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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November 02, 2018 — wonderpens



Tess said:

I picked up my first fountain pen from a local stationary shop — it was a Pilot Metropolitan in purple. I was so excited/nervous! I stammered throughout the entire interaction with the shop keeper.

Alicia Zuese

Alicia Zuese said:

My first fountain pen was a gift from my parents one Christmas—a Shaeffer. I goy some more in college, disposables, which was all the college bookstore had in mid-90s. Finally, in grad school in NYC I was able to buy very few when sales came to some of the renowned sellers (most sadly gone: Art Brown, Joon, etc.). Thank goodness for Instagram, blogs, giveaways, and pen shows to see pens in person now that I don’t live in NYC any more.

Mary C

Mary C said:

Loved reading this origin of Wonder Pens story! I visited your other location last summer but we live in the USA so sadly I’ve not been able to visit your new shop. My first fountain pen was an Osmiroid italic set purchased when I was a young adolescent. I have intermittently gone back to the hobby over the years. A couple years ago I really dove back into it and it’s so much fun especially to journal, and meet other fountain pen enthusiasts. Thanks for the giveaway!


abi said:

my favorite pen is the one my boyfriend surprised and gifted me. it is a twsbi eco pen : )


Shaun said:

Right now my favorite fountain pen is my Pilot Vanishing point, mostly because it is my most practical pen at work and my most used pen.


M L said:

Mine was jinhao. I hated that thing. The next one was Metropolitan much better :)

Albert Mah

Albert Mah said:

Just getting into the whole fountain pen thing and it would be great to win an Aurora Duo Cart!

Diana Ryman

Diana Ryman said:

I love following your blog and the progression of your business over the last couple years. I’m fairly new to fountain pens and started originally because Liz Steel recommended the Lamy Safari for sketching and watercolors. My first one was a nice bright red. And now I have a variety of the less expensive fountain pens and about 12 bottles of ink! Would love to win this Aurora duo to add to my burgeoning collection! Thanks for the opportunity!


Patrick said:

For me, it all started in grade seven. I was diging through my dad’s old stuff and found this funny looking pen. It was a Parker fountain pen. Way back before there was any personal computers, I had to figure out how to fill and use the pen myself and I was hooked. Stopped for a few years after unirsity back hooked again and was amazed when I found out about Wonder Pens. Thank you so much for being there for us.

Logan S

Logan S said:

A coworker kept trying to get me to try his fountain pen and I would always decline. When I left that position, he gave me a Lamy Safari as a gift. Of course I had to use the new pen to write the thank you note. From that moment, I was hooked.


Edward said:

I got my first fountain pen after graduation and it’s still my best writer.

Phil S

Phil S said:

I love how you write so candidly and naturally Liz. Thanks to you and Jon for being generous with this giveaway. ?
My grandmother gifted me a simple Parker Vector ? as she wanted to instill in me a love for the written word and pen. It worked! (And I still have that pen. )

Jeremie D

Jeremie D said:

My first pen was a Lamy Al-star in black. Received it as a Christmas gift from my sister last year. Since then I have aquuted three more. Two of which I’ve purchased from your online shop. Thanks for giving me a place to put my money.


Andrea said:

Just saying hello! Don’t really have a story to tell. Though using pens makes me feel close to my dad that passed a few years ago. He loved pens.


Grace said:

My first encounter with a fountain pen was when my aunt gifted me her Mont Blanc that she no longer used. I fell in love with fountain pens right away. I love the aesthetics of different fountain pens, as well as how mesmerizing it is to see ink dry on paper.


Emily said:

I got into fountain pens in 2013, probably around the time your shop opened and I remember thinking its so great I could order fountain pens and inks online from a Canadian store and I should really take the time to visit the physical store sometime (ofcourse I didn’t make it in until 2 years later). My first fountain pens were Lamy Safaris, there were just so many different colours and it’s so much fun collecting them all.

Yen Yen

Yen Yen said:

I have many favourites but I will always have a Sheaffer Triumph inked up. Beautiful pen that just writed all day long.

