Fountain pens offer a smooth and luxurious writing experience, adding personality to every stroke you make. Finding the right fountain pen isn't so easy, as there is a vast array of options and choices (do you want a fine or medium nib? a converter or ink cartidge?). Follow our fountain pen buyers guide below, and you will be sure to find the right pen partner.
Stainless Steel: strong, sturdy inexpensive to replace. Great for everyday use and suitable for children
Iridium Tip: reinforces stainless steel on higher quality pens
Solid Gold: a practical luxury. Gradually moulds to your writing style over time
There are many variations of nib width, but the most popular are below:
Extra Fine: very thin writing line. Especially popular for drawing or in Far East for writing Chinese/Japanese characters
Fine: popular for drawing, and suitable for people with small handwriting
Medium: most popular. Suitable for most purposes and standard on most pens
Broad: best for large handwriting; less economical with ink
Material: plastic, metal or rubber. Purely a matter of preference so try out a friend’s pen and see what you prefer
Shape: ridged or shaped grip sections can help provide a better pruchase on the grip section while writing. Ergonomic grip sections are perfect for new writers and people who struggle to hold a pen correctly.
Cartridge: quick, clean, convenient, and perfect for pencil cases. Slightly more expensive due to plastic wastage
Converter: allows use bottled inks, which are available in much more variantion of colour and finish than cartridges. Not very portable
Reservoir: rare in modern pens. Allows for infrequent refills due to large capacity, but maintenance and repairs can be difficult and costly. For a great range of pens with inbuilt fillers, see TWSBI
You can make a pen out of anything – glass, wood, stone, coral, even dinosaur bone. These are just the most common materials used in factory-produced pens.
Base metal: Suitable for engraving. Brass and stainless steel are most popular, with some aluminium pens also available. Often lacquered for colour
Sterling Silver: engraves beautifully, but may be too heavy for some users. Otto Hutt are specialists in silver pens
Plastic: lightweight and generally inexpensive. ABS plastic chosen for Lamy Safari is extremely durable
Resin / Celluloid: limitless variations on colour and pattern - see Visconti and Conklin for exceptional examples. Acrylic resin is brittle at lower thicknesses and so normally produces fatter pens.
As a vague rule of thumb, pens get fatter as they get more expensive - consider the 13mm Parker Premier and the 14mm Laban Mento.
The average and most popular barrel diameter measures 9-11mm, whilst the 6mm Ohto Slimline is ideal for tucking inside a journal or bag.
Fashion meets function. Consider Parker’s iconic arrow, or the Laban 1 set with Swarovski crystals. Brands such as Otto Hutt use spring-loaded clips which clamp down to prevent the pen getting lost.
If your pen’s only to be used for the occasional signature, consider Platinum’s ‘Slip and Seal’ cap which prevents ink drying for up to two years without use.
Screw: a traditional feature which also helps to contain leaks. Recommended for travelling writers
Fountain pen collecting is a hobby enjoyed by people all over the world. This hobby began almost as soon the first fountain pen was made. Once people started writing with this fine writing instruments, people immediately saw the beauty that these fine pens possessed and fountain pen collecting began.