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This article on How the ballpoint pen killed cursive (via andrewducker) reminds me of something.

I did a single year in London pre-tertiary education, in first year secondary school. One of the many differences between that and my otherwise mostly US-based early formal education was that the school required us to have a fountain pen. My parents bought me a cheap basic school model, refilled with cartridges like everyone else. It was meant for more formal writing situations (with ballpoints allowed in less formal situations), but I found it awkward since I hadn't ever used one before that. As I know from later usage, better-quality fountain pens can be lovely to write with; this one wasn't.

But that's not the point. I haven't heard anyone discuss fountain pens outside the realm of specialist love and practice since then.

Are fountain pens still used in the UK educational system anywhere, or have they fallen by the wayside in the intervening decades?

(My own pen-love has largely settled on superfine felt-tips these days.)


Sep. 1st, 2015 07:19 am (UTC)
It's a few years since I left the Civil Service, but there were certainly a number of people - mostly senior officials - who kept a fountain pen specifically for 'writing off' documents - and I suspect that if fountain pens are used at all in schools it will be by senior teachers for much the same purpose. Pupils not so much. Though I learned with a dip pen (actually I have a vague feeling that I may be old enough to have used chalk and a slate for very early writing experience) and still have a supply of both fountain pens and dip pens for calligraphic work (a legacy of art college) I doubt that schools use them much.

I expect that there are a number of people around today who (inspired by Harry Potter) know how to use a quill pen.