It was my first vintage pen and I haven’t looked back since.

Ann Mayer

Ann Mayer said:

I got into fountain pens in Junior High after an art class, but somewhere along the way they got away from me. Then many years later you opened a tiny store on Dundas St., around the corner from my apartment, and I stumbled across my old love. I think my first “second gen” pen was a Kaweco Sport. Several more pens after that, including a juicy orange Edison that I coveted for a year before pulling the trigger. And the collection of pens, and inks, keeps growing. It’s been wonderful to watch business (and family) grow, and see how many kindred pen-loving spirits are out there.


Laurie said:

I bought my first fountain pen in 1996. It’s a Rotring fine and still the smoothest nib I write with. Though it’s heavy, I love that pen!


Win said:

My very first fountain pen was a cheap Schaeffer cartridge back in the mid-60s. I loved their peacock blue ink!

Now I use mostly Lamy AL-Stars (I have three), and my favourite bottled ink for writing is Blu Mare from Rohrer & Klingner. (I use Noodler’s Saguaro Wine when I edit.) I also use the Lamy cartridges in Turquoise when travelling.


Jo said:

I grew up having to write with a fountain pen at school from age 8. I can’t remember my first, it will have been a cheap, plastic thing from Woolworths of a type that we all had.
As an adult, I’ve a Kaweco Sport for about 15 years that I just keep coming back to. It just fits in my hand well, and nothing else feels quite right.


Kristin said:

First, many thanks for the opportunity. Second, my first fountain pen I ever wrote with was one of the ultimate cheap Zebra V301 that I found in an old little box of random pens. ?. My first purchase was a Fountain Pen Revolution Flex nib. It’s far from a grail but it holds a special place in my heart. Especially since I’ve not been able to purchase anything wickedly fantastic… aka maker of dreams and bringer of live unicorns, type pens. One day I will, until then I admire and wish. Thanks again and enjoyed entry.

Kim M

Kim M said:

My first fountain pen was a Parker my husband had jammed in the back of a drawer. I took it out, cleaned it, and now it’s mine.
The first I bought for myself was a charcoal coloured Lamy Safari – from Wonder Pens. I can’t tell you how many I have now – it’s an addiction!
Loved your story!


Rachelle said:

I am into calligraphy so that’s how I discovered the world of fountain pens. I started with Platinum Preppy since I just want to try it first before investing (effort in maintenance and of course, money). I really liked the feel whenever I write and planned on buying a new one. So I look online and found your store a couple of years back. I just bought a starter pen (Pilot 78g) and I am using cartridge. I don’t really write everyday but whenever I got a chance I’m excited to use my PF.

Maureen McClarnon

Maureen McClarnon said:

Your store is the only reason I regret divorcing my first husband, because it would have been a consolation prize while visiting his family in various parts of Ontario (we’d always go into Toronto at least once). Or rather: too bad I wasn’t into fountain pens and your store didn’t exist when I traveled to Toronto on the regular. (Plus money spent while on vacation doesn’t count, right?)

I am so happy I didn’t miss this giveaway, as I’ve been searching for a Duo-Cart for some time. The odds of winning are low, but I am also odd, so that’s okay.

Thank you for the contest, but even more for sharing your stories and pictures with those of us who can’t be there.

Paul Canady

Paul Canady said:

My favorite fountain pen (of my 20 or so) is a 1960s Shaffer vaccu-fill. It was a retirement gift to the late-husband of one of my parishioners. His signature is engraved on a brass band near the cap. It doesn’t seem to hold much ink (not as much as my others) so I mostly use it to write notes to people and sign letters. It’s an honor to use it each time and I give thanks for John and Maggie Bagg each time.


Jenn said:

Hi H.T,

Pelikan nibs are easily replaceable and should just screw out of the pen body! Just look up Pelikan M205 nib units. The steel versions are very reasonably priced and you can get them in the full range of modern Pelikan nib sizes. You can still have your pen as it was when it was new!


