Issue#8: Those Magnificent Folks and their Writing Machines

Sheaffer Imperial, FP Doodle and a resurrected Endless Creator

Issue 8 | 2 July 2023

The rains are finally here and the heat is gone for good. The humidity does weird things with paper and notebooks, but I’m not complaining!

Issue#8 has a reader, Suyog, writing in about their experience with a vintage pen, and my ramblings on the types of fountain pen users according to Shreyas. Also, starting this issue, we will be featuring FP doodles by Nandini. Do check out her Instagram for more fountain pen goodness.

When I was hanging out with Shreyas, my fountain pen buddy and starter of many interesting conversations on the subject, we met someone else, and he very expansively introduced me. When doing so, he said there are different types of fountain pen enthusiasts, and that I fell into the category that explored inks and paper more than fountain pens. The conversation moved on but this description stuck in my head.

Apart from fountain penning, which is a hobby I have consciously cultivated, there is another one that has grown by itself - procrastination. Given how proficient I am at it, I can hardly call it a hobby, but we will not debate that now. Gemma Correll’s amazing map of ProcrastiNation fits me to a tee - except that my Daydream Beach is Thinking Too Much Sands.

As a result, I have spent a good deal of time thinking about this, and discarded most of my thoughts as not very engaging. Briefly, here are a few thoughts about my FP enthusiast avatar.

I like fountain pens, but I also like using them. So that makes me not a collector. I have a bunch of pens that I use regularly, and a great deal more that I use occasionally. I have very few pens that I never use, and most of them are on their way out - either given away or sold to those who I believe will use them. However, what I really cherish is not the fountain pens themselves, but rather the work they enable me to produce. Whether it is a poem or a sketch or a doodle - or indeed notes from a routine work meeting - the experience of producing them is enriched by the fountain pen. And here lies the rub - when I say fountain pen, I mean that eternal triumvirate of pen, ink and paper.

So naturally, I have more inks than pens, and more paper than the both of them put together. So if you meet me and we get chatting about fountain pens, we will likely talk about inks and paper as much as we talk about fountain pens. And till recently, I had thought this was how most people would be. However, like all pet theories, this one did not survive an encounter with reality.

In real life, there are folks with a myriad pens and a couple of bottles of ink - one blue and one black, mostly Bril, Quink or Pilot. There are folks with a bunch of fountain pens, one notebook and one ‘nice’ notebook. There are folks with a bunch of fountain pens and ball pens and rollerballs and insanely full notebooks filled with wonderful work. There are people with one fountain pen.

And thus ends my homily on types of fountain pen users. There really is no takeaway from this except that in fountain pens as in life, to each their own!

A Reader Writes

Past-forward: A vintage experience

by Suyog Ketkar | Blog

Your article on Wahl Eversharp’s Skyline drew my attention. And, with my recently acquired Sheaffer’s Imperial IV, I could barely keep myself from writing about it. Although I suspect mine is still a very young vintage… somewhere around the early 1980s.

My ‘new’ old fountain pen, a touchdown filler, writes smoothly out of the box that it didn’t originally come in. The very touch and feel of it are a little too smooth for me to call it a vintage piece, but I must have been lucky because the nib produces a consistent, smooth, and juicy wet Fine line.

The pen’s body is a time-worn plastic in navy blue, and I have coupled it with Diamine Denim. The combination looks a little too classy for a vintage look. But the inlaid nib is what has grabbed people’s attention the most.

I have since converted at least three people into becoming pen enthusiasts. That, in such a short span of time since my receiving this pen, is quite a feat. I am beginning to sense that all those who’ve had a chance to use a fountain pen in their schooling have a liking for it. Just that afloat amidst the tides of time and life, they’ve not nurtured their interests. I’m glad I rekindled it for them, much like how you rekindled mine with your own story.

As I grab my Sheaffer’s Imperial once again, I begin to think what if pens could speak or pen down (no puns intended, although I wouldn't mind putting one here!) their story for us—all those vintage pieces, if only then could tell us where they’ve been to, who all held them, for how long they’ve had to travel before they reached us—what fascinating stories would those pens tell! “If”, A tiny word; a huge condition.

Thank you, dear pen-thusiast, for sharing this interest. I am sure your dear readers will have their own story about a vintage pen they might own.

FP Doodles

Nandini Ramchandran | Instagram

Everyday FPness

I got out my Endless Creator and gave it a good washing, and soaked the nib unit overnight. It has been working well for now since I inked it with the wet-flowing Iroshizuku Yama Budo. I have been using it for a couple of daysand it has been working quite well - it started writing immediately without any issues when I left it unused overnight. Looks like I have a working retractable fountain pen :)

An old Monteverde Monza came into rotation this week, inked up with Noodler’s Ink 54th Massachussetts from a sample Shreyas gave me. I really like the blue-black colour, and it dries almost instantly. It feathers a bit on copy paper, but I’m mostly using it on TR 52, where it behaves really well.

And finally, the PLP 007 has been doing service inked with Diamine Writer’s Blood. I like the pen, I like the ink, and I cannot stop writing!

Get featured in Fountain Pen Weekly

Share your take on fountain pens and related things in one (or more!) of our upcoming issues.

Any and all content you share will belong to you and will be credited to your name (or a pen name of your choice) and linked to any of your online profiles. Ideal content would be a write-up between 200 and 400 words with 1 to 5 images.

Here are a few things that can go in the Fountain Pen Weekly:

  • Pen / ink / paper ownership experience

  • Favorites in FP, ink, paper etc

  • Your social handles with your FP content - Insta, FB, Twitter, Reddit

  • Any FP-related content you want to call out - articles, podcasts, videos.

If you have any other ideas as well, do share, and I will be happy to think about it.

That’s all from me this week.

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