[Chih-Horng Kuo] Home: Hobbies: Fountain pens

The story of how I got this crazy affection of fountain pens was summarized in my self-intro at FPN. As much as a computer geek that I am today, there is something magical about writing with a nice fountain pen that I just cannot do without (no, not even my terrible handwriting can stop me from doing it). Other than taking a shower or riding my bike (neither is particuarly convenient in the office), doodling with my pens has been one of the best ways for me to think clearly.

I am more of a fountain pen user than a collector. I acquire pens with the intention to use them, rather than to keep them in a nice display box. The pens that I treasured the most are the ones that I carry with me and use everyday. The reason why I end up with more pens than I actually need is mainly because I always want to try something different. Each of the pens in my collection is special to me and sometimes I write about them and other pen-related entries in my blog. Here are some of the pens and inks in my collection.

Fountain pens

Platinum Standard, blue, stainless steel nib
This is my first fountain pen. I probably bought this when I was in elementary school. I had to save up my allowance for quite a while and I still remember the joy of finally getting it vividly. I used this pen all the way to college until the tip of the nib was completely worn out. It is retired into my pen case now but I still enjoy holding it every once in a while. Perhaps someday I will have it retipped and put back to service. Although this pen may not be the greatest one that I have, it will always occupy a special place in my collection. After all, I have to blame my fountain pen addiction on it. :)
Cross Townsend, Medalist, stainless steel F nib
This is the second fountain pen in my life. Basically it is the replacement for my Platinum Standard and accompanied me through my college years.
Elysee (unknown model), green, 14K gold EF nib
This is my first impulsive purchase. One day I walked into a pen shop in Taipei, saw the pen in its beautiful green color that just like the Yangmingshan National Park in spring, and immediately decided that I want it. Fortunately it was not a terribly expensive pen. The 14K gold nib is springy and a joy to write with.
Rotring 600, black, 18K gold EF nib
Distinctive design with a bulletproof construction quality. Some people joked about how this pen can be used as a survival tool in the wild and I quite agree with them. The one I got has a dry and stiff EF nib, which made it a perfect tool for writing Traditional Chinese characters in narrowly ruled notebooks.
Pelikan M800, blue, dual-tone 18K gold 0.5mm cursive italic nib
My first milestone pen. I bought this pen to celebrate my college graduation with my first paycheck. This is my most used pen and is the standard of which all other pens are being compared to. The original F nib is modified into a 0.5mm cursive italic by Richard Binder at the Atlanta Pen Show in 2008.
Wahl-Eversharp Doric
Soon after graduated from college, I was biten by the vintage-pen bug. Among the vintage pens that I have seen so far, Wahl-Eversharp Doric is my favorite. The celluloids are stunningly beautiful and the nibs with adjustible flexibility is a truly innovative feature.
Parker Vacumatic
My second favorite vintage pens, the distinct pattern of the celluloids used is quite attractive.
Lamy 2000, black
A wedding gift.
Namiki/Pilot Vanishing Point, burgundy with gold trim, 14K gold F nib
A wedding gift.
Pelikan M205, Demonstrator, stainless steel M nib
My first demonstrator, I enjoy seeing the small piston going up and down in the barrel and the ink swooshing around inside.
Pelikan Pelikano Jr.
Not really my pens. I got these for my kids and occasionally I would steal the pens from them. Very nice writers and solid construction.
Pelikan Pelikano, orange, stainless steel M nib
A free pen that I got at the Atlanta Pen Show in 2008. It is a very nice writer and serves well as a pocket pen. When loaded with PR Orange Crush, the bright orange color of this pen makes it a perfect companion to the Rhodia pads.
Bexley Americana, Rio Grande Red, dual-tone 18K gold F nib
My second milestone pen. This is a gift from my wife to celebrate my doctorate degree. There is a story about the process of getting this pen that I wrote in my blog. Of course, the most important thing is that I got it in the end. I love this pen in almost everyway. This only thing that I think will make it into a better pen is to have user replaceable nibs like the Pelikan pens.
Sailor 1911, black with rhodium trim, 21K gold Zoom nib
A birthday gift from my wife. The build quality is great and the special zoom nib is quite fun to play with.
Reform 1745, green, stainless steel F nib
The little piston-filler that could.
Sheaffer Snorkel Statesman, black, PdAg Triumph F nib
A geeky pen that doubles as a water gun, very fun to play with.
