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Lord Yupa

February 2010

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Fountain pens. [Updated]

Some of you might be aware that I'm something of a pen aficionado. Particularly fountain pens. I love 'em. I love the look, I love the style, and I love how smoothly they write. (You know, fountain pens? The things that evolved from quills? Like the little icon that most LiveJournal clients use? Yeah, that's the one. ;-)

I also love sharing my interest with others.

So, if you've ever had a desire to try out a nice fountain pen, now is a really good time. Levenger currently has two models on a *really* good sale. The first is the Levenger LS3, which normally runs for $50, and is currently on sale for $10. The second is the Parker Insignia Wave, which normally retails at $75, and is currently on sale for $20.

I personally own both of these pens, and can vouch for how good the quality is. I love 'em both. ;-)

So, if you've ever thought about trying out a quality fountain pen (and trust me, quality counts for a lot. . . those cheap little $5 pens you see at office supply stores are junk, and write like crap), this is the best shot I've seen.

Long live Fountain Pens! ;-)

[Update: For anyone interested, I posted a more thorough comparison of the pens in the comments here.]


I think I'm going to grab that insignia wave -- I like the look of it much better, and it also seems the better deal overall. Shame you can only get it in Sea Green -- I'd love a darker blue.

Insignia Wave.

The Sea Greeen Insignia Wave actually has some bluish to the swirls, too. Up close, it is a beautiful pen. ;-)
Which would you recommend if money was no object? (And, at either $10 or $20 it isn't much of one. ;) )

I've always been a big fan of pens myself, I love playing with different ones and seeing how they feel, but I will admit I never really got into fountain pens. I have used one or two, though, and there's part of me that really likes them.

Which pen. . ?

Hrm. . . that's a good question. I really like both of them though, and as you mentioned, they're close enough in price that it isn't a huge factor. They're also fairly close in quality, in my opinion, so I can't really say that one is better than the other.

As to which I'd recommend. . . I guess it really comes down to a couple of things that you'll have to think about.

First, is the feel of the pen. The LS3 is a slightly larger, thicker, heavier pen, while the Insignia Wave is a slightly lighter, and thinner pen (1.25oz vs .85oz, if you're curious). I find both quite comfortable to hold and write with, but some people may prefer one or the other (One girl I work with finds the LS3 to be a little bit too big and heavy for her to really enjoy using comfortably. At the same time, my best friend loves it because he says it feels big and solid to him).

Next, is the nib's that are available. The Insignia Wave is only still available with the medium nib. The LS3 is still available in fine, medium, and broad nibs (depending on which color you want). As a general rule, the broader the nib, the more ink will flow, and more "expressive" you can be (by writing faster, slower, and pressing harder or softer). For someone interested in beautiful handwriting or calligraphy, a broad nib would be a better choice. (I have to admit that I really enjoy signing my name with a broad nib fountain pen. ;-)

However, for normal day-to-day writing, I prefer a fine nib, because I tend to write fairly small. The medium nib does also make a nice choice, though, because it's the most versatile of the nibs, and works very well for anything you want to do with it. (I do want to note that there isn't a *huge* difference between any of the nibs, and depending on your preference and style, any of them can be used for pretty much any writing you wanna do. In other words, don't base your choice solely on the nib between these two pens.)

Next is a somewhat subjective opinion of writing with the pens. This might be the least helpful of what I say. It feels like the LS3 is a teeny bit smoother feeling than the Insignia Wave, while the Wave feels just a little bit more flexible (not that the Wave isn't smooth to write with. . . either one will glide along the paper, barely touching it, and requires less work than any roller ball pen I've seen). Each offers a slightly different writing experience, and again, I can't say that one is better than the other. Both are enjoyable in their own way.

Of a more minor note is the "extras" they come with. The LS3 comes with a nice lined paperboard(?) case, of a match with any jewelry box I've seen. It includes a converter for using bottled ink, instead of cartridges, and one blue ink cartridge. The Insignia Wave comes with an interesting black plastic case, very sturdy and nicely designed, which actually has slots to hold three pens in it. The case also has a little flip up section that holds two ink cartridges (and it does include two ink cartridges with it). And, like the LS3, it comes with a converter for using bottled ink, if you want to.

