What Makes a Fountain Pen Worth the Money?

Many may remember the feeling before they decided to buy their first
pen, that hesitation to make the leap from inexpensive, possibly office-
or school-supplied writing utensils to the more costly, “fancier” fountain pen. While there are many benefits to these great tools, it is also a bit of a push to finally dive into the
hobby. In this slice, Brian shares his beliefs on what makes fountain pens
worth the money and how you can decide if you’re ready to take the
plunge.

The first big question you must ask is “What are you trying to achieve by purchasing this pen?” There are a whole host of reasons to want to buy a fountain pen. Maybe you want to reduce your waste and stop trashing disposable pens when they run out, maybe you want to have a sturdier or better looking pen to use in your daily life, maybe you’re rewarding yourself for a job well done. Whatever the reason, something brought you to the threshold of buying your first pen and you can start by determining what that is and how badly you want to make this purchase happen.

What do you plan on doing with the pen? Fountain pens are much sturdier and longer lasting than the pens many use in daily life. They are an attractive option because they write well and they feel better in the hand for long writing sessions. You may also admire how well they are created and the thought and attention to detail in designing a well-balanced and appealing pen. There is also an element of quality and practicality to fountain pens that disposable pens don’t have. These pens are meant to be carried around and pulled out to use in all situations. They are not the type of pens you’ll leave laying around and lose. Fountain pens last for a very long time, maybe even generations. Some fountain pen users will tell you of their first pen being handed down from a parent or grandparent. These pens are built to last and keep on writing for years on end.

What are you willing to give up to get this pen? Is the idea of using a fountain pen more appealing to you than, say, the missed cups of coffee or lunches out you’ll have to sacrifice to save up and buy the pen? The joy and pride of owning and writing with a fountain pen can far surpass some of these things if you truly fall in love with the hobby of using pens. Finding the pen in the perfect shade, shape or material that just sets your heart aflutter and makes you excited to use it is one of the best feelings. Your pens even become part of who you are and how you present yourself. Fountain pens are also a great way to reward yourself for a job well done or reaching an important milestone, like graduation or a promotion at work.

Some of the other reasons for buying pens include picking up a Limited Edition or Special Edition pen before it sells out, reconnecting with a sense of nostalgia for a bygone era, or feeling attracted to the materials used in the pen. Many of the special and limited editions sell very quickly and it is one of the worst feelings to miss out on those pens when you’ve fallen in love with it. These pens only grow in value, both monetary and covetousness, after the supply is depleted and it can be a sense of pride to have been part of the select group to obtain one. Fountain pens are also often associated with a vintage vibe or something our grandparents used. Using these writing implements can make you feel like they are in tune with a simpler time and slowing things down. There are also some pretty nifty materials used to create pens these days (Lava, anyone?) and you can’t help but fall in love with some of them. It is perfectly reasonable to buy a pen simply because the swirled acrylic or other captivating material just speaks to you!

One of the key components to deciding if fountain pens are worth it for you is to educate yourself. Read up or watch videos about the care and maintenance of the pens, check out quick looks to see what makes the pen special, learn what inks you can use with the pen. The more you dive into the hobby, the more you can decide if it interests you and if you want to partake. The simple truth is that when you see for yourself that the pen is worth it, then you will be ready to buy it without hesitation.

What encouraged you to purchase your first pen?

Write on,
The Goulet Pen Company Team

2017-10-11T01:56:48+00:00 July 3rd, 2017|Tips & Tricks|78 Comments
  • Tom Johnson

    Discovering the wonderful smoothness, dark rich ink color, and how great a fountain pen is to write with led me to buy my first purchased fountain pen. One catalyst was the sheer joy of using an old gift pen that I had mostly ignored for 30 years. The second one was discovering an issue of Pen World at a book store.

    • Lydia At Goulet Pens

      And what a wonderful journey it has been, right?

      • Tom Johnson

        Oh yes Lydia, a most wonderful journey, you never know where your next stop will be. One of the best things about this journey is meeting all the wonderful people along the way and sharing their companionship.

