Sunday, November 28, 2010

Fountain Heads.

I don't think I will ever fully grok the fountain pen aficionado.

I mean, generally when I want to write something down, I want to do so with as little screwing around as possible: 1) Grab nearest writing stick. 2) Make marks on paper. 3) Done.

My roommate, on the other hand, is presently over at her desk engaged in a process full of splashing and clicking noises, somewhere between a Japanese tea ceremony and adjusting the SU carburettors on a British roadster. To get a pen writing. And she seems happy as a clam about it.

41 comments:

Roberta X said...

It's a later 1920s Parker Duofold, a very tiny pen with a ring on the top of the cap instead of a pocket clip. Given that it is a square ring, probably not for a necklace. It may have had a thin ribbon, for vest-pocket or purse carry.

I was changing ink, a process that requires rinsing with distilled water.

The "why?" Why fiddle with an SU carb? --Or bother to drive an MGB? 'Cos it's fun!

BobG said...

Hobbies are for fun, not always because of need.

Ed Foster said...

Twin SU's on the old Jag XKE 6-banger. I know the pain, as well as the masochistic devotion.

She'd eat Corvettes alive on a twisty road, and stick with them on a straightaway, but required a full Sunday a month to tweak and settle every little adjustment.

And that didn't include the constant replacement of electrical parts. Famous Jag owner's joke: "Why do the English drink warm beer?" "Because their refrigerators are made by Lucas".

So Ma'am, with all due respect and humility, this time I have to agree with my less practical brothers and sisters. So, what BobG and Roberta said.

bluesun said...

Diff'rnt strokes fer diff'rnt folks, as they say.

Anonymous said...

Some people aren't into guns older than they are.
Just sayin'...

mariner said...

Does she mess with black powder firearms, too?

There may not be much you can do for her if her illness is that advanced.

;)

Tam said...

Anon. 11:27,

"Some people aren't into guns older than they are.
Just sayin'...
"

Mariner's "black powder" analogy was better. ;)

Roberta X said...

...Most of my guns are "mature," but they do post-date smokeless powder. :)

I like to keep my house in 1937 (except for the computer), my job in 2012 and my doctor at least in 2010. ...Cars, it depends on my mood....

Bob said...

I think that the nearest gun metaphor I can think of for the fountain pen is the single-shot hunting rifle, for example the Ruger #1 you mentioned the other day: it's slow to load and slow for the follow-up shots, so there is a premium on precision and getting it right the first time. Like the single-shot rifle, the fountain pen makes you take your time and work in a deliberate manner. And just as many single-shot rifles are elegant works of the gunmaker's art, so too are many fountain pens elegant examples of the pen maker's art.

Eck! said...

I keep the truck within the last decade.

My work computers are not newer than two years old but current enough. I call them well aged but not old.

I collect computers that are NOT PCs and not newer than 25 years old.

I also do Ham radio with radios that glow in the dark (tubes to some). But build radios with both the latest tech and sometimes way older.

As to guns.. current collection is out a state but none newer than 35years. My Faveorite is an Ithica M66
in 12ga.

And when writing I vary from a sharpend and singed stick to something with a smooth nib.

Eck!

og said...

I love fountain pens that work. I carry Varsity pens most of the time, it also keeps people from borrowing 'em. So I rarely lose one, and often write them empty, which I've never done with any other pen.

I won't go through the effort of cleaning and filling them anymore, though when I did, the fastest method was always with one of my aunts discarded ultrasonic denture cleaners, it gets 'em clean fast, and thoroughly, without having to dismantle.
Used to use- and write with- technical pens, because nobody would steal them either- but they did tend to like to leak. And cleaning them was a chrome plated bitch, actually impossible without the ultrasonics.

Grant Cunningham said...

Hmmm...I'm not sure I'm seeing the problem.

(Says the guy who last night cleaned and refilled two pens just so he could try a new ink!)

-=[ Grant ]=-

Ed Rasimus said...

I went to Catholic schools and we learned cursive through the "Palmer Method". The result was a legible and decent handwriting for most of my adult life. Folks with excellent handwriting, and I am no longer one of them, will always prefer the fluidity of the fountain pen. A quality instrument makes putting "pen to paper" an act of love.

OTOH, a BIC stick or one of those similar mass-produced twenty-for-a-buck stylii is uncomfortable, erratic and has led to the deterioration of handwriting in general and cursive in particular.

A quality fountain pen, a quality time piece (not digital!), a fine automobile, custom boots (I live in TX, so cut me some slack), etc. are the marks of a good life. Rituals associated with them are the things which separate us from the animals.

John said...

I have a couple of pens that need repaired at the moment. Two damaged by my own foolishness, one that busted a wear part. The hazards of writing with instruments older than oneself, perhaps: newer pens seem (generally) more durable, and less interesting.

