Experts Share Their Favorite Fountain Pens

experts share their favorite pensIn celebration of the first anniversary of my website, I asked some of the top fountain pen experts to answer one important question:


“What’s your favorite fountain pen? If you could only use one fountain pen the rest of your life, what would it be?”

You’re in for a treat. Here are their expert opinions. Can you find a the most popular pen?


John Mottishaw –

“The one-and-only pen I would be able to take to Mars or wherever there are no other pens has to be:

The Nakaya Naka-ai [*] with a clip in the kuro-tamenuri color. The balance is great, although I actually prefer the desk pen for balance, but it is not practical to carry.  So this is the next best. The color will only get better, changing from a very deep, almost black color with red showing on the edges, to more and more red as time and wear have their inevitable effect. This is the pen for the long haul.”

John Mottishaw is shown with Quelle, the mascot, that link takes you to his page on his favorite pen.  John is well-known for expert nib re-tipping, customizing, and repairs… Beyond that, he’s helpful and generous with information, his site is full of information on repairs, love it.


Tony Fischier – Parker

Tony Fischier runs the insanely detailed and helpful website Parker Collector, that link takes you to his page on the Parker 51. If you’ve ever wanted to know anything about Parker Pens, check out his site. There’s nothing like it in terms of a resource on Parker. Parker’s own site doesn’t come close.

“I would take the Parker aerometric “51” [*] Flighter with me to a desert island. It’s probably the best made pen ever. It is certainly the most sold fountain pen ever.

It is made from steel and a sturdy plastic called lucite, originally developed by the US defence and used as a protective shield for the nose-cones and turrets on WWII bombers. This fact also inspired the shape of the pen, that was designed like a jet flighter plane without wings. The all-steel version is to this day referred to as the “Flighter” by collectors.

The filling mechanism uses a traditional bladder, but the one used in the Parker “51” was made from a plastic referred to as pli-glass. As opposed to the earlier natural rubber bladders, the pli-glas was transparent and allowed the user to see how much ink they had left in the pen. It has also proven exceptionally durable. Parker anticipated a life span of 50 years for the new bladder, but some are now going on 65. The bladder, or ink sac, was protected by a metal shell and utilised a metal pressure bar for the filling.

Also the gold nib nib was protected by the lucite shell. This was a novelty aswell. The enclosed nib allowed the pen to stay without a cap for longer periods of time without having the ink drying on the nib. It was also fundamental in the endevour to produce a pen that would not leak in high altitudes, when used in a plane.

It is also very easy to dismantle without using any special tools when it needs to be cleaned.

I can’t think of a better pen to use all my life.”

Margana – An Inkophile’s Blog

platinum-music-t2Margana is a pen collector who runs An Inkophile’s Blog a helpful and fun resource with personality on pens, paper and ink.

“A single forever pen?

It could change in a heartbeat as something new or even old catches my fancy, but for now it’s the Platinum #3776 Music Nib.

Good build quality, comfortable balance, and a sweet, smooth nib that shows off ink to perfection have made this pen a favorite at my desk. Paired with Diamine Mediterranean Blue and a high quality paper, the #3776 MU is a delight to use. In fact, I may never tire of this pen.”

When you love ink, of course your favorite would be a music nib! (See the three tines? They’re great for massive ink flow and line variation.)

Richard Binder –

“As an engineer, I’d choose a Vacumatic-filling Parker “51” [*] for my One and Only Fountain Pen.

The “51”, introduced in 1941, embodies the most revolutionary technology since Lewis Waterman invented the channeled feed in 1881, technology seen in virtually all modern fountain pens. Its Bauhaus-inspired lines were designed to be written with day after day, and it is a writer’s pen through and through, light and well balanced. It’s reliable, easy to repair, and as nearly bulletproof as a pen that isn’t solid metal can be.”

– Richard Binder is an expert and has been a pioneer in in nib adjustment, repairs and customization, check out his page on the Fabulous 51. His site has a mountain of information on repairing and using fountain pens.

Greg Minuskin –

Greg Minuskin runs and specializes in nib re-tipping and repairs. His site has loads of information on pen shows, penmanship workshops and general fountain pen information.

“Of the thousands of pens I have handled, and sold, these two are the only ones I have received as gifts, and as such, they are special. I don’t know why I don’t receive other pens as gifts; maybe because people think I have had nearly all of the pens out there, he he!

One of the pens is a Parker 51 Vacumatic [*] blue with a sterling cap, double jewel, with a factory broad nib. The other pen is blue Parker Areometric with a factory 1.20mm italic. The Parker 51 Vacumatic came from a very famous vintage watch dealer, while the 51 Areometric came from a well known calligraphic ink supplier, and senior board member,  to the IAMPETH organization.”

Ryan Sirignano – Kenro Industries

“If I were limited to using one Fountain Pen for the rest of my life, I would choose the Aurora 88. I have seen firsthand Aurora’s operation in Torino and I can tell you that quality has always been job #1. They actually still make every part of each pen in their factory.

Every Aurora I have used since becoming a “Fountain Pen Guy” has been a work horse. My Aurora has never really let me down. In my opinion, the Aurora 88 is the most classic looking Aurora. I love the shape, the clean lines and its simplicity! I could use this pen everyday for the rest of my life and not be disappointed”

Ryan Sirignano of Kenro Industries, a fine fountain pen distributor. Ryan is a great resource and extremely helpful. I owe Ryan a huge thank you for loaning me many fountain pens for review (including the beloved 88) since I started the site!

I want to say THANK YOU to Greg, John, Richard, Margana, Ryan and Tony for voicing their opinions and sharing their reasoning. You guys are such awesome examples of sharing your thoughts and encouraging more people to use (and love) fountain pens.

Please head over and read their sites, you will learn a ridiculous amount of information from each of them on fountain pens.

* – It’s no surprise that many fountain pen experts favor vintage pens or pens, not widely available. I haven’t reviewed them all as my focus is on readily-available, current models but I enjoy promoting fountain pen use in general so why not avail yourself of a vintage model too? You can check their sites to find them.