  • CorinneLitchfield

    My first fountain pens were inexpensive school pens that took Sheaffer cartridges. I was inspired by watching my friend take notes in our statistics and PoliSci classes in college with a fountain pen. She had started using fountain pens when studying in France. I ended up with 3 pens and in the mid to late 1990s my then-husband gave me a Waterman Phileas, which I absolutely loved – and still do. Fast forward 25 years and I now have a small but satisfying collection of fountain pens ranging from Jinhaos to a Diplomat Excellence A, with a variety of ink colors. In the last year I’ve found my FP tribe through attending shows, reading and posting on the subreddit for fountain pens, and spending time at my favorite local brick-and-mortar pen shop. It’s a great community full of passion and inky fingers. 🙂

    • Sandy Andina

      One of the things I used to love to do in Paris was go to the “rentree des classes” (back-to-school) sales at Printemps, Galeries Lafayette, and Samaritaine—at Printemps, the school supplies took up most of a floor and there were bins and bins of cool plastic Watermans for the franc equivalent of about 10 euros. (My faves were a Keith Haring, Thomas Paine “Declaration des Droits d’Homme” and a Lara Croft Tomb Raider). Creeks & Creeks and Pelikan Go & Pelikano were even cheaper. Heck, you could get a “poor man’s” Waterman Phileas (the transparent Kultur) for less than $20. I still have a plastic bag full of NOS student Watermans. Can’t bear to sell them.

      Last year, though, GL had either high-end pens or a couple of 40-euro cheapies; and Printemps had only the most expensive brands…behind locked glass doors.

  • Ryan K.

    I got my first fountain pen in a book store, while Christmas shopping with my kids at the end of 2016. Pilot Varsity. I thought a disposable fountain pen was very novel and unique. I always liked pens, and loved unique things. (I’m a 6’2” guy with a goatee, long, curly ponytail, and a pocket watch. I AM unique) It was only about $4.00, so I had to try it. Unfortunately I was less than thrilled with its performance. Medium nib, wet ink… It was so much wider than the .05 rollerballs I was used to, and had a tendency to bleed thru my notebook paper.
    But then I saw a Pilot Metropolitan (retro pop in Green) in a brick and mortar store. Wow. And only $15. This I liked much better. Fine nib, better ink, and “classier”. But when I looked for replacement ink… They didn’t sell any. They had Parker, and Cross, and Sheaffer… But nothing for the Pilot, except the G-2s. Not even on their website!
    But while I was on their website… I Googled the pen… And found Goulet Pens. Got my cartridge converter, big bottle of Noodler’s X-feather ink, and it’s all been down hill from there. 😁
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/3f1ea899930c62e55a9c8b8f793cb6f44e4e81e5fb0e4138b669bb33db244440.jpg

    • Lydia At Goulet Pens

      Definitely a huge difference in the writing experiences of the Varsity and Metropolitan. Glad to hear the Varsity didn’t deter you. I love mine but it’s certainly not for everyone.

  • Lesley Schultz

    I’ve been a notebook snob since college undergrad, but never took the leap into fountain pens until about 8 weeks ago. Goulet made opening the rabbit hole easy with their various “beginner sets” And now I am planning on trying lots of different pens, because I am one that likes to match ink with the pen color. That and all of the Fountain Pen 101 videos on this site made me realize it really wasn’t all that scary! I’m glad i took the plunge!

    • Shaavazul

      Welcome to fountain pens!

  • MP

    I used a cheap fountain pen from a calligraphy set as a teen and loved it. My first foray into fountain pens as an adult was the result of a colleague who gave me a Jinhao. The first fountain pen I actually purchased was a gift for my sister. I’d been wanting to buy her one when my colleague gave me the Jinhao. When I searched online for a pen to buy for my sister’s birthday, I found Goulet and I finally had the info I needed. I bought my sister a Conklin Duragraph and now we are both totally hooked. Goulet made it easy to figure out the whole fountain pen thing. Thanks!

    • Lydia At Goulet Pens

      How great that you two can share that love!

