5 Things to Consider when Buying a Fountain Pen

5 Things to Consider when Buying a Fountain Pen

Fountain pens in times like today have been well forgotten. Everyone in every corner of the world prefers ballpoints, markers, or smooth-flowing gel pens for their daily usage. An image has been created of fountain pens that are hard to use, manage and maintain. They are messy and require a lot of time and patience when people compare them with ballpoint pens.

But we offer you an option that goes beyond all the mess and effort. Frederick Fölsch fountain pens are one-of-a-kind, easily accessible, and also include a variety of options according to your need. From the nib style to the pen style, any preferred color, and refilling the ink, lots of choices can be made as you wish.

But the real question is what to consider when buying a fountain pen. What are the main things to look for? What are your requirements or personal preferences?

Buying a fountain pen that fits the category of “ perfect” can definitely be a challenging task. Fountain pens are stylish and graceful tools that can last a lifetime. Therefore, it is necessary to understand how to choose a fountain pen that is up to the mark.

Listed below are the 5 main things to consider when you go out to buy a fountain pen:

1- Left Handed or Right Handed

When buying a fountain pen, the hand you commonly use in writing matters a lot. For right-handed people, this factor is not much of an issue. But people using their left hand are often discouraged from using a fountain pen. The common belief is that they smudge ink all over the paper and everywhere else too. But that is not right. Getting ink everywhere has more to do with the technique you use and mainly with your nib style.

The design of fountain pens has developed in many ways over the years. Instead of a soft and flexible nib that is suited for right-handed people only, most standard fountain pens have a rather solid nib that can be used comfortably by left-handed writers.
Left-handed people work oppositely by pushing their pens away instead of bringing them toward the paper. The particular nib for lefties is cut in the opposite direction than the regular nib so that it corresponds to their natural tendency.
Frederick Fölsch fountain pens have a range of possibilities for left-handers to accommodate their needs. When choosing a left-handed fountain pen, it is important to be on the lookout for certain qualities, such as an ergonomic grip, a finely cut steel nib, and quick-drying ink. A range of barrel widths, weights, and sizes are also available to adjust to the hand.

2. Choosing Your Nib

The nib is a crucial part of a fountain pen. It is the central point that draws ink from within and channels it out. To buy a fountain pen to make your writing quicker and neater, choosing the right nib is essential.

The four main features when selecting a fountain pen nib are size, material, shape or cut, and the flexibility of the nibs.

Nib Size

The size of the nib has a great impact on how a fountain pen will write. There is a large nib size that produces wide lines for highlighting or pronouncing certain pieces of text. And, then the basic use of a smaller nib is to create a cleaner and ballpoint kind of writing.

The four main variations of the nib size are:

  • Extra Fine: The extra fine nib produces an extremely thin writing line. This kind of nib comes in handy, especially when writing Chinese or Japanese characters.
  • Fine: This nib is mostly used for drawing and producing a sleek effect in manuscripts.
  • Medium: The medium nib is the most popular and common size around the world. It is used for standard pens and gives an illusion of round ballpoints.
  • Broad: This nib is used for large handwriting but is mostly avoided because of its untidy appearance. However, it is used for writing Arabic and Persian alphabets.

Nib Shape or Cut

Fountain pen nibs have different shapes or cuts according to the production of different types of lines. This adds to the writing style of an individual and suggests a personalized effect.

The various shapes or cuts of the nib are:

  • Standard: The standard nib is also called the round nib shape which produces one uniform line. It is the most commonly used and available nib shape and creates a consistent line, regardless of the direction of the nib on the paper.
  • Italics: The second most used tip shape is italics which is also known as the calligraphy tip. This nib creates thin vertical strokes and flat horizontal strokes. It creates the illusion of writings of old times. The only factor is the additional practice and attention required to produce your desired piece of writing.
  • Oblique: Oblique nib cuts are the specialized nib cuts for left-handers. This kind of nib allows the writer to grab the pen from below the line to prevent clumsiness.


Nib Material

Though the material of the nib is not an important factor when buying a fountain pen, it still does play a role. Nibs are made of a variety of materials but the smoothness of a nib largely depends on its tipping.

Common nib materials are gold, silver, iridium, and steel. But, the tipping or plating on nibs is done by other harder metals such as rhodium, iridium, stainless steel, or pure gold. This coating keeps the nib safe from rusting and corrosion over time.

Stainless steel is a guaranteed material for everyday use. It is strong ad sturdy and does not need tipping. Iridium tip is usually plated over fake silver and gold and lasts a long time. Solid Gold is practically a luxury. Although some people assume it to be impractical, it gradually molds to an individual’s writing style with time.

