Nearly Vintage Fountain Pens

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For something to be truly vintage, it has to be at least 30 years old. I\’m not sure if that\’s a hard and fast rule or if I just made that up, but there\’s something distasteful about using \”vintage\” to describe anything made after, say, the year I graduated from high school. These pens are nearly vintage, meaning they don\’t make them anymore and probably haven\’t for a while.

That hefty monster in the middle is the Monteverde Regatta. Made from pig iron or something like it, it\’s definitely a fountain pen you want to use unposted. The shame of it is that the cap screws neatly onto the end. This fountain pen is surprisingly easy to move, though. It\’s a sweet medium nib that\’s smooth even in the Moleskine. I found this one on closeout at Office Depot for $14. They\’re getting rid of all their pricey pens at OD, so hit the store soon.

My adorable blue Sheaffer Fashion Rings pen is a throwback to the early 80s when most fountain pens went skinny. The broad nib is decisive – almost a bit much for my thin-lined Moleskine paper, but I don\’t care. There is no pen faster. It came with a lovely matching ballpoint via Ebay¬† – I think the seller has a few more sets, one in orange.

Ah, the Parker Rialto. I\’m addicted to Rialto ballpoints, with their snappy caps and perfect weight. Again, thinnish and 80s to mid 90s, but the prices can be tragic. I was lucky with this red Rialto, which somehow rode under the Ebay radar due to misspellings in the listing. Smooth medium nib even on the Moleskine.

All of these pens came with converters. While I\’d love to go crazy buying bottled inks in dazzling colors, there\’s a three year-old boy in this house and I know better. I\’ll stick to cartridges for a while.When you see the train coming, it\’s best to avoid the tracks, is all I\’m saying.

Any skittishness in the pencast above is the sole responsibility of this Frost Parch stationery I found yesterday while milling around Little Rock. Pretty parchment, fails to drink the ink for some reason. It\’s pretty held up to the light, though. At the end of the day all that matters to me is how fast and well these pens write on ruled Moleskine paper, because it\’s all about actually using the pen. A lot.

Maybe I Just Need a Better Fountain Pen

Fresh Ribbon

…or, why don’t my pencasts look as gorgeous as everyone else’s?

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VIDEO: The Twenty-Six Old Characters. A history of writing and how to use a fountain pen, brought to you by Sheaffer. Note: I tried to embed this and it jumped out in front of everything, taking over like The Video That Ate My Layout. Scary. Embed with care.

Valentine’s Gifts for Writers, or Olivettis are a Girl’s Best Friend

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It’s almost V-Day, so get your plastic out and start buying. Since I waste a little bit of time each and every day on Ebay, I thought I’d share a few Valentine-specific goodies, like this Olivetti Valentine typewriter, circa 1969. If you don’t plan on spending at least $250 (that’s the bid right now), there’s another one coming up in a few days. These things have fast become groovy collector’s items, and it’s obvious why. If you sit behind this typewriter very, very quietly, you can almost hear “spill the wine, dig that girl” coming right out from under the hood.

Since both Olivettis will probably go for more than most of us want to spend, you can always feed the typewriter fetish with this vintage Royal Quiet Deluxe. I realize that “quiet” means something different to laptop users, but these are nifty little machines. This one has a little over a day left and is a tad over $40 right now. Theres a pricier one coming up later, so if you want to prove your love a little more cheaply, now is the time. I love the paper holding “ears”- kind of like the antennae on that portable television Mom used to put on a TV tray. You remember, back before cable.

Every writer needs another journal. It’s the pure intoxication of a virgin page, and no matter how many we already have it never hurts to have just one more. I’m a Moleskine and Chemistry Notebook gal myself, but some of the leather journals are just too delicious to pass up. This Fiorentina journal is crafted, not made. I sigh at such beauty, and I’m perfectly convinced I’d write better in one. Especially with a fountain pen.

I know better than that. As entrancing as those beautiful and expensive fountain pens are, I just can’t stand to write with one. I know there are rabid collectors out there who’ll tell me I just haven’t bought the right pen. Save your strength. Nothing writes like a $1.97 Uniball Signo 207. Nothing.

If you really want to impress on Valentine’s Day, you buy an obscenely large diamond. That’s easy. If you want to impress a writer, find a little ditty like this. It’s a writing box and every writer should have one. This folk art lap desk is more than just a writing surface – it’s a hidey-hole place to stash extra typing paper, Uniball 207s, and that Fiorentina journal. Keep in mind that if you don’t particularly like this one, Ebay has about fifty others for sale at any given moment. If you don’t buy it for the writer you love or who loves you, then for God’s sake send it to me.