      • MP

        We’ve now gotten our other sister hooked as well, and yesterday I let my nieces use my pens and now they want one too. Just ordered them some Platinum Preppies.

        • Lydia At Goulet Pens

          And so it begins! Taking the whole family down the rabbit hole!

  • David L.

    What inspired me to get into fountain pens was by writing with one a year and a half ago. A friend brought his VFM and I tried it out. A month later, a pen and ink were on their way. I liked the feel of these interesting pens. I already collected pocket watches, so I figured this would fit right in. It sure did. I’m even tempted to replace my computer with a typewriter. But then I wouldn’t be able to do anything GPC related. I much prefer old-style things as opposed to the new. This is even shown in my music selection. About six months after my first pen came the second, an X450. This was paired with a bottle of Diamine Red Dragon. Then I looked into the Goulet Pen Company. The rest is history. I am never buying from anywhere else, unless Goulet doesn’t have what I’m looking for.

  • Hannah Malcolm

    I’d had an interest in dip pens and calligraphy for years but had never really thought about fountain pens. Then I badly sprained my wrist a week before finals. I write everything by hand, all notes, all drafts, all edits. Suddenly I could no longer do that. While I was waiting for my wrist to heal, I heard that fountain pens are easier on the wrist because they require less pressure. I ordered a Jinhao and actually hated it, it was much too broad, the nib was misaligned. But I fell in love with the concept, with the inks and refilling it, so I did more research and ordered a PIlot Metropolitan from Goulet!

    • Lydia At Goulet Pens

      Did you find the Metro helped take pressure off your wrist?

  • Shaavazul

    Back in late 2014 I came across the fountain pen subreddit and fell in love with the beauty and grace posted on the site. That led me to binge watch all the Goulet videos up to that point. It wasn’t until months later in March 2015 that purchased my first pen, Lamy Vista. I had built up so much longing and anticipation from watching all the videos (and I felt like I was BFFs with Brian) that I was afraid the pen would disappoint. It didn’t! And now I celebrate March 19th as my Penniversary! In the end, what made it “worth it” was that I wanted it so much. I somehow made it meaningful to myself.

    I also try to “convert” anyone that shows the slightest interest in my pen. If they seem particularly interested I send them my version of a Goulet pen starter kit (from Goulet of course!). For situations like this it would be handy for me if Goulet had a postcard of fountain pen newbie FAQs or “intro to your pen” kind of info that could be added to the order (maybe a checkbox added to checkout?). I know the site is fully available to everyone, but my friends often forget and then get intimidated because they have to wait for me to answer their questions to use the pen.

    Thanks for the trip down memory lane!

    • What’s in your version of the starter kit, out of curiosity?

      • Shaavazul

        My starter kit: Varsity or Preppy because fountain pens can be intimidating so if they are heavy handed these can help train them. And then a Jinhao x750 or a Pilot Metropolitan depending on which I think they would like more or fits their hand best. And three ink samples: Noodler’s Black or HoD, a light blue (currently my favorite is Upper Ganges Blue), and a pink or red (current favorite is Iroshizuku Yama- budo). For paper I send them a few sheets to sample taken from my own journal/collection. Usually rhodia dot pad, Leuchtturm journal page, hp laser jet copy paper… If I really like the person I also send them a notebook (Clairefontaine basics).

        All this is edited based on what I know about the person and how awkward it would be for me to give them a bunch of office supplies. Ex: best friend vs colleague I just met.

        • Sandy Andina

          I wrote a song, “Ink & Pen,” for my first solo CD. One evening after a gig at Borders, in my tip jar I found a Pilot Varsity!

          • Shaavazul

            What a fun story! Did you like the varsity?

        • This sounds like an excellent gift! Looks like you’ve put a lot of thought into it, too! Maybe I need to compile something like this for myself and just bite the bullet and get it.

