Perhaps others have noticed....this little contribution will be about # 32 in the list of replies on this thread - compared to an average of 3 to 5 replies to threads in the past 6 months. What does this tell us about APUGers ? Are we Luddites, or simply way ahead of our time, but in a different way.
It worried me, back in the previous century, when friends would raise eyebrows and comment "... John always was a bit different...":(. Which must be why I have sometimes thought about reloading the square glass inkwells in what was my grandfather's pen and ink desk set that sits at the back of my desk.
There are two; the right-hand one was for black ink - as the 100-year-old ink stains near it tell. It seems he was more careful with debits - the left-hand ink bottle has but a couple of tiny red dots near it.
Yes ! Why not ! I think I've seen ink in my local stationer.
He also did at least one model of a fountain pen (very middle-of-the-road though):
For an update on this, a few people have sent me some pens to study/use, and for that generosity I am very thankful. In addition to this I've bought some pens (both new and used), some different inks and at this point can tell you this:
1. if you want a very cheap but very nice fountain pen, there are a few I'd suggest: Preppy by Platinum. Nice ink cartridge, easily refillable with a syringe and should last for decades. Pen body is not bad, but is not designed for heavy duty, so don't abuse it. Pilot Varsity (or V-Pen)...these are disposable, but you can refill them with a bit of work. Pilot Petit1 (mini-pen). These can be bought for $4 or less each. They're all very pleasant to use. In fact, you can write with the Preppy and Varsity for hours on end with no fatigue. The Petit1 is a finer point.
2. if you want a nicer but still not expensive pen, you might want to look at the Noodler's Flex series. $14 to $20 will get you one, and it will be very nice to use. Added note: this pen will go dry sooner than the Preppy or the Varsity. It operates wetter and the top does not seem to seal nearly as well as the cheaper pens. It has a fairly aggressive feed.
3. I've learned the feeds are very different between various makers. There's much more variation here than I expected. Some have dual top slots, some have slots on the top and bottom, some use a vented central feed line and some use pretty imaginative feed schemes. Some pens I've received no longer worked due to failure of the feeds...clogged, inserted wrong, slipped out, etc. I'd say this is the weakest link in old pens.
4. Bamboo works ok as a nib, and it can be quite pleasant to use on a variety of papers. It is however fragile, shaping it is a slow process and I've not yet found an ideal feed scheme for it. It has the unique quality of absorption which means changing colors is not easy. Still of all the alternative materials I've tried so far, this is the most encouraging. It is in my opinion going to be best suited to use at a desk rather than carried around. But there are ways it may be improved. It is certainly eco-friendly.
For a "Cheap" pen an old stock Parker "45" from the 60's or 70's is hard to beat.
My favorite fountain is a 1945 Parker "51" I found at a tractor show for $10!
You may want to look at Noodler's web site. He used to have instructions on how to adjust the in flow on his pens.
Also, I believe that the Preppy can be converted to an eye dropper fill with the addition of an O-Ring and a little silicone grease. Noodler's used to supply them this way with some of their larger sizes of ink bottles. The only problem I've had with the Preppy is that the pocket clip tends to break off after a while.
I believe a clogged pen can be unclogged by putting the nib assembly in an ultrasonic cleaner with non-sudsy ammonia for extended periods of time; several days maybe. Often works.
And this contribution, circa 1972, from an OTR driver from Norcross, GA whose drawl was so thick I could barely understand him. (I'll just cut to the punchline):
2nd woman: 'Better tell your man that drinking all that Coca-Cola will dry the ink in his pen.'
1st woman: 'That's OK, he doesn't do all of my writing anyway.'