Fascinating things, pens. We tend to take them for granted today, but few people realize that the pen as we know it now (i. e. with an onboard supply of ink) is little more than a century old.

My uncle has collected fountain pens for many years, and introduced me to the hobby (read: obsession) a while back. Given the status of the fountain pen today as an item rarely used, it is hard to imagine a time when they were commonplace. Nevertheless, for the first half of this century, they were.

Parker, Waterman, Schaeffer, Mont Blanc - these are the manufacturers the average person might recognize now, but only the first three are among the "big four" in collecting circles. Mont Blanc is a relative newcomer, while Wahl-Eversharp was eaten by Parker decades ago. Still, there were many other names to know in the heyday of the ink pen: Moore, Swan, Crocker, Chilton and many more. Even today, when the fountain pen is seen as an affectation, many manufacturers exist, albeit with differing amounts of public recognition: Pelikan, Visconti, Omas, Cartier, Rotring. The Eversharp name has even resurfaced recently.

Ironically, this text was composed using a glass pen from italy, which must be dipped. Such is the variety of the pen world.

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David H. Adler
Last modified: Wed Feb 10 01:53:56 1999