          • Shaavazul

            I think so! Otherwise you may never do it. Besides, the worst thing that could happen is you don’t like the pen, in which case you trade/sell/give away/save for another time you can try again. When I am enticed by a new pen, before buying I want to know if I’ll have a good chance of liking it. I ask a series of yes/no questions, maybe they’ll help you.
            1. Is the pen weight appropriate? (Do people complain it’s too heavy? And am I okay with that?)
            2. Do I like the overall “look”? (This includes the grip style and material)
            3. Is it available in a color/finish I want or will enjoy?
            4. Is the filling system alright for me? (Ex. I am not a fan of eyedropper pens)
            5. Are there “bonus” qualities? (Easy to exchange nibs, limited edition, not a brand I already own, easy to clean, etc.)

  • David L.

    In the photo of the Lamy Al-Stars, what is the red one to the immediate right of the center?

    • Lydia At Goulet Pens

      They are all past special editions 🙂

      • David L.

        Oh well. Thank you, Lydia!

    • The red one is the Al-Star Ruby edition. Still available on eBay…

      • David L.

        Thank you! I’ll look into them.

  • I’m still in the contemplating mode and haven’t bought a pen yet! I really want to dive in but I’m a bit overwhelmed by the options. So…for now I just look and read and learn!

    • Shaavazul

      It took me months to make the jump, so I understand. Just know there is no pressure, and even if the first or second one doesn’t work out, each pen is an experience. You’ll learn what you like and what you don’t. At least that’s my humble opinion 😁🖋

      It can also help if you have a hobby that pairs well with fountain pens such as poetry, novel writing, doodling, gardening (keep track of seeds planted/germination, etc.), even video games (log when you played and notes for what your character was doing)

    • Lesley Schultz

      Don’t take forever to contemplate! It is worth it! Anything you find here at Goulet would be a good choice so go with what speaks to your heart!

    • David

      I recommend going for a Pilot Metropolitan. They are inexpensive, write very well and you can use the included ink cartridge, then once you fall in love (you will!) you can buy a sample package of inks from Goulet and go wild trying different colors. Once you get a feel for using a fountain pen, you’ll be better positioned to make a wise choice from the many other options out there.

      • I agree with you on the Pilot Metropolitan, it’s a very good first choice and not an expensive investment to try out fountain pens. Losing or ruining one by accident is more a tragedy at the loss of a good writing pen than it is an economic blow. It writes very well and it cannot be beat at its price point. It’s not particularly sexy but it’s not bad and the construction is top notch. Owning one Pilot Metro is better than owning any three cheaper pens, you can pay twice as much as a Metro costs and not get a better pen. I have the three cheaper pens and the pens that cost twice as much so I’m speaking from experience.

        The Pilot Metropolitan is the pen I started my son out with.

      • Linda Alsid Ruehle

        Ditto on the Pilot Metropolitan. I have the dark grey metallic with the hounds tooth check center band and I think it is quite attractive. I also replaced the nib with the stub nib from a Pilot Pluma. However, as an all metal pen it is a bit heavier. I really like writing with light plastic, acrylic, or celluloid pens. To get the feel of that you could get a really cheap Pilot Varsity disposal fountain pen. They even come in turquoise and purple inks. They can also be converted to eyedroppers to use again and again with any ink. Pilot steel nibs are fantastic, they always write well. Faber Castell steel nibs are also really nice to write with, check out the “Basic” model.

  • Mary H.

    I find it so much easier to write with a fountain pen because there is no need to press down and there is so much variety of shape that you can find one that suits your hand perfectly. So far, I find the Lamy Safari to be my most comfortable pen. Though I also like my TWSBI Ecco with the stub nib. Because of the comfort issue, I use my fountain pens for everything no matter how mundane: grocery lists, to-do lists, notes, check writing, etc. My next step up will be getting a water resistant ink for writing permanent things such as journal entries.

    • David L.

      I would suggest Noodler’s Black. It has gone unscathed through all of the tests I have put it through.

      • Sandy Andina

        “Doctor” black from China is the blackest, most bulletproof ink I’ve ever used. Greg Clark once tested it against a bunch of others, including ballpoints, to see if it was vulnerable to “check-washing.” Nope. (The weakest was the ballpoint blue).

