About me

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Fountain pens

Yes, fountain pens. I wrote with Sheaffer fountain pens all through grade school and then high school. There were a few deviations as felt tip pens were invented, and they were nice, but they'd go dry slowly, and then stop at inopportune moments. They were also more expensive than the cartridge refills for the fountain pens. 

I used washable blue ink because that's more prudent for a spastic boy. Many of the girls in the room used permanent black, but we know how girls can't make messes like boys anyway. As I recall, no other boy in the class used fountain pens. They all wrote with pencils or those nasty, blotting stick pens that were, and still are, abomination.

Even in graduate school, I turned in Physics homework written with a Kohinoor 000 drafting pen. It was wonderful, except for it's tendency to clog just as I would think of what to write next. I never have understood why my professors accepted my homework written with that pen. Why? Because I'd write three lines in a single line of college rule paper. 

Now, that's a fine point.

There were times when I favored pencils. I usually kept a stash of #3 pencils, and by stash, I mean 144 trimmed and in my book bag along with the two calculators and extra batteries. And a portable trimmer. I was in statistics classes then, and a broken lead or dead battery spelled doom and despair. And of course, I quickly became the go-to guy for those people who show up for exams without a pencil. No, I never have understood that. 

Here're the two I use now.

The mostly black one on top is a medium point italic. You can have one for a very few bucks at Staples. Look for the calligraphy supplies.However, the new models don't have a screw-on top. The top slides over a rubber sleeve, and that's okay except if you're opening the pen on an airplane. The partial cabin pressure amplified by the separation of the cap and the barrel draws ink from the cartridge, through the nib, and then splashes ink all over you and everything and everyone around you. That is usually not good.

The silver one with black in the middle is a new addition. Why a new one? Because, apparently, when I changed out my dead computer bag for the newer computer bag, my stash of five other italic nib pens with their different colors went to the Wake County Landfill along with the dead computer bag. That, or I live with thieves who favor cheap fountain pens.

I'm using the new one primarily with the Thank You note project over on the other blog, but it has gone to work a few times. Don't get excited, though. I didn't break the bank. I leave the expensive pens to those less likely to lose them, or at least more able to pay for them. 

My best pen of all time was a Calibri given to me by our CEO. I managed to keep it several years, and it helped me use up the Parker cartridges the children gave me sometime back when I wrote long letters to them from the airplanes. Then a couple of Mays back, I went to Brussels to work for a week. The Calibri went with me, and it served me well. On the trip back, I moved the Calibri to a pocket of my backpack as I went through airport security. Upon my arrival in New York, I went to fetch the pen and it was gone. I can only assume the x-ray machine ate it. I still mourn that loss.

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