Are Fountain Pens Good Gifts? What to Consider
In these modern days of touchscreens and keyboards, handwriting has taken a back seat, and a lot of people only use a pen to sign official documents. However, there are still those out there who love to write by hand for various reasons. They may be students taking lecture notes, diarists, stationery enthusiasts, or fountain pen hobbyists.
A fountain pen is a fantastic gift for any writer, be it a student, budding author, diplomat, lawyer, politician, diarist, or old-fashioned letter writer. It can be a graduation gift, mark the occasion of an important business deal, life event, or a special birthday. Pen enthusiasts would love one.
Writing with a fountain pen is a delightful experience, especially for those with a beautiful script who have never tried one before. There are so many other kinds of pens on the market that family members and friends are unlikely to have used a fountain pen unless they have sought one out. Local stores rarely include fountain pens in their stationery offerings, and it may just not occur to someone to look for a specialty pen store to buy a fountain pen.
Famous People Who Have Endorsed The Use Of Fountain Pens
People from all walks of life may appreciate a fountain pen as a gift. There is a certain dignity, prestige, and Olde Worlde charm attached to using a fountain pen in public. Writing with a fountain pen makes a statement about the user’s personality, values, and sense of occasion. Hundreds of famous public figures, authors, and politicians have used fountain pens over the years.
If the giftee is a fan, it would undoubtedly be very well received. Mark Twain used and fiercely promoted the Conklin fountain pen with its newly invented self-filling mechanism. He even became a spokesman for the company. Conklin still sells a range of Mark Twain fountain pens as a tribute to the American literary hero.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes, used a Parker Duofold fountain pen to write his novels. They are carved out of a solid acrylic block, are made with many other high-quality components, and can still be purchased today. HP Lovecraft loved fountain pens and was painstaking in choosing which one to write with. He reportedly used a variety of Waterman pens, all of which had to be black.
Ernest Hemingway famously carried his ELMO fountain pen around Italy during the Second World War. He chose it because the factory was in Bassano del Grappa, close to where he was stationed. ELMO pens subsequently became Montegrappa pens which is the name they still hold today.
Montegrappa still makes a range of Ernest Hemingway pens to honor the different stages of his life – the Ernest Hemingway Soldier, Ernest Hemingway Traveller, Ernest Hemingway Fisherman, and Ernest Hemingway The Writer.
Harper Lee, who wrote To Kill A Mockingbird, used fountain pens, although the brand is unknown. She even wrote one into Atticus Finch’s coat pocket during the courtroom scene. Anne Frank, probably the most famous diarist in recent history, is reputed to have used a Montblanc fountain pen she received as a gift for her ninth birthday.
Fountain pens are particularly appealing to those involved in signing ceremonies or keeping diaries. The keeping of written journals, or journaling as it is called these days, is promoted as both an art form and therapy. Psychologists and therapists often counsel their patients to keep a daily journal noting down the innermost thoughts and feelings.
The pen doesn’t have to be the fanciest, most expensive one on the market to be a timeless classic. Queen Elizabeth II famously uses a Parker 51, one of the most well-known and popular fountain pens around the globe, and has done for decades. Admiral Nimitz also used a Parker 51.
Unfortunately, Parker no longer makes the Parker 51, but the Parker Duofold is another wonderful pen in the range that former British Prime Minister Theresa May used to sign documents. Boris Johnson, the current British prime minister, also uses the Parker Duofold in signing ceremonies and is known to be something of a pen enthusiast.
Johnson has been seen using the Montblanc 149 and owns two Churchill pens worth more than one thousand pounds each in his personal collection. American presidents have in the past traditionally gifted fountain pens, often with unique engravings, to other signatories involved in signing ceremonies. The French President Emmanuel Macron has been observed using various Waterman pens and Parkers.
Cross has been supplying engraved fountain pens for decades. Their pens are made of metal with a deep black lacquer finish and a gold-plated tip and add to the dignity of any occasion. Many US presidents have historically used the Cross Townsend, and it is usually customized with the particular President’s signature and the presidential seal. President Obama used the Cross pen in public, but in private, he often went with the Montblanc 149.
British Prime Minister David Cameron used a cheap Platinum Preppy fountain pen for his work. It is very popular with students because it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg to replace if lost, but it writes beautifully all the same. Governments often gift the more expensive fountain pens to foreign diplomats and officials.
The German President gave the New Zealand Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, a Pelikan Souverän fountain pen. Pelikan is world-renowned for its solid pen-making tradition and manufactures timeless, elegant, classic pens that can last a lifetime. The Treaty of Versailles was reputedly signed with a Waterman Ideal fountain pen by world leaders, bringing an end to World War I.
Many famous writers who used fountain pens claimed that they preferred writing to typing because the writing experience was more meaningful, physical, and grounded. Although typewriters and subsequently computers were available, they rejected them in favor of fountain pens, especially for the first draft of their novels. Some writers even use longhand for second and third drafts.
Stephen King favors a Waterman Hémisphere, Salman Rushdie loves vintage fountain pens, while Haruki Murakami has used Sailor fountain opens and included references to Montblanc fountain pens in two of his novels.
Neil Gaiman changes the ink color in his fountain pen every day to keep track of his daily progress when writing a novel. He always writes the first draft in longhand. Gaiman uses many different fountain pens, including Visconti, Delta Fluida, TWSBI Diamond 540, and Lepine Classic. His favorite for writing novels is the Lamy 2000, while the one for signing is a Pilot Custom 823.
