My Fountain Pen Evolution

My fountain pen interests have taken a noticeable turn this year. It was subtle at first, but the Long Island Pen Show made the change much clearer. Until the end of 2012 I was strictly an accumulator. If a pen caught my eye and I had the budget for it at the time, I bought it. Even when my acquisitions slowed down it wasn’t because of any focus. There was a final burst of accumulation that coincided with the start of this website.

Towards the end of 2012 and into 2013 I became more selective, although not more focused. I was mainly curious about different filling systems but what really mattered was that the pen be truly different than what I already had. Almost as important, it had to be a pen I thought would be a regular in my rotation. Of course, I was the sole judge of what was different, so there was a lot of latitude.

Then there was the Long Island Pen Show where I “discovered” vintage pens. Esterbrooks  interested me because of all the nib choices. Added to that is the fact that they were “cheap” pens in their day but were built like tanks using materials and colors that have held up over the years. My first vintage pen was an Esterbrook. I was glad I waited to get my first vintage in person so I avoided any disappointment.

Esterbrook Dollar Bandless with 9555 nib
Esterbrook Dollar Bandless with 9555 nib – My First Vintage Fountain Pen

A Parker 51 was also on my show list. I found some but they just didn’t grab me. I think it was that hooded nib, I like to see the nibs. But what I did find was the Parker Vacumatic. I didn’t get one at the show, but my interest was piqued. The filling system interested me and the pens were beautiful.

I actually passed on this year’s Edison group buy and their recent stealth LE. Two pens that would have been certain buys 6 months ago. I was beginning to develop some focus, and those pens didn’t fit that focus.

I’m actually considering selling off some of the better pens that don’t make it into the rotation and have no other attraction for me. Something I wouldn’t have considered last year. Although, it’s still just being considered.

My recent acquisitions have been vintage. It’s not a narrow focus, but Parker interests me a lot, followed closely by Sheaffer and Esterbrook, early American pen companies. While I’m not ruling out a modern pen purchase, I’m looking forward to the Washington DC show in August as an opportunity see wee a wide variety of those pens among others. I’m saving my pen budget so I can go wild at the show.

Parker Duofold photo

5 thoughts on “My Fountain Pen Evolution

  1. Ah most intriguing! I am always curious to know about how others refine their pen collections and what stage they are in and how they get to the next stage, etc. I agree about the Edison group buys – last year I missed the group buy and I couldn’t wait for the 2013 group buy and when it rolled around, they just didn’t fit what I was looking for in my new “focus” so I passed them up – even though they were very nice pens.

    I’m trying to figure out what to focus on in DC… and I’m also trying to figure out how much money I’ll have to spend hehe (or how much I *won’t* have to spend rather). I’d really like an Esterbrook though so that is somewhere on the list!

    • Hi Azizah. I’m trying to restrain my purchases until DC. I figure money saved now is money spent then which is a great motivator. The bigger the budget the less I have to focus. 🙂


  2. I’m trying to come up with a strategy (a loose one, at least) for DC as well. I feel like I’ll be running around like my puppy does…from toy to toy…and I’d like to be a LITTLE more focused than that. Something to ponder over the summer!

  3. Those Esterbrooks are very intriguing. I love the nib swapping capability and they seem to age very well.

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