Pure silver and gold fountain pens are a high-quality luxury item that lasts a lifetime. Both these materials can be used as fountain pen gifts; for instance, a graduation fountain pen, a fathers day fountain pen, or a wedding fountain pen.


Nib Flexibility

Flexibility is the feature of a fountain pen that makes it a fountain pen. Nib flexibility defines how far the tip of the pen will spread open when pressure is applied. It adds to the character and style of a writer and gives it an illusion of calligraphy.

Nib flexibility depends on the individual using it and the purpose of the fountain pen. For thin vertical strikes, high flexibility is required. But for daily usage, a firm nib is preferred as it is swift and glides on the paper easily.

Nowadays, most nibs are round and soft. They are not designed for flex purposes. Our brand, Frederick Fölsch, offers its clients a variation between flexible and firm nibs which is the semi-flexible nibs.

3. Size and Weight

When it comes to the points you should consider when buying a fountain pen, one should always consider the size and weight of the pen that suits them the most.
The most straightforward approach is adjusting the size of the pen according to your hand size. If you have small hands, holding a large pen would be uncomfortable. Likewise, for large hands, a smaller pen would easily slip away. Experimenting with different sizes will help you choose the right size for you.

The barrel widths range from small to oversized which means from 11mm to 18mm main barrels. The default size commonly available is medium which goes from 13mm to 15mm.
Similarly, the weight of the pen should also be considered when selecting the right fountain pen. This again depends on the individual and their preferences. For most users, a heavy pen feels tiring and uncomfortable. Whereas, a pen that is too light may feel foreign in your hands and even slip away at times. A bulky pen can hinder your experience of smooth writing.
The concept is that the more upright you hold a pen, the lighter-weight pen you will need. When you learn the pen more, it tends to feel heavier, especially when writing for a more extended period. This adds to the stability and strong grip on the pen. The popular choices amongst elementary students and adults are the 1.2-1.5 ounces fountain pens.

4. Refilling The Ink

The most important factor to consider when buying a fountain pen is the refilling of the ink. You can get used to the weight, size, or style of the pen over time. But if the refilling method is not what you want, then that can get on your nerves.

The three basic methods of filling up a fountain pen with ink are:

  • Cartridges: Cartridges are disposable, little ink sockets that can be frequently replaced in a fountain pen. This method is a super quick, clean, and convenient one. This is a modern and the most popular approach because of its ease of use.
  • Converter: Converters are small cylindrical ink devices that are filled by using an ink bottle. This approach is usually viable as it is clean and swift.
  • Reservoirs: The first-ever method of filling ink in fountain pens is called reservoirs, in the form of glass ink bottles. It allows refilling the pen at infrequent intervals depending on the usage. These reservoirs are rarely used nowadays as they are difficult to handle and are becoming quite costly.


5- Know the reason behind your purchase

And lastly, as a person, one of the most important things to keep in mind when looking for a fountain pen is why you are buying one. Ask yourself questions and ponder upon them to decide on the right fountain pen for you.

Know the reason behind your purchase. Figure out why you are taking this step so that the perfect choice may be yours. Knowing the reason can help you determine which kind of fountain pen would you need.

If you are making a switch from ballpoints to fountain pens for a neater writing experience, then look for fountain pens with smooth nibs that are lightweight. This will help you have a steady and stable hand while writing.

If you are looking for a long-lasting pen, search for a premium-quality material rather than focusing on the color of the pen. Check the quality of the nib and the barrel.

Are you hoping to make things a bit more personal? Frederick Fölsch offers options according to their client's needs. From color to the size and shape of the nib, you can switch up things to add your spark. Engraving services are also offered to level up the game for those who prefer a more personal experience.

Another reason to buy a fountain pen is to use it as a gift on different occasions. A silver fountain pen is an optimal choice to be gifted as a graduation fountain pen or a fathers day fountain pen. A gold fountain pen may be used as a fountain pen gift for a special occasion like a wedding or someone’s anniversary.

Buying a fountain pen isn’t a piece of cake. It requires a lot of effort and brains to make a perfect choice. There are certain factors to take into notice when investing your money, as it is a lifelong investment.

All the hype about fountain pens makes sense when you know what to consider when buying one. From the size, weight, color, material, cut, nibs, and tips, everything is essential. The cherry on top, it makes your writing experience a whole lot neater and swift. And, it is also a fine piece of accessory to add to your collection. If those aren’t enough reasons to convince you then know that you can always personalize it.

Now that you know the 5 things to consider when buying a fountain pen, what are you waiting for? Go on and look for the ideal one for yourself.

Back to blog