Must-Have Accessories for Fountain Pens
So, you are considering dipping your toe into the world of fountain pens or maybe you have just bought your first one! Congratulations! Fountain pens are both an incredible daily tool and also a wonderful collectors item/hobby project. You may be slightly overwhelmed with the myriad of options available and the seemingly endless styles and designs of fountain pens on the market today. Regardless of whether you have decided on a budget starter fountain pen like the Kaweco Perkeo Fountain Pen or are beginning with something a little more mid-range like the Sheaffer 100 Fountain Pen - Polished Chrome,or even if you are diving in with a luxurious heirloom piece like the Namiki Yukari Chinkin Fountain Pen - Beauty Of Autumn Leaves… no matter where you begin, there are some things to note and some must-have accessories to compliment your new pen.
Let’s go right back to basics;
What is a Fountain Pen?
A fountain pen is a classic writing instrument that uses liquid ink to create smooth and elegant lines. Unlike ballpoint pens, which rely on a small ball to dispense ink, fountain pens have a nib that draws ink from a reservoir and onto the paper. This unique mechanism gives fountain pens their distinctive writing experience. All fountain pen filling systems perform the same action in one way or another - their purpose is to draw ink up for use. Working hand in hand with the nib, the filling system is the artery of the pen with the nib being the heart. There are many personal views on filling mechanism types, some purists reject the modern cartridge converter, others dismiss the complexity of mechanical piston fillers, and some spurn mechanisms altogether opting for an eyedropper filler. In the argument ‘are all filler systems equal’ the simple answer is yes, in that they ultimately serve the same purpose but there are advantages and disadvantages to each fountain pen filling mechanism. But as with all things… there is the simple answer and the more nuanced one!
If you want to learn more about filling mechanisms, take a look at our article: Fountain Pen Filling Mechanisms: Get Filled In!
You will likely have a preference for one type of filling mechanism over others…this may be down to the type of ink you wish to use or even the way in which you will be using your fountain pen. It is certainly worth trying out a few different types to work out which type of fountain pen suits your personal preference the most. You will begin to find that even within pens of the same filling mechanism type, there are many aspects of fountain pens which lend themselves to personal preference and you may enjoy a great variety of pens or you may find that you have a very specific ‘type’. There is no right or wrong way to enjoy fountain pens.
Why Choose a Fountain Pen?
Chances are, you have already decided to get a fountain pen, so this perhaps serves as a reminder as to why you have made the right decision in choosing a fountain pen.
There are several reasons why fountain pens are favoured by many writing enthusiasts:
- Writing Experience: For many, Fountain pens offer a superior writing experience compared to other types of pens. The smooth flow of ink and the flexibility of the nib allow for effortless and precise writing. There is a practical and less-than-practical joy to writing with a fountain pen. Or drawing with a fountain pen for that matter! You may be looking at a fountain pen to elevate your daily experience of writing or perhaps you are looking for something a little special for occasional use … there may even be some of you who don’t plan to use your fountain pens often - if ever! Fountain pens can be highly sought after collectable and there are some really interesting antique and rare fountain pens to be found.
- Personalisation: Fountain pens come in a wide variety of styles, materials, and nib sizes, allowing you to choose one that suits your personal taste and writing style. Nib types are often discussed - like in our article: Gold nibs vs Steel nibs: which is the best?
- Durability: High-quality fountain pens are built to last. With proper care and maintenance, a fountain pen can be a lifelong companion.
- Environmentally Friendly: Fountain pens are a more sustainable choice as they can be refilled with ink cartridges or used with a converter and bottled ink, reducing plastic waste.
If you want to read more about ‘What Makes A Good Fountain Pen’ - this article may be for you…
Getting Started with Fountain Pens
If you're new to fountain pens, here are some tips to help you get started:
- Choose the Right Pen: Consider factors such as nib size, ink capacity, and grip comfort when selecting a fountain pen. It's also helpful to try out different pens before making a purchase.
- Prepare the Pen: Before using a new fountain pen, it's important to clean it and prime the nib. This ensures optimal ink flow and prevents any residue from affecting the writing experience.
- Hold the Pen Correctly: Hold the fountain pen at a 45-degree angle to the paper. This allows the ink to flow smoothly and prevents scratching or skipping.
- Experiment with Inks: One of the joys of using fountain pens is the wide range of ink colours and properties available. Explore different inks to find your favourites. But more on that shortly! In the meantime - why not take at our article exploring - Fountain pen inks: bottled or cartridges?
- Practice and Patience: Writing with a fountain pen may require some adjustment if you're used to ballpoint pens. Practise your penmanship and be patient as you develop a comfortable writing technique.
Caring for Your Fountain Pen
To ensure the longevity of your fountain pen, follow these care tips:
- Store Properly: When not in use, keep your fountain pen capped or in a pen case to protect it from dust and damage. Find out more about fountain pen (and other types of pen) storage in: The lost art of pen display - which looks at both display and storage
- Clean Regularly: Flush out the pen with water when changing ink colours or if the pen has been unused for an extended period. This prevents ink residue from clogging the nib. Explore all the wonderful tutorials on YouTube for videos on how to clean fountain pens and even specific makes.
