July 24, 2010


  1. Some calligraphy pens are fountain pens, some fountain pens are calligraphy pens. It has to do with the nib. Typically a pen designed for calligraphy will have a nib of a specialized shape or width in order to produce fancy lettering of one kind or another. Some of these calligraphy pens have a way to hold ink inside the body of the pen (fountain pens), while others (maybe the majority) are nibs you mount in a "pen holder" (sort of the body of the pen), and have to be dipped in the ink.

    And most fountain pens for general use (again, the ink mechanism is what makes 'em fountain pens) will have a sort of rounded tip to the nib, making them suitable for standard writing without needing to be held in a fairly rigid position. They can be used to write quickly and easily, but don't generally allow for the sort of line variation you'd get with a calligraphy nib.

  2. So, reiterating what you said to make sure I understand, the "fountain" is just describing the way ink is stored/delivered to the nib. If it has a little cartridge or is otherwise stored in the body, than it's a fountain pen.

    The nib alone, determines if the pen is used for calligraphy or general writing. So, a nib used for calligraphy that stores the ink in the body, is both a calligraphy pen and a fountain pen.

    That is what I purchased last week, actually. I could have got a Yafa "fountain pen" that had a few nibs, but cost $14. I ended up with a Schaeffer 0.8mm calligraphy pen, which only cost $6. Afterwards, I did look around at other options, Lamy Safari (which I've seen mention of in the typosphere before), Pilot 78G and many others that cost anywhere from $20-$400 (which I really had no desire to drop for a pen).

    So, what would you call something that had a general writing nib, but mounted in a pen holder and dipped in the ink? Does that even exist?

  3. You got it.

    So, what would you call something that had a general writing nib, but mounted in a pen holder and dipped in the ink? Does that even exist?

    Generally you'd just call that a dip pen.

    I have a Safari and really like it. Keep in mind you can go with one pen and one bottle of ink for...a very long time. I tend to write more by hand than anything else, and a gel pen only lasts me a few days, so if I actually *had* just one fountain pen and one bottle of ink, I could justify it. However, I...um...have more than that. A bit.

    Have you seen jetpens.com? They have other decent inexpensive fountain pen options. I just picked up one of the Noodler's piston fillers (fifteen dollars--only fill from a bottle), and I'm generally pretty pleased with the thing. Might be another good option should you decide to spend more time playing with pens!

    And my offer to send a basic uber-cheap Hero fountain pen to whomever wants to try one still stands. They only fill from a bottle of ink, so I'd have to figure out a method for sending ink again, but otherwise, you'd be welcome to one.