Before trying out fountain pens

Go to the Fountain Pen network, look at pictures and ask questions.

You will see the pens that look pleasant to you then ask question about it.

You will find out the pen average street price and where to get it.

You will also find out how the pen fills, besides cartridge/converter fountain pens, there are piston fillers (essentially a pen which all body is a converter) and eyedroppers (a pen with a hollow body that is refilled using a eyedropper and bottle ink, it has a mechanism to keep the ink flowing in the section which can fail and leak all over the place.
The best pens for everyday use are cartridge/converter pens.

The converter allows to use much cheaper bottled ink and a box of cartridge can be used for travel.

Ebay is full of scammers, many target pen buyers because it is easy to use a blurred/enhanced/retouched pictures, lie about the condition of the pen, jack up shipping charges and swap a nice pen for a beat up one and claim ignorance.

It is much better to buy in pen stores, stationery and office supplies stores where Lamy and Waterman pens are usually available.
This way you can try them on, or at least hold them.

If one lives in a fountain pen no man's land.
There are a couple of online pen shop I can recommend.
Sam and Frank have a store in Fort Madison, Iowa and a web site.
They have been the most pleasant to deal with via web transactions, even
complicated ones, and in person at pen shows.
Pamela Huynh provided great customer service when I ordered from her on a couple of occasion.
I never ordered from Chuck online store but I dealt with him at a pen show and he is very pleasant.

There are also pen shows.
Many people are raving about them but I would say to a beginner, buyer beware.

Most pen show attendees are pen dealers, some are passionate collectors/traders especially of vintage pens.
There are also nib masters whose tables usually have long lines, avoid them. They are here to cater to their local wealthy clients who drop their fancy pens for adjustment, they have no time for a beginner.

The great think about pen shows, is the ink table, many ink manufacturers offer a bottle of each of their ink colors and vendors have dip pens and nice fountain pen friendly paper to try on.

It is a nice place to sit, grab a piece of paper select your favorite ink color and try them on.
One can keep the page of ink sampling and buy on site if living nearby or driving or buy the preferred ink at a future date.

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Second as to listed sellers

I've done business with Pendemonium, Swisher and Paradise. Everything arrived in good time, well packaged, and as described. I second your praise.

I've also done business with Mostly sells Chinese low-cost pens, also carries full line of Lamy and Pelikan. Excellent guy to do business with.

Also Pear Tree Pen Company

Pear Tree Pen Company is excellent. Their "Write Fill" kit is incredibly handy, and you can't beat their Ink Sample program.

I've also used and was pleasantly surprised at how nice some of the 'economy' Chinese pens are.

Swisher is also first class. I'm lucky enough to have family living within a couple of miles of their store, so I get to drop in on a regular basis. Great people.

Try a few inexpensive ones



Both sites have several fountain pens under $10

I use a few of them myself and love them.

"I think the surest sign that there is intelligent life out there in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." (Calvin and Hobbes/Bill Waterson) ***

Go to a fountain pen show

Google on "fountain pen show"

There is a big one in DC weekend after next, and others around the world.

Pendemonium is going to the DC show, then one in Dallas, then one in London.
"I think the surest sign that there is intelligent life out there in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." (Calvin and Hobbes/Bill Waterson) ***