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

When I became a CPA in 1994, my father-in-law bought me a MB ballpoint pen. I loved rollerballs (disposables) at the time due to the wetter, bolder line they drew but I was amazed with the craftsmanship and quality the pen exuded. I tried it a couple of times but even though it felt like a million bucks in my hand, the line it drew was still light and dry compared to RBs. I also didn't want to lose it so I put it in its box and put it in a drawer. The next year, at the bank I was now working, I discovered an old box of pilot disposable fountain pens that someone thought would look cool at document signings. They leaked and clogged and were terrible so the mostly full box gathered dust in the supply closet. I saw that they were blue ink and seeing no blue RBs in inventory, I decided to give one a try. I fell in love with the beautiful shade of blue and the wetness of the line they drew. Yes, they were terrible pens and I would often bear the marks of leaks and smears, but the spell had been cast. I went back to the supply closet and took the whole box back to my desk. The best of the pens did not last a week, most just a few days, some even worse but the line variation, shading, wet line, bold color, fluidity, and nib flexibility were revalatory. Okay, the pens were also a bit (alright, a lot) feedbacky and the pig-iron nibs so poorly manufactured that they could tear holes into the paper, so not quite nirvana...but definitely a glimpse.

A colleague of mine, who I didn't know that well at the time and who worked in a different building, happened to be in my building speaking with someone else when he walked by my cube on the way out and slowed down just enough to see over my shoulder and then pulled up short. "Hey, how you doin'? What is that pen you're using?"
I turned around not recognizing the voice at first and replied "Oh hey, good. Uh, it's called a fountain pen. I found it in the supply room. They're kinda fun to use. They have this weird point that seems to get clogged up pretty easy but I kinda like them. You should -- " I replied.
We wore suits at the time and we were required to wear our jacket if we went outside so I was in shirtsleeves at my desk while my colleague had his jacket on. As I was responding to him, he reached into his inside jacket pocket and pulled out a MB 144 fountain pen, twisted off the cap and stopped me mid-sentence with: "Give this a try."
Now, even though it was loaded with black ink (not my favorite), here in my hand was all the quality and craftsmanship of my MB ballpoint together with all (almost) the pluses of the pilots I had been using -- w/o any of the drawbacks. The nib was butter-smooth and glided over the page. My jaw literally dropped as I looked back at him. "How often does this clog up?" I asked him.
"Almost never. But if it does I can clean it in just a few seconds." He replied.
I went back to writing with it and was in awe. I found something I didn't like about it (beside the ink color) compared to the pilots (remember the 'almost'?)-- it was too skinny. "I love this and it feels like it is really well built but I think I like the size of the pilots a bit better."
No sooner had I said this, when he reached back into his jacket pocket and produced a MB 146 RB, unscrewed the cap and handed it to me.
I looked at it and could see it wasn't a fountain pen. "Oh, is this a ballpoint?" I asked
"No, its a rollerball."
I wrote with it (black ink again) and thought: 'where have these instruments been all my life?' I put it down and picked up the 144 again and wrote and then the 146 again. I probably wrote with each for over a minute not being able to control the huge grin on my face. "Wow. I got a montblanc ballpoint as a gift and I have seen some cross pens at Staples but I never knew they made pens like these. Wow, I wish I could get a fountain pen in this bigger size...and in blue ink." I said as I handed both back to my colleague.
"Oh, you can get almost any color ink you want, I mostly stick with black and blue-black but you can get blue, green, red... any color really. This fountain pen is a 144 size, the rollerball is a 146. They make a fountain pen in the 146 size as well. I have one at home. You can actually get an even larger version of the fountain pen -- the 149."
"Wow, do you have one of those?" I asked.
"No, but at my last job, one of the partners there saw that I had a couple of nice pens and had me go buy him a 149."
"Wow, I guess he wanted to start with the big boy? Sounds like a partner." I chuckled.
"You're not going to believe this. He didn't plan on writing with it, he just wanted to have it so he could point with it in a presentation he was giving to a client. A $500 pen just to point with!"
We both laughed and a friendship began -- began with a newly shared interest.
I soon bought my first FP -- a MB 146 with silver trim and have never looked back. I now own many beautiful writing instruments and owe it all to the lucky confluence of discovery -- stumbling upon a crappy disposable and a knowledgeable colleague who showed me the light.
That colleague I still consider a friend and even though we have not worked together since 2009 and now live far apart, we still keep in touch. I think I will send him an email him now. :)
 
When I became a CPA in 1994, my father-in-law bought me a MB ballpoint pen. I loved rollerballs (disposables) at the time due to the wetter, bolder line they drew but I was amazed with the craftsmanship and quality the pen exuded. I tried it a couple of times but even though it felt like a million bucks in my hand, the line it drew was still light and dry compared to RBs. I also didn't want to lose it so I put it in its box and put it in a drawer. The next year, at the bank I was now working, I discovered an old box of pilot disposable fountain pens that someone thought would look cool at document signings. They leaked and clogged and were terrible so the mostly full box gathered dust in the supply closet. I saw that they were blue ink and seeing no blue RBs in inventory, I decided to give one a try. I fell in love with the beautiful shade of blue and the wetness of the line they drew. Yes, they were terrible pens and I would often bear the marks of leaks and smears, but the spell had been cast. I went back to the supply closet and took the whole box back to my desk. The best of the pens did not last a week, most just a few days, some even worse but the line variation, shading, wet line, bold color, fluidity, and nib flexibility were revalatory. Okay, the pens were also a bit (alright, a lot) feedbacky and the pig-iron nibs so poorly manufactured that they could tear holes into the paper, so not quite nirvana...but definitely a glimpse.

