I've become addicted to pens
How did it happen? Why did it happen? I'm not sure. I don't need to write much at all, I type a lot. There is no reason for one man to acquire so many pens.
First I bought a pack of Sharpie S-Gels, only to find out that even though Sharpie is famous for their permanent ink markers, the S-Gel ink isn't fade or fraud resistant, and therefore not permanent. They write OK, not great, and I wouldn't recommend them.
Disappointed, I bought a 24 pack of Uniball Signo 207 RTs in 1mm. I like a bold line, if I'm taking the time to write it, it's important and I want it BIG. I have sloppy handwriting because I like to write fast, and the rollerball in a gel pen like this is very slippy, and it's harder to keep it neat. The Signo 207 RT is retractable, uses "Super Ink" which is fast drying (not fast enough for lefties), fade and fraud resistant (permanent), and the black ink is very dark, unlike some others I've used. I have some in blue ink in my cart now.
To my great disappointment, K doesn't like gel pens. She likes the old school oil based inks in ball point pens. She told me her favorite pens are the basic Bic ball points (Round Stick) because they're dirt cheap, write great, and last forever. She said they're impossible to improve further. I also found out that as far as writing goes, for her, black is the only acceptable color. I've lived with her for 15 years, but my world was rocked at learning this is how she sees things. While she did compliment the Signo for having a good click and a bold point she dismissed it immediately when the ink was not already dry after writing a short string of letters. I also have some Uniball Jetstreams coming, which I purchased for her. Like the Signo it has a good click, a bold point, AND black, OIL based (It's actually a hybrid ink, but we aren't going to tell her) ballpoint ink. Life is too short to use Bic Round Sticks.
When it comes to ink colors, my first preference is that it's permanent. I prefer blue, as it's easier to tell if it's been copied. I know that in the modern world this isn't much of a problem but when I worked in banking and as a notary, I always preferred blue ink. I've also learned that even though it's a less popular option, a dark green ink in some circles is acceptable as a professional color. When I explained this to K, she was simply not having it. Apparently back in the old days, editors at newspapers claimed that the letters they received in green ink were usually from lunatics, so they dubbed these people the Green Letter Brigrade. There is a fun article here discussing the history of green ink being associated with lunatics and crackpots. Funny enough, after discovering this I immediately ordered some green ink. Someone who saw my handwriting once said, "So you really write like that? In mixed case? It looks like a ransom note!" I'm not sure why, but when I write my brain likes to intersperse random capital letters.
Lately I've rediscovered my fountain pens. I currently have 4. The most expensive one I own is a Tornado made by Retro 1951. It retails for about $60 so it's basically a nice pen but it's nothing to show off. I've had it for 15 years, and I used it heavily in 2005-2008 for my journaling. I used Pelikan ink cartridges with it, but that ink was a disappointment, as over the years it faded. I have switched to Monte Blanc permanent black. This is amazing, dark black ink. The Tornado never lets me down. It has some scuffs and scratches but still looks pretty close to the day I purchased it.
I also own a Pilot Metropolitan which is meh. I haven't used it much, but it just seems to have too much ink flow and frustratingly not enough at the same time. The nib is always soaked in ink yet the tip of the nib is scratchy. It could be my converter, ink selection or a problem with the tines. I'll need to clean it out and try to figure out what's wrong.
I have a Lamy Safari which is in the color white and with a bold nib. It too is a mess. For some reason it is to have a continuous stream of ink, it skips. I'm not sure what the problem is here, it may need a good cleaning.
Finally I have a Kaweco Sport in green with a gold nib. This pen was such a disappointment. It writes fine, but the plastic build is terrible. It's about the same price as a Lamy Safari or a Metropolitan ($16-$20) but it's so cheap feeling. It looked beautiful online but when I hold it, I feel poor. It's also too small to use a standard converter and switching to a mini piston converter means that it will hold about half the ink of a cartridge. They have some metal versions of this pen for about $60 and maybe I'll treat myself to the brass one at some point, IDK.
Fountain pens have a lot of trade offs to a traditional ballpoint or a gel pen. First, they're prone to leaks, the nibs and ink feed systems seem to have multiple points where things can fail, and refilling them can be messy. What I like about a fountain pen is the inks and nibs are customizable, and a nib doesn't have the same loosey-goosey 360 degree range of motion that a ball point or rollerball pen has. The nib is round but it doesn't rotate so it is easier, in my opinion, to write fast and still keep it legible.
So far I've acquired 4 inks, and 1 is on the way. I have Mont Blanc permanent black and permanent blue, Pelikan black, and Pilot Iroshizuku in Syo-Ro which is a dark green. While I've looked forward to trying out this green ink, so far I've been unable to, as my other pens are already filled and the green Kaweco I ordered to match the ink doesn't fit the converter I ordered. I have an $8 chinese fountain pen in my cart now (Jinhao) so I'll have to update this once I get to try it out. The ink in my cart is another Pilot Iroshizuku color, Kon-Peki. It's a vivid blue one user described as feeling like looking into the sky on a bright sunny day.
I've also been interested in trying a Uniball Jetstream 4 and 1, it has 4 inks (black, blue, red, green) AND a mechanical pencil. Some say it's too fat, but what else could you need in life? 4 colors and a pencil. Done.
I also want to try out the Zebra Saransa Dry inks. They offer these pens in a variety of colors and the inks supposedly dry so fast that a left handed person should be able to write without smudging, which is impressive for a gel ink pen. These are not sold here but are imported from Japan and available on various websites.
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