        • David L.

          That’s good to know. Where could I find a bottle of it?

          • Sandy Andina

            Norman Haase of HisNibs.com carries Chinese inks. Maybe Goulet could order it for you? I got mine at a pen show years ago and I also saw it at the “friendship stores” in (duh) China.

          • David L.

            Thank you very much. I must check this out!

  • Mark Wutka

    I had trouble consistently writing in a journal and I blamed it on my displeasure at writing with a ballpoint pen. It wasn’t the pen, of course, but I will say that it makes what is still a difficult task for me more pleasurable.

    • Lydia At Goulet Pens

      Agreed, Mark! I look forward to using my pens so it helps make writing more fun.

  • Ann MacKay

    My father and grandfather had fountain pens so when I was 12 years old I bought my first fountain pen, a blue Esterbrook. I took a hiatus from writing with a fountain pen until I retired. I have a nice collection of about 15 pens with my everyday writers being a Lamy Safari and Metropolitan Pilot. I have a few Parkers that are very nice but I find I like the fine point on my newer pens for guess what, writing in my Bullet Journal.

  • Steve Smart

    Made my first fountain pen purchase in 2001 when I worked at a Franklin Covey store, where we had several Cross Solo pens for sale. I bought one and fell in love. What makes it worth it for me:

    1) it turns writing from a function to a joy
    2) they’re a lot easier to write with
    3) the materials and mechanics of how they work are intriguing to me
    4) it’s a form of personal taste and expression

  • Kathy

    My first fountain pens were the Sheaffer School Pens. It’s been so long ago I’ve forgotten the color, but they were available in green, blue and occasionally red. I found the Sheaffer Peacock Blue cartridges and the rest is history. My parents used fountain pens, so the School Pens made me a grownup, I suppose 🙂 I remember using my father’s pen on occasion, and feeling so very special.

  • Giovanni’s Roomba

    Not my first pen by a long shot, but last month on a trip to Europe I bought a Sailor Pro Gear Slim Sky, which cost $240 (Canadian). I had been planning to buy a higher-end pen for months, I did the research and settled on this one (right down to the store I was going to buy it at and on which day of the trip), and I justified it to myself in a dozen ways: I just came into a little money and I can afford it, it has a Japanese extra-fine nib which I know I’m going to love, the nib is 14K gold which makes it more expensive, plus most of the reasons in the video and more besides.

    I felt a little light-headed spending that much on a mere pen, and I know that in the world of pens, even that isn’t really a lot of money (though it seems like a lot to me). But I’m glad I did it. It’s a pen I love, and I use it a lot. In the end, I think of the last line of a piece in the New Yorker about the purchase of an Hermes Birkin bag:

    “Don’t get me wrong: I do *not* think this is worth twelve thousand dollars. But I think he understands that it was worth it to *me*.” (http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2013/03/18/bagman)

    • Lydia At Goulet Pens

      What a great line! I love that and it’s so fitting!

  • Bryan Hill

    My first fountain pen was an Esterbrook with a “Student Nib”, bought at a local drug store in 1956. Favorite ink was Sheaffer “Peacock” blue. Hot stuff for an eleven-year old. I cannot remember the cost of the Esterbrook, but I do not think it was more than two or three dollars. I still have an Esterbrook in my collection, along with Pilot, Lamy, Aurora, Conklin, etc, etc. So, my childhood experiences in using fountain pens has remained with me for the rest of my life.
    Today my favorite pen is a Pilot Vanishing Point,Yesterday, it was a Aurora Ipsilon, the day before, a Lamy 2000. Tomorrow – who knows. Fountain Pen users and collectors have more than a hobby, they have a life time adventure! Enjoy!

    • Kathy

      So very true. I loved Peacock Blue. Wish Sheaffer still made it. I think it would be a great seller. That’s the color that really started me on my ink adventure/addiction.

      • Sandy Andina

        Wish Sheaffer still made those great old bottles with the little “ink-shelf” designed for Snorkel, Touchdown and Tip-Dip pens so that the nib & section stayed clean. Those Slovenian plastic bottles just aren’t the same, and neither is the ink.

