Before pens were sold for $2 a dozen, people would buy a fountain pen once and use it their entire lives. The longer you use the pen, the more it becomes customized to your hand. The nib wears in to the way you write and the way you hold the pen. The fountain pen, and particularly the nib, is a precision instrument. It employs a delicate capillary action to make the steady, tiny stream of ink that marks your strokes. You can’t just solder a pair of tines together, stuff it into a hollow tube and expect the inter-molecular attractive force between the liquid ink in the cartridge and the solid of the paper to turn your scrawl into words. Making a good nib takes a master’s hand, and Caran d’Ache has been at this for nearly a century. The nib for this pen is made with stainless steel using a process that combines experience with very precisely calibrated machinery. The craftsmen who make the nibs are sworn to secrecy, but we do know that vintage Caran d’Ache nibs have outlasted the lives of their original owners. And the body of the pen is made to outlast even the nib. Caran d’Ache makes these all-metal pens with the fewest number of moving parts to minimize the possibility of breaking. The body is plated in silver, then coated with rhodium, a rare noble metal that never tarnishes. The attractiveness of the classic interlocking engraving and hexagonal shape will last even longer.
Caran d'Ache fountain pens work interchangeably with both pump and ink cartridges. The pump, which comes standard with the fountain pen, draws ink into the reservoir through the nib with a vacuum action. When buying ink for a refill, keep to those made specifically for fountain pens. India inks and the like have high solid contents and will clog your nib. Alternatively, you can replace the pump with a less fussy cartridge, a tube filled with ink that clicks into the base of the pen. Cartridges are available from Kaufmann Mercantile. The nib for this pen is stiffer than those used in centuries past when everyone wanted a soft nib with which to write elaborate flourishes and curlicues. Nevertheless, the pen should still be held very lightly. Unlike ballpoint pens, no pressure is needed to coax the ink onto the paper, and pressing too hard can bend nibs. It is less of a danger for this nib than a gold-tipped calligraphic pen, but it is worth keeping in mind when you've got a fountain pen in your hand.
The original version of this pen, hexagonal, all-metal, and guilloche engraved, was first made in 1930, hot on the heels of Caran d'Ache's invention of the first all-metal mechanical pencil, and just a year after they opened their doors as an independent company. At the wane of the complete disruption of everyday activities during World War II, Caran d'Ache began making these pens again when the design was selected by the officers of the U.S. Armed Forces Headquarters in Germany. With an initial run of just 1000, this pen heralded Caran d'Ache's return to industrial manufacturing. All pens are made at the Caran d'Ache factory in Geneva, Switzerland.
Guilloche engraved, silver-plated body coated in tarnish-proof rhodium. Stainless steel nib. Can be used either as a pump or with ink cartridges. Refills available. Made in Switzerland with a lifetime warranty. Ships free. (more info)
Silver/Rhodium Fountain Pen
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