A fountain pen is a writing implement that grows on you over the years past your first encounter. And that first encounter is something of a game. Which manufacturer, which model, which nib size? The game is not yet decided. And fountain pens possess such individuality that even two of the same nib size, the same model, and from the same maker may well feel totally different in your hand and in the results on paper.
Once you have purchased and started to use a pen, you may feel that its writing touch is not comfortable enough, so the game continues. As you keep using the pen, letting the nib run over the paper for three months, half a year, three years, the pen will adapt to the owner’s writing habits and transform itself into an easy writing instrument. A fountain pen is a writing implement that responds to change.
I have seven fountain pens on my desk that have grown on me, and whose writing feel has nicely peaked. I have more than thirty pens hibernating in the drawer of my desk, to which I gave a lot of love but somehow they never followed my whims. Those that have performed for me are a part of me now, and feel at one with my hand, my heart, and my will.
When I develop a writing plan at my computer and neither great ideas nor rhetoric will come, I pick up a fountain pen. The pen responds without fail to my loneliness, my passion—I could even say my desires find expression more readily in the stroke of a pen than the tap of a key. The sentences keep coming, smoothly, as the fountain pen takes off across the paper. My mind asks, “If I had missed meeting up with this pen that day, would I have felt this richness, this burst of life, that I feel in the sentences I’m writing?”
A good fountain pen becomes a supreme writing implement, each and every time, once you have successfully trained it. Is there any such a fountain pen for you? How do you encounter the right one?
The fountain pens by Eboya are all handmade. No two pens made by Eboya are the same—ever. They make and sell their pens only by order. An Eboya pen is completely handcrafted according to each customer’s wishes. Eboya craftspeople handcraft their fountain pens one by one at the company’s workshop in the traditional working-class Arakawa neighborhood of Tokyo.
One of Eboya’s suppliers is Nikko Ebonite. Ebonite is the world’s first synthetic resin, generated by heat treatment of a mix of natural rubber and sulfur. Ebonite has been used for the holder, barrel, or core of a fountain pen since the 1880s when the fountain pen was invented. Ebonite has superior properties, is acid- and alkaline-resistant, so is not corroded by ink. It features a unique combination of hardness and flexibility, making for excellent grip that combines strength and comfort.
Some people hold that when it comes to fountain pens, the nib is everything. And it is difficult to argue with this. The nib is the heart of a fountain pen, equivalent to the engine of a car. And an Eboya fountain pen comes with a 14-karat gold nib. The thicknesses of the nibs available, in terms of the thickness of line they draw, run from bold (B) to middle (M), middle fine (MF), fine (F), to extra-fine (EF). The size of the nib itself can be even changed according to the barrel size. Furthermore, the shop can adjust the nib to be harder or softer.
As for the color variations of the main barrel, marble is the basic pattern. Other available colors are black and bitter orange, black and yellow, black and green, black and yellowish green, black and red, black and dark blue, and black and ivory-white. You can choose any type of ink take-up such as a regular cartridge & converter, a button filler (rare these days), and the ink-stop style, which is difficult to handle and now virtually unseen.
Just as a car needs more than just an engine, there is more to a pen than just a nib. The pen core is the main channel, feeding the ink in the barrel to the nib. The pen core is important in the way that a car not supplied with gasoline will not run.
Ebonite used to be employed for the pen cores of most fountain pens. This is because it is not corroded by ink. Few fountain pens’ cores are made of ebonite now, but a different synthetic resin. The reason why ebonite was first considered suitable for the pen core was that it made the ink run smoothly. As a factor in determining the quality of ink flow, how the ink adheres to the nib is also good indicator.
Of course, Eboya makes its fountain pens how the customer wants, but ebonite, and only the finest ebonite, is the default. All parts of the standard Eboya fountain pen are made of ebonite, including the barrel, equivalent to body of the car, or caps. A fountain pen by Eboya is truly a luxurious writing implement using ebonite, processed in-house, in abundance.
But how you encounter the ideal fountain pen is one of life’s games: a life episode. You hold it, feeling it snug in your hand thanks to the Ebonite barrel. A fountain pen is a writing implement that you grow with over the years following that initial and fortunate encounter. That sensation of intimate snugness is a miniature dopamine reaction in the brain, triggering the release of that comforting hormone and a corresponding rush of what the writer feels as inspiration. So when the nib is just the size for you, and the balance of hardness and softness is optimum, clasping a pen of this quality stirs pleasant sub-consciousness feelings. There’s no need to put up with a pen that doesn’t quite do it for you when there are those available that make writing one of life’s daily pleasures.
A fountain pen is a writing implement that thrives on change. It’s a writing asset all of your own, and that becomes more a part of you as time goes by. This is what really makes a fountain pen by Eboya, with ebonite, worth possessing. However, that excellent material, ebonite, has in many cases come to be replaced by other synthetic resins. Why is that? Let’s look at the reasons for this in Part 2.
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