A colleague of mine, who I didn't know that well at the time and who worked in a different building, happened to be in my building speaking with someone else when he walked by my cube on the way out and slowed down just enough to see over my shoulder and then pulled up short. "Hey, how you doin'? What is that pen you're using?"
I turned around not recognizing the voice at first and replied "Oh hey, good. Uh, it's called a fountain pen. I found it in the supply room. They're kinda fun to use. They have this weird point that seems to get clogged up pretty easy but I kinda like them. You should -- " I replied.
We wore suits at the time and we were required to wear our jacket if we went outside so I was in shirtsleeves at my desk while my colleague had his jacket on. As I was responding to him, he reached into his inside jacket pocket and pulled out a MB 144 fountain pen, twisted off the cap and stopped me mid-sentence with: "Give this a try."
Now, even though it was loaded with black ink (not my favorite), here in my hand was all the quality and craftsmanship of my MB ballpoint together with all (almost) the pluses of the pilots I had been using -- w/o any of the drawbacks. The nib was butter-smooth and glided over the page. My jaw literally dropped as I looked back at him. "How often does this clog up?" I asked him.
"Almost never. But if it does I can clean it in just a few seconds." He replied.
I went back to writing with it and was in awe. I found something I didn't like about it (beside the ink color) compared to the pilots (remember the 'almost'?)-- it was too skinny. "I love this and it feels like it is really well built but I think I like the size of the pilots a bit better."
No sooner had I said this, when he reached back into his jacket pocket and produced a MB 146 RB, unscrewed the cap and handed it to me.
I looked at it and could see it wasn't a fountain pen. "Oh, is this a ballpoint?" I asked
"No, its a rollerball."
I wrote with it (black ink again) and thought: 'where have these instruments been all my life?' I put it down and picked up the 144 again and wrote and then the 146 again. I probably wrote with each for over a minute not being able to control the huge grin on my face. "Wow. I got a montblanc ballpoint as a gift and I have seen some cross pens at Staples but I never knew they made pens like these. Wow, I wish I could get a fountain pen in this bigger size...and in blue ink." I said as I handed both back to my colleague.
"Oh, you can get almost any color ink you want, I mostly stick with black and blue-black but you can get blue, green, red... any color really. This fountain pen is a 144 size, the rollerball is a 146. They make a fountain pen in the 146 size as well. I have one at home. You can actually get an even larger version of the fountain pen -- the 149."
"Wow, do you have one of those?" I asked.
"No, but at my last job, one of the partners there saw that I had a couple of nice pens and had me go buy him a 149."
"Wow, I guess he wanted to start with the big boy? Sounds like a partner." I chuckled.
"You're not going to believe this. He didn't plan on writing with it, he just wanted to have it so he could point with it in a presentation he was giving to a client. A $500 pen just to point with!"
We both laughed and a friendship began -- began with a newly shared interest.
I soon bought my first FP -- a MB 146 with silver trim and have never looked back. I now own many beautiful writing instruments and owe it all to the lucky confluence of discovery -- stumbling upon a crappy disposable and a knowledgeable colleague who showed me the light.
That colleague I still consider a friend and even though we have not worked together since 2009 and now live far apart, we still keep in touch. I think I will send him an email him now. :)

Wonderful story, thank you!
 
When I became a CPA in 1994, my father-in-law bought me a MB ballpoint pen. I loved rollerballs (disposables) at the time due to the wetter, bolder line they drew but I was amazed with the craftsmanship and quality the pen exuded. I tried it a couple of times but even though it felt like a million bucks in my hand, the line it drew was still light and dry compared to RBs. I also didn't want to lose it so I put it in its box and put it in a drawer. The next year, at the bank I was now working, I discovered an old box of pilot disposable fountain pens that someone thought would look cool at document signings. They leaked and clogged and were terrible so the mostly full box gathered dust in the supply closet. I saw that they were blue ink and seeing no blue RBs in inventory, I decided to give one a try. I fell in love with the beautiful shade of blue and the wetness of the line they drew. Yes, they were terrible pens and I would often bear the marks of leaks and smears, but the spell had been cast. I went back to the supply closet and took the whole box back to my desk. The best of the pens did not last a week, most just a few days, some even worse but the line variation, shading, wet line, bold color, fluidity, and nib flexibility were revalatory. Okay, the pens were also a bit (alright, a lot) feedbacky and the pig-iron nibs so poorly manufactured that they could tear holes into the paper, so not quite nirvana...but definitely a glimpse.

