Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Fountain pens--they're older than you think

I bought a new fountain pen today...with royalties, which made it feel even better to buy. (Allow me to insert this for my younger friends who might have never seen a fountain pen--they're old pens, that have to be filled with liquid ink by their owners. They have funky tips and have to be handled carefully.)

I love fountain pens for a variety of reasons, but I think the biggest reason is I have a love for old technology. I did a little research on the history of fountain pens, and was quite surprised. For example, the first documented use of what has become the modern fountain pen was 1,100 years ago in Egypt in the year 953 AD. The caliph of Egypt demanded a pen with an internal ink source that could be held upside down without leaking. He got it.

Fountain pens have changed over the years: the style of nib (tip) has seen its share of tinkering, as has the reservoir. Until I got this pen today, I always used the chicken-shit method of ink delivery--a disposable cartridge--but no more, baby! The pen I bought today came with a bottle of ink and a mechanical whatsis that brings the ink into the pen and stores it.

I bought a good pen--a treat to myself. Don't ask to borrow it. The booklet it came with says the nib will wear in a way that's beneficial to me, but use by others will effect it in a negative way. Besides, it's a pricey pen...a little under fifty bucks. A royal fifty bucks, if you will.

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