Are Fountain Pens Still Being Used?

Despite the popularity of such products on our website, I am sometimes asked whether people still use fountain pens? The short answer is a resounding “yes”. And then that question is usually followed by “why”?

“I want to write in the old way”

Parker Fountain Pen Staged Image

I like to use the analogy of wrist watches.

Digital watches also show the time and a lot more, but sales of costly analogue watches are soaring. Much like old vinyl records, bicycles and classic cars, people are making a self- conscious decision: “I want to write in the old way”.

More people are using them now than in the past three decades. This is a niché market which is steadily growing.

What is the appeal of Fountain Pens?

Fountain pens make you write slowly and make fewer mistakes.

They develop a decent handwriting. They enable conscious thinking before writing. Every process involved with a fountain pen is enjoyable, the process of filling it with ink, the sound of the nib gliding across the page, the ink flow, the reduced pressure required to form your words. The feelings of writing, refilling, washing and taking care of your favourite pen are immeasurably satisfying. 

More comfortable to hold,requiring less pressure to write, fountain pens reduce writer fatigue and cramps in the hand and wrist.

Anything you write looks classier.

Elevated to a status symbol, users get get comments in meetings such as: “How nice to see an unusual Pen”.

“Every process involved with a fountain pen is enjoyable”

Due to the variety of inks and nibs, most pens are customizable, making each one unique.

People are discovering and re-discovering the thrill of pen and ink.

 

The reason for climbing sales in Fountain Pens

A Fountain Pen is the best tool to improve handwriting. The younger generation is plagued with poorly developed handwriting skills -due to prolific electronic communication.

Some schools are insisting on switching to fountain pens in a specific grade or when reaching a certain grade. This is a complete turn-around from a few years back when cursive handwriting was ditched for “Caps on” styled writing only. Lamy Safari Fountain Pens are a common entry-level student pen used extensively in Germany.

Some European Countries view Ballpens as vulgar, prompting the younger generation to use fountains from an early age, through their entire schooling, university and then in the workplace.

Who still uses Fountain Pens?

 

  • Converts – new users try something different as an experiment and fall in love with writing
  • Regular writers who are rewarded with enjoyment
  • Some people are reverting to analogue systems to be more productive and creative – doodling; journaling; bullet-journaling; to-do lists; brain storming; tasks and reminders. Electronic digital systems out there don’t provide sufficient customization in terms of colours, features and layouts
  • Pen enthusiasts and hobbyists
  • Collectors but avid users, enjoy the entire process of writing with and cleaning them. They often experiment with various nibs and inks
  • Collectors/Investors – this is a fast-growing niché. Sometimes collectors don’t even use them, the box goes straight to the safe. I have investors who insist (at great pains) that the packaging not be touched – the box still needs to be enveloped with the original clear plastic wrapping. Re-sale values are so much higher after a few years if unopened
  • Some people have reached a level in their lives where only the best will do and are willing to pay a premium for the prestige of owning a brand such as Benu, Cross or Gioia.
  • Fountain Pen Officianados. Avid fans, extremely passionate and knowledgeable, these experts are prolific on social media – sharing ink properties, aromas, sheen and glitter properties, as well as nib characteristics
  • Presidents sign treaties with fountain pens
  • Business deals are concluded with fountain pens

“Presidents sign Treaties with Fountain Pens”

Parker IM Achromatic Black Fountain Pen

The Appeal of writing with Fountain Pens

People are discovering and re-discovering the thrill of pen and ink.

Switching to writing with a fountain pen is a conscious choice, a lifestyle statement, elevated to accessory status.

Beautiful objects make people feel more sophisticated when using them. 

Looking back to the “Good old Days’ with nostalgia, when the pace of life was slower without stresses of the digital world, taking time to write a personal note or letter is a tactile relaxing process.

The mind moves and flows in a different way when holding a writing instrument and notebook. Hammering away at a keyboard is just not the same. Something is different, the brain patterns alter as if the mind accesses something viscerally different, much like they say drawing comes from the righthand-side brain hemisphere.

It is the stuff of graduation presents and ” good luck for your first day in your new job”.

They are simple and honest – almost in defiance of modern technology. The recently-employed are rebellious and eager for change, so are keen to show their uniqueness. They may be forced to communicate daily and profusely using electronic methods and tools, but they gravitate to the more ‘earthy’ traditional tools whenever and wherever they can get away with it.

I have a writing enthusiast customer who hand writes, scans and then e-mails all correspondence whenever possible. The response and comments he gets is astounding.

“Nice handwriting is no longer a chore, but rather a choice and a pleasure”

DAISY GOODWIN, SUNDAY TIMES 2014

Using a fine writing instrument shows you are serious – a declaration of intent, and bestows an extra layer of respectability to official documents – proof is in the use by Lawyers and Doctors.

A Greener Product

The youth are interested – no requirement for recycling of plastic pens and refills and less waste for landfills. Re-useable glass ink bottles are immensely appealing. Providing years of pleasure, fountain pens can last for decades and often improve with age. It has become common practice for vintage fountain pens to be handed down from one generation to the next where teenagers inherit their Grandparents’ pens and their interest is piqued.

 “the ‘average’ population – banished to use ballpoint and rollerball pens forever”

 

Lamy Fountain Pens Image

The Future of Fountain Pens

Way back in our history, handwriting was reserved for the elite aristocrats and learned individuals. Today, that differentiation is for users of fountain pens – a step or two above the ‘average’ population – banished to use ballpoint and rollerball pens forever.

Fountain Pens  are being used more and more each day, as sales keep rising and new models continue to be released, allowing more and more people to use fountain pens in their daily activities.

New Brands are continually entering the market, proving that the demand is there and the interest is strong and that Fountain Pens are still very much alive and well.


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