But, I think the attraction is largely a tactile and visual thing: writing with a good fountain pen is smooth as smooth and the result is almost undeniably superior to using a ballpoint, gel pen, or even a rollerball.

Also, it's messy. Any good hobby should have at least a little mess to it.

Weer'd Beard said...

I type what needs writin' down on the QWERTY on my phone, because there's no fancy-pants pen in the world that'll make my handwriting readable even to myself!

JD said...

OK, waiting on the blast from Marko on this one. . . = )

Mike S said...

I like fountain pens.

And I also like single-action revolvers, loading, shooting, and ejecting each cartridge, one at a time. (Although I'd really fancy having a break-open revolver.)

And I prefer doing the shifting in my car, rather than having some slushbox do it for me.

John Richardson said...

I'm with Grant Cunningham on this except in my case it was Friday, 3 new inks, and 4 fountain pens.

Guns, fly rods, and fountain pens are all excuses (and good ones at that) to buy more stuff.

While I've been to gun shows and fly fishing shows, I'm still waiting to attend my first pen show.

Standard Mischief said...

I have issues with reading my own lefty scrawl, so if it's important, it's typed or block printed at half my typing speed. I wouldn't last ten minutes with a fountain pen and would fall back to charcoal on the back of a fireplace shovel.

My first car, I had to adjust the valves every 1500 miles and the points, dwell, timing and plugs every 3k. With my Toyota it's maybe check the timing once a year if I remember where the timing light is kept.

Happily, I missed the British car experience, but I know of a few Jaguar cars, having come already from the factory with Chevy slushboxes, where the owner in desperation pulled the stock engine and tossed in a Chevy 350.

LabRat said...

Take any given analytical and detail-oriented personality, and while you may have to look for a little while you'll eventually find a similar pursuit.

I tend to take joy in video games where I can tweak everything, personally.

Ed Foster said...

Standard Mischief, not only Jag, but Rolls-Royce, the difference being that Rolls manufactured the TH400 under license.

Rolls tried to improve it, to "Put their stamp" on it, and all they could find to change was a rough, as cast area above and behind the rear drum.

When they put it together, it didn't work as well as the GM tranny they were copying. The boys in Detroit had left that area rough to act as a baffle, slowing down return fluid arcing over the drum.

GuardDuck said...

"Some people aren't into guns older than they are.
Just sayin'..."

Mariner's "black powder" analogy was better. ;)



Yeah, but the first comment is not as revealing of your age. ;)

Joseph said...

Most of my rifles are older than I. Why? Cause they are COOL!

RobertaX is cool unto herself. Her gadgets just make her hobbies cooler. If not for her, I would never hear about most of this stuff.
:)

staghounds said...

What else would Winston Smith use?

Gewehr98 said...

I can respect Roberta's position. I just bought a second bottle of Noodler's Ink for my fountain pens at work. Writing reports of anywhere between 9 to 30 pages longhand has soured me on disposable pens and disposable refill pens. Looks like I'm averaging about one bottle per 6 months at the current rate.

Then again, I also recently bought a few more pounds of Goex Cartridge BP for my big Sharps. Since the weather's definitely cooling off, I will be spending a weekend making cast boolits for same soon.

The oil-filled SU carburetors were never a bother to me. Lucas electrics, on the other hand...

Anonymous said...

I alluded at Marko's a few days ago that it seems his affinity for mechanical writing devices and textured writing paper for his serious work has to do with the ritual aspect, the organic textures and smells, and a perceived connection to past masters. Same with guns, cars, watches...even love.

And it probably explains why you don't just 1) Grab nearest boom stick. 2) Make holes in paper. 3) Done.

AT

DirtCrashr said...

College housemate was always fiddling and tuning the johnson-rods on his twin Dellortos (VW Fastback) that NEVER stayed put, even with Loctite. I did my 1600 rebuild with a 4-barrel on a plenum intake just to stay simple and because I was always lunching the 3rd cylinder rod - until I got new sheetmetal and moved the oil tower out of the airflow.
With the F-150 I'd rather it do the shifting, and it sure makes a difference if you have to drive home after throwing it away and having a kid ride over you.

For years I was a big fan of the Rapidograph pen since it was the only thing that would deliver a consistent line thickness that I liked, and at one time had three of 'em for drawing; fat, thin, and micro-tiny for distant subjects - until recently with the better rollers no other pen delivered like that. But I never really *got* nibs, even from a well. They would always suddenly just dump.

Tam said...

AT,

"And it probably explains why you don't just 1) Grab nearest boom stick. 2) Make holes in paper. 3) Done."

Actually, that's exactly what I do.

