There’s something terribly romantic about the image of hand-writing with an elegant fountain pen, perhaps by an open window, with curtains billowing and classical music playing. So why aren’t more of us using fountain pens?
After all, a fountain pen writes much better and is far less wasteful. A staggering 1.6 billion pens are thrown away in the US each year – and that’s just one country! The rubbishy plastic they’re made from will go straight to landfill.
What’s holding you back from investing in a fountain pen? Are you scared of ink? Think they’re too hard to write with? Or is it the cost? Whatever your objections are, you can bet we have an answer for them – along with a handy guide on how to use a fountain pen without ending up covered in ink.
Fountain pens are far more stylish than tacky ballpoints or the ones you got for 'free' at the dentist. They have a heft to them which feels great in your hand and they could last forever. Parker and Lamy fountain pens aren’t actually that expensive (we’re not suggesting Montblanc, here!) and when you consider that all you’ll be replacing is the ink, they're much cheaper in the long run.
So, how do you use these intimidating pens? Well, start by holding it properly! Unlike a ballpoint, you can’t control a fountain pen with your fingers – you have to keep your hand rigid and move your arm. It feels weird at first, but it gets easier and means you don’t end up applying too much pressure.
Above: The classic Parker Fountain Pen looks super stylish, without the hefty price tag!
It also helps you maintain the 45 degree angle you need to find the so-called ‘sweet spot'. Missing the sweet spot is when it starts to feel scratchy or shaky. Write in gentle, light strokes and enjoy the smooth feeling when the ink starts to flow.
What about the terrifying possibility of spills or bleeding? Well, to avoid the bleeding issue it’s all about the paper. It needs to be good quality and fountain pen friendly. Don’t push too hard, or shake the pen around like a Polaroid picture, and you won’t get blotches or leaks!
Above: With a cartridge converter, you can refill the ink and get your pen waste down to zilch!
Most spills happen when refilling the cartridges. We say ‘refilling’ not ‘replacing’ because this is by far the less wasteful option, saving hundreds of disposable plastic cartridges. You just need bottled ink and a converter. Converters are easy to use - simply plug into your pen, dip the nib into the ink so it's completely submerged and twist the end to draw up ink. There will be an air gap left. Then gently tap off any excess ink and wipe your pen clean.
It’s actually an enjoyable process – so enjoyable, in fact, that you’ll soon find you’re writing way more than before. Increased creativity and reduced waste? Definitely a winner!