- Use Quality Ink: Opt for high-quality fountain pen inks that are compatible with your pen. Avoid using India ink or other pigmented inks that can clog the pen. If ink is of interest to you, you might enjoy ‘history flows on a river of ink: exploring the origins of modern ink’
- Handle with Care: Fountain pens have delicate nibs that can be easily damaged. Avoid dropping the pen or applying excessive pressure while writing.
With this beginner's guide, you're ready to embark on your fountain pen journey. Enjoy the smooth and elegant writing experience that fountain pens offer!
All About The Accessories: Fountain Pen Supplements
To truly elevate your fountain pen experience, you need to accessorise like a pro. Let’s explore some must-have fountain pen accessories that will take your writing game to the next level.
1. Ink Converters: The Magic Potion for Your Pen
Let's start with the basics. Ink converters are like the magic potion for your fountain pen. These nifty little devices allow you to use bottled ink instead of relying on cartridges. Not only does this open up a world of colour options, but it also saves you money in the long run. Plus, it's eco-friendly! Talk about a win-win situation. Not all fountain pens will be able to utilise a converter and some may require specific converters so look out for information from the manufacturer or seller.
Right: Kaweco Mini Piston Converter
Explore Ink Converters at The Hamilton Pen Company
2. Blotters and Blotting Paper: Bid Farewell to Ink Smudges
Picture this: You're in the middle of writing a heartfelt letter when disaster strikes - an ink smudge! Fear not, dear writer, for blotting paper is here to save the day. Simply place a sheet of this magical paper over your freshly written words, and watch as it absorbs any excess ink, leaving your masterpiece smudge-free. It's like having a personal assistant for your pen. Maybe you're feeling fancy and want to try out a rolling blotter!
Explore Blotters and Blotting paper at The Hamilton Pen Company
3. Pen Stand: Give Your Pen the Royal Treatment
Your fountain pen deserves a throne, and a pen stand or desk tidy is just the thing to provide it with the royal treatment it deserves. Not only does a pen stand keep your pen safe and secure when not in use, but it also adds a touch of elegance to your writing desk. Choose a stand or desk tidy that matches your style and let your pen reign supreme.
Explore Desktop Storage At The Hamilton Pen Company
4. Quality Writing Paper: Leave a Lasting Impression
When it comes to fountain pens, the right paper can make all the difference. Sure, you can scribble your thoughts on any old sheet, but if you want your words to flow like a river, you need quality writing paper. It's the secret ingredient that turns a mundane writing experience into a luxurious one. Imagine gliding your pen across the page, effortlessly leaving behind a trail of ink. That's the magic of quality writing paper. It's smooth, it's silky, and it's a pleasure to write on. No more scratchy surfaces or ink bleeding through the page. With the right paper, your pen will dance across the sheet, creating a symphony of words. Words have power, and they deserve to be preserved. Cheap paper may yellow and crumble over time, but quality writing paper stands the test of time. It's acid-free and archival, ensuring that your words will be cherished for generations to come. Whether you're writing a love letter or penning your memoirs, quality paper ensures that your words will endure. Fountain pens are a breed of their own.
They require a special kind of paper to truly shine. Cheap paper can clog the delicate nibs and ruin the writing experience. But with quality writing paper, your fountain pen will glide effortlessly, leaving behind a trail of ink that's as vibrant as your thoughts. Writing on quality paper is a sensory experience like no other. The weight of the paper in your hand, the texture under your fingertips, and the way the ink settles on the page—it all adds up to a truly indulgent moment. It's a little luxury that can brighten even the dullest of days. Whether you're writing a thank-you note or a business proposal, the quality of your paper speaks volumes about you. It shows that you value craftsmanship and attention to detail. It sets you apart from the crowd and leaves a lasting impression on the recipient. So why settle for mediocrity when you can make a statement with every stroke of your pen?
Explore Notebooks and Paper at The Hamilton Pen Company
5. Travel Case: Protect Your Pen on the Go
For the jet-setting writers out there, a travel case is an absolute must-have. Whether you're hopping on a plane or simply heading to your favourite coffee shop, a sturdy travel case will keep your pen safe and sound. Plus, it adds a touch of sophistication to your writing arsenal. Who said you can't travel in style?
Middle: Esterbrook Pen Roll
Right: Rhodia Round Pencil Case
Explore Travel Cases at The Hamilton Pen Company
And there you have it - five must-have fountain pen accessories that will take your writing experience from ordinary to extraordinary. So go ahead, indulge in the world of fountain pen accessories and let your creativity flow like never before. Happy writing!We have touched on a few accessories in this article...there are so many more to explore! Visit the Accessories page of The Hamilton Pen Company and elevate your stationery experience!