    • Sandy Andina

      Me too. Same pen, same ink, but it was 1961 for me. Before that, my dad gave me his old Wearever as soon as we were allowed to use our own pens for cursive (instead of the Sanford dip-pens the teachers handed out and filled our desktop inkwells from a big bottle of Skrip blue). After playground ink fights, PS 183 banned bottle-filled pens; so I bought first a Sheaffer crystal-barrel pen (actually, bought a dozen cartridges and a free pen blister-packed with it); then a Scripto (loved the little ball bearing inside the cartridges that kept the ink mixed and flowing). But for graduation autograph books, the school relented and let us use any kind of pen & ink we wanted to sign them. I recall that besides Skrip Peacock (in that marvelous “ink-shelf” bottle), both Waterman Purple and South Sea Blue were hot stuff. Decades later, my husband (riffing on the old “today I am a fountain pen” joke) bought me a MB 144 for my adult Bat Mitzvah. I was hooked all over again.

      • Lydia At Goulet Pens

        So glad you were able to come back around to it again! Fountain pens are so much fun.

  • Natsume

    Brought my first fountain pen at my workplace, which was a stationary store I worked part-time. It was a Pilot Kakuno F nib pen – a beginner pen. What made me brought it was because I was curious about fountain pens and was influence by my fellow colleagues who use them. Eventually I brought it at my workplace and fell in love with it!
    One of the main reasons why I love to use fountain pens was because of the variety of inks I get to use, and how smooth the ink flows out of the nib. As of now, my no 1 favorite pen would be the Faber Castell Loom. As an ink lover as well, I now have a drawer dedicated to all my inks!

  • jane pilecki

    One of the many things I think makes a fountain pen (especially a Pilot Metropolitan) worth the money is economy! You get a $15 pen, and a bottle of Noodler’s ink for $12.50, and for less than $30 you have a pen than will write for probably 1-2 years if you use it a lot. How many $2 gel pens will you go through in the same time? And then, when the bottle of Noodler’s is empty, you buy a new one, and you have an even more economical writing instrument. Besides the economy, you have the joy of writing with a fountain pen, the most wonderful way to put ink to paper!

  • Aissatou Sunjata

    My first fountain pen purchased back in the early 90s was a burgundy 149 Montblanc. I had it lovingly for several years. Mistakenly, it was dropped and I did not find out until it was too late to even retrace my steps, I was sickened for days. I had grown to love that pen. I was heartbroken to say the least. After a couple days, I purchased another fountain pen, believe it was a black Montblanc 149. From there, I began to collect fountain pens.There was a Pen and Paper store named Joon in New York City diagonally across from Bloomingdales and across the street from the Fountain Pen Hospital. I purchased most of all my older collection from Mr. Joon. He told me to collect the pens I intended to use and enjoy. His words wise never steered me wrong. I have had pens which have cost me at least $1000 or more I have had a pen which was free a Jinhao 159 a friend gave me two of them because he ended up not liking them. I have enjoyed a Noodler’s Ahab and I have not enjoyed a Pilot Vanishing Point, Decimo either. I used to enjoy Lamy Al-Stars. So, the reason people collect is vast. Over the years, my collection has changed, it has grown at times, became small at other times. I have fallen in love with a particular maker and not enjoyed what someone else has raved about. Do we who love fountain pens write with them often? I do, every single day. Seldom do I write with anything else. I love filling my pens with different red inks, enjoy cleaning them. I just enjoy fountain pens and believe like others we are rebels in some way. We are happy in our renaissance of using fountain pens, restoring, keeping alive the art, pleasure of using a writing instrument to communicate when others are using their technological gadgets. We are a rare breed and I am glad to be among them.

    • Kathy

      Joon Pens … what a great store. Incredible pens I could only dream about, with prices well into 5 digits. Loved that place!

