Thursday, February 24

Victorian Technological Aesthetics

About a year ago, an acquaintance introduced me to using fountain pens. Fountain pens are not a high tech invention, but are very often finely crafted mechanical marvels. Just not from the 20th (or 21st) century. In the age of the iPod, PDAs, and cell-phone/cameras I find they still have an (increased) attraction.

If you can keep track of and not lose your pen, you can refill and re-use a fountain pen indefinitely. Non-disposability has its own appeal. Writing with it connects you with the whole pre-ballpoint era, back to the founding fathers (and before) with their quill pens. A good fountain pen has finely engraved metal, is machined to fine tolerances, and writes smoothly and well. I still find it amazing for instance, that the groove cut in the nib is cut with a stone cutting wheel. Now granted some people, collectors, take the whole thing to a different arena (financially as well) which interests me little. I like the feel and the idea of using the pens, nothing more. A good well maintained bicycle has some of the same appeal. It is a simple machine, but made to work well, with fine tolerances. What my liking for both indicates about me, I don't know, but there it is.

But, I really do need to work on making my handwriting more legible.

For more on fountain pens, I found this site useful.