Authors Who Use Fountain Pens
In the late 1800’s, when Mark Twain produced some of his most famous works, fountain pens were still in their infancy. Founded in 1898 the Ohio-based Conklin Pen Company developed a noteworthy reputation for its Crescent-filling fountain pen that can hold its own ink and resist rolling off the table. Mark Twain was so excited by these advancements in writing technology that he became the company’s spokesperson.
The “King” of horror has so many thoughts on the craft of writing, he wrote a memoir about it called “On Writing.” On the back cover of the novel Dreamcatcher, Stephen King acknowledges “the world’s finest word processor, a Waterman cartridge fountain pen.” Particularly, he admitted affection toward the slim and elegant Waterman Hemisphere fountain pen. He was also known to have used pencils to write first drafts.
During World War I, Hemingway was seriously injured and sent to the town of Bassano del Grappa to recover. There, he would find the inspiration to write one of his most famous novels, “A Farewell to Arms.” Coincidentally, Hemingway was stationed in the same town as Italy’s first fountain pen factory - Montegrappa. His influence is still present in Montegrappa limited editions that bear his name and literary legacy.
British Prime Minister Winston Churchill always, to paraphrase a quote of his, “earned his living by his pen.” And those pens would also be made in England. He would write with Conway Stewart, Mabie, Todd & Baird, and Onoto fountain pens.
The imaginative mind behind the fantasy classic Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien approached writing whatever was accessible to him at the time. During the war, he would sometimes write first drafts in pencil, then edit in red ink. He also used a typewriter as they became more readily available. When he wrote in Elvish script or drew maps of Middle Earth, he often used a dip pen fitted with an Esterbrook #314 nib.
The influential horror writer known for the “Cthulhu mythos,” spent hours selecting a new fountain pen once his previous pen wore out. According to an anecdote written by his longtime friend Frank Belknap Long, Lovecraft appreciated small stationery objects as things of great beauty. His requirements for a fountain pen concentrated on consistent ink flow and smoothness of the nib. He preferred black Waterman fountain pens with little to no decorative adornment.