Traveling is great. Fountains are great. The difficulty arises when you try to combine the two.
Traveling With Fountain Pens
My Favorite Pen Today
My Favorite Pen - Today
Earlier this week I inked a pen for the first time. This is a pen I have owned for a long time, purchased years ago from Bittner at the DC Pen Show. The pen is pictured above -- an OMAS 360 in beautiful bright yellow (my favorite pen color). It is #59 of a total of 68 produced. It has a beautiful 18K medium nib. It is not my only OMAS nor my only 360. The others have all been used. So why not this pen?
For those who are unfamiliar with the pen, it is an oversized pen but a very light pen. It has an unusual shape. I have described it as a triangle and it is, but it is a curvilateral triangle based on the intersection of three equal circles at their midpoints. The pen was originally designed by Italian architect and designer Stefano Bini. I originally saw a 360 during my first trip to Paris about 15 years ago. I was at the beginning of my fountain pen accumulation days and wanted a pen to remind me of my trip. My choice came down to an S.T. DuPont Olympio and the 360. Two beautiful pens, but the decision was made for the DuPont because it was French and I was in Paris after all. (On my first trip to Italy I purchased a Visconti Van Gogh, again not choosing the OMAS.)
The 360 demands that I hold the pen precisely -- and precisely in the manner decided by the designer. It turns out this is the perfect way for me to hold a pen. Unlike the Lamy Safari, I never get cramps from the 360. The nib is smooth. It never skips no matter how rapidly I write my ugly cursive. The piston filler holds plenty of ink.
So why had I never filled and written with it over all these years? Because it was/is too beautiful. It is a work of perfection. I would periodically take it out and hold it in my hand. I would look at it from all different angles. I would admire the nib (one of the prettiest of nibs).
So why have I inked it now? I retired at the end of 2019 and I am delving more into my pen collection, trying to understand what I have collected -- and why I derive such great pleasure from my pens. There are a handful of pens I have not ever inked because I love them too much. There are other pens I love that I ink frequently. I have decided to reflect on each category -- and reflecting on the wonderful yellow OMAS I determined that I had to use it now because, if I were to die today, I would feel incomplete not having seen ink flow from its nib.
Why I Started Collecting Pens
I started collecting pens for a reason that had nothing to do with writing. It had to do with travel and bringing home souvenirs. A friend had told me how he brings home a pen - they are small, they frequently had the location embossed on the body, and they could be useful. That sounded reasonable to me.
Then I started looking at pens beyond the hotel room variety. And I discovered that some pens are more fun to write with than are others.