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Fountain pen enthusiasts come from an unlikely age group
Flowery Branch students enjoy old-fashioned pens
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Using Apache Sunset Noodler’s ink, Christopher Spradlin wrote a humorous, encouraging note to his friends before AP exam testing last May. - photo by Amy McDonald

Everyone has their utensil of choice: mechanical pencil, ballpoint pen, wooden pencil. Or fountain pen?

The old-fashioned pens are making a comeback in popularity, starting with a handful of students at Flowery Branch High School.

For these friends, it’s not so much about the clothes you wear, but the pen you write with.

Growing from a hobby of junior Christopher Spradlin, the passion for fountain pens has been spreading since spring.

“I got into fountain pens through my love for regular pens and pencils,” Spradlin said.

He is always on the lookout for interesting writing tools wherever he goes, but knew he had found something great when he stumbled across fountain pens.

“I like fountain pens because they are super personalizable … their smoothness and styles make them more special than anything else,” he said.

His favorite pens are the Lamy Vista, Lamy Safari and Twsbi Vac 700, though he has several more.

“I learned (about fountain pens) from friends,” Spradlin’s classmate Hayden Shedd said.

Shedd is also a junior at Flowery Branch and has the Lamy All-star limited edition for 2015.

Instead of coming in an identical pack of 20 to be thrown out after using one, fountain pens have a multitude of ways they can be tailored to fit different people’s preferences in their writing experience.

They also have the ability to change and adapt as writing preference evolves.

Unlike a ballpoint pen, fountain pens can be refilled with ink and adapt the way they write by changing the “nib,” or the tip where the ink comes out.

Inks come in all colors and types, from plain black and blue to deep greens and reds with golden flecks.

The most popular brand is Noodler’s Ink, which adds a level of fun by adding significant or humorous names to their ink colors.

“My favorite ink is 54th Massachusetts because of the history and it’s bulletproof,” Shedd said.

The 54th Massachusetts ink is a Noodler’s Ink, so called because it is light blue in color, honoring the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment in the Civil War, the first all-black regiment in U.S. history.

“Bulletproof” is a term Noodler’s uses for inks that are especially fraud-resistant and can withstand water, UV rays, bleach and other such events that would ruin normal inks.

“I like (fountain pens) because they look cool, they write super smoothly and (have) unique writing patterns,” Shedd said.

Part of the unique style comes from the nib a pen has.

Nibs come in a large variety, but are more proprietary than inks; certain types and brands of pens can only take nibs designed for that same type of nib.

Variations in how hard the metallic nib is and how wide can create different effects. Wider nibs give the appearance of calligraphy-style writing.

“There should be an appreciation because of their rich history and amazing engineering.” Spradlin said.

Among this handful of students, fountain pens have become as much of a statement as shoes are to others, with their old-fashioned class and sophistication.

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