I’ve always appreciated a fine writing implement. At Popular Mechanics, my starting rotation features a Tetzbo ballpoint pen from Japan, a Koh-I-Noor mechanical pencil from the Czech Republic, and a billion Bic Round Stics from the supply closet. But a fountain pen always seemed like a utensil too far.
Not that a fountain pen doesn’t write well. It’s a perfect tool, and a joy to use because it writes so differently than a ballpoint or gel pen.
A fountain pen glides. Or it will if you’re holding it right. When your angle is wrong, it lets you know. The writing feels like scratching. When it’s right, though, it doesn’t even feel like you’re writing. It feels like you’re painting. You can sense the physics of writing: that the pen never actually touches the paper. The ink does.RELATED STORY
(Incidentally, the fountain pen is an elegant mechanical process. As you apply pressure to the nib, it separates from the “feed,” allowing the ink to flow onto your writing surface. This is a great explainer. This is a great video showing how it works. And this is an in-depth guide to fully appreciating the essential beauty of the tool.)
Buy a pen or 12 and stash them at work and at home. Use them for writing notes and addresses and shopping lists. With intention! (Then lose them all in about a week and not care because they’re so unbelievably cheap.