Gransnet forums


Fountain pen versus the modern day Computer.

(29 Posts)
Panache Wed 11-Apr-18 09:17:19

As a lonely young child living deep in the countryside with no siblings or nearby friends of my age,writing became my saviour and great joy,eventually finding penpals not only in this country but abroad.
How I loved and eagerly awaited the arrival of the small red post van daily,hoping and praying he would deliver a letter, so that I could not only enjoy reading the contents but could sit at my little desk up in my bedroom,fountain pen poised ready to write back by return!
There seemed a constant flow to write about!!
I always insisted on using a fountain pen and have never taken to using anything else, and certainly no biros,always taking as much great pride in my presentation as to the contents.
Of course I am talking about life many moons ago,long before the Computer became so popular and an everyday piece of kit in most homes.
I still insisted on writing my letters by hand up until fairly recently, as I would handwrite all thank you notes etc, but with age and disability I am afraid eventually the computer has transformed my life........and my writing.
Personally I am saddened that I cannot manage a long drawn out hand written letter any longer, but nevertheless thankfully embrace a machine that helps me continue with my love of writing..... which it seems never diminishes!!
So what are your thoughts on the fountain pen versus a modern day computer?I am sure there will be some vast and varied thoughts.

Daddima Wed 11-Apr-18 09:32:09

I love my fountain pens, and still have a couple of friends I correspond with, and to me getting a ‘real’ letter is much better than email.

Panache Wed 11-Apr-18 09:37:58

I could not agree more ............though as you will understand there sometimes comes a time when the hands are not as flexible as they once were!!

Chewbacca Wed 11-Apr-18 09:40:48

Completely agree with you Panache. No computer generated letter can compare to the beauty of a well crafted letter, written on a good weight of paper and a fountain pen. There's something about having to sit down and physically think about what you're saying whilst you're writing; the letters, words and sentences and what it is that your saying and how to express yourself; no chance to "backspace, copy or paste". A handwritten letter has now become such a rarity that it's a thing to treasure. I rather miss the old pale blue Air Mail letters that i used to send and receive from my pen pal in Limbang, Sarawak when i was a young girl.

Marydoll Wed 11-Apr-18 09:59:11

I too agree about fountain pens. I used to buy bottles of different coloured Quink ink. My particular favourite was It made me feel very sophisticated and grown up.
There is something very appealing about receiving a letter written in ink.
I still have my mother's fountain pen, she used over sixty years ago as a ward sister.
My DH, however, wouldn't agree. He is a left hander and was always getting belted at school for smudging the ink.sad

Teetime Wed 11-Apr-18 10:03:41

I agree about fountain pens but sadly OA in my hands makes any kind of writing other than with a nice fat pen difficult. Thank heaven for word processing.

MamaCaz Wed 11-Apr-18 10:34:25

As a cuddy wifter (or 'cuddly winter' according to auto-correct grin), writing with a fountain pen resulted in smudged ink on both paper and my hand, so much as I loved the idea of writing with one, I soon realized that it was a non-starter for me.
On top of that, my handwriting has never been particularly neat, so I now prefer the keyboard and am just as happy to receive someone's news via text or email as I am by handwritten letter.

All that said, I do like to send my DGC a handwritten postcard from time to time, and I know that they love receiving them.

Grandma70s Wed 11-Apr-18 10:48:30

I write, with various implements, a LOT. I write a diary by hand every day, and all cards and proper letters (the sort that go by post) are handwritten. My handwriting has deteriorated over the years, though. I write too quickly. This has been inherited by my grandson (just nine) who told me recently that he was the fastest writer in his form, but also the messiest.

How can a proper love letter be written other than by hand? Or anything at all creative? Do poets type their poems now? To me there seems a direct connection between the pen and the brain. Typing is a step removed.

MissAdventure Wed 11-Apr-18 11:06:49

I'm not much good with either a fountain pen or a computer.
I much prefer to write though, just with a ballpoint.

NanaandGrampy Wed 11-Apr-18 11:10:42

I'm with the majority , I love a fountain pen , and in fact have just bought my 11 year old granddaughter one .

Nothing can ever take the place of a handwritten letter, I agree Grandma70 something you have laboured over , written in ink or lovely paper exudes love :-)

travelsafar Wed 11-Apr-18 11:11:56

My daughter always smiles when i tell her i have recieved a letter from my oldest friend.There is nothing like the written word landing on the door mat as long as its good news. I save the letter till I sit with a cuppa and then read all her news.

Situpstraight Wed 11-Apr-18 11:13:03

I use both and would write letters more if the cost of posting them wasn’t so high, however, to pen pals I use the computer. I also send postcards to the GCs, I wish we still had cheaper postage for cards.

