Happy International Fountain Pen Day!
Happy International Fountain Pen Day! The first Friday in November is Fountain Pen Day, where we celebrate all the wonderful things that give our handwriting character and help us to slow down when we write. We sort of celebrate that everyday around here, but it's always nice when it's official. Ideas to celebrate:
- Clean out some pens that need it, and ink up some up fresh
- Head to a cafe with a fountain pen and journal or letters, and spend some time writing
- Give away a pen or two to people you know who do a lot of writing
- Give a kid in your life a Preppy or a Petit1 (who knows the road they could get started on!)
- Treat yourself to a favourite meal*
I thought I would celebrate by sharing a little about my first fountain pen, which some of you know might already know about. It's actually quite germane, as it is what got the ball rolling to this whole adventure of Wonder Pens. Back when I was a teacher and Jon worked in banking, he was sent on a business trip to New York. At that time, we had been married a year or two and things were still fresh and dramatic and I was on my own with Super pretending like I couldn't survive for four days on my own (good grief). And so on his time off, he bought several souvenirs back from New York for me: a dress, some books, and some stationery. He got me some gel pens, some gel refills, some notebooks, and (gasp!) a fountain pen. I was immediately hooked, without a second's pause; something in me just knew this was something I was going to love. A click, a switch, a light turns on. I sometimes recognize this in customers because I myself was one of these people - people who love stationery and writing and writing tools, but haven't yet discovered the magic of a good fountain pen. But once they do... it's a deep rabbit hole. I knew it as soon as he brought it out, that my life was going to be changed. It sounds a bit crazy, but I just knew. I was not a dip my toe into the water kind of a stationery nut, I was an all-in-hallelujah-conversion kind of nut. After testing my pen out, my first thought was (first stationery hoarder warning) how am I going to get refills for this? Do I need to preserve its ink supply? What happens when I run out? How much ink is enough? Jon had brought back one pack of cartridges (ha! ha! ha! cartridges! one pack!) and obviously that wasn't going to cut it. Shortly after, I discovered bottled ink over the internet, and I was a complete goner. Sailor inks were some of my first and I remain faithful to them to this day, but along the way, I picked up J. Herbin, Noodler's, Rohrer and Klingner and a few more fountain pens, my first Lamy Safari (charcoal), my first Sailor (Pro Gear Slim). And on it went. I used fountain pens to get me through the drudgery of long nights of marking, my students used them as a special treat. I got a fancy pen case from Nock Co.'s predecessor, Alter Manufacturing, was made fun of my fellow teachers when I pulled my fancy fountain pens, I negotiated with Jon about orders from companies in the US and aboard, I tracked shipping notifications religiously from shipping companies that don't seem to understand what tracking means. It was all lovely. A few years down the line and Jon wanted to start a business, he of the entrepreneurial spirit. I loved my teaching job, but I'm always game for a new adventure, so off we went. We threw around a few ideas, including opening a fountain pen shop. I balked, thinking what basically everyone who hears about our business and who isn't already into fountain pens thinks: who's still buying pens? Jon, having had to foot the international bill for many of my pen purchases gave me his now classic look, a look I know very well having run a business with him for the last five years. In a great twist of irony, one of the many in my life, Jon, the budget-keeper of my myriad pen purchases, ended up convincing me to open up a pen shop, allowing me to purchase, essentially, as many pens as we had money for.** I'll take ten of these, and ten of these, and maybe a few of these as well, why not. And it was a crazy leap, but we made it, blindly and with all the optimism of two kids who have never run a business before. I say this all the time to everyone who asks about starting a business: if I had known about all the work, risks, costs, struggles, time, hustle, constant uncertainty, and effort it takes to run a small business, I would probably would've looked at Jon and laughed when he suggested it. That being said, I couldn't imagine any other life, and I also couldn't imagine life without all these people - customers, vendors, artists and creatives, friends in the industry, and of course our team, that I've met through this community of fountain pen users. And I guess this is what is sort of great about Fountain Pen Day, and all of the things people, bloggers, community builders, are doing - letting all us fountain pen nuts know that we're not crazy. Or maybe we're a little crazy, but we're not alone. There are a whole bunch of us crazies out there, and we can all celebrate together. Or maybe, because a lot of us are introverted souls or are far apart from each other, celebrate individually but united in spirit. And so! We're doing a giveaway here on the blog, which we haven't done in ages (sorry!). We're giving away an Aurora Duo Cart here on the blog. To enter, leave a comment. You can tell us about your first fountain pen, your favourite fountain pen, a fountain pen disaster, or just say hello. One entry per person. Contest closes Sunday, November 4th, 2018 at 11:59 pm EST. Open internationally. Winner will be announced shortly after. Please bear with me in patience and love.