      • iris commins

        I had my first fountain pen as a girl in a convent school in the 60’s. They were quaint even then but were regulation for our school work. Just the school sheaffer pens with cartridges, blue or black. Nothing as flamboyant as peacock blue allowed. Now I love fountain pens for the feeling of being transported to another time, a time of grace and civility. And a break from the carelessness of the world, in thought, word and deed on the internet where people thoughtlessly spit out their worst . With a fountain pen one must think carefully before writing and the act of doing this allows one’s higher nature to guide expression. So beauty, grace, charm, and conscious thought are the reasons I love fountain pens. Something we could all do with conjuring up at the present.

        • Tom Johnson

          Iris, very well said!

        • Lydia At Goulet Pens

          That was beautifully put, Iris! Thank you!

  • Rosita Sprohge

    My first fountain pen was a GH Pelikan that my grandmother bought me as a reward for having past my exams to enter the Hochschule in Germany at age ten. (The school system is different there). My pen was green and black and I wrote with green ink! Very daring in 1954. I was so proud of it. Unfortunately the pen was lost when we immigrated to Canada but it started my life long love affair with fountain pens and green ink. At the moment I’m using Diamine green/black in my Lamy Joy with a stub nib. But oh, how I wish I still had my Pelikan GH.

    • Lydia At Goulet Pens

      Wow! What a neat memory! I’m sorry the pen got lost but I’m glad you still maintained your love of writing with fountain pens 🙂

  • David

    In elementary school in the late 60s, l visited my friend’s house where he was playing around with an old lever -fill pen. l loved the personality it gave to my writing. Soon after that I bought my first fountain pen, one of the cheap Sheaffer cartridge-fills with a translucent barrel and metal cap that were sold at the dime store for a couple of dollars. The brilliant blue ink they came with was the ink of my childhood. I can’t imagine what my teachers thought in 6th grade about this child gleefully using a type of pen they were more than happy to trade in for a ballpoint 20 years earlier.

    When I was in my twenties those pens were still on the shelves at Woolworths, and I would arm myself for classes with three or four of them—blue, green, red, and black, and use the different colors in Japanese Marugo “Foolscap” notebooks to emphasize my notes. At that time l was in New York City, right across the street from what was then probably the only Japanese stationary shop on the East Coast.

    My first serious fountain pen was a medium-point gold-nib Pilot Custom my future wife gave me upon returning from Japan in 1983 to marry me. I still use that pen all the time. It writes a bit wet so I use it for lighter colors. Somehow she knew that was the perfect gift. We’re still married and I still use fountain pens.

    These days l use the Pilot Custom, a Sailor fine-point 1911 I bought on a business trip to Japan in 2001 to replace another Sailor 1911 I left in a hotel room, and several Pilot Metropolitans that remind me of the cheap, but nice-writing Sheaffers of my childhood.

    • Lydia At Goulet Pens

      What a great story! thanks for sharing that with us!

  • Mike Galderisi

    My first fountain pen was a Shaffer 100 and it not take me long to get into collecting all kinds. I now have over 30 pens consisting of Lamy, Platinum, Monteverde, Waterman, Pelikan, Aurora, and Visconti. If I had to pick a favorite or two I will have to say that my Visconti Homo Sapiens – Bronze Age – F nib and my Pelikan M805 Turquoise – F nib are the ones I pick up the most, but I still make it a habit of writing with each of them throughout the month. Right now I am writing with my Visconti Brunelleschi – EF nib.

  • Lisse

    I had a Shaffer with the cartridge back in the 70’s. I’ve always journaled and have always been attracted to office & stationery supplies. I’ve used lots of pens over the years – fun colored ink was always a plus. A few months ago I got a $6 Ooly fountain pen on a whim and thus a new obsession was born. I now have a small but growing collection. I’ve only just started this hobby, but I do have a beautiful limited edition Al Star Lamy, a vintage Esterbrook in green & a clear Kaweco Sport. Pilots, Noodlers & a Jinhau that I got a Goulet nib for round out the collection (for now!). I’ve just ordered a bottle of J Herbin ’emerald de chivor’ to add to my Noodlers ‘Navajo turquoise’ & Diamine ‘magenta. Not to mention all my inkapaloosa samples!