Sheaffer Legacy, palladium w/black lacquer, 18K gold inlaid M nib
A very masculine pen, received as a Father's Day gift.
Lamy Safari
The utimate workhorse pen. Got a bunch of them with the Vista being my favorite.
Retro 51 Scriptmaster, Citron, stainless steel M nib
Reviewed here: http://www.fountainpennetwork.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=76715
Signum Orione, Gold, 18K gold M nib
My first Italian pen. The color and the depth provided by the resin used is quite mesmerizing.
Pilot/Namiki Falcon, Black, 14K gold SF nib
Writing with the soft and springy nib gives a highly enjoyable sensation.
Levenger TrueWriter
Basically the modern-day equivalent of Esterbrook J. Some of the best features about these pens are: (1) many interesting colors with Kyoto and Starry Night being two of my favorites, (2) can be had at a great price from Levenger ebay outlet, (3) user swappable nibs, and (4) backed by very good customer service. The early production (pre-2004?) seemed to suffer from poor quality control, which resulted in some negative impressions about these pens among the fountain pen community. However, the ones that I got after 2008 appear to be quite well-made. Of the approximately two dozens that passed through my hands (most stayed, some were given away as gifts), all work well right out of the box and keep going strong after intensive usage. I have about 10 of them inked at any given time at home/in office. The fact that I have so many of them and the consistent nib quality make them the ideal tool for me to do ink comparison and reviews. The colors that I have/had include: Black, Blue, Carnaval, Fiery Amber, Demonstrator Always Greener, Demonstrator Amethyst, Demonstrator Fireball, Illuminator Blue, Ivory Gold, Kyoto, Metalist Amethyst, Mosaic, Obsidian, Red, Starry Night, and True Blue.
Levenger Decathlon, Onyx, stainless steel M nib
A much nicer pen than the TrueWriter. Too bad it only comes in black.
Platinum Preppy, Black, stainless steel F nib
A USD $3 fountain pen that writes beatifully and can be converted into an eye-dropper readily. What more can you ask for?
Pilot M90, integrated stainless steel F nib
Super cool integrated nib design.
Platinum 3776, Jade, 14K gold Music nib
A beautiful pen with an interesting nib. The smoothness of the nib is amazing. Apart from how well it works, I got this pen mainly to have a nice Platinum in use that reminds me of my first fountain pen.
Libelle Seasons Collection
I love colorful pens and these are very hard for me to resist because of a special reason (see the background part of my reviewe here: http://www.fountainpennetwork.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=127506). I have all three of the currently available colors: Autumn Leaves, Sea Breeze, and Winter Storm. Still waiting on the spring one to come out someday.
Delta Napoli, 18K gold F nib
A generous gift from my in-laws. Turned out to be one of the best writers that I have after some tweaking. Reviewed here: http://www.fountainpennetwork.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=130134
Aurora Ipsilon, Yellow, stainless steel F nib
Another generous gift from my in-laws.
Edison Pearl Custom, Satin Black, black/silver dual-tone 18K gold 0.6mm stub nib
A simple, elegant, and understated pen. Base on Edison Pearl and custom-made to my specifications by Brian Gray. Reviewed here: http://www.fountainpennetwork.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=149075
Airmail 58TL, Brown cap w/ clear barrel, stainless steel M nib
A well-made demonstrater (if you can call an eye-dropper that) that does not cost an arm or a leg.
Delta Aromatherapy
Writes well and smells good too, that's two thumbs up from me. I have a brown (Energy - Soil) one and a blue (Harmony - Sea) one. Too bad that the green (Equilibrium - Moss) one uses a white color as the base (instead of a dark green), otherwise I would have gotten all three to complete the collection for sure.
Delta Dolce Vita, Medium, 18K gold Stub nib
Taccia Staccato, Lunar Blue, stainless steel F-nib
A pen that is big and light, extremely comfortable to write with. The perceived depth of the resin used is quite amazing.
Pilot Custom Legance, Blue, 14K gold F nib
Aurora 88
Having both a vintage 88P and a modern 88, it is hard to said which one I like the better. Both work great for me and I really enjoy the signature "toothy" feel of Aurora nibs.
Parker '51' Aero-metric, Black with Lustraloy cap
The classic, enough said.
Laban Mento
A very nice big pen that can be had at a reasonable price. Available in a wide array of attractive colors; the one I have is the Celebration Shell, which looks similar to the Ebonized Pearl used in the vintage Sheaffer Balance. I hope to get more in other colors, such as Autumn Flake, Coal Flake, Pumpkin Seed, and Tiger Tornado.
TWSBI Diamond 530, stainless steel F nib
A nice looking demonstrator that was designed to be fully user-serviceable.