Edit: If your comment doesn't appear right away, don't worry! All comments need to be approved as the blog seems to attract a lot of spam. We will surely do a thorough check of the comments periodically through the weekend and before the end of the contest. *Not fountain pen related, but I mean what is celebration without good food? **To sell to other people.
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Kellie M. said:
My first fountain pen was a Lamy Vista with extra fine nib as a birthday gift several years ago when I was very first starting to explore fountain pens. I have since found that I prefer broader nibs and my favorite pen now is my Sailor Pro Gear Slim.
Happy International Fountain Pen Day! - Wonder Pens - Life Behind a Stationery Shop said:
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Happy International Fountain Pen Day! – Wonder Pens – Life Behind a Stationery Shop
William Leung said:
I was first introduced to your fine store by a friend visiting from New York City, and I immediately had to purchase a Pilot Metro on that very first visit. Since then I have found any excuse to go down there, from buying friends gifts cards to go there, to introducing people to the store and “escorting” them there. That very first Pilot Metro, and the fact that your store is now two stores, keeps my kindling love for pens and stationery alive! I used that love, and your store, in a sermon illustration recently, so you might be getting more visitors soon!
Peter Blair said:
I have only 5 fountain pens,(for different purposes, of course), so it would be a pendulous surprise to win one more!
Thank you for the opportunity!
Sarah N said:
Hello! My first fountain pen was a Lamy Safari as well and is my current office EDC. I prefer my Sailor Pro Gear or Platinum Century mostly for home use.
Always cool to read about how others stumbled into this hobby. :)
To me fountain pens are what we use to turn writing into art. We are all artists at heart and various nibs, a myriad of ink colours along with choices of paper turn simple correspondence into personal works of art. Creativity is in all of us and for me, mine flows when I pick up my fountain pen.
Gordon Dewis said:
I’ve used fountain pens for many years, going back to high school. Currently, I have a small collection of Lamy’s that are filled primarily with Noodler Inks.
I also appear to have a problem with pencils, but one thing at a time. :)
What a good idea.
My first fountain pen was a Parker 51 given to me by my sister when I was around 14 years old.
And these days my favorite fp are a Oldwin Kaleidoscope and an Omas
My first fountain pen was a yellow and white Pilot Kakuno that my mom gave to me last year. I love it and love coming to Wonder Pens with my mom.?
Sue Murley said:
The fountain pen addiction has spread throughout our office, with water cooler gossip being replaced by informal ink reviews….
Tannis McCartney said:
I discovered fountain pens during grad school. I have the full set of pilot metropolitan animal prints inked up for my research notes (now at my job instead of grad school), plus several others I use at home for journaling. I find working with them almost meditative.
My first pen, and definitely not my last, was the one I purchased on a whim 1 month ago. It’s a Pilot Cocoon and I absolutely love it! Since buying it, I’ve been hooked. I’m writing a lot more instead of typing and have started cursive writing again. It’s nice to be a room and pull out a fountain pen and see the reactions of people. I’ve gone on to purchased 3 other brands of pens and various colors of inks and have even started calligraphy classes. Never thought I’d be so into fountain pen life but it’s now my new hobby and this beauty would be a nice addition to my collection.. fingers crossed!
I knew I needed a fountain pen when I saw a picture of a Parker Vacumatic.. My first pen was an Aurora Ipsilon, but it felt to fragile to EDC, so I didn’t keep it for very long.
First pen was the purple lamy al-star, been hooked ever since!
Par Scanga said:
If you’re a fountain pen user, then everyday is a Happy Fountain Pen Day!!
still a newbie to the fountain pen world but my first has been the pilot metro orange with the little flowers!
Lidy Jarolimek said:
My first pen was a Sheaffer, which I still have. I also bought a Parker. My favourite pen, the one I use most often is a Mont Blanc classic. My late husband bought it for me many moons ago, after having my name inscribed on it. He bought it at a pen store on Yonge Street, which became my favourite store. Unfortunately, it closed when the person who started it retired and I cannot remember the name. I was delighted to find out about Wonder Pens recently, as I will once again be able to browse and buy great fountain pens.
