- January 15, 2021
- 8 minutes read
Ballpoint or ink pen? Convenience vs. tradition
The eternal dispute between the traditionalists and the supporters of novelties, this time in the subject of the usability of pens. Classic elegance demanding more attention or comfort of use with tradition in the background? How to choose a perfect pen for yourself?
To paraphrase the famous quote from Time magazine, found in the review of J.K. Rowling’s cult series about the adventures of Harry Potter:
If you think that in the age of computers the art of writing has disappeared, especially among children, it’s a sure sign that you’re a muggle!
Both at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and in our traditional Polish school, writing is still important. In everyday life, despite the ubiquity of computers, laptops and smartphones, we also use this art. Pens are an extremely popular and inexpensive means of writing, but it is the pen that provides chic and elegance. When signing a contract with a notary public, making a contract with a client or putting a signature on a marriage certificate, it is definitely more elegant to use a pen. On the market you will find a lot of their types. To decide on the best one for us, let us first consider the basic division: ink or ballpoint pen?
A traditional pen, the one in which liquid ink flows into the nib, is called a fountain pen. It is an instrument with a long history. Fountain pens replaced goose pens and were an unquestionable breakthrough in the history of writing. Beautiful, unique and elegant. Perfect for a gift. They are great for calligraphy and shaping handwriting. A fountain pen is undoubtedly an object with character. In the past, ink was available only in two basic colors: black and blue. Today we have a much broader spectrum to choose from, including fancy emeralds, turquoise or gold
Writing with a pen is an art – so it requires proper technique, attention, and practice. If you don’t use a fountain pen properly, you may break the nib or make an unsightly blob on the page. Running out of ink can also make our hands dirty, which will eventually soil paper and clothes. Refilling the pen with ink or replacing the cartridges is also not a very clean job
The traditional pen was designed for right-handed people. Today, there are special pens for left-handed people, but it still shows that it is not an absolutely universal writing instrument. A fountain pen is not a cheap product, but it is definitely a product worth its price.
A simplified version of a fountain pen, where the traditional nib has been removed and replaced with a rounded tip, is the ballpoint pen. It looks much more like a ballpoint pen and a layman will not notice the visual difference between these products. The ballpoint pen still needs to be refilled with ink and… actually, this is where its main similarities to a fountain pen end
A ballpoint pen does not get dirty, there is practically no risk of staining it – neither on paper nor on your fingers or clothes. It is also much more comfortable to use. In the case of this pen, the writing technique, the smoothness and speed of noting do not play an important role. Because of the smaller amount of ink dispensed, fresh text does not smear as easily as when writing with a fountain pen. All these features make a ballpoint pen a good writing instrument for pupils and students who want to take notes efficiently.
The price is very different – we can find cheaper and more expensive models but, as a rule, it is cheaper than a classic pen but also more expensive than a ballpoint pen. Tradition with a modern, and therefore functional, twist.
Traditional or modern
When deciding on a pen for yourself or for your loved ones, first of all you need to take into account its intended use. When choosing a pen for an adult with a beautiful handwriting or aspiring to develop in calligraphy, for an exclusive gift or a keepsake for many years, a fountain pen is a definite favorite. The possibility to personalize the nib, for example, by choosing its color or engraving, is an excellent asset of this item
On the other hand, an excellent choice for a gift for a child on the occasion of starting school or for a future student is a ballpoint pen. Elegant finish, durability, possibility of changing the ink color are also advantages, which cannot be expected from a regular pen. Let’s match the pen to our requirements, and then, regardless of its type, it will serve us for a long time.