Words Dolores O’Donoghue
Made popular well over a century ago, fountain pens were once much admired for their innovation and quickly became the must-have gadget of the day. They were a status symbol for executives who now had a convenient portable writing device instead of having to carry around quills and jars of ink. When the ballpoint was invented, it pushed the fountain pen to the periphery of the writing instruments sphere, and in recent years touchscreens and key-boards have made all writing instruments and the actual art of handwriting less and less necessary.
However, like many art forms, penmanship is undergoing something of a resurgence. Who hasn’t marvelled at the beauty of the hand written word – the laying down of a line, the subtle movements, a world of curves, twists, hooks and fourishes? There’s nothing quite like writing by hand with a fountain pen. It produces a lovely flow of ink, which can help give handwriting an impressive appearance. A choice of nibs that come in dozens of different shapes and sizes, from extra fine to different degrees of bold, and a range of inks varying in viscosity, colour and scent all aid in individual expression and style.
The fountain pen is also enjoying a comeback as a status symbol and style accessory as millennials turn to handwriting in search of a digital detox. Just like a stylish watch, a beautiful fountain pen says a lot about personal style, can put the polish on your appearance and make a statement about who you are. Retailers and manufacturers report an increase in sales as everyone, from graduates to high-powered executives, pull out a variety of stylish and expensive fountain pens to put their signatures on documents. Investing in a good fountain pen is well worth the splurge. It’s a piece of precision engineering and design, and will serve you well for many years. Using a fountain pen is about making a deliberate choice to buy something that you can use repeatedly rather than something you use once and lose. If you want to write casually, get a disposable ballpoint, but if you want something that looks stylish and is a pleasure to use, invest in a good fountain pen.
The Meisterstück 14K white gold nib fountain pen from the Montblanc Le Petit Prince Collection. A golden star is poised on the pen’s clip and the character of Le Petit Prince is engraved on the handcrafted gold nib, along with his friend, the fox. An elegant and luxurious writing instrument encased in a navy design and complete with quotes from the story book, inscribed around the rim of the cap. From Weir & Sons, Dublin.