Saying it with a fountain pen is back in vogue
THERE'S nothing to get you heart beating faster than opening the letter box and finding an envelope addressed you by someone using a fountain pen.
In a world of window-faced envelopes containing harsh utility bills, reading a letter written in real ink is a treat.
Today is National Fountain Pen Day , so those of us who are addicted to the elegance of real penmanship can celebrate our superiority over the humble ballpoint.
In the digital world you'd think fountain pens would have long gone the way of the Beta-Max.
But like the mechanical watch and the bicycle, fountain pens have undergone a resurgence as people rediscover their classic beauty - and stationery retailers are reporting fountain pen sales are increasing in Australia and globally, particularly in the prestige category.
The recently published report Office Products in Australia, 2016-2018 (Penfold Research) reveals that unit imports of fountain pens and stylograph (non-nib) pens increased by 134 per cent from 2014 -15.
Like your choice of watch, these classic writing instruments allow you to inject some personality into your life.
Pilot Pen Australia's marketing manager, John Johnston said the once old-fashioned fountain pen is bang on trend.
Mr Johnson said this classic writing instrument and valuable collector's item has reached new heights of popularity for its elegance and prestige.
"Fountain pens are well and truly back in fashion, a trend that we have new technology to thank for,” he said.
"Social media platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest are full of beautiful images and videos of fountain pens, and there are hundreds of online forums, podcasts and YouTube tutorials on how to find the perfect fountain pen and how to care for it.”
And if your pen is worse for wear, then in New York - where else - there's even a fountain pen hospital.
9 Fountain Pen Facts
1. History - Attempts to design a self-feeding pen that did not require sharpening or to be dipped in ink have been made since the 10th C. In 1884 New York insurance agent Lewis Edson Waterman, made the first practical fountain pen, which was the first pen to hold its own ink within a self-contained reservoir.
2. Brilliant basics - Most have the same basic components as the original invention: a nib, a barrel (holding the ink), and a cap to protect the nib - although there are capless styles with retractable nibs available these days.
3. Fountain pens are pen royalty - Often referred to as the 'king of all writing instruments' due to its complex design and structure. Ink flows from the reservoir to the nib at a balanced rate of flow by means of a force called capillary attraction.
4. The best ones have gold nibs - As though you need an excuse. Except this soft metal can slowly adjust and adapt to your writing style over time.
5. Cap's off to retractable pens - In 1964, the world's first capless fountain pen featured a high-quality mechanism which allowed the nib to retract inside the pen, protecting it from harm while still looking sleek and stylish.
6. Discussions are all online - Connecting with other fountain pen fans, they are just a click away. Hashtag #fountainpen has over 570,000 posts on Instagram and popular subreddit on Reddit is PenmanshipPorn with over 230,000 subscribers, followed by Fountainpens, a subreddit with over 65,000 followers.
7. Sales are booming - Fountain pen sales are increasing in Australia and globally, particularly in the prestige category.
8. They are collectable - The most expensive fountain pen in the world was a unique one-off edition that retailed at $1.7million. Many fountain pens are hand-crafted and are collector's items. Pilot Pen's prestigious Namiki Emperor Collection has fountains pens that retail in excess of $10,000.
9. Sharing is not caring - Be selfish. A fountain pen nib, even those made with stainless steel, will over time adapt to the handwriting style of the user, which means a fountain pen should only be used by its owner for the best, smoothest result.