A colleague of mine, who I didn't know that well at the time and who worked in a different building, happened to be in my building speaking with someone else when he walked by my cube on the way out and slowed down just enough to see over my shoulder and then pulled up short. "Hey, how you doin'? What is that pen you're using?"
I turned around not recognizing the voice at first and replied "Oh hey, good. Uh, it's called a fountain pen. I found it in the supply room. They're kinda fun to use. They have this weird point that seems to get clogged up pretty easy but I kinda like them. You should -- " I replied.
We wore suits at the time and we were required to wear our jacket if we went outside so I was in shirtsleeves at my desk while my colleague had his jacket on. As I was responding to him, he reached into his inside jacket pocket and pulled out a MB 144 fountain pen, twisted off the cap and stopped me mid-sentence with: "Give this a try."
Now, even though it was loaded with black ink (not my favorite), here in my hand was all the quality and craftsmanship of my MB ballpoint together with all (almost) the pluses of the pilots I had been using -- w/o any of the drawbacks. The nib was butter-smooth and glided over the page. My jaw literally dropped as I looked back at him. "How often does this clog up?" I asked him.
"Almost never. But if it does I can clean it in just a few seconds." He replied.
I went back to writing with it and was in awe. I found something I didn't like about it (beside the ink color) compared to the pilots (remember the 'almost'?)-- it was too skinny. "I love this and it feels like it is really well built but I think I like the size of the pilots a bit better."
No sooner had I said this, when he reached back into his jacket pocket and produced a MB 146 RB, unscrewed the cap and handed it to me.
I looked at it and could see it wasn't a fountain pen. "Oh, is this a ballpoint?" I asked
"No, its a rollerball."
I wrote with it (black ink again) and thought: 'where have these instruments been all my life?' I put it down and picked up the 144 again and wrote and then the 146 again. I probably wrote with each for over a minute not being able to control the huge grin on my face. "Wow. I got a montblanc ballpoint as a gift and I have seen some cross pens at Staples but I never knew they made pens like these. Wow, I wish I could get a fountain pen in this bigger size...and in blue ink." I said as I handed both back to my colleague.
"Oh, you can get almost any color ink you want, I mostly stick with black and blue-black but you can get blue, green, red... any color really. This fountain pen is a 144 size, the rollerball is a 146. They make a fountain pen in the 146 size as well. I have one at home. You can actually get an even larger version of the fountain pen -- the 149."
"Wow, do you have one of those?" I asked.
"No, but at my last job, one of the partners there saw that I had a couple of nice pens and had me go buy him a 149."
"Wow, I guess he wanted to start with the big boy? Sounds like a partner." I chuckled.
"You're not going to believe this. He didn't plan on writing with it, he just wanted to have it so he could point with it in a presentation he was giving to a client. A $500 pen just to point with!"
We both laughed and a friendship began -- began with a newly shared interest.
I soon bought my first FP -- a MB 146 with silver trim and have never looked back. I now own many beautiful writing instruments and owe it all to the lucky confluence of discovery -- stumbling upon a crappy disposable and a knowledgeable colleague who showed me the light.
That colleague I still consider a friend and even though we have not worked together since 2009 and now live far apart, we still keep in touch. I think I will send him an email him now. :)

Why not break out a FP and write him a note on a nice note card?
 
Probably 1962 when starting second grade. In Germany at the time the fountain pen was standard to be used in school. Pencils were only allowed for drawing and such, but to write with. Ballpoints were not that big in that time.
So, my first FP was a Pelikano that used the standard cartridges (made by Pelikan). Some info here:

The other big brand for school fountain pens was Geha, their body was green while the Pelikano had the Pelikano blue body.
Pelikan still makes my favorite fountain pens.
 
When I was in primary school in the 80's I got one of those Sheaffer calligraphy sets, with three nibs of different width, and different coloured ink cartridges. I guess it was supposed to improve my handwriting, but it never really did.

b48fdc193cac1b30118442a327cd76d9.png
 
Would have been 1960 when I was in 5th grade. It was a Sheaffer school pen, clear, came with 5 Skrip Blue cartridges. I vividly remember writing my State report with Peacock Blue ink. Cursive required back then.
 

AimlessWanderer

Remember to forget me!
I had a couple of multi-nib calligraphy sets. Brand unknown. The packaging looked different to the Sheaffer pictured above though.

We did have to use a fountain pen at school for a couple of years too, but they were just loaners, and truly awful... mainly from being mauled by 11 year old kids. They'd frequently run dry, then vomit ink on the page. The pens, not the kids. They might have been Berol, but can't be certain.
 
Would have been in the 1965-1970 time period. Folks confiscated after less than two days. A inexpensive Sheaffer I bought at a local 7-11 store. It sounds like we are about the same age.

Then the next one which I still have, was in 1998. A Lamy Al Star. I had two (#2 was a red marbled Waterman Phileas) until December 2012, when #3 came along. A black Waterman Phileas. The number is approaching the 45-50 range now.

Sent from my SM-G991U using Tapatalk
 
The attached image is my first pen when I was in the fourth or fifth grade. My mom gave it to me. She thought that the pen should also have a pencil with it. It was in the mid 1950s.
 

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