Ink comparisons

[Scan] Black
[Scan] Blue
[Scan] Green
[Scan] Red/Orange/Brown

Inks

[Scan] [FPN thread] * Alfred Dunhill Blue
[Scan] [FPN thread] * Aurora Black
[Scan] [FPN thread] * Aurora Blue
[Scan] [FPN thread] * Diamine Monaco Red
[Scan] [FPN thread] J. Herbin Poussiere de Lune
[Scan] [FPN thread] * Levenger Amethyst
[Scan] [FPN thread] * Levenger Fireball
* Mont Blanc Black
[Scan] [FPN thread] Mont Blanc Royal Blue
[Scan] [FPN thread] * Noodler's Forest Green
[Scan] [FPN thread] Noodler's Galileo Manuscript Brown (FPN exclusive)
[Scan] [FPN thread] Noodler's Navy
[Scan] [FPN thread] * Noodler's Old Manhattan-Blackest Black (FPH exclusive)
[Scan] [FPN thread] Noodler's Saguaro Wine
Noodler's Black Strait (Taiwan Series)
Noodler's Fort Zeelandia (Taiwan Series)
* Noodler's Mazu (Taiwan Series)
* Noodler's The Year of the Golden Pig
[Scan] [FPN thread] * Noodler's Zhivago
[Scan] [FPN thread] Pelikan Blue-Black
[Scan] [FPN thread] * Pelikan Brilliant Black
[Scan] [FPN thread] * Pelikan Brilliant Brown
[Scan] [FPN thread] * Pelikan Brilliant Green
[Scan] [FPN thread] Pelikan Royal Blue
[Scan] [FPN thread] * Pelikan Turquoise
[Scan] [FPN thread] Platinum Black
[Scan] [FPN thread] Platinum Blue
[Scan] [FPN thread] Private Reserve American Blue
[Scan] [FPN thread] * Private Reserve Lake Placid Blue
[Scan] [FPN thread] * Private Reserve Orange Crush
[Scan] [FPN thread] * Private Reserve Sherwood Green
[Scan] [FPN thread] * Rohrer & Klingner Alt-Bordeaux
[Scan] [FPN thread] * Rohrer & Klingner Konigsblau
[Scan] [FPN thread] * Rohrer & Klingner Verdura
[Scan] [FPN thread] * Rotring Red
[Scan] [FPN thread] Visconti Black
[Scan] [FPN thread] * Visconti Blue
[Scan] [FPN thread] * Visconti Green
[Scan] [FPN thread] * Visconti Turquoise
[Scan] [FPN thread] * Visconti Sepia
[Scan] [FPN thread] * Waterman Florida Blue
[Scan] [FPN thread] * Waterman Red

Links

http://chkuo.blogspot.com/
My blog.
Fountain Pen Network
A great community of fountain pen addicts.
Richard Binder
My favorite nib meister. The website contains tons of useful info about fountain pens.
John Mottishaw
A great nib meister.
Greg Minuskin
Nib retipping specialist.
Edison Pen Co.
Custom made fountain pens.
Fountain Pen Hospital
The mega-store for modern pens and accessories. They have some vintage pens as well.
ISellPens
Online modern pen retailer. Very good price and excellent service.
Pendemonium
Online modern pen retailer, also provide nib regrinding service. The website has a very helpful/comprehensive info page about inks.
The Ink Flow
Online modern pen retailer.
JetPens
Japanese pens and stationery.
Vacumania
A good source of Parker Vacumatic and other vintage pens.
PENguin
A good source of vintage Pelikan and Parker pens.
Noodler's Ink
A very interesting, if not eccentric, brand of fountain pen inks.