the old Esterbrooks and 51s can be scratchy and don't respond well to a heavy hand. They're also, in general, a lot finer nibs (even though Esterbrook offers a huge variety of interchangeable nibs). I recommend starting with something a little more user friendly, then try some vintage pens later on.

    The Laureat has a gold nib, a lacquered body, is on the slim but heavy side, and can be found on the bay for around $40. You can also use cartridges or a converter. If you can't find the Laureat, try a Waterman Phileas, which can be had for less than $30. It has a fatter body, weighs less (plastic), but is really great. I have 3 of them. That's one of the best starter pens on the market and is often overlooked for some reason. It'll never leak or otherwise let you down. It's a workhorse.

    I've never had a waterman that had an issue out of the box, but I've owned Cross and Parker FPs that were problematic from day one. That's part of why I'm such a die hard waterman fan. I've owned vintage and new pens from all the major brands, ranging in price from $10 to $150. These days, I like reasonably priced, modern pens, and I've reduced my large collection to about 12 pens that I really enjoy using. Oh, and the Parker frontier is also a nice first pen, but I've never found a converter that works with that pen.

    Good luck, and enjoy whatever pen you choose. You'll probably end up with more than one. Beware this expensive AD.


    EDIT: Just ran across this pen, which can be purchased as right or left hand specific. Don't know if it's available in the US, though. That website is trouble.
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2010
  6. I love my Parker 51s (I have five) and Parker 21s (2). I also have a Lamy Safari and it's an excellent pen. However, if I were first starting out, I think I'd choose my Rotring Initial. It's a heavier pen with a very substantial nib. Either the Initial or the Safari will be more forgiving as you learn the proper pressure for writing with a fountain pen.
  7. I would agree with Andrew.
    The modern Watermans are really nice. I have a Lamy, an old Cross, a vintage Parker 51, and a new Waterman Expert (medium nib, Dune Green).
    Everything considered, I like the Waterman the best. It is just the right weight and balance, and it flows ink smoothly and accurately. I write with either hand and so does this pen. I also use Waterman's Florida Blue ink. Excellent stuff.
  8. After reading good vibes about the Parker 51 and 45, i picked up a couple off the bay. Very nice pens.
  9. I have a chinese made fountain pen that I picked up off of ebay and it writes super smooth , feeds ink just right and it is big enough in your hand .
    this pen is called the Leonardo,and it has become my go to every day pen.
  10. They make special pens for troublemakers?
  11. I'd recommend increasing your budget a little for an aerometric Parker 51 in a common color (gray, black or navy) with a stainless cap. Collectors don't lust after those (yet) and they're incredibly fine writers that almost never have issues.

    I've collected fountain pens since '94 and have been through a lot of them. Still, my daily carry is a gray 51 aero with a stainless cap. It goes everywhere with me and never lets me down.

    One of these might cost a little more, but they're worth it. Also consider the resale value. Most new pens depreciate fast after purchase. But a 51 can always be sold
    for about what you paid and it'll gradually appreciate as you own it. So it might cost a little more, but you'll always get your money out if you want to.
  12. Super 21's are supposed to be good, but I'm a complete newb to this game. They're NIB, so they should last a while. I want one of these to take notes with as well- hopefully you'll end up being my guinea pig! :laugh:
  13. Aha! So you've been exposed! :lol:

    They look pretty good to me; I might give one a go.

    Oh, and I believe the preferred nomenclature is "Italian-American pig". :lol:
  14. This is great advice, but I don't plan on selling whatever I pick up. I'm pretty impervious to ADs and only buy what I use. I'll definitely check out your suggestion though. Thanks!
  15. Also check out the Jinhao 757, that one has become my every day pen. The 750 and 450 are nice too.
  16. I did already (similar to 51). :001_smile

  17. Settle down Andy, I'm still looking! :lol:
  18. Honestly, you really can't go wrong with any of these suggestions. Kinda like the vintage vs. modern razor debate. Pick one, then try the other!

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