Writing design

The cult of writing ink and fountain pens

As a budding young journalist and soldier traveling through Italy during World War I, Hemingway is said to have carried his Elmo fountain pen throughout the Great War, inspiring one of his most famous novels. A farewell to weapons. Einstein’s works on the theory of relativity were written with a fountain pen – probably a Pelican 100 N, a favorite of the physicist. Arthur Conan Doyle brought Sherlock Holmes to life from the pen of a Parker Duofold. Churchill loved a Montblanc. Plath favored the Sheaffers. Anne Frank wrote her diary, they say, using the Montblanc she received for her ninth birthday. Welsh poet Dylan Thomas begged us not to quietly enter that good night using the same fountain pen as Queen Elizabeth II, a Parker 5, released in 1941, just 12 years before her untimely death. Twain was the official spokesperson for The Conklin Pen Company (imagine a time when authors were spokespersons for pens the way athletes peddle sneaker brands these days).

Like Doyle, Graham Greene preferred a Parker Duofold, once quoting, “My two fingers on a typewriter never connected to my brain. My hand on a pen yes. A fountain pen, of course. Ballpoint pens are only good for filling out forms on an airplane.

However, fountain pens aren’t just for literary icons of old. Stephen King wrote part of Dream Catcher by candlelight with his Waterman Hemisphere. On the back of the published novel, he wrote: “A final note. This book was written with the world’s best word processor, a Waterman cartridge fountain pen,” claiming that writing with a fountain pen put him “in touch with language” like no other writing tool ever could. .

Nail Gaiman writes the first draft of each of his novels by hand using a LAMY 2000, changing the color of his ink daily to track his progress.

Echoing a sentiment felt by many pen collectors, American fantasy author HP Lovecraft wrote in a 1962 letter to his aunt about his experience buying a pen: “I didn’t escaped the emporium until a $6.25 Waterman was in my pocket. A fortune for the time. Much like fans of watches, coins, comic books, knives or cigars, the cult of writing ink and fountain pens avidly follows pen bloggers, attends pen fairs and devours YouTube channels entirely dedicated to new materials, shapes and filling mechanisms; a special finish; a feather smooth as butter; cool limited editions; color schemes. Everyday use pens or collectibles used for ink play, comparison or for practicing lettering and calligraphy.

Besides the calming, almost meditative effects of handwriting, studies have shown that the art of handwriting improves brain function. A study from Indiana University found that the action of handwriting taps into creativity that isn’t easily accessible otherwise. Other studies have shown that handwriting can help with dyslexia and that children who write by hand learn better than children who type on a keyboard. On the practical side, writing with a fountain pen is easier than with a ballpoint pen. Because reservoir pens use liquid ink, they allow your hand to glide easily and smoothly as you write, allowing for long periods of writing without fatigue or hand cramps.

With all that in mind, we’re breaking down some of the best pens at various price points to start with or add to your pen collection, including favorite inks and paper to play with.
Simplicity and function combined with solid design and high quality is the name of the game. Now go write your great American novel.



Pilot is one of the best pen manufacturers in the world. If you want to get a fountain pen that is your first step into mid-range pens, this is a great choice. It’s a classic cigar shape with a 14 karat tip, which is a step above the steel tips you find in lower range premieres. When people first get into fountain pens, they are used to pressing harder because of ballpoint pens; it is a very smooth writing pen which is suitable for heavy writers.


A great first step towards owning a fountain pen as it is of great quality at a very good price. You can’t do much better than that at this price. It writes very well and is a great introduction to fountain pens and all that it entails. how to fill it with ink, how to take care of it and of course how to write with it.


The Lamy 2000 was introduced in 1966 and to this day is considered one of the finest pens on the planet. It ticks all the boxes: a classic design, lightweight, writes well, holds plenty of ink and displays well. Surprisingly, it’s still the same design since the 60s.


Another luxury fountain pen. The barrel-shaped design is amazing for writing because it has a fat body, which feels great in the hand. But it’s really a question of appearance. Aesthetically it is amazing, simply stunning and comes in a myriad of colors.


One of the top three pen manufacturers outside of Japan. 1911 marks the year of creation of the Sailor company. Another classic design that goes hand in hand with the Custom 74 and Platinum 3776.


Montblanc is easily regarded as one of the best fountain pen manufacturers, with a storied history. Picking one is impossible, but the Diplomat 1941 and the Leo Tolstoy are the two that come to mind as some of their best, although the Tolstoy is much harder to find. The pen on this is almost unmatched. It’s as good as any other you’ll write with.

At this price, the Nakaya is a pen you’ll really have to think about before buying, but it’s a work of art. It’s one of the best looking pens on the planet and it writes exceptionally well, with good line variation when you flex the tip.







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