Fountain pens will make you smarter

Yes, using fountain pens will make you smarter. Also, it turns out that using pencils and ballpoints will make you smarter too. However, I want to talk about fountain pens in particular because they are nostalgic, creative, fun and comfy to write with.

As to the "smarter" assertion, we'll just drag in some scientific findings here. According to an article published earlier this year in Psychology Today:

Handwriting stimulates complex brain connections essential in encoding new information and forming memories.

Research shows students who take notes by hand score better on tests than those who type notes.

People who write calendar events by hand are more likely to remember them later.

OK, well and good, but why fountain pens? Won't any ballpoint make you smarter? Sure, but you can go to your favorite dining establishment where they serve exactly what you want the way you want it, or you can go to Bills Beefy Burgers. Not to put too fine a point on it...they both fill you up.

Fountain pens come in all sizes and shapes. Smaller, narrower fountain pens are easier to hold in smaller hands. Larger hands, and perhaps hands suffering from arthritis, would be happier with thicker pens. Most fountain pens glide across the paper with the greatest of ease, compared to the gloppy, sticky ink in many ballpoints that drag and force you to press harder.

Consider the aesthetics. Some modern pens are faithful reproductions of the classic pens of the 1920s, 30s, and 40s. They make you feel grand, like you are in a Humphrey Bogart movie. Know any ballpoints that do that? Other fountain pens are made of exotic resins and modern plastics bursting with eye-popping patterns and colors-just gorgeous. A Chinese company, Hongdian, makes Asian-motif pens writhing with metal dragons or becalmed with delicate cloisonne scenes, usually in the range of $35.

Inks for your pens are not boring and ordinary as found in the typical ballpoint pen. There are hundreds of colors you can put into your pen. Some have glitter or sheens. Some are scented. They come with fantastic, even outrageous names like Jacques Herbin 1670 Emerald of Chivor, or Noodler's Heart of Darkness. Know any ballpoints that have inks like that?

You can spend a lot for a fountain pen. You can spend hundreds of dollars. You can spend thousands of dollars. Alternatively, you can spend $10, $20, or $30 and get a fine fountain pen. Dip your toe in the water with a Pilot Varsity for about $3.50-loaded with ink and ready to go. Toss it when you are done. Or perhaps a highly regarded Platinum Preppy for about $6. This pen can be refilled with ink cartridges in a range of colors.

I have a Pilot Metropolitan. It is a relatively small aluminum fountain pen-svelte, minimalist, well made, writes wonderfully. It comes in a range of colors and a choice of two nib sizes, fine or medium. $30. Can't beat it.

I admit to having five or six fountain pens that I have accumulated in recent years, but I am hardly a collector. And fountain pen collectors are way more fun than you might imagine. Look for them and their formal and informal associations on YouTube, Facebook and Reddit, among other places. They are supremely excited about their latest pen, nib or ink acquisition and they really want to talk about it. They are variously humorous, laconic, professor-like, plodding, or entertaining. Once they are done exclaiming and demonstrating in detail the virtues of some stunning new pen they just acquired, you might think to yourself, "Gee, that's beautiful, and it costs no more than a dinner for two. I wonder what it's like to write with." Those guys are dangerous.

Want to know more? Check out The Goulet Pen Company online. They also have dozens of entertaining fountain pen reviews and educational presentations on YouTube. Another solid company online is Jet Pens, also with lots of fountain pens to peruse and information to consider. Check out local art supply stores and office supply places for their fountain pen knowledge and holdings.

Next thing you know, you'll be hunting down a bottle of Diamine Shimmering Seas for your Esterbrook Limited Edition Camden-Oktoberfest. Could happen.

Lawrence D. Weiss is a UAA Professor of Public Health, Emeritus, creator of the UAA Master of Public Health program, and author of several books and numerous articles.

Author Bio

Lawrence D. Weiss is a UAA Professor of Public Health, Emeritus, creator of the UAA Master of Public Health program, and author of several books and numerous articles.