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Thread: First fountain pen and a question ...

  1. #1

    Default First fountain pen and a question ...

    I was at an antique store today and found a fountain pen. I had heard of Waterman pens and as it was brand new, with a cartridge, and with the converter for $20, I figured I couldn't go too wrong. When I got home, I did some research and I think this model is called the Phileas, but I'm not positive on that. It has a fine nib, which is still much broader than what I'm accustomed to (Pilot G2 .38). Out of curiosity I thought I'd try writing with the pen upside down to see what would happen. By upside down I mean just rotating the pen in my hand 180 degrees so that the engraved portion of the nib is facing the paper. To my surprise, the line was much, much thinner and suddenly became more than tolerable. It doesn't seem to skip or start slowly. But ... is it bad for the pen or the nib to write upside down? As this is my first pen, I really have no idea. Any advice would be welcome.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Central Maryland, USA


    It's perfectly fine to write with a fountain pen upside down, just be prepared for odd looks from others when you do it. Some nibs out there are specifically designed to have a certain look to the line in one orientation and quite another when held upside down.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006
    houston, texas


    Also, make sure you use very little pressure when using a fountain pen (in either orientation). Unlike with a ball point, a fountain pen only needs to touch the paper in order to lay down ink. Using more pressure will leave a wider line than it should, and may even damage the nib.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    SF Bay Area/Davis (depending on which day it is)


    Yes, that is a Phileas. Its a great pen, and generally considered a standard. I'm guessing you'll be happy with it. I'm would be happy with mine except SWMBO keeps "borrowing" it.

    As the other poster wrote, it shouldn't be a problem (in fact, I've done this with my Phileas before) and some pens are designed for it. I'm sure someone will correct me if I'm wrong, but I seem to remember reading a review of a Churchill that said it went from a broad to a fine when flipped over. Nothing like utility!
    A shave, please, but don't cut my throat. I may want to do it later myself.
    - Casey Stengel

  5. #5

    Default Nibs

    Gold nibs will conform to your writing style. No problem turning the nib to achieve the desired line styles: this is actually an art form. There is a great book on landscape drawing, by Chip Sullivan I believe, that advocates drawing with gold nib fountain pens and learning how to change line widths and depths by manipulating the pen.

  6. #6
    Thread Starter


    Great! Thanks for the confirmation. I figured nothing horrible would happen, but I thought it best to check. Thanks again!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    North Carolina


    I loved my Waterman Phileas, great pen for the money. However, I left it in a restaurant a year ago and haven't seen it since. To bad they recently stopped making them....

    I am hunting something in that price range/quality to carry daily that is a good pen that I don't mind carrying around and possibly loosing.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Redlands, CA


    I've got a Lamy Safari waiting for me at home that I picked up for $30. I can post up a review of that. Only problem is that it's a bit plasticky looking. I think the Pelikan M100 is in the same range. The best way to do it is really to find a good older pen like BrianDiPalma did, an attractive and well-functioning pen at a great price.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Washington, DC


    The Phileas is a good pen. I just recently inherited one that my grandfather used and like it pretty well. It does feel a little to light for my taste, but that's more or less accidental. If you're into a very fine line, the Lamy Studio EF is a good choice. It happens to be my favorite pen. Anyway, good luck with the Phileas!

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