Managed somehow to get Meredith interested in fountain pens (yay) and she picked up an interest in using my Sparkling Sands Jinhao x750 with the Goulet fine nib and converter, and is using a sample of Platinum Ink company's Black ink. Good taste, Mere! She said that she really liked the smoothness of the pen nib... I need to convert the other x450s I picked up with Goulet nibs and converters - the ones from Jinhao are OK, but the $15 fine nibs made for Goulet make them sing.
She saw the two ink syringes I got from Goulet Pens, and wondered if I was into injectable drugs. Showing her how neatly (and cleanly) the syringe fills a pen's converter cartridge from a sample bottle fixed that idea.
Jinhao x450 and x750s are dirt cheap for fountain pens; the government subsidies in China mean purchases on eBay are free shipping and - well, one x450 I picked up for $.99 and no shipping. Works fine.
No base pen I have cost me more than $20 - two used Lamy Safaris, two Pilot Metropolitans, a Platinum Preppy (about $5) and two Jinhao x450s (both way less than $5).
Why the number? **Different Ink Colors**. Black, Blue, Royal Blue (the color Susan likes the best, but she's not interested in the pens), Purple, 'woodland' deep Green, Red, and a Turquoise. I like them all.
The ink prices are not bad at all, once you realize how long it would take you to go through a 80 ml bottle of the stuff. **Years**. My Black ink from Cross is from the last time I got into fountain pens, nearly 25 years ago, and I know a great deal more about their use and care. And the ink still works fine.
I like a smooth fine line, but I have only a couple of medium nibs sitting around - only the royal blue uses a medium.
Yes, I know you've heard of $1000+ fountain pens. Just like I've heard or seen Maserati, Bugatti, Jaguar and Ferrari cars. Same deal. Some of that is very fancy artsy stuff, some is The Name to impress people by the cash you blew on it and to somehow get status and babes with it. Sheesh.
I don't think I've heard or seen of a pen that is over $150 that I would ever want, and the great bulk of pens sold are less than $50. And you hang on to good fountain pens (with very simple care) for a very long time, unless your local no-brain-strong-jaws animals use it as a chew toy of sorts.
Almost all inks sold are washable, and only a few are more permanent- the sort of thing you'd use for legal documents and the like, and they're not that expensive either. We're talking $6 to $13 dollars a bottle good for years of heavy use in writing or drawing - washable or not washable.
Why do I like fountain pens? The smoothness and ease of writing, the clarity and solidity of the line, the profound coloring and the strong saturation of the ink. I find very very few rollerball or gel pens that come anywhere close to this - I like the Tul pens that Office Depot/Max sells, and those I recommend to people all the time. But this stuff is way superior to that.
In short, the good fountain pen doesn't get in the way of the fluidity of your writing - it often *helps it along* to move as you think and compose in your head.
Just my ten cents on the matter. And no, I do *not* think of fountain pens as a status symbol - it's an inexpensive tool that is cheap, a solid performer and makes my hardwriting scads easier. I'm not any kind of speed typist, lemme tell you!