Today, I am not here with a review but a list of the rules we should be following while using other people’s fountain pens. Some might ask, if there is really forms of politeness while using fountain pens or mostly while borrowing them to try, but damn right. There are!

1- Maybe in a fountain pen atelier or in a community meeting, please ask for the permission of the fountian pen owner before using it. The pen might be broken inside (as all we are) or the materialy might be quite fatigue. Or, maybe it might be a pen inherited bearing a lot of memories. Maybe it is just a “Don’t Touch, Only Watch” pen. So please ask…

2- Please, screw first. As you know, fountain pens have different types of caps. Some are screw type, some are plugged and some are click on. If you try to screw a plugged cap you don’t necessarily harm the pen, but if you try to pull a screw cap, it is quite probable that you damage the threads. If you are not sure, how to open the cap, you can always ask the owner.


3- Although fountain pens are known for defying the years, it still requires a certain care and attention while using it. And the most important of all is the nib being used without pressure. You might be a pressure holder of your own pen, or possibly you could be thinking that you never put a pressure on a nib, but still, an extra-care never hurts while using a borrowed pen.

4- What about the flex pens? First of all, all that glitters isn’t gold, while all the vintage pens are not flex. Assuming all the vintage Sheaffers or Conklins as flex and trying to flex them as much as it gets, leaves us with a traumatized nib and and a traumatized pen owner. Especially some pens might flex when you put the pressure, but they are not able to restore after that. So, we all need utmost care while borrowing a flex pen.


5- Posting the cap or not posting the cap, that is the question! Some people post the cap while writing, some thinks that making it heavier and longer, it disturbs the balance. And there is another type of fountain pen users who concerns that posting the cap scratches the body and avoid posting. Therefore, if you borrow a pen, it is better not to post it. The owner even might be posting his/her pens but he/she might be avoiding it in that particular pen due to the material.

6- Please return the pen to its owner, instead of passing it to the next person who wants to try. Especially in community meetings, new comers might have a heart attack, trying to follow where their pen remains.

7- Before, trying a pen on somebody else’s notebook it is better to ask. That person might be using that notebook with only one pen, with only one ink, or keeping the notebook as a project. It is a common mistake to assume all notebooks and papers as draft, brought in community meetings.

8- What about the ink? In community meetings, we like sharing. Therefore, we always have 3-5 bottles of ink minimum. Even though the ink is finished, dipping your pen into a new ink bottle might damage the ink and the nerves of the ink owner. I also would like to repeat it for the sloppy pens. If you dip a pen which is cleaned with water but not dried yet, it might cause fungus in the new ink.

This is what I think of at the first place. What do you have in mind regarding the form of politeness?


Zeynep F. Hartley