KL said:

My first interaction with a fountain pen was my grandfather’s intricately carved gold pen of unknown origin. I was fascinated with the lever fill mechanism!

Vanessa Paredes

Vanessa Paredes said:

Hello :) I have decide to share my story of my first foundation pen in a short poem. I hope you enjoy!

Once a upon a time there lived a girl
searching for a foundation pen
but found none to her dismay
but one day a bright idea came with a flick her wrist and wizard wand in hand zap
She had found one her first very own
The Pilot Metropolitan
oh boy was she happy that day
the days on spent writing with her very first pen
and now she is on a search to find one more

Marie-Josee Bourgault

Marie-Josee Bourgault said:

A little hello from Québec ! :)
I bought my first fountain pen few years back while I was actually out to buy an elegant ballpoint for a gift ! Little did I know, I’m now working in this very shop since 2016 ;)


Liz said:

I started with a Kaweco Sport from WP’s. And it quickly spiralled after that.


Doris said:

Thanks to INCOWRIMO 2018, I started using a fountain pen. I’m learning so much from my fellow fountain pen enthusiasts. I enjoy your blog and I’m grateful for WonderPens as you keep me supplied with ink, paper, et al as I live in a small place that does not carry any supplies. Happy Fountain Pen Day 2018 :-)

Albert Labrie

Albert Labrie said:

I received a Waterman Expert from my wife about
30 years ago and still use it , but have since gone to a yellow Lamy Safari with a black clip for my
daily driver . I use Pelikan , Pilot and Noodlers ink.
Thanks for keeping pens and ink supplies in this
digital age.


M. said:

I first became aware of fountain pens as a teenager, when I noticed my step dad had one, a Parker. This pen reminds me of my dad, and makes me wonder if he had a hooded one as well. My first fountain pen was a little Pilot Stella 90s, my second was a Pelikan, my third was a gift from my daughter—a Lamy. I don’t have any more as a poor, struggling student, but I’d love to add another!

Victoria Vincent

Victoria Vincent said:

I have always loved stationery and pens, but for some reason never thought of fountain pens. Ones I had seen before were either really cheap and ink just blobbed when I wrote with them, or they were beautiful, super expensive masterpieces. About a year ago I discovered so many fountain pens exist, for every kind of writer. I was scrolling through Instagram one day and stumbled across a photo of a Lamy Al-Star that just stole my heart. I now have four fountain pens and love trying out different inks!


Peter said:

My first fountain pen was a back-in-the-day Schaeffer Targa. I didn’t replace it when in broke long ago. When my kids asked me what I wanted for Christmas a couple of years ago, I said maybe a fountain pen. They bought me a Lamy Safari, and I’ve dived deep into the rabbit hole since then.


Lianne said:

I don’t think I have ever read a comment thread this long – I loved everyone’s stories.

I used cheap drugstore fountain pens as a kid but my first serious fountain pen purchase was in 1994 – my grandmother had left me a few thousand dollars in her will and most of it went to student loan payments but I decided to also buy something special with a bit of it. I had recently seen a CBC news feature on a small company in England that was still making beautiful silver pens and pencils – and I decided to buy myself a Yard-O-Led fountain pen. This was pre-web days, so finding a place to purchase here on the west coast of Canada was challenging – but I did eventually find one at a high end gift shop that really knew nothing about pens. The sad part is it never wrote well, and the store I purchased it from was no help. It wasn’t until I found the Vancouver Pen Shop years later that I was able to bring them my pen and they saw a small problem with the nib, fixed it and it has worked like a gem since. All hail pen shops!! It feels so luxurious these days to have all this information and access to pens and equipment. I hope to make a visit to your shop someday soon.


Syd said:

Love this story! Celebrated yesterday with a big bout of journaling. My first fountain pen was a second-hand mystery pen given to me by a relative. Start of a life-long love-affair with fountain pens!


