Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Miscellany: Waterman Phileas Fountain Pen - One Year Later

I've been using a Waterman Phileas as my primary pen for nearly an entire year, and I have to say, I don't think I'll ever go back to using a regular ballpoint. The Phileas is a fairly popular starter pen, and the price is about right. That is, it's cheap enough for you to risk losing ($40) but expensive enough so that you don't want to lose it in the first place.

Almost all fountain pens write better after a few months of solid use. I'm not sure if that's because the metal is being ground by the endless friction of paper and ink, or if it's merely the result of the user being more used to the pen's "sweet spot" (probably a little of both), but in the Phileas' case, it now writes smoothly enough that I can glide my pen over the paper and words flow out in D'Nealian cursive.

Admittedly, there are some downsides to using a fountain pen. I've learned never to leave the pen in a hot car, as writing with it afterward can produce some messy results (the engineer in me is still curious about whether that's due to the steel nib expanding or from the heating of the ink). Fountain pens also tend to drink up more ink than a usual pen.

One final benefit is that you can use a converter cartridge to fill the pen up with bottled ink. This opens up even mroe pen-geekery - after all, who wouldn't want a bottle of Noodler's Luxury Blue sitting astride their desk?


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