Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Working Class Pen

Over the past few days, I have read quite a lot about the top-of-the-line fountain pens, rollerballs, and gel pens. In all honesty, I look at them and try to figure out how it could replace my Pilot Precise v5 or the Pilot P-700 Gel Roller that are both in the bin. What could a nearly unusable (to me), pretentious looking, five hundred dollar pen offer me?

Long ago, I was taught that I should want the things that I can have and disregard the rest. I was one of those kids who was told that I could be anything in the world, and I believed that absolutely and completely. Even though I'm older, I still believe that. I look at plenty of things in terms of 'how much crap would I have to go through in order to get this?' and judge many things to be out of range. These days, I know that if I wanted to become an NFL linebacker, I've more than likely missed the boat.

The pens that I love are working class pens. They are the writing instruments that get me from point A to point B. These pens are the waiters, the cooks, the chauffeurs, the taxi drivers, and the steel workers of the pen world. Not too much fame and acclaim, but the pens themselves are affordable (very few are over $5) and work until they drop. These are the pens that waitresses use, that warehouse workers use, that aspiring writers use. I can definitely see elevating one of these pens to a higher status, but I cannot see using one of their higher priced brethren. The prices for the 'exclusive luxury writing instruments' are just too costly for me to bear.

I have the guilty pleasure when I use cheap ballpoint pens. I have the same type of love for the ballpoint pen that Mariko has in this post. And, even though I've never been to Jet Pens, I'm willing to give it a try to rekindle my love for the Pentel Energel Needle Point. I think that maybe if I got rich, where money was no object, I'd pick up a $4900 pen like the Ancora 80th Anniversary Fountain Pen, and then I rejoin reality - I wouldn't own a pen that cost more than my first car.

There are surely reasons for wanting to get a luxury writing instrument, like the collector's value, and having the 'finer things in life,' but I still don't understand. At its base, the pen is still a tool. I can appreciate the craftsmanship, but it still seems to be a waste of money. Give me a ballpoint any day.


  1. I love this concept and the subtitle of your blog!

    I own three "expensive" (over $100) pens (and will undoubtedly buy more in the future), but, truth be told, if all I was concerned about was smooth-writing fountain pens, I could get by on a drawer full of $3 Platinum Preppies. I like the beauty of my more expensive pens, but I don't worry about them looking pretentious, mostly because I almost never take them out of the house! (The only place they'll be seen by many people will be in reviews on my blog.) My workday pens are mostly Preppies, Lamy Safaris, and Lamy AL-Stars. About the fanciest I take to work is a TWSBI Diamond 530 (a $40 pen).

    Glad I found your blog through The Pen Addict. You're now in my blogroll.

  2. Thank you for commenting on my blog! :) So you're in it for the beauty and the way that they write smoothly? After you get the hang of it, what kind of speed can you get out of writing with a fountain pen? For me, it's like pulling teeth to get ink out of it and onto the paper. Do you get comments about the pens that you use while you're at work?

    I'm glad that you commented! I'm meeting a lot of cool folks out there through The Pen Addict, myself. You're on my blogroll now, too! :)