Way back when

I’ve decided Wednesdays should now be known as Way-back-when Wednesdays.

I was in a gift shop the other day and noticed a display case filled with silk-lined boxes containing fountain pens! It got me to thinking about way-back-when … when fountain pens were the only choice, when an ink well was a standard feature in a school desk, and when little boys couldn’t resist the temptation to dip little girls’ pigtails in said inkwells.

Does anyone even still use fountain pens? I can’t recall anyone I know ever pulling out a fountain pen to sign something or jot down a phone number. So what is it about a fountain pen that would make someone buy one these days, or give one as a gift? Elegance? Nostalgia?

When I was starting high school, everyone used fountain pens. The best part of using a fountain pen was the ink. You could buy all different colors, but in my opinion, the only color worth using was peacock-blue. It was the color to use. I think I used up about ten bottles on ink that first year of high school because I loved the color.

I loved using a fountain pen. I think using one affected my penmanship, too – something about the flow of the ink on the paper and the way I tended to add curls and loops to my letters. So calligraphic, even though I’d never even heard the word back then.

Still, using a fountain pen was really inconvenient. You had to make sure you had all the necessary supplies with you at all times. First, you needed the pen, which had a tendency to leak at the worst possible time. Because they ran out of ink frequently, you had to carry a bottle of ink with you and fill the pen regularly, which always resulted in ink on your hands. Then, finally, the writing. But wait, what about the blotting paper? Similar to a really good quality paper towel, it soaked up the excess ink, as long as you didn’t smear it in the process. And if you didn’t blot enough, or didn’t wait long enough to pile papers together, all you’d be left with was a mess.

Yep, sometimes progress isn’t such a bad thing. I’ve given up my fountain pens, because it’s a lot easier to just flick your BIC. But there is one problem – it’s really hard to find a ballpoint pen with peacock-blue ink.

What about you? Did you ever own a fountain pen?


Way back when — 1 Comment

  1. My boyfriend loves his fountain pen. Carries it everywhere. Pulls it out to make notes all the time. I never really used a fountain pen but I have to admit his is really nice.