Lastly, there is the appearance factor. The LS3 is big, bright, and colorful. It is circled with fairly bright rings around it, and that along with the brushed metal look, and chrome accents, gives it a sort of playful appearance. The Insignia Wave, with it's swirling iridescent greens, blues, and black, along with the gold accents, has more of a formal and elegant look to it.

I don't know if this was helpful at all, but that's my opinion and comparison between the two of them. As I'm sure is obvious, I really like both of them for different reasons, and I don't think either one could really be a wrong choice. Regardless of which one you get, you'll likely enjoy it. ;-)
I've never owned an Insignia, but read a bad review about it here Have you ever had any problems with it? I have heard somewhere that where Parker pens are made, there is a law that you must make the cap with a venthole which will permit breathing when choked on. God knows if that's true. But it would explain some drying problems people talk about on pen forums and such. :)

Parker pens.

This is currently the only Parker pen that I own, but I've had absolutely no problems with it. It's been a very good pen to me.

As for a venthole, if there is one, I can't find it. Even holding the cap up to a light and looking through it doesn't show anything unusual.
I ended up buying both. lol The prices are just way too cheap to pass up!

"those cheap little $5 pens you see at office supply stores are junk"

I did see a Waterman Phileas at Office Depot. But only in medium (i.e. more like broad). :(

Buying both. . .

Yeah, I know what you mean. The only real downside for me, regarding fountain pens, is that only the decent quality ones are really worth it, and quality doesn't come cheap.

I have yet to find any fountain pen under $25 that I was really happy with (with the sole exception of the Pilot disposable fountain pens. . . amazingly enough, they actually write quite smoothly, but. . . well. . . it's a disposable ;-).

I'm very tempted to pick up a spare of each of these now, because that is flat out one of the best deals I've seen on a decent pen. Or, possibly to pick up an extra or two for gifts. ;-)
Thanks very much for the heads up! I've been meaning to pick up a nice pen for a while now, and at $10, it's hard to say no :)
Damn, they're out of the LS3 at that price.


Interesting comments and reviews.

If you have small writing, you might want to look into the Sheaffer extra-fine nibs. I use the extra-fine almost exclusively; right now, my pens of choice are a Sheaffer Legacy Heritage (a birthday gift) and a vintage Sheaffer with a #33 nib. They're both on the stiff side, but give a beautiful fine line. (And if you like the Sheaffer Preludes, you can buy the extra-fine nibs at the website.)

It's so cool to wander in LJ-land and find other folks who share my pen fetish. (The one in the picture is a Waterman Hemisphere with a fine nib, which is not bad, but heavier than I use for anything but signatures most of the time.)

Fountain pens and fine lines.

Hrm. . .

I do tend to write small, so I'll have to check into the Shaeffer Extra-Fine nibs. A friend of mine recently suggested I look into some Japanese-made fountain pens also, as they apparently tend to be somewhat finer nibbed than most of the rest of the world.

Now if I can find a decent one cheap. . . ;-)
Hey I just wanted to thank you for introducing me to these pens. The LS3 is a very nice writer!! They shipped me a damaged one, but exchanged it for free. I only wish I could've gotten it with the cool blue O-rings. By and by, whoever thought of putting O-rings on a pen is a genius. When I first got it, I thought, "Who the hell..." and then I laid it on the table and it was like, "Ooooh!"


Awesome pens. Thanks! :)


Though I am inclined to say you are slightly obsessed with fountain pens... I've got to totally agree with you. They rock. Not only are they entirely awesome, but they work far better than any ballpoint pen I have thus far encountered. They are great for going over pencil drawings to create an official-looking masterpiece. Rock on with your bad self.


Re: Hrm!

Yeah, they are definitely better than ball point pens. So much smoother, and so much easier to write with.

Lately, I find myself rather quickly fatigued when I write with ball point pens, because they drag more and require more pressure than fountain pens do.

I've not tried tracing over pencil drawing, but with the liquid ink, I bet they do work awesome. Thanks for the tip. ;-)