Updated 12/30/15, 2/6/16, 3/16/16
This blog is devoted to my renewed interest in fountain pens, both old and new.
I recently purchased a Cross Bailey fountain pen while searching for Christmas gifts in an office supply store. This purchase reconnected me to an interest that I once had in fountain pens, and I rummaged through the closet for a small box of pens that I had collected many years ago. There were about a dozen or so, and only a few actually worked at one time. The others I had picked up at garage sales and thrift shops. They were mostly old Esterbrook pens. After years of sitting in the closet, none of them worked.
I googled for information on how to restore these pens and found some useful videos on YouTube. I also googled and bought, online, basic supplies for repairing sac pens. This led to a pleasant week of tinkering, in my spare time, with the pens and restoring about half of them.
I’m also exploring the realm of inexpensive Chinese fountain pens, and my finds are in Fountain Pen Planet. To set a baseline for my review of these pens, I’m slowly purchasing a few reference pens that are in what I consider the affordable range of under $50, preferably closer to $30. Examples are: Nemosine Fission EF ($24.99), Lamy Safari EF ($37.00), Platinum Preppy F & EF ($3.95 & $4.98), Twsbi Eco F ($28.99), Pilot Prera F ($33.81). As of 12/31/15, these pens are in transit. I have yet to receive any of them. (Update 3/16/16: All of these pens have arrived and have been tested.)
Update 2/6/16: See
Notes on My Growing Collection of Cheap Pens 2/6/16 [Update 3/16/16:] FP Notes 001 (2/8/16).
I’ll also try to rate some of the pens. I’ll be using a 5-star rating system in my reviews:
5 stars is reserved for the perfect pen. This means that I’m 100% happy with the pen. Since I don’t expect to find a perfect pen until I’ve tried the best in the world, I probably won’t be awarding 5 stars anytime soon.
4.5 stars is reserved for excellent pens, and it’s probably the highest rating I’ll be awarding and will go to only a handful of pens. This means that I’m between 95-99% happy with the pen.
4 stars is reserved for very good pens, and it’s probably the highest rating I’ll be awarding on a regular basis. This means that I’m between 90-94% happy with the pen.
3.5 stars is reserved for good pens, and it’ll probably be, along with 3 stars, the most common rating I’ll be giving. This means that I’m 80-89% happy with the pen.
3 stars is reserved for average pens, and along with 3.5 stars, it’ll probably be the most common rating. This means that I’m 70-79% happy with the pen.
2.5 stars is reserved for below average pens. This means that I’m 60-69% happy with the pen.
2 stars is reserved for poor pens. This means that I’m 50-59% happy with the pen.
1.5 stars is reserved for very poor pens. This means that I’m only 40-49% happy with the pen.
1 star is reserved for terrible pens. These pens are basically useless unless they’re modified and improved.
Disclaimer: Keep in mind that these are subjective judgments, based on my interpretation of criteria that I consider important. In all cases, my judgments are based on the pen that I have in hand, and there is no guarantee that my pen is the norm or exactly like every other pen of the same make and model. Also, I may alter my ratings from time to time as I work with these pens. Finally, I’m an independent pen hobbyist in the U.S. and am in no way associated with or related to any of the companies or vendors that deal in pens or pen paraphernalia. If, in the future, there is a real or apparent conflict of interest, I will mention it in my review.