I don’t actually know Kyle Cassidy but I admire his photography and I read his blog and I covet his coffin coffee table.

A few weeks back he held a contest on his blog giving away some of his fountain pens to penless writers, and to participate you had to take photos of your journals or whatnot & post a sample of your writing.

I thought, Hey, I’m a fountain penless writer! When I write by hand I write in Sharpie!

And then I thought, I am way too shy for this.

Then I said to myself, Erin, why don’t you find an alternative method of procuring a fountain pen if you really want one? Because sometimes I can be quite logical.

But of course I wanted a vintage one, because old things have more story in them and vintage pens seem inherently cooler and more writerly than shiny new ones.

So not really knowing where else to look, I did an Etsy vintage search and happened upon a very cheap, condition unknown green Esterbrook J series fountain pen that had been found at an estate sale. I went ahead and ordered it, thinking it would probably need massive overhaul and wondering what kind of seedy world of vintage pen afficionados I was getting myself into.

Pen arrived with a fair amount of dried blue ink but once it was cleaned and re-inked (in grey, because I became instantly enamored with the idea of writing in grey ink rather than blue or black or sienna or whatnot) it was in perfect working order.

I am now wondering why I had never thought to get a fountain pen before because it is brilliant and magical. I don’t know the history of this particular pen prior to its ending up on Etsy, but I know it’s older than me by a fair amount and it likely had its fair share of adventures before it ended up here in Salem, writing down revision notes about nocturnal circuses.

Within days of writing with it I reworked the entire ending of the revised version of the novel and untangled several troublesome plot points. If this thing ever gets published, remind me to thank Kyle Cassidy in the acknowledgments.

fountain pen 1

fountain pen 2


Paul · March 11, 2010 at 8:51 am

The pen looks gorgeous – and what a brilliant find on Etsy! I rather love the idea of grey ink, too: I’d never thought of it before, but it sounds a softer and more reflective colour than the usual ones. Yay – I’m really glad that it’s working so well for you.

Steph/seenonflickr · March 11, 2010 at 10:14 am


I loved my fountain pen when I was in France, but haven’t really kept up with them here. (My plastic fountain pen, that is.)

fountain pen number two « erin's emporium of discount dreams & well-worn wonders · April 29, 2010 at 5:31 pm

[…] Remember back in March when I got my very first vintage fountain pen? […]

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