“First” Fountain Pens

The theme for our FIRST meeting of the New Year was… your “first” fountain pen (FP).  This could mean the very “first” FP you owned (however acquired), the “first” FP you purchased as an adult, or it could mean the “first” FP you chose as a collector, after becoming “hooked” on this hobby.  The notion of “first” in “first” FP was limited only by our small brains.

One of our most distinguished members wrote the following about his “first” FP:

I still have it and it is still one of my most trusty workhorses.  No sequestering it away in a glass case, it is usually stabled in my shirt pocket next to my heart.  In the same fashion as many an infantryman (so I have read) has had his life saved by a musket embedded in his trusty bible, I would expect a bullet aimed at my heart to be deflected by my loyal Sheaffer.

No matter that it has long since destroyed its cap (I have it carefully stored so that when technology advances sufficiently I or a descendent will restore it), I fitted it out with a beautiful classic black one, that fits perfectly.  Indeed, I would go so far as to say that it looks rather more aristocratic than the original.
My Uncle Phil gave it to me when I started high school and I have been training it ever since.  It has learned to respond to my every touch in a way that can only be achieved over a lifetime.  I would guess that if all I ever wrote with this pen was stretched out in a continuous line it would reach from here to the sun!  It is too late for me to be ever able to train another although I do continue to explore vintage pens in the (probably vain) hope that some literate connoisseur may have had a similar relationship resulting in a perfectly molded writing instrument.

I will bring it to the next meeting of the LPC and if you swear to treat it with appropriate tenderness and respect I may even let you write a couple of words.

I don’t think you will find it too hard to pick out this “hybrid” Sheaffer in the picture that follows below!

As for me, I brought three “first” FPs to our meeting.  My very “first” FP, a tortoise Waterman Laureat that I purchased to sign my name on my firm’s correspondence (I used Waterman Florida Blue ink, of course!).  Next, I brought the “first” FP that I purchased online, from Levenger, a beautiful blue Visconti Pericles.  Both the Laureat and Pericles are pictured below.  Last, I brought the “first” vintage FP that I purchased, under the direction of a certain LPC member – a red Parker Duofold Streamline Senior.

Here is a picture of the “first” FPs that were shared at our meeting on January 2, 2010.  From left to right, they are as follows:

  1. Parker 51 Special – the “first” FP given by a daughter to her father (very Special indeed!),
  2. Uncle Phil’s Sheaffer – as described above,
  3. Parker Slimfold – the “first” (and only) FP used by a member’s mother,
  4. Parker 75,
  5. Esterbrook,
  6. Sheaffer Balance in carmine red,
  7. Sheaffer Snorkel,
  8. Parker Duofold Jr.,
  9. Waterman Laureat – as described above, and
  10. Visconti Pericles – as described above.

Let us know about your “first” FP!

6 thoughts on ““First” Fountain Pens

  1. Another great blog post, Mike!

    I loved hearing about the Sheaffer from Uncle Phil; many thanks to your fellow LPC member for sharing his memories with all of us so eloquently.

    My first fountain pen was (I still have it) a red Sheaffer “NoNonsense” pen that I bought at a Woolworths store (remember them???) in northern Manitoba in 1976. It came with a pack of Sheaffer cartridges (still have those, too!) and I used it in late elementary school to write reports as I wanted a “special pen” for “special” homework. I think fountain pens still have that sort of aura about them—that they are “special” in some way. Gosh knows that I probably used ballpoint pens that were almost as expensive as my NoNonsense fountain pen, but I thought of my fountain pen as something “special”….and I still do 🙂

    1. Thanks Maja for sharing your story. In my view, all of these stories share a common theme – the value of a pen cannot always be measured by the price paid for it!

  2. I had a pink(ish) marbled Osmiroid Fountain pen – my headmaster was most disparaging of it (and me I think) being a boy – my mum bought it for me. I have no idea what became of it.

    1. Mike
      Thanks for your comment. It’s a shame that you can’t find the pen as it seems to bring to mind memories of your youth that are mostly positive. Who knows, you might be able to pick up a similar pen on eBay or at a pen show.

    1. These pens are on the smaller side, at least to me, but nevertheless represent a terrific pen, coming in a variety of finishes and nibs. Great choice for a first pen. For everything you want to know about the Parker 75, visit THE site about them, http://parker75.com/, by our good friend Lih-Tah Wong of the Michigan Pen Club. In fact, you could meet him at the upcoming 26th Michigan Pen Show on Friday, October 14th, from 3pm to 7pm and Saturday, October 15th, from 10am to 6pm at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Novi.

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