On the computer I use the Lucinda Handwriting font, change the colour to Blue and print it off on good quality paper and then post it.
I do sign it by hand though.
I find that I’m forever chopping and changing what I want to write, it’s easier to do this on a computer (and cheaper) and by the end of a long handwritten letter my handwriting is pretty bad. Plus I’ve got a copy to refer back to.
I rarely get replies though! They reply to me via email ?

Greyduster Wed 11-Apr-18 11:37:31

I have always loved writing letters too; when I left home I wrote long letters to family, friends, anyone who could read, basically!! Finding lovely writing papers became something of a hobby, especially when I worked in the West End of London which had wonderful stationery shops. When I got married and DH was away, we wrote massively long letters to each other. They kept us both going! The free Service ‘blueys’ (folding airmail letters) didn’t cut it - not enough space! I still have a good fountain pen DH gave me in the seventies - the last of many I have owned. I still use it for writing cards and the odd letter but have to admit that most of my ‘correspondences’ are digital these days. I think fountain pens improve children’s handwriting, but they don’t seem to be popular these days. When I was helping my GS was looking for a pen at their house recently, I was surprised to come across a fountain pen in his desk. I didn’t know he had one. I asked if he used it and he said “Mum thinks ink is too messy!” I think I will have to have a word.
As an aside, when I worked in the MOD I’m the sixties, I remember being told that I could use any colour ink in my pen except green, as only the Secretary of State for Defence was allowed to use green ink! Who knew? ?

Panache Wed 11-Apr-18 11:41:33

My word.............Greyduster you learn something new every thank you for informing to use green ink!!
Is it still available I ask?

goldengirl Wed 11-Apr-18 11:46:01

I love using a fountain pen - with purple ink! - and last year wrote all my diary notes with it. This year's diary has thinner paper and soaks in which is disappointing so it's back to a ball point. Also writing on envelopes in pen goes blotchy in the rain!! So for me it's a bit hit and miss but if push comes to shove I do prefer a 'proper' pen!

Marydoll Wed 11-Apr-18 11:50:30

I love the idea of purple ink.
I obviously had delusions of grandeur, when I used green ink all those years ago.

Greyduster Wed 11-Apr-18 12:47:36


Panache Wed 11-Apr-18 17:51:16

Purple is my favourite colour and there is not very much on me .........or around me!!.......that does not have this colour or near similar ,whilst I use Monotype Corsiva to type most of my work ,because it is the nearest look to my own once rather nice hand writing.
So great minds seem to think alike Situpstraight!!
There is always a way!!

M0nica Wed 11-Apr-18 19:13:51

I am dyspraxic, that means I have poor fine motor control and my hand writing always was - and remains appalling. My school days were made hideous because teachers were all trying to improve my hand writing, each insisting I do something different or taking off marks for poor writing.

The cause of my problems was not diagnosed until I was in my 40s when DS was referred for help for the same reasons.

For me the possession of, first, a manual typewriter, then an electric one and finally a computer has been a heaven sent relief. Essay writing is easier, also long newsy 'letters' to friends and family.

Computers are the best thing that ever happened to me, where communication through the written word is concerned.

phoenix Wed 11-Apr-18 19:33:17

There is a compromise, type the content of your letter on you computer, print it off and hand write the "Dear whoever" bit, and again hand write the "lots of love/best wishes/kind regards bit, then sign it and send it in the post!

Chewbacca Wed 11-Apr-18 21:39:47

That's cheating Phoenix! grin

lemongrove Wed 11-Apr-18 21:42:10

I used to write a lot of letters, but used a biro, in fact haven’t used a fountain pen since leaving school.
Yes, it’s lovely to have a letter through the post, but being able to sent a fast email to a friend is lovely too.It means I often get a fast response back.
I agree that a love letter can hardly be replaced with a text!
In short, both computer/ipad and paper and ink both have something to recommend them.

Chewbacca Wed 11-Apr-18 21:48:46

I'd settle for a love letter written in pencil and on the back of a parking fine lemon sad

Auntieflo Wed 11-Apr-18 22:16:06

I won a handwriting competion while in Junior school. I think we saved coupons/tokens from a national Childrens Newspaper. My handwriting quickly spoiled once at grammar school, as we had to take notes and write so quickly, and never recovered. My mother had beautiful handwriting until the end. I still have a fountain pen, but it is never used in these days of computers and emails. sad

Greyduster Thu 12-Apr-18 08:18:13

I also won a handwriting competition in juniors, Auntie Flo. The prize was National Savings Stamps to the tune of two shillings and sixpence! A lot of money in those days. ?. My writing now is shocking. I always marvelled at my father’s lovely even handwriting. Letters the same height and each word perfectly spaced. Born in 1904, he left school at the age of fourteen and I asked him once how come his handwriting was so near perfect. He said they had it knocked into them! I found one of his letters recently and it made me cry.