Karen H. said:
My first fountain pen was lent to me by a friend. I was being entrusted with his Lamy pen to try out while he was on vacation. And that was that………..so began my fountain pen collection.
Hello! I picked up my first fountain pen during university, and it was this matte cranberry coloured Sheaffer. I don’t use it anymore despite loving the colour because it had a fairly ugly nib and the rubber sheathe on the grip became distorted and trapped ink far too often, but I’d like to get another pen with a similar color but better design someday.
Amy W said:
So glad you guys decided to take the plunge, coz otherwise I wouldn’t have a chance to discover your shop. My entry to the rabbit hole is a Pilot Metropolitan and excited to see where this leads me.
I was going to say my first fountain pen was a Pilot (MR Retro Pop, F), but actually it was a souvenir pen from the Chopin Museum in Warsaw. I thought that souvenir pen was going to be the missing link between myself and instantly writing, somehow, in Copperplate script (it wasn’t). Writing this comment actually reminded me of my poor souvenir fountain pen, and I’ve actually dug it out of its hiding spot; poor guy deserves a spot with my LAMYs, TWSBIs, and various fancy-pantses.
Lovely to hear how the business got started; I’m sure having one’s own stationery store is a common daydream of many of your customers (it’s mine, at least!), and it’s nice to hear how the reality of a stationery store came about.
Tammy Murdock said:
Great post! I had just taught an art journalling class at our local Opus art supply store and they paid me with a gift card to their store. I saw the Lamy Joy set behind the till… And I was hooked! Really hooked! ❤️ ?
My first fountain pen was a gift from my boss at my first real adult job back in the 80’s. Maybe a Monte Blanc 144….. don’t really remember it. I kinda hated it. It never really wrote reliably, and I had no idea what I was doing. This was long before YouTube and all the fountain pen 101 videos. It did plant a seed though that kept me curious… and years later I bought a Pilot Vanishing Point (Capless) Fountain Pen and I as forever hooked. It was everything the MB wasn’t. It wrote well, was reliable and felt great in my hand. I never looked back.
Carly Naismith said:
My friend got me into fountain pens – now every time we meet a trip to your shop is on the agenda.
Alejandra L. P said:
It’s amazing to see how simple things can change a person’s life! I’m fairly new to the fountain pen world, my first one was a TWSBI eco that I use for taking notes in class, I also use my pilot Take-sumi with it, makes taking notes 10 times better
I found out about Wonderpens roughly about a year ago. I was excited about the beautiful selection online and that I had access to pens and inks and notebooks right here in Canada – I didnt have to order from Amaozon or the US or Japan. And it was in Toronto! Customer service is awesome, as is shipping and I look forward to ordering more items soon! Thank you Wonderpens People?
James McNeice said:
My first fountain pen was a pilot metropolitan a few months ago and I’m really enjoying it.
The pics from scriptus were grear
Richard D said:
At an amazing 551 replies and counting, you are the “little pen shop that could”. Thanks for being there Wonder Pens and Happy Fountain Pen Day!
Louis Chora said:
I just recently got into fountain pens, and I’m loving it!
My first fountain pen was a Sheaffer No Nonsense. I had a few of them, each filled with ink of a different color. I also had another Sheaffer pen, smaller, the size of my current Pelikan M215, but I forgot the name of the model.
It was in the seventies and I was a teenager with very little money. As I found cartridges too expensive and as cheap pens like these had no converters (I did not know about converters anyway), I used to pour ink from a bottle directly into the body of the pen, then screw it tightly. Believe it or not, it worked.
One key moment for me was the discovery of my first great ink: J Herbin Rose Cyclamen.
I was stunned when I realized, thanks to the Internet, that I was not the only one crazy about fountain pens today. And I was happy to show this to my wife. (She still thinks I’m crazy, but she loves me anyway.)
Chris Panos said:
My first pen was a Lamy Safari Vista.
I thought I was crazy pay that much for a pen, LOL how time and experience changes one’s perspective.
Since then I have purchased many pens, including a Lamy 2000 that is my daily writer.
Kim E. said:
Great blog post! I enjoyed reading about your first pen experience and your path to opening the shop.