Bianca said:

My very first pen was a pilot metropolitan. Then I had the disaster of losing it :(

Dennis Muliawan

Dennis Muliawan said:

Thanks Wonderpens ! It’s awesome to have a Canadian retailer and the website is a pleasure to browse :) Best wishes


Selene said:

What a wonderful fountain pen story Liz! Pens change lives!

My first pen was a vintage pastel yellow pilot birdiepet. It was part of a series of colourful pens made for school children and had caps that were decorated with cute charms. I’m a sucker for cute and charms.

My foray into fountain pens came from a desperate search for a pen that will write finely. Gel pen and ballpoints didn’t work and rollerballs just about threw a labour strike every time I tried to write! And then the fountain pen was discovered. I have since discovered Platinums and Sailors and their very extra-ultra-fine nibs!

I have also discovered that I am obsessed with finding “the perfect colour” in every shade of pink and turquoise.

Happy Fountain Pen Day Everyone!


Tiffany said:

My first fountain pen was a twsbi eco demonstrator that I purchased at wonderpens two years ago! I am all about kaweco sport now!


Ashley said:

Petit1 was my first and I still love keeping the around my desk!

Shelby St Jean

Shelby St Jean said:

My first fountain pen was a Lamy Safari Petrol. I love it!


Justin said:

After a disastrous history of school use fountain pens, my first grown-up pen was a Montblanc. Andthat started the chase down the rabbit hole!

Alan Nixon

Alan Nixon said:

I loved your write up about Scriptus and am so sad I couldn’t come. I want so much to meet up with other fountain pen addicts and hopefully find one or two who live close to me.

My first fountain pen was in elementary school here in Ontario in the 50’s. It was a lever filler, most likely a Sheaffer. My first fountain pen as an adult was a Sheaffer aeromatic in the 70’s. Still have it but sadly, it needs a new bladder. I always had a liking for fountain pens but it wasn’t until 2007 when my interest renewed and I splurged on a Montblanc Meistertuck 145 Chopin. What a pleasure to write with! However, I wasn’t completely hooked until 2 years ago when I started my mini collection. Now, as a senior on a somewhat limited income I have had to scale back purchases. Surprisingly, I have a few inexpensive FPs that are very good writers and the spectrum of inks seems unlimited.

Well, I’ll just end it here saying that I check your website regularly and drool, and long to drive to Toronto and visit your store, say hello and make a purchase. Hopefully over the holidays.


Celia said:

My father always used fountain pens. His handwriting was beautiful and precise whether he wrote in English or in Chinese. He gave me my first fountain pen, an inexpensive burgundy Hero he brought back from one of his business trips to China in the early 1980’s. It was a curiosity, but he gave me many more and by the time I was in college I was hooked. I’ve using fountain pens almost exclusively since. Although my handwriting is not so beautiful, I love the feel of the nib on paper, the flow of the ink, and most of all, I treasure the connection it gives me to my father.

Andrew Timar

Andrew Timar said:

My first fountain pen was a Monteblanc 22, a mid-range offering by the German pen company, I received as a young teen. At that time my family lived at 88 Clinton Street, Toronto, just a few doors from the current Wonder Pens store. It was a coming-of-age gift by a family friend. Thanks Wonder Pens for offering the Aurora Duo Cart gift to celebrate Fountain Pen Day.


Axelle said:

What an inspiring story! I’ve also been thinking a lot recently about opening my own fountain pen shop but I can help but think of all that could go wrong if no one came and I ended up with tons of unsold supplies (although I could spend the rest of my life trying it all haha).
I grew up in France where I learned to use a fountain pen at age 8. I loved playing with colors cartridges as a teenager and had several fountain pens inked at all time. I discovered the real « serious » side of an adult hobby with a Kaweco Sport that was terrible and launched me on the endless quest for THE pen, 5 years ago :)

Mireya Y

Mireya Y said:

My first fountain pen was the Lamy Safari in Dark Lilac which I used to start my very first journal 3 years ago. And I’ve been in this stationary rabbit hole ever since.

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