I’ve been asked, what’s the best beginner fountain pen?
As with anything, it’s a matter of preference. And like fashion, pens are where you find them. There are excellent pens at all price points.
Take, for instance, Spanish brand Inoxcrom, founded in 1955.
During its heyday it was largest