Fountain Pen Resources
By TODD OPPENHEIMER
This sidebar is a supplement to The Perfect Pen
As with many subjects that draw perfectionists and collectors, the fountain pen world offers a variety of superb resources for finding great pens, understanding their fine points (excuse the pun), and fixing old pens that need some TLC. Here are some of the more prominent resources.
- Richard’s Pens – for decades, Richard Binder has served as the undisputed authority on fountain pens—their history, their infinite varieties, and the nuances of pen care. He’s even gone so far as to create a modern version of the old flexible gold nibs, with the Edison Pen Co. If you’re looking for an authoritative online pen encyclopedia, this website is for you.
- Michael Masuyama is based in Los Angeles, where he specializes in restoring and repairing fountain pens, both new and vintage. He has the most experience in working with Sailor pens, but he has been trained by two Japanese masters to work with a variety of other brands.
- vintagepen.net – Operating out of Little Rock, Arkansas, Mauricio Aguilar has assembled one of the most complete collections of vintage pens on the market. His website is also a fount of detailed information about these pens, particularly the old flexible nibs, which are a rare specialty in the calligraphy world.
- Classic Fountain Pens (Nibs.com), in Los Angeles, was founded by John Mottishaw, a former metal sculptor who has become one of the world’s most respected experts at repairing and customizing fountain pens. Classic Fountain Pens also sells a variety of top-of-the-line new and used pens, which are all pre-tested.
- The Fountain Pen Hospital, in New York City, has long served as one of the grandfathers of the fountain pen world. Founded in 1946, the shop is still run by the same family, the Wiederlights. Today, the Fountain Pen Hospital sells both new and vintage pens from more than 50 different pen manufacturers.
- Ink-Pen.com – No list of vintage pen specialists would be complete without mentioning Sherrill Tyree and her brother Joel Hamilton. Sherrill, who is unusually generous and gracious with her time, specializes in repairing vintage Shaeffer pens, some of which were built with quirky mechanisms like “snorkel fillers.” Sherrill and Joel also sell a range of vintage pens and are expert nib grinders.
- Andersonpens.com – founded in 2010 by two passionate pen lovers (Brian and Lisa Anderson, who actually met as fellow collectors), Anderson Pens sells a large variety of fountain pens. Lisa is a former president of Pen Collectors of America; she and Brian also operate Esterbrook.net, the authoritative site about vintage Esterbrook pens. After training with Sherrill Tyree, Joel Hamilton, and Richard Binder, Brian and Lisa founded Snorkel Solutions, the only operation that manufactures authentic new parts for old Shaeffer snorkel systems.
- Pen Collectors of America is a community group for fountain pen collectors, and offers a monthly magazine and other benefits.
- If you’re looking for a less costly fountain pen to get your feet (or nib) wet, good online resources include Fahrney’s, Goldspot Pens, and Goulet Pens. All of these outlets offer all kinds of writing gear, such as inks, paper, and beautiful leather pen cases, along with a variety of fountain pens, even for calligraphy, from as little as $25 to well over $1,000.
- Jake Weidmann is one of only 14 people in the world given the title Master Penman, a designation conferred by the International Association of Master Penmen, Engrossers, and Teachers of Handwriting (IAMPETH). Weidman uses the principles of calligraphy in painting, wood sculpture, and other innovative forms. (It should be noted that while IAMPETH’s name suggests that it represents the calligraphers of the world, and the organization does draw some foreigners, it is a U.S. organization, based in Webster, N.Y. Similar organizations in other parts of the world confer their own certifications, according to exacting standards as well.)
Todd Oppenheimer is the editor and publisher of Craftsmanship Quarterly, and the executive director of its nonprofit umbrella organization, The Craftsmanship Initiative.
© 2023 Todd Oppenheimer. All rights reserved. Under exclusive license to Craftsmanship, LLC. Unauthorized copying or republication of any part of this article is prohibited by law.