Tag: fountain pens

Several years ago, I started collecting fountain pens and ink. Here are my reviews.

Not an ink and pen test: Noodler’s Black Swan in Australian Roses and Pelikan M 205.

My husband surprised me this Christmas with the white Pelikan M 205 I had eyed in Flax, along with a stunning array of Noodler’s inks. I will save the others for their own posts, because this one belongs to Black Swan in Australian Roses.

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Not an ink and pen test: Noodler's Black Swan in Australian Roses and Pelikan M 205.

Materials used: Noodler’s Black Swan in Australian Roses ink, Leuchtturm 1917 dotted pocket notebook, Pelikan Souveran M 205 white fountain pen.

I have more recommendations on fountain pens and ink, including inexpensive starter pens.

Not an ink test: Diamine Blue-Black.

Just a transcript this time, because I am too exhausted from schoolwork.

Something a little different today. My Sheaffer Prelude is one of my few medium-nib pens. It allows the ink to shine a bit more, & this ink deserves it. This is Diamine Blue-Black, a new favorite. I like how teal this appears on the page; it reminds me of Noodler’s Air-Corp Blue [sic], while not being so wet. All of the Diamine inks I use are faster-drying than Noodler’s, which make them great choices for journaling.

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Not an ink test: Diamine Blue-Black

Materials used: Diamine Blue-Black ink, Clairefontaine grid spiral notebook (14.8 x 21cm), Sheaffer Prelude fountain pen. The Noodler’s ink I mention is actually called Aircorp Blue-Black.

I have more recommendations on fountain pens and ink, including inexpensive starter pens.

Not an ink test: Noodler’s FPN Dumas Tulipe Noire.

I am digging these ink tests, and not only because they provide me with content on the days I don’t feel like writing about anything very personal. Sometimes the ink test research helps me discover other inks I must have! As I was looking for the proper title for this ink, I discovered Noodler’s Black Swan in Australian Roses, which appeals to me on so many levels.

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Not an ink test: Noodler's Tulipe Noire

Materials used: Noodler’s FPN Dumas Tulipe Noire ink, Clairefontaine grid spiral notebook (14.8 x 21cm), Pelikan Souveran M 400 white tortoiseshell fountain pen.

I have more recommendations on fountain pens and ink, including inexpensive starter pens.

Not an ink test: Noodler’s Cayenne.

I always said I would do fountain pen ink tests when I had the time, so here we go. This is Noodler’s Cayenne, which is my new favorite red ink, despite it being more orangey than I expected. The orangey works! And although I would change a few things about this scan, I am posting it anyway. It is a first attempt, and I will improve.

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Not an Ink Test: Noodler's Cayenne

Materials used: Noodler’s Cayenne ink, Clairefontaine grid spiral notebook (14.8 x 21cm), Lamy 2000 fountain pen.

I purchased my ink, pen, and notebook at Flax Art and Design, and you should too. The store is amazing, and the good folks at the fine pens department are knowledgeable and enthusiastic.

I have more recommendations on fountain pens and ink.

fountain pens and mountain man

It is starting to rain again. The kitchen is an unholy disaster, which can only mean that FunkyPlaid and I just spent a fantastic evening hosting dear friends for dinner. Both cats are in my study, restless yet too lazy to shepherd me into bed. I am tired without sleepiness, and I should be doing homework but instead I am listening to Mountain Man and uninstalling horrible browser extensions that tell me too much about things that don’t matter.

I am thinking about things I want to do that require some planning, like going to The French Laundry and visiting Las Vegas and knitting something significant like a whole sweater that someone actually wears. That is about as far as I have gotten: thinking about them.

At the Flax pen fair, I tested some pens from Taccia and Online, but nothing that really impressed me. The four pens I always carry with me — Lamy 2000, Namiki Vanishing Point, Pelikan M 400, and Sheaffer Prelude — are tough acts to follow. I spoke with the Visconti rep for a few minutes, and she told me that the Van Gogh Midi I own is no longer in production, but that Visconti will be introducing a brand-new pen with the Van Gogh name next spring. I tested the Visconti Homo Sapiens, which was about as ridiculous an experience as I expected, meant in the best way. It has the most flexible non-gold nib I’ve ever felt. Also, its barrel is partially made from lava from Mt. Etna, and its metal parts are made from bronze to symbolize the Bronze Age. If I had bigger hands and a penchant for flashy pens, this would be it for me. Instead, I searched for the Pelikan M 320 because I would like to start collecting smaller pens, but had no luck. If Pelikan ever made a 320 in transparent aubergine, my head might explode.

After making several rounds and talking to my favorite pen sellers, I picked up a bottle of Noodler’s Cayenne and ordered a couple of pens on FunkyPlaid’s behalf, but otherwise left empty-handed. I have too many pens now to just buy whatever looks interesting, regardless of how tempting that might be. My next likely stop is vintage pens, since I have seen many smaller-sized older pens, but I have so much more to learn first.

Now I have written myself into sleepiness. Someday I will figure out how to make this fascination of mine sound more exciting.


I spotted a vintage Pelikan 100 in the wild — the reference desk, really — on Monday. It was burgundy with a bright gold “beak” clip and its owner let me write with it. It was filled with Private Reserve Chocolat, an excellent choice for this smooth writer. I let the patron write with my Lamy 2000, which is the new hotness of my collection and the Pelikan’s opposite in form and character; while the Pelikan reminded me of an antique Bentley, my Lamy is more of an Audi TT.

It was a random treat in the middle of a dull day.

Now I am flipping through Fountain Pens Past and Present and it smells just like my high school yearbooks used to smell. That combined with the smell of freshly-baking bread is making me homesick for Chicago, but only the Chicago of my teenaged self, all Wax Trax and Café Voltaire and living for that first burst of Friday afternoon air, half-past three and everything is possible as long as someone borrows a car.

grateful for pens

The awkwardness of typing about handwriting is not lost on me as I write about writing instruments. While I have always been a fan of the written word, my fascination with fountain pens is only a few years old.  I do not remember how it began, although certainly it was fueled by my penchant for anachronism.  I needed almost no nudge at all to begin collecting beautiful pens that afforded excellent writing experiences.  Since I write most of my first drafts longhand, I have an excuse to continue to collect them.  At least that is what I tell myself.

(This entry is part of one month of gratitude.)

bits of tid

People who dispense with niceties used to catch me off-guard. Before my current job, I expected a minimal exchange of greetings before a request for help. I wonder if, as a result, I have done away with my own greeting patter when I am out … Continue reading bits of tid