New to fountain pens

Discussion in 'The Nib' started by Clayw, Mar 17, 2019 at 6:38 AM.

    Good day. I am new to fountain pens. But think I maybe interested in acquiring a few. Can any one offer any pointers on what to look for or where to start? Looking at Amazon I see the gamut from $9 to $400. Names I'm Looking at are Waterman, Parker, Schaefer, Dryden, Picasso, Moonman, Pilot , Duke and. Monaggio. Thank for any tips or advice offered.

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  1. jar_

    jar_ Contributor

    Most of those are made in China. Today even modern Sheaffer fountain pens are likely made in China. The Waterman/Parker pens are most likely made in France and the Pilots in Japan.

    You don't mention where you are located but it's likely there is either a fountain pen club or show somewhere nearby and that is the best starting point. Fondle as many pens as you can before buying. Mention that you are interested in fountain pens to all the OLD FARTS you meet and I bet they have a few they will offer you.

    Of the ones you mention and considering today's market I'd suggest starting with the fountain pens from Japan or France. Of the Japanese pens I have more from Platinum and Sailor than from Pilot but a basic pen from anyone of those three would be a great introduction. If you go Waterman/Parker I have found the modern Waterman line more reliable out of the box than the modern Parkers.
  2. Welcome to the sickness! I was in your shoes a few months ago. Honestly, the one thing that I wish I knew before ordering my first pen is that Japanese nibs are a size smaller than German nibs, i.e. Japanese fine = German extra fine (most non-Japanese pens use German nibs even if the pen bodies are made somewhere else, i.e. TWISBIs are made in Taiwan but use German Jowo nibs). So there you go - you are forewarned.

    Okay, so beyond that, its hard to recommend specific pens without knowing your budget, what you want it for, or what sort of things are important to you. To give you somewhere to start, here's a few general recommendations:
    Most widely recommended starter pen for business-types - Pilot Metropolitan
    Most widely recommend starter pen for artist-types - Lamy Safari
    Made in the USA - Karas Kustom Starliner XL
    Pocket pen - Kaweco Sport
    Demonstrator (clear) - TWISBI Eco
    Vintage - restored Esterbrook J
    Kids - Pilot Kakuno
    Japanese pen that's not Pilot - Platinum Plaisir
    Super-cheap Japanese pen - Platinum Preppy
    Big, over-size pen - Jinhao 159
    Modern styling - Faber Castel Loom or Essentio
    Classic styling - Conklin Duragraph
  3. I believe that the low-end Parkers are actually made in China. The high-end ones are made in France. It would be worth confirming with the retailer, if that's a concern.
  4. Shave_Rat

    Shave_Rat Moderator

    Welcome aboard! That's a solid breakdown for some initial information. Goulet Pens has some great videos as well covering all sorts of topics for those just looking to start out. From what I recall they cover everything from entry level pens to filling, cleaning, etc.. Feel free as well to ask away here any questions that come up.
  5. Start with a Pilot Metropolitan and some Pilot Varsity's.
  6. You can find some good deals on the ebay. Just make sure you look at the pics and information.

    What type of writing are you looking to do?
    Do you like a slimmer pen (like a wooden pencil size) or a bigger one (like a Sharpie size)? I am talking about circumference, not length.
    Do you like a heavy pen or a light pen?

    My first ebay pen was a 99 cent Jinhao x450. I still have it and it is still in my rotation. I personally like a bigger pen and one with a little bit of weight to them.
  7. I don't have that many pens, but I am really pleased with my Nemosine "Fission" as a daily carry. Assembled in Pittsburgh, with a nice German-made 0.6 mm italic stub nib.
    Being all metal (brass, I think) makes it a bit on the heavy side, but it feels really substantial.
    31 g with full converter, no cap.
    47 g with full converter, and the cap.
    I got mine when they were still USD$29, in January 2018.
    Don't go to Amazon for them because they're ridiculously over-priced there. (Nearly triple?)

    I was thinking of getting a Metropolitan next, with a fine or medium nib.
  8. Wow, some great info to get me started! As for use. Primarily business / pocket pen. I like my pens a bit heavier and larger. I have some pentel energel pens I've been using for a few years, but it's fine to class things up a bit more.

    Location, i'm in the DFW area in North Texas.

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  9. jar_

    jar_ Contributor

    OKAY. There is a very active club and also an annual fountain pen show in Dallas. Good folk and if you go to one of their monthly meetings there will be literally hundreds of pens you will be able to fondle.
  10. Excellent. I think the Pilot Metro would be a good choice. It has a bit of heft, is business classy, and fits nicely in a shirt or suit jacket pocket.
  11. Welcome to the addiction. All of the above advice is excellent. When starting don’t go for mega bucks pens. Try different nib sizes to find your style. I always recommend a Lamy Safari as a starter, but that is my opinion. My daily driver is a Montblanc Beatles in medium nib, not everyone choice.

  12. Not all fountain pens have to cost an arm and a leg to give good results. One of my favorite fountain pens is a relatively inexpensive Cross pen. Feels good in the hand and writes well. BTW, are you looking for cartridge or refillable?
  13. Snurgblat

    Snurgblat Contributor

    Some solid recommendations. Another suggestion would be to pick up a Parker Vector and a pack of the cartridges. You can get them off fleabay and in some local stores for cheap. The Vector is what I used for years (and years and years) and is how I became acquainted with fountain pens. They are cheap, but solid workhorses that can take years of abuse. More importantly, if you decide you are not into fountain pens, you haven't made a huge investment.

    Here's another thread for you to peruse at your leisure:

    Good Pen for a new user?

    Let us know what route you go!

    Goldblum Sketch.jpg
  14. Thanks so much for all of your suggestions. I clearly have a lot of home work ahead of me. To start, I decided to go with the Pilot Metropolitan, and probably a couple Diplomat Magnums.
    I try to buy American, and I realized neither of these will fill that bill, but the next one or two will. Along that line, noodlers Ink has caught my eye. Has any one used then? Not one I see talked about much. Are their pens made in America or off shore? How are their inks?

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  15. Snurgblat

    Snurgblat Contributor

    Noodlers ink is around the forums if you dig a bit. I have Noodlers ink and love it. Some great colors fo choose from.
  16. I buy my pens locally so I don't really pay attention to where they are made. I like to support the local art shop (that I just read is closing). They sell Noodler's ink so I assume it is really good ink. If you can find a local source, i think that is best.
    When I bought my first two pens, i bought them from Goulet who was offering a free bottle of ink with the pen.
  17. Good luck on the buy American part....the US is a ballpoint country, by and large :)

    When I started out a few years back, I bought a pilot metro as that's the goto starter. Its inexpensive and prime shipped always helps. I also bought some of those jin hao x750's. They are cheap, and you can learn a lot about fountain pens on them, not fearing breaking anything too much as they cost so little.

    I'm fortunate enough to travel to Europe a lot, and I treat myself to a few pens each trip. Its way better buying pens you can try out before if you have a store that carries pens...go. My fleet of Lamy pens are my gotos. Great build quality on those pens.

    Being originally from Pittsburgh, I'm definitely going to check out those Nemosines!
  18. captp

    captp Contributor

    Noodler's is among the best ink available, made in USA, by hand, by one man, in his kitchen, in the woods.
    The pens are, to my knowledge, sourced out to China, one of the few with real flex nibs.
  19. Great choice on the Metropolitan. I recommend that to anyone looking for a starter pen. I've got a bunch of FPs, but the Metropolitan gets the most use. Noodlers ink is great. Just pick some colors and go for it.

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