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Sunday, May 16, 2010

Ink Blot #09: To Post or Not?

'Posting' in the pen world refers to what you do with your pen cap while you write. Fountain pens, with the exception of a few new pens like the Lamy Dialog 3 (below), are two-part pens, a body and a cap.


Posting is when you put the cap on the back of the pen while you write, regardless of whether it pushes on or screws on with threads.


The cap unscrews from the pen, and you write with the body, but what do you do with the cap? Do you put it on the desk? Hold it in your hand? Both of these would be 'non-posting' or 'unposted' writing methods.



I've been told (by no scientific method of discovery) that most Americans post their pens, whereas most Europeans hold the cap in their non-writing hand. Just pulling a theory out of the air, I suspect the difference is caused by our writing culture. Europeans (in general) are raised with a familiarity of fountain pen usage, and holding the cap in your hand is a method of security...should someone ask to borrow your pen, they won't be likely to walk off with it if you still have the cap! I suspect most Americans, if they are using a fountain pen, will not likely be asked to have their pen borrowed. Most of the people I meet that see me using a fountain pen in public hardly know what it is, let alone how to use it. No one has ever asked me to borrow one, unless it's a fellow fountain pen users that I know.

So is one way right and one way wrong? Heck no! Do what you want. Depending on the weight and balance of the pen and your own personal preference, you may have a strict way of posting or you may be flexible from one pen to the next. Me? I'm a non-poster. I like have more weight on the nib of the pen, and posting the cap throws my balance off. What do you like to do?

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24 comments:

  1. I'm a non-poster also. I took shorthand in college (yes, shorthand - look it up!) and was taught not to post as it throws off the balance of the pen.

    The only exception is some of my very small vintage ringtops, they are just too small if they are not posted.

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  2. That's a good point. I am an avid non-poster myself, but with shortie pens like the Kaweco Sport, I do post because it's just to small otherwise.

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  3. I too am a non-poster. Not sure if this has to do with me being European or not though. Would be interesting to see if there really is a difference between the continents!

    I never post the cap...somehow feels 'wrong/strange'

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  4. For me it depends on the pen. I literally just got my first nice vintage fountain pen and the first time I wrote with it. I just didn't post it even though I post the junkie Parker 21 I have (my only other vintage pen) because it feels to light w/o the cap posted. I post all of my preppys, pelikanos, and pocket pens without thinking about it.

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  5. When I first started using fountain pens, I insisted on posting. This is mostly because I am a fanatic about not losing things and absolutely cannot stand having a pen with a missing top. A hold over form my roller ball days. Now that I have been writing with fountain pens for a while, I must say that I agree with Brian: having the pen posted throws off the balance of the pen. Since I write much more now that I used to when I used roller ball pens, I find that an unposted pen is better for the marathon writing sessions. Just my personal opinion.

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  6. I tend to not post, out of pure habit, unless I'm writing a full essay at one go. But then again, when I write essays, I usually use a retractable pen anyway.

    For 'research' purposes... I'm just a lazy Singaporean who can't get into the habit of posting pen caps:)

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  7. It really depends on the pen. When I write with my Esterbrook LJs I always post the pen. However, I never post my Pelikan M215 which is the same size.

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  8. I am a European (French), and have used foutain pens up to the age of about 12, at school... and stopped it until recently (I am 29), when I began using them again, fed up with the disposability of plastic thingies. And, well : I always post (mainly for when I have to put down the pen for an instant, so it does not start to roll on its own - I take care of the way I post, so that the nib is placed as far as possible from the desk, should I lay the pen down), unless I am writing in a hurry (though I may post even then, if I really need my other hand to hold the paper). It is a bit funny this does influence the shapes of the pens I like (I like the cap not to stand out, not to form a bump in respect with the pen's body, when I post it).

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  9. Great Article about Fountain Pen Ink
    I like it most...

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  10. For me it depends on the pen. I literally just got my first nice vintage fountain pen and the first time I wrote with it. I just didn't post it even though I post the junkie Parker 21 I have (my only other vintage pen) because it feels to light w/o the cap posted. I post all of my preppys, pelikanos, and pocket pens without thinking about it.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I'm a non-poster also. I took shorthand in college (yes, shorthand - look it up!) and was taught not to post as it throws off the balance of the pen.

    The only exception is some of my very small vintage ringtops, they are just too small if they are not posted.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I too am a non-poster. Not sure if this has to do with me being European or not though. Would be interesting to see if there really is a difference between the continents!

    I never post the cap...somehow feels 'wrong/strange'

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  13. It depends on the pen. The balance of the pen changes when you post the cap - take one pen and some people would like the feel with the cap posted, some without. There is no write [sic] or wrong.

    I normally don't post because I have quite small hands and when posted the centre of gravity of most pens is just too far up to be comfortable to write with.

    I have a Pilot Capless and Lamy Dialog 3 and both are hard to write with because the centre of gravity is too far up the pen for me!

    My mother has just said that you must always post the cap on your pen because they are made to balance properly with the cap posted! Bah, what does she know?!!!

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  14. I don't post even my lightest pens.  I have always placed my cap open side down so that it stands up.  I never thought about holding it in my other hand until reading this post.

    There are some shorter fountain pens that will require posting, but until they get added to my collection, I'm a no poster.   Now, time to "post" this reply.   

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  15. I've found a huge number of Americans post their pens. From what I understand, it's almost the opposite in Europe, am I wrong?

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  16. It does depend on the pen! A lot of people won't purchase a pen though because they don't like the way it does/doesn't post. I think most people tend to have a preference to post or not, and they stick with pens that accommodate that.

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  17. What's interesting is that I'm doing the opposite now! When I posted this blog I never posted anything. Now, I post almost all my pens! I don't know when or why the change happened...I think it had to do with the fact my pen angle has dropped in the last year and I hold my pens further away from the nib than I used to. That allows for posting without throwing off the balance of the pen.

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  18. It must be because of the weight/balance of the pen. The size is one factor, but I find weight is more of an issue for posting than size.

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  19. Thanks for sharing! I bet my impression of Europeans not posting is somewhat unfounded.

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  20. You're exactly right, it all depends on the individual. Give a pen to 10 people and they'll all hold it 10 different ways!

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  21. I've set my caps down this way too, but I'm a loose-limbed arm-flailer, so I almost always knock the cap over. When I don't post, I usually hold the cap in my hand, that's just my natural state.

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  22. I'm new to FPs and have quickly decided on my own preference - no posting, hold cap in other hand.  

    Holding the cap allows me to easily / quickly put on the cap in-between writing to keep nib/ink from getting dry - I rarely sit down for a long stretch, I mostly write at work - I do some writing, some thinking, some talking, some more writing. 

    Also, I can feel the threads on the cap rubbing on the barrel when I post, and don't want to cause wear on the barrel.  

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  23. An excellent point, Dawn! If you're writing quick things on the go, it is much more convenient to have the cap in your hand. As for the 'wearing' on the barrel due to posting, that's going to depend on the pen and the type of material. Most pens aren't affected by it though.

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