February 17, 2012 § Leave a comment

We still offer a range of inked pens for young students to try in our retail outlet, PenFountain@Beales in Worthing West Sussex.

Penfountain's Blog

The number of early-learners coming into the PenFountain.com shop in a distressed state to buy their first ‘proper’ pen are a disappointment to us – not to mention their parents!  What should be an exciting milestone in their development has been tainted by their teachers’ response to their ‘disability’.  In common with about 7% of the UK population, they are left-handed.   “Teacher says … hold this pen or that pen and get used to it.”  This should be a time to encourage, to excite, to develop a love for writing, for words, for spelling, for grammar, not a time to put obstacles in the way.  At PenFountain.com we keep a range of inked pens in a pencil case for youngsters to try, both left-, and right-handed.

There is no shortage of choice for the first-time writer either, with specialist starter pen ranges from the Pelikan Griffix, Stabilo S’Move, Staedtler’s Starter…

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Time for a digitally driven fountain pen nib?

February 17, 2012 § 1 Comment

The principles of the fountain pen have been established and refined over the last 150 years. Put simply, an ink reservoir feeds ink into a delivery tube, through a series of capillary tracts, through to the tip of the nib, where contact with the writing surface causes the ink to be deposited. Although a fairly crude process by comparison to the writing technologies of today, the fountain pen, either because of its idiosyncrasies or in spite of them, remains the most rewarding way to put words onto paper for others to read.

Much has been written about the attributes of different styles of nib fabricated from almost every conceivable type of resistant material but, ultimately, beauty remains in the eye of the beholder. At PenFountain, what is very clear is that the current trend towards one-size-fits-all ‘medium’ nibs is eroding the very market that the fountain pen works for.

When asked for advice about pens with alternative nibs, sizes, and formats, the conversation invariably contains the caveat ‘without spending a fortune…’, to which only one reply is currently available, Lamy.  Regular readers of my blog will be familiar with my faith in Lamy’s interchangeable nib system with its low cost and reliability. However, even with its greatness, the design of the Lamy pen range can be a little too contemporarily radical for what may be described as an inherently conservative market. In an ideal world, perhaps the solution could be to put the Lamy nib system into pens of a slightly more conservative style such as, Waterman. Keep the price below £50 and you could have a commercial winner. While we’re designing the perfect commercial fountain pen, the range could possibly be extended to include some oblique nibs. We have been surprised at the number of fountain pen users requesting italic and oblique nibs and, even with Lamy’s ‘calligraphy’ pen nibs, which are technically italic, the 1.1mm nib does not offer sufficient variation between major and minor line widths and yet the 1.5mm major line width tends to suit people with larger writing. Conversely, the broad italics and obliques from the other major players tend to be neither wide enough and, being predominantly18ct gold, too expensive.

We understand the issues associated with production costs, tooling, and economies of scale but surely in the age of CNC manufacturing it would be possible to develop a digitally controlled tool to create a range of nibs that meet the fullest market requirements without prohibitive cost?

Would this be your ideal solution?  Please let us know.

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