  • I’ve used fountain pens for many, many years. I only own one ballpoint pen which is used to write on the plastic panels on credit cards and such things that fountain pens simply will not write on well. I have my own reasons for my fountain pen habit but my son, who is a Commander in the U.S. Navy, put it well —

    He said he was having a conversation with an Admiral and something needed to be written out, he pulled the cheap ballpoint pen from his shirt pocket but was interrupted as the Admiral handed him his fountain pen saying …

    “A gentleman always writes with a fountain pen.”

    Well, at least that Admiral and I can agree on something.

  • Samantha

    My brother actually got me into fountain pens, but when I started watching the gouletpens YouTube that’s when I decided to make the leap and bought a pilot metro.. best decision ever!

  • Mark S

    I was looking for an ‘easy to write with’ pen that would relieve the persistent hand cramping I was experiencing while taking notes during my post graduate research. I visited a local B&M stationary store on the advice of a professor. I picked out a Pilot Knight and discovered the ease with which writing could become. I still have that original Pilot Knight, it looks well used but still writes with ease. Over the years my preference for fountain pens has evolved into a near addiction that one friend has stated I might be in need of an intervention.

    Here’s the core reason for my choice in fountain pens; In this increasingly digital world I’m drawn towards things analog, as it helps me to better connect with my thoughts and ideas. There’s nothing more analog than a good fountain pen.

  • I was in high school and one of my friends, the foreign exchange student, somehow talked me into buying one. I don’t remember the conversation, but I think it piqued my interest and I went and bought one.

  • Dan

    Writing with a fountain feels special to people that take time to notice beauty in all things and experiences. The substantial feel of the pen, the flow of the liquid ink, the artistic look of the pen and nib, and the time spent separated from electronics and the daily chaos of life all add to the experience of writing with a fountain pen. I bet many fountain pen users play vinyl records, too! 😉

  • Francine Hall

    I had a fountain pen in school and remember a teacher telling me I would never be able to write with one as I am a left-handed hook writer. Challenge accepted! Bettering my writing every day with great joy, fun, and sensual enjoyment of color, sight, feel and smell!

  • Peggy Slauterbeck

    I’m new to fountain pens but loving mine so far!

  • MG

    My first fountain pen was a teal Parker 51 purchase with Green Stamps. I still have and use it!

  • Troy Coultry

    My first pen was a cross from office depot. It was, horrible. It constantly made a mess of my hands and work area. One if my best friends encouraged me to try it out and after I purchased a lamy al star, I haven’t looked back. I do own a space pen and a lamy pico for instances that a fountain pen just will not work, but they are rarely used. I generally just enjoy nice things, especially things I always have with me. I recently stepped into the gold nib world with a lamy 2000. Now my pen obsession is competing with an equally addictive knife collection. My pens do make my academic ventures much more enjoyable, so long as I can write my own study guides! My 2000 and a zero tolerance go everywhere I go now, and I can’t wait until my next real pen purchase. Probably going to be a vanishing point.

  • Melanie Nicklin

    As a kid, I wanted to learn calligraphy and never pursued it fully. Now that I’ve gotten into pens and journaling, I’ve been enjoying all kinds of pens. My first fountain pen was inspired by boho berry, and I was directed to you.

  • hac408

    I purchased my first fountain pen (this year at age 45…. I’m a late bloomer) because I loved the look. I purchased my 2nd thru 14th because I loved the feel and all the amazing ink colors I can play with.
    Thank you Goulet Pens for making my journey so easy and fun.

  • Ali Hussain

    I live down under, and when I bought my first fountain pen, I really wanted to step my writing up a notch. I had a few bucks lying around, so I decided to buy a Jinhao X450. Since that day, I stopped getting hand-cramps like I used to, and as a high school student, a smooth pen helps in making my writing more legible. I just bought a Monteverde Impressa, I am sure to continue in using these awesome pens.

    • Lydia At Goulet Pens

      So glad to hear this! Keep up the great work 🙂