Fountain pens make the best Father’s Day gifts for many reasons.
Let us count the ways:
First of all, they look nice. This is indisputable, and the variety of styles and colors and sizes make it easy to find a pen for any taste. One can choose between nib (the metal tip of a fountain pen) sizes ranging from extra fine to extra broad and italic.
Second, they are far more pleasant to use than ballpoints or rollerballs. A well-tuned nib needs practically no pressure at all to write and can float across the paper. Fountain pens are often larger than other pens. This makes them easier to hold, especially if you have larger hands, arthritis, or carpal tunnel syndrome. An author came into the store once and told me that he has written two novels longhand, and that he realized very early on that this can only be done with a fountain pen.
Third, the ink. Fountain pen ink comes in far more colors than are available for either ballpoints or rollerballs. For example, I love brown inks that have an antique look and these are only available for fountain pens. The inks can be far more useful also. We carry Noodler’s Black, which is waterproof, lightproof, bleach-proof and proof against just about everything except for lasers! There is also fast-drying ink for left-handed writers, ink that changes color as it ages or if it gets wet, etc.
Fourth, they last practically forever. There are plenty of pens from the earliest years of fountain pen production that still work, and technology has progressed, making them easier to maintain. I have friends that cherish the fountain pens that their fathers have passed on to them, and I look forward to passing pens on to my own children.
Fifth, they are inexpensive. True, fountain pens can easily cost upwards of two or three hundred dollars, but they can also cost less than $15 and write just as well. One can pick up a pen and a bottle of ink for less than $25 and be set for years.
Sixth, there is something enjoyable about the ritual of filling a fountain pen from an inkwell or bottle. Neil Gaiman has mentioned how much he enjoys “the tactile buzz of the ritual involved in filling the pens with ink.” Depending on how much one writes and the size of the ink reservoir this may need to be done each day (if you are writing a great american novel using a pen with a smaller ink reservoir) or every two or three weeks.
Here are some of our most popular models:
Jinhao x750: One of our favorite pens, the x750 has a good heft to it without being too heavy, and it writes really smoothly and reliably. Silver accents and medium nib. Comes with a converter so it can use bottled ink or cartridges. The nib can be replaced with any standard #6 nib. $10
Jinhao x450: A little heavier than the x750 it is still a good weight. With gold accents and a two tone nib the x450 is a fountain pen in the classic design. Replaceable #6 nib. Comes with converter. $10-$12
Jinhao 159: This is a large and hefty pen! It looks impressive and writes very well. This is the pen you need for signing important documents or for one of those Crocodile Dundee moments: “You call that a pen? This is a pen!” Screw-on cap, with a #6 nib. $15
Baoer 3035: This pen has a very sleek and modern look with a medium/fine nib. Comes with converter. $10
Baoer 801: Our most popular slender pen, it has a fine nib and comes with a converter. $8
Noodler’s Acrylic Konrad: In my opinion this is nearly the perfect size for a pen. It has a flexible nib that cushions one’s writing and allows for a considerable amount of line variation. It is a piston filler, which means that the filling system is integrated into the pen and holds much more ink than a standard converter. An ink window lets you know how much ink you have at all times. Replaceable #6 nib. $40
Noodler’s Ahab: Noodler’s most popular pen, the Ahab has a large pump filling system that will hold much more ink than a normal converter or cartridge. Nathan Tardiff, the owner of Noodler’s comes of New England whaling stock and named the pen after Captain Ahab of Moby Dick fame. The clip has the same profile as a sperm whale, and the pump filler looks just like a peg leg, evoking one of the greatest American novels. Replaceable #6 nib. $20
Noodler’s Nib Creaper: Noodler’s smallest flex pen, it is a piston filler with a flexible nib. Although it has a small nib it flexes a lot. Replaceable #2 nib. $14