Fountain pens, current era/time

Unfortunately for me, I still write exclusively with fountain pens. This article shall discuss some issues regarding writing with such an instrument.

Fountain pen merchants don’t actually write with them

This is the number one issue, since solving it would solve all the other ones.

Allow me to explain myself: I used to frequent a certain stationery shop, which has its location in the high-class area of the city, so adequate personnel used to be hired there, as in people who actually appreciated how a nib writes. The sales desk used to be occupied by a try-on notebook, along with ink, and you could dip the pen, write with it, and choose whether to buy it or not.

That personnel was fired and new people came. The notebook and ink were gone as well. If that habit was the reason for firing them, and I’ll never know, simply shows what a complete idiot the boss is.

There aren’t two nibs that write the same, not even the same batch of production. Understanding this, or, providing a grinding service, is essential for this instrument of writing. It’s why people like me can’t stand ballpoint pens.

Materials of very low quality

I’m having issues to wash my pens I wasn’t having ten years ago: the usage of acrylic plasticflexglass1 means no alcohol, no bleach and no ammonia allowed. You can barely use vinegar in very dilute solution (better said, alkaline acetic acid).

The steel used in the nibs is getting thinner and weaker: when I was a child, thick steel nibs with gold coatings were the norm, including iridium points. Now they use thin sheets of steel roughly the size of aluminum foil, no iridium in the tip and no gold. Each time I write with one of those, I feel as if the nib crumbles under fingers, I hear the paper suffering from a needle scratching it and I get (again) disappointed at having wasted money.

Since amorphous plastic cracks ~instantly under pressure, the nibs are no longer fixed between the body and the feeder with considerable strength, so nibs freely dance from right to left according to the direction of the writing lines.

Inks are of really low quality

I came into a world of gall inks and powdered ones. Someone had this great idea of appeasing child-rearing mothers by selling washable ink for their children, and those mothers took the bait. So I saw how gradually that shitty dye-based clear blue, konigsblau2 (royal, my fucking ass), replaced all the good inks with that thing that looked as if I had watered-down the last drop of the pigment-based ink bottle. Weeks later I couldn’t even re-read my class notes.

It degenerated into worse dye-based inks, and now you can buy better turquoise or red inks than blue or black ones, which fade to violet or gray.

Paper of very low quality

I can understand modern printers can do their job very well on 50-60gr/m^2 paper, but ink requires 80-120, depending on the ink’s formulation. Someone had the brilliant idea of selling 60gr paper for notebooks and even legal documents, so now you can’t actually take notes or sign contracts in any place at all, unless you’re willing to bring the paper yourself. Which would be fine, if official contracts don’t require special state stamped paper with those retarded anti-forging elements.


  • ^1 fuck you and your shitty trademark;
  • ^2 this has a certain personal story to it, which I might tell sometime but it’s way too off-topic.