As for myself, my first fountain pen was a Pilot Kakuno which I picked up in a mall art store in Kyoto in September of 2016. We were traveling with our niece and eldest daughter who were looking for art supplies and pens they couldn’t easily find here in Canada. While browsing while they shopped, my husband and I turned into the aisle with the fountain pens. Oh boy! So many options and ink colours! We both bought a Kakuno that day and have since added to our collection. I also have a pen & bottle of ink on my desk at work. Our 7 year old loves practicing her spelling with either purple, pink or green ink in the Platinum Preppy pens we’ve since bought for her.
P.S. If I may share an idea I just had while typing this comment; would you consider for a future blog post writing out the post text using one of your favorite pen, ink & paper combinations and posting photos of that in place of typewritten text. I think it would be fun to read/view.
Robert J Wiersema said:
Happy Fountain Pen Day!
I’m so glad Wonder Pens is part of my world.
I have visited my relatives in Toronto every year for 5 years. I’ve never had time to visit your store and it’s killing me. Some day………
My first pen was a Pilot Metropolitan. It’s cheap and not that special but it’s still one of my favourites :)
My first fountain pen…..I want to say a Sheaffer but it could have been a Parker. I want to say I first started using a fountain pen in elementary school but I stopped because of the inconvenience compared to a ball point pen. Thanks to a friend’s correspondence over summer break I was reminded of how I enjoyed using a fountain pen. This time with calligraphy pen sets from Osmiroid and Sheaffer not to mention, what is for me a prized Sheaffer Targa (mostly due to sentimental value). So many treasured memories. And now the perverbial favorite is……….my whole collection each having it’s special niche for being the favorite.
Luke McNeill said:
Lovely blog! Thanks for sharing.
I’m generally more of a mechanical pencil person for daily writing, but I do like to use a couple of different Kaweco Classic Sport Fountain pens that I purchased a couple of years ago on special occasions.
Wishing you all the best,
Pudjiono Jaya Saputra said:
I found my first fountain pen, a Lamy Safari, during my high school year in a small bookstore. The bookstore is gone, but I still am using my Safari today.
Thanks for doing the giveaway!
As I write this I’ve just finished teaching my daughter how to clean out her Kaküno so she can try different ink colours. It’s great to have a fun hobby that we both enjoy, and that forces us to really take time to slow down and enjoy the process.
My first fountain pen was the limited edition Lamy Safari Petrol. I just recently bought a Sailor 1911, and boy is it a nice writer.
I still use a Lamy Al Star every day
My first fountain pen was a Lamy Safari when I was a kid, but I never really took to it. Fast forward thirty-ish years, and I rediscovered it, and was hooked. Next came a Studio, and quickly thereafter a 2000, and then all sorts of wonderful discoveries to wonderful and cheap Jinhaos to my first Japanese pens. There are definitely worse addictions, right?
Andria Police said:
I recently found some old calligraphy nibs in my parents crawlspace, and I got them all cleaned up, and ready for inktober. Some of the ink found its way onto my hands. Completely. All week long. LOL
I would love to introduce fountain pens to my boys who are getting more interested in art.
This is a fun celebration – best of luck to everyone!
My first fountain pen was a Sheaffer in a calligraphy set way back in high school. Well, high school has many distractions and I never really got into calligraphy, but I remembered liking the feel so I would buy a fountain pen every few years and be disappointed. (because I didn’t want to spend a lot and got cheap/disposable pens and because I didn’t know anything about paper)
Last year my son got me a Lamy Safari Petrol rollerball for my birthday. And he let me try a couple of his fountain pens on nice paper.
I was hooked.
I went online to do some research and bought a Pilot Metropolitan and some Rhodia pads. Next I got a Lamy Vista (Safari demonstrator) and a Platinum Preppy (for work), then a TWSBI Eco and finally got a Lamy Safari Petrol to match my rollerball, which I cleaned today (for International Fountain Pen Day) and put to bed until the next special occasion.
I am up to about a dozen fountain pens now and hope some day to get a Pilot M90. The Aurora Duo Cart sure would be sweet in the mean time.
Karen L said:
Thank you for sharing your story and given the opportunity to win a giveaway.
My first fountain pen is a TWSBI diamond mini that was purchased from your store a few years back. It’s a great pen but the ink I purchased along with it didn’t draw any inspiration in me that made me want to write more.
It isn’t until this year when I came across your post on Instagram. The picture in it was simply a post of a Lamy Safari pen and a journal with your handwriting. I was instantly hooked by the simplicity and beauty of it that I’ve bought myself a Lamy Safari and a hobonichi planner. Now I look forward to writing as often as I can and admire the tools that made it happened. Thank you.