Although some believe that the art of penmanship is in decline, there has never been a better time to buy a fountain pen. As the current enthusiasm for Moleskine notebooks, stylish handwritten notes and "hipster PDAs" shows, there are still many people out there who value the experience of writing by hand. Fountain pens are currently experiencing a resurgence in popularity, especially among collectors and young people. Fountain pens also make excellent gifts, and with today's advanced designs there really is no reason why you should not give a fountain pen as a gift. Here are three reasons why fountain pens make great gifts, and some ideas for specific pens and occasions.
Fountain Pens are Functional Art
If you decide to give a fountain pen as a gift, you can be sure that it will be among the most elegant things on the recipient's desk. Many fountain pen manufacturers, such as Mont Blanc and Diplomat, design their pens so that they look as if they belong in a display case, even if they are laid out beside a daybook or in the centre crease of a notebook. In fact, many pen collectors display their pens as if they were works of art. Your gift may herald the beginning of a lifelong hobby.
Even fountain pens which have a more "functional" look are beautiful and streamlined in the hand and on the desk. For example, Lamy Safari pens -- among the cheapest of the reliable refillable fountain pen brands available -- are sleek and well-designed, with a pleasing shape and feel.
If you are planning on giving a fountain pen as a gift and you want it to be an beautiful piece of absolutely functional art and engineering, try a limited-edition Mont Blanc pen, an antique celluloid pen, or perhaps a Porshe Design fountain pen.
If you are seeking a less-expensive fountain pen to give as a gift but you still want an elegant, unique design, you should consider giving a mid-century Parker pen such as a Parker Duofold or a Parker 51. The smooth, curved design of the Parker 51 in particular was a landmark design considered groundbreaking at the time.
Fountain Pens are More Convenient Than You Think
Nowadays, even inexpensive fountain pens are safe to fly with, and some daring fountain pen users even choose to use theirs mid-flight! Although fountain pens were once notorious for being leaky, inconvenient, and awkward to refill, these problems have now been resolved, as all fountain pen users and retailers are well aware. Modern refillable fountain pen "converters" are extremely easy to learn to refill, and have large leakproof ink reservoirs. For those seeking even more convenience, large ink refill cartridges are available in a wide choice of ink colours and textures -- with far more options than are available to ballpoint pen users, including waterproof permanent ink, lubricated ink, highlighting ink, and scented ink.
A Classic Gift
Fountain pen users have a large and vocal online presence, with many online message boards and websites devoted to fountain pen collecting and daily fountain pen use. The reason is simple: there is really no more comfortable and immersive way to write by hand than to use a fountain pen. There is no special skillset involved in writing with a fountain pen, and many fountain pen users have found that their penmanship improved after they made the switch. Using a fountain pen is an effortless, tactile, extremely comfortable experience. A fountain pen is therefore a gift which is extremely well-suited to those in professions where they are called upon to write by hand a lot, such as writers, doctors, lawyers, students, and other office workers. Because fountain pens have an old-fashioned style and sense of elegance, they are also excellent gifts for those approaching important milestones, such as graduation, a fiftieth or twenty-first birthday, an important promotion, or retirement.
Some of our favorite pen shops with web sales:
Pen Boutique (Columbia, Maryland)
Points Pens (Staunton Virginia)
Our favorite makers:
Great Paper for Fountain Pens: