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What Was Your First Fountain Pen & How Old Were You When You Got It?

What Was Your First Fountain Pen & How Old Were You When You Got It?

I was in third grade (8 years old in 1965) when I bought my first fountain pen. Our grade school had a vending machine that had various writing implements. Among these was a very cheap fountain pen. It had a cardboard feed and wasn’t refillable, but they were cheap.

My first significant fountain pen was a black Sheaffer that I got for my birthday in junior high school (7th grade).

Fred D

Member of The Illiterati
I was given a Sheaffer Imperial when I was 10 years old by my Father back in 1972, which I just recently had repaired/restored by Danny Fudge.

1979, I was 11, middle school. Some cheap platingham, (uk branded) we all had them. Quink blue, black. But for my 13th birthday I was given a Parker Harlequin, shield Pattern. Still got it now, changed the nib a few years back to a medium left oblique. The finger grip seems a little deformed possible shrinkage. Writes nice and smooth. 😀
My first fountain pen was a US-made Parker Vector. I rode my bicycle to the local drug store to buy it when I was about 12 years old. I still have it today and I ink it up every once in a while, just for old time's sake. I've forgotten how much I paid for it at the time, but it couldn't have been very much. Maybe three dollars or so. It has no flex in the nib, but it's amazing that it writes so nicely for such an inexpensive pen.
Interesting so far. Most of the respondents (5 out of 6) to this point got their first fountain pen, either by choice, gift or school requirement at an early age. It will be interesting to see if this trend continues as we get more respondents.
Not sure when I got my first one, but my 8th grade Math teacher required us to submit our homework and it had to be done with a fountain pen with no erasures. My aunt was the manager of a book store and I had a new Esterbrook fountain pen every year when school started. She also gave me her Smith-Corona portable typewriter with the black/red ribbon. Used that all the way through college. My favorite though was a Christmas gift from my uncle, a Parker 51. I still have that pen and 1 of the Esterbrooks.
Gosh, it's been so long now. It was way back in...let me see...June. I remember I was 54 years old. The summer was mild that month. I used the cartridge, and I'm on my second converter of ink. I've had some good times with that ol' pen. It's seen my journal, puzzles in the newspaper, and even a postcard I mailed from Kansas City, MO. I can't believe it's been two months already.


First Class Citizen
So long ago. I think I was about 11 or 12 when I got a bright red Parker "21." My parents were appalled, as they had visions of me dripping ink all over the house, never mind that my handwriting improved dramatically.

This was in the 'fifties, so my parents grew up with cheap, leaky pre-war fountain pens, and thus considered those new-fangled (and relatively expensive) Paper-Mate ball point pens the only commonsense way to write. Why a kid would want a fountain pen was beyond them.


ancient grey sweatophile
I do not recall the model, but I had an inexpensive Parker as an elementary school student in the fifties and a few more in high school in the sixties.
Although I'm old enough that fountain pens were not uncommon in my childhood, I never used them then. My parents, both born in the mid 1920s, were surely familiar with them, but preferred ballpoints and pencils, even though they both did a lot of writing. They told me that fountain pens tended to leak. I kept seeing them in office stores and thinking about trying one, with what I know now they were probably Sheaffer School Pens that I was seeing. But I never did get one, and they became harder and harder to find in "normal" stores.

I bought my first fountain pen when I was 54, about ten years ago. B&B may have put the thought in my mind; I think they had a special edition Edison that year or the year before. Well over $100 seemed ridiculous to me at the time, but I ended up getting a Parker IM for $22, which still seemed pricey for a pen. But I figured you couldn't go wrong with Parker. I always liked their Jotter ballpoints.

It turned out that there is a common problem with the IMs where the cap won't seal properly and they dry out between uses. But I was just intrigued enough to spend a little more money on a Lamy Safari. And here I am with what I would once have considered a ridiculous number of fountain pens, not a few of them older than I am.
2005. I bought a Montblanc 149. I had never really seen a fountain pen before until I saw one in the workplace. It was a 149, and it looked new, so I looked around until I saw one for sale. I really wanted one, and then I saw the price tag. since the 149 was the only fountain pen I had ever saw in real life, I just thought that was what you payed for a FP. I must have really wanted one, because I scrapped together every dime I had and bought it.

After that, I began using the internet and found the used market. Wow did I spend way more than I needed to to get into the game. Anyway, I've since bought dozens of pens on the used market, and those 2nd hand pens are the ones I like using the most. I still have the 149; more out of sentimentality than anything. It rarely gets used.


Too Fugly For Free.
A Sheaffer Lifetime Balance in striated Green. It was one of my Grandfathers pens. I still have it. No idea how old I was at the time but in elementary school.

Second from the right: PA165740.JPG
At my middle school and high schools we weren't allowed to use a BP untill you had mastered the FP, and your handwriting was better than a reasonable standard. We also had "map pens" these were dip pens for the technical drawing lessons which included copying, you guessed it maps.


Lunatic Fringe
Staff member
I somehow got ahold of a fountain pen from the family junk drawer, a black Esterbrook J with a terribly scratchy 1550 nib. I used to take it apart and show it off in my fourth grade class ... I must have been nine back in 1961. The nib was so bad but I soldiered on with a light touch and remember when I got a new yellow/chrome Sheaffer school pen with the cartridges how it felt like such a super smooth writer.

I remember once in junior high trying to replace a cartridge in class, during an essay exam, and in the rush I tried to put the cart in backwards (Sheaffer had straight ones). It wouldn't pierce and finally I forced it, getting turquoise ink (peacock blue) all over everywhere.

My next pen was a grey Parker 51 Special engraved with my grandfather's name I inherited after he passed away. Still have that one!
My first pen is a Parker 45. I got it from my parents in the summer of 1966 when I was nine years old. The pen is still in regular use and I very well remember the day I got it.
The Parker together with a Sheaffer Snorkel Crest set which I have inherited from my father will always stay with me.
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