The guns I collect and love and the guns I actually use for shooting are two sets that hardly overlap at all.

Ken said...

Famous Jag owner's joke: "Why do the English drink warm beer?" "Because their refrigerators are made by Lucas".

I once heard a related joke on a TV show featuring English cars. Went like this: "Why don't the English build TV sets?" "Because they haven't figured out how to make them leak oil yet."

@Mike S, I'm with you.

Anonymous said...

A mechanic friend of my ex-father in law once referred to Lucas as "The Prince of Darkness"...

Ah, yes, fountain pens...reminds me of when I was young, ignorant and foolish I used to write love letters to my beloved with a Rapidograph pen...

Used draftman's India ink...had to repeatedly shake it to move the wire plunger back aned forth in the point so the ink wouldn't clot...

No end of hilarity amongst the other squids (I was in the Navy at the time) watching my antics just to write a letter...

cap'n chumbucket

DirtCrashr said...

Oh yeh, that shake of the Rapidograph, the faint click of the resevoir weight - it builds micro wrist muscles, and allows you to pause for thought.

It was the Carter-era British labor Unions in the 70's that killed their cars and destroyed the parts. Friend of mine's dad ran Peninsula British Cars, a old-time dealership that was put out of business - as a kid he worked the counter. They would send-back parts that were out of spec - like a mounting bolt-hole as much as an inch off, and Lucas electrics too.
Before Fed-Ex and UPS and what we have today it would take a month for the damn Post Office to round-trip a thing, what with passing Customs and all - and then the part would return EXACTLY AS IT WAS, with a note in it saying the Union had deemed it fit. WTF??
So he'd order a NEW part and hope it wasn't f*cked when it arrived. 30% of the stuff they got had to be replaced. They couldn't get anything fixed in a timely manner, and the dealership that had lasted for so long went under.
Don't curse Lucas, curse the Unions.

Anonymous said...

"The guns I collect and love and the guns I actually use for shooting are two sets that hardly overlap at all."

Not at all a statement I would have expected from you. I mostly prefer to be able to shoot/drive/wear/use my stuff...'cause to me that's the whole damn point.

AT

Tam said...

AT,

Sorry, perhaps I should rephrase that.

I shoot the guns I collect and love, but I don't really use them.

The guns I actually use are pretty much interchangeable tools to me. They get worn, beat up, worn out, and replaced.

Getting attached to a 1911 or AR carbine would be like getting attached to a No. 2 pencil...

og said...

Speaking of 1911's, check your mail when you get a chance.

Anonymous said...

Now I understand. And oddly, the cold efficiency of your AR or my Glock...or the Bic Stics that RX probably uses at work...makes the time you spend puttering with your .32's, or me under the hood of my old Chevy, or Bobbi cleaning and filling steampunkish instruments of art, all the more cathartic.

AT

Justthisguy said...

When I was a kid, we were required to learn how to write Zaner-Bloser cursive with a real pen, flowing real ink. I have lashed a pen nib to an old pencil and dipped it into the ink bottle from time to time, just to write properly.

Oh, how I wish I could get me a goose quill or two.

Anonymous said...

There's "taking notes", and there's "writing".

global village idiot said...

I love my Waterman pen. I can fill it with cartridges or from an inkwell - prefer the cartridges.

It's made me change the way I think about the French. They don't have much to teach about politics, art, or tactics - but they do show the rest of the world how to live pleasantly, and this ability permits me to overlook their other egregious faults.

For my part, I enjoy the act of writing with a good pen. In correspondence, it's the difference between putting figures on a paper versus giving the reader something they want to look at. Good pens facilitate this.

gvi

Roberta X said...

Me, use a Bic Stic pen?

I carry seven fountain pens in my purse -- and use some of them at work.

Three cheapies in bright orange, pink and turquoise, used to annotate drawings. And doodle.

A medium nib, black ink: drawings, notebook headings, quick notes.

Fine nib, black ink: drawings, notebook entries, general use.

Fine nib, blue ink: personal notebook entries. (I use a quirky GSD system; work items run top to bottom, personal bottom to top, usually just reminders like "Grocery: bread, eggs, coffee.")

Italic nib, dark green ink: just for fun.

I avoid ballpoints, can't write legibly with them. Rollerballs are barely manageable.

Anonymous said...

Well jeez, RX...right when I thought I had myself and maybe even Tams talked into thinking we *do* grok FPA's...

Not that you're representative of that genteel group of course; I shoulda remembered that you're a frickin' Webley freak fer cryin' out loud...which is to say, all bets are off when it comes to weird fascinations :)

AT

mariner said...

Tam,

Getting attached to a 1911 or AR carbine would be like getting attached to a No. 2 pencil...

But a No. 2 pencil can be used as a weapon!