Office Weekly Roundup: Sleek Fountain Pens
Calligraphy as an art discipline is steadily waning in popularity as it gives way to texting and email. Finding a 20something that takes their penmanship seriously is rare, and when is the last time you saw anyone who writes with (or even owns) a fancy fountain pen? In celebration of National Handwriting Week, we take a look at some of the sleekest fountain pens, as well as the history behind the companies that make them.
In celebration of the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, Pilot’s engineers made several new products, one of them being a fountain pen that has a retractable tip. A retractable fountain pen is very unusual, and even over half a century after those Olympics commenced, Pilot is still highly regarded among those familiar with more luxurious brands that make pens that go for hundreds and even thousands of dollars more.
Japanese maker Platinum has been in business since 1919, which is more than enough time to perfect their fountain pen-making skills. One of their most popular brands of fountain pens is the #3776 Century, which features what the company calls their Slip and Seal system. This technology seals the pen’s nibs in such a way that the nib will not dry out for up to a year of non-use. If that weren’t enough, this pen also uses waterproof ink in the event that you want to be fancy when writing a letter in the middle of a swimming pool or something.
Ambitious pen manufacturer Lamy made a fountain pen in 1966 and called it the Lamy 2000. Back in the 60s, there was a craze among science fiction writers about a world where humans would live with personal robots assisting them with everyday tasks and jetpacks being a common form of transportation in the 21st century, so Lamy named their pen in kind. While we do have robots that can clean up floors much like vacuum cleaners do and jetpacks that sort of work if you have the extra cash to spend, we’re still a bit far off from this ideal, but the Lamy 2000 is here now and it’s a pretty elegant pen.
Companies that make products to fill a niche market tend to have an advantage in the marketplace, and OHTO is no exception. The OHTO Tasche range of fountain pens are unique in that they’re a great companion for breast pockets due to their small size when closed- becoming regular-sized when uncapped. They also have an understated design that isn’t too distracting and screams “strictly business.”
German manufacturer Kaweco has been in business since 1883, and they make pens that are made to last as long as they’ve been in business. Their Liliput line of pens are made out of durable metals such as brass, copper, and stainless steel, which are made to withstand a lifetime of use in many environments.
When people with virtually endless cash flow buy luxury items, they tend to do so in a big way. Case in point: the Aurora Diamante. Made out of solid platinum and adorned with 30 carats of De Beers diamonds, this pen is dripping with shameless opulence. The price? Well, if you have to ask, you can’t afford it. If you’re curious anyway: it will set you back $1.3 million.
Maybe you don’t want to spend the average American’s lifetime earnings over a period of 40 years on a pen and just want something that’s perfectly functional while being reasonably priced. The Pilot Varsity pen will fit the bill with its stainless steel nib that allows for smooth writing and a visible ink reservoir that lets you know when it’s time to refill or replace it.
Handwriting will continue to become irrelevant as we continue to move forward into the digital age, but fancy pens and even fancier penmanship will always be a mainstay that can be appreciated by some, if only passively.