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Musings on tools for thought

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Posted by Daly de Gagne
Jun 12, 2022 at 05:39 PM


Fountain pens “unqualified” for taking notes?! Surely you jest! I always have believed it is the notetaker who needs to be qualified for the task at hand. Part of that qualification would be knowing what tool is best suited for a particular notetaker given her/his preferences and the kind of notes to be taken. Much as I like my laptop and tablet, there are times I want to take notes with one of my fountain pens. Of course, each person is different, and your milage may vary. Luhman, the great German sociologist, managed quite well with pen and paper for his notes.


Posted by Daly de Gagne
Jun 12, 2022 at 05:45 PM


Correction - that should be Niklas Luhmann.


Posted by 22111
Jun 17, 2022 at 07:03 AM


When I skimmed all of the above, I didn’t discover though, in your discussion, a core element: the nib HAS to be 18k gold instead of 14k (or even lower). I myself own - from that time - 6 or 7 fountain pens, all from relevant brands, incl. Montblanc (14k again), and the main reason I haven’t touched them for decennials is the fact that after having tried (both “brand-new” (in the shop) and “written-in” (from a co-worker) Montblanc 18k fountain pens (“149”, of which the price seems to have more than doubled over the last years) - now the “149” is very big, and unfortunately, for many hands, of which mine, this model is much to broad (that’s why I didn’t then buy one myself), but its nib, too, and the tinier Montblanc’s I tried, in the time, as well as my own from them, all came with a 14k nib, but those nibs, too, are much tinier.

The difference is spectacular (sic!), and I suppose it’s mostly due to the 18 vs 14k difference, but the size of the nib could also play into it.

Also, in the time, some people said the “Omas” brand was even better than the Montblanc 149 - personally, I never found that brand, so can’t say. More, there seems to be an also quite (i.e. too?) big Pelikan 18k nib model which I never tried.

Also, the relative size of the nib POINT should play some role, too “fine” being bad at last, and the broader the point the better, so you will be “forced” to adopt a broader handwriting: good if that comes naturally to you (most “149” come with broad nib points and are mostly used for signing papers, in practice).


- you should beware of any 14k or “lesser” model (e.g. “Lamy” and such, where the nib isn’t even gold, are really, really bad) of any brand (incl. the “very best” ones)

- with the (quite few) 18k models, you should try out nib size, even an 18k but tinier nib might disappoint you

- ditto then for the nib point size

- and which MIGHT come to say that if your handwriting AND your hand ain’t both big enough, you will NOT find an ideal fountain pen for writing.

Of course, you can always buy some as prestige good.

Oh, and only use high quality paper for writing with a fountain pen - that will also “help” with lesser makes.

And finally, several of my fountain pens being in silver 925, others in bakelite (or whatever), the latter are much more pleasing than the former in your hand, and for gold bodies, certainly the same would apply.

After-thought: Some of my fountain pens even emerged too thin for heavy writing, so that’s another problem you might NOT encounter at the shop counter yet but just afterwards when it’s too late…

(I would prefer to get practical advice in these pages, your mileage might vary though as they say.)


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