Christopher Paolini of Eragon fame is a fountain pen enthusiast. He always writes the first drafts of his books longhand and reviews and discusses fountain pen brands on the internet. His preferred pen is the Lamy Safari. Paolini wrote and published his first novel at the age of eighteen.
Fountain pens come with different nib sizes – fine and extra-fine for small, cramped handwriting, and medium and broad for a large bold script. The “A” size nib is made by Lamy and has a rounded point designed for beginners and children. There are also specialist nibs such as italic, left-hand, oblique medium, and even music for writing music scores.
The list of famous writers who use fountain pens is almost endless.
Who Can Appreciate A Fountain Pen Gift?
Categories of people who may appreciate a fountain pen gift include –
- Business people who often sign important documents and contracts.
- Politicians in public signing ceremonies
- People who keep diaries
- Old fashioned letter writers
- Marriage officers presiding over a wedding
- People graduating from school, college, or university
- Fans of famous writers or other people who used fountain pens
- Budding authors
- Musicians who write sheet music
If you know the giftee is a fan of a particular famous person, you could gift them with the same kind of fountain pen that their hero or heroine uses. The range and variety of fountain pens available are staggering, and you could also customize the pen by having the giftee’s name and the important date engraved on it.
An elderly relative or handwriting enthusiast friend who lives far away from you may very much appreciate an offer to enter into written correspondence and the gift of a fountain pen. A person starting college or university and about to write a mountain of lecture notes might also love to receive a fountain pen. Pen prices range from very reasonable to over the top, so there is one to suit every budget.
Why Give A Fountain Pen As A Gift
A fountain pen is a small, functional portable object that can last a lifetime with the proper care and maintenance. It can mark special occasions in the receiver’s life or be used in their daily lives. Many famous brand fountain pens can be passed down from one generation to another as family heirlooms.
Famous writers say they can spark creativity and imagination in ways that a keyboard cannot.
A person’s handwriting is peculiar to them, and anything that allows them to express their unique personality and creative gifts will surely be treasured for years. They can be associated with fond memories of the giver, such as a favorite grandparent, uncle, or aunt long after the giver has passed on.
A fountain pen can be further personalized by engraving the person’s name or a particular date. There are pens to suit any budget, and they are timeless. They can be used in office or educational environments or to celebrate job promotions, contract signings, commemorate important conferences or graduations.
At some time in their lives, everyone uses a pen. Fountain pens are used not only for writing but also for drawing, jotting notes, and decorating personal journals with miniature figures and doodles. They make excellent promotional and corporate gifts and are generally considered unique and classier than other pens.
Fountain pens are stylish and sophisticated but practical at the same time. They are quintessential study tools. Researchers at Princeton in 2014 concluded that while laptops and tablets can be used to take student notes, they require shallower cognitive processing than using a pen.
Students who took notes on laptops generally performed worse on conceptual questions than those who took notes longhand.
Fountain pens can bring out the artist in people because there are so many different colored inks to choose from that can all be used in the same pen. Many users settle on a subtle shade of color to write with that uniquely expresses their personality and creativity. Pens come in a range of barrel shapes and sizes to suit the smallest or chunkiest of hands.
Men usually prefer pens with a thicker, bigger barrel and classic designs such as black and gold, while for women and children, there is an extensive range of pen colors and sizes to choose from. Slimline fountain pens suit smaller hands and are usually not as heavy as chunkier pens. Older people may also prefer a lighter pen if they have weak hands.
Lamy Safari fountain pens are robust and ideal for extended writing periods making them ideal for learners and children. They also don’t cost the earth, even though solid and well made. Look for a fountain pen with a color and pattern to match the personal style of the giftee. Artistic types may love a flamboyantly colored or patterned pen, while businessmen and businesswomen might prefer more classic colors and patterns.
Some pens are sparkly, have reflective surfaces, or are full of vivid swirls of color like Benu’s Scepter and Briolet pens, while others like Montblanc and Waterman are more conservative. For the avid diarist, a beautiful pen can be combined with a distinctive diary. Journaling is very popular among people of all ages, but especially teens.
Keeping a diary is therapeutic, and a troubled young person could be encouraged to journal with the gift of an unusual and attractive pen. Many people keep diaries for work purposes too.
Keeping a diary on an employer’s computer could carry the risk of exposure of personal secrets and observations while a notebook and pen do not. A work diary can be a record of personal achievements, career plans, and goals. A personal journal can also inculcate a love of the act of writing in younger children and lead them to improve their writing skills and ability to express themselves.
Legend has it that Benjamin Franklin kept a diary. At the start of the day, he would ask himself what he could do well that day and then write it down in a diary. At the end of the day, he would review his entry and note how he could have improved. He, therefore, used the diary as a means of self-improvement.
Journaling promotes a sense of self-awareness that can unlock subconscious thoughts and feelings. It also improves metacognition or the ability to analyze thought processes. Time management is another skill that can be enhanced through the use of a diary. Writing notes longhand imprints the memory of the information recorded more deeply.
Journaling helps the writer to recognize their emotions and gives a sense of greater control in stressful situations. It can also be used to record flashes of insight or dreams upon waking up in the middle of the night. If a special pen, personal to the writer, is used every time, it can become associated with creativity and self-expression and induce the right frame of mind.
For a multitude of reasons, a fountain pen makes a wonderful gift, but the main one is probably that it can be selected to suit a person’s particular style and personality. It can therefore be a highly individualized and valued item that will last for a lifetime. You should seriously consider gifting a fountain pen to someone who loves writing longhand for business or pleasure.