By LPC member Rafal
From time to time we suggest and pick particular themes for our meetings. Those themes have to only loosely be related to pens, inks and papers. The theme for April 3, 2010 was for each member to bring the pen from his/her collection that they would consider the “perfect” pen (for him or her) right now and explain why they chose that particular pen.
There was a strong suspicion that the idea of a “perfect pen” would mean many different things to many different people but some suggested selection criteria included:
– How the pen fits them?
– How the nib matches their preference for most of their writing
(smoothness level, flow rate, stiffness, and point size/shape)?
– How durable is the construction?
– How it matches their esthetic tastes?
– How easy it is to fill and how it matches their ink capacity requirements?
We thought that this exercise might reveal a few interesting observations including:
– The “perfect” pen for someone might not be their most favourite pen;
– There might be a lot of variety in the pens selected by the group or there may be
some similarities; and
– We might even find that there are some repetitions.
This turned out to be a pretty interesting topic of discussion and here are the pens each member brought (along with the reasons for their choice) and a slide show of those perfect pens:
Rick: Parker 75 Cisele
– Size / weight just right
– Dry writing wine nib – just likes Rick likes
– Cartridge capability – great for travel
– Classic design
John: Waterman Edson
– Perfect size
– Broad nib – pretty much the only nib for John
– Very pretty – navy blue color with gold trim
– Sentimental value – it was a gift from John’s employer for 25 years of service
– Does not have a vacumatic filling mechanism 😉
Mike: Tibaldi Iride
– It’s the pen that David wants more than any other from his collection but can’t have it.
Dan: Sheaffer 300
– Has a nice heft
– Spring loaded clip
David: Modern Aurora 88 (large) with a stub nib
– Black with silver trim
– Size / feel
– Piston filler
– Great nib
– Classic, elegant design
– Italian pen
Doug: Delta 20th Anniversary
– Feel in hand
– Barrel shape is smooth and flowing
– Ink flow on the wet side
– Nib is ‘right’ – It’s neither fine or medium or broad, it is just right.
– Colour – Orange Black
– Filling system – Vintage classic (lever)
– Construction – Screw-on cap (when posted to end of barrel). At first he thought it was a hassle and stupid. Now everything lines up. Cap never falls off.
– A larger pen, yet again, body flow and colour… Writing for hours…
– Gold nib, and it has some flex
– Classic design
Marie: Sheaffer 300
– Nice to write with
Stan: Waterman 100 Year Pen
– Perfect flexible nib – almost calligraphic.
– Lends itself very well to Stan’s style of writing
Patrick: Parker 51 Slender
– Matches his jacket
– Perfect weight / balance posted and not posted
– Hooded nib design
– Nice nib
Ben:Waterman Expert II
– Colour – light blue
– Flows smoothly
– Can be used anytime (always ready to write)
Rafal: Parker 51 Aerometric
– Perfect Size
– Smooth, wet XF nib
– Elegant styling
– Very durable and easy to service
After everyone’s choices were revealed, a few things became apparent:
– Out of 11 pens, Waterman and Parker were picked most often [3 times each (27%)/6 out of the 11 in total (55%)];
– Out of modern pens, Sheaffer 300 was picked twice (67%) and out of vintage
pens Parker 51 was picked twice (67%);
– 4 pens were vintage (36%) and 7 were modern (64%);
– The cartridge/converter filling system was picked most often [5 times (45%)];
– The pens picked were either American or Italian brands;
– Surprisingly, there were no German or Japanese pens picked; and,
– The nib/writing characteristics was used as a criteria by 9 out of
11 participants (82%).
It would be interesting to compare the results of this exercise if these same question was asked a year from now.
We’d love to hear what your perfect pen is and why? Maybe you think the same as some of our members or maybe something completely different. Let us know!
Pens that preceded serious collecting
By LPC member David
y first memory of writing with a fountain pen goes back to my pre-primary school, Chelmsford School in Durban, South Africa where as an 8 year old in what we then called Standard 1 (Grade 3), we were to taught to write with a fountain pen. Sadly, I don’t remember the details of the pen, except that it was not a dip pen. While those memories have faded, a small spark was created.
The first pen that I ever owned was a Parker 45 Flighter, the stainless steel super-stream-lined classic given to me by family friends when I was 13 years old. This turned out to be a most appropriate first pen for me, as the Parker 45 and I share birth years, give or take a year. I loved this pen and used it often over my high school and university years, and beyond. This pen still writes as well as it ever did with its smooth medium nib, and like many 45s, the plastic section long ago developed the characteristic bumpy indents caused by the clutch rings of the pen’s cap. These days, I no longer use this pen, preferring others, but it still holds an important place in my collection, where it has been joined by a number of 45 cousins.
When I was in my late teenage years and heading off to university, my father gave me his black aerometric Parker 51, personally inscribed with his name. At that time, he no longer used a fountain pen and I was delighted with this 2nd addition to, what I did not know then was, my “collection”. This pen, with its simple lustraloy cap was and is a classic, and kindled my love of 51s. I never used the pen very much because it had a fine and scratchy nib. Then, living in Canada, I eventually sent it off to Fountain Pen Hospital to get a new medium nib installed, which transformed the pen into a usable instrument. Subsequently, the pen visited John Mottishaw who fitted it with a stub nib, a transformation which made it an even more usable pen.
My father was not the only 51-owner in my immediate family. My mother, presently a few weeks short of her 90th birthday, has been doing all of her daily writing with her beloved burgundy aerometric 51 (with gold-filled cap), for over 60 years. And for over 30 years now, I (and my brother) have received a weekly letter from her, penned with no other pen than this burgundy 51 filled with Parker blue ink. One day, I hope to own this pen, something with which my mother concurs, although as she has said, “hopefully not in the near future”.
Prior to starting to collect fountain pens seriously in 2008, three other fountain pens joined my infantile collection. Sometime between 1997 and 1999, I made my first Ebay purchase in the form of a green and gold striped Parker Duofold Junior from 1946; I am not sure what made me buy this pen as I was not “collecting” fountain pens then, but presumably “collecting” was then in its embryonic and inevitable state.
In 1999, I was given a beautiful white swirled Marlen Shuttle with sterling silver cap by friends when visiting them in Phoenix.
Following this, there was a brief dalliance with an orange Rotring Core purchased from the Peel Pen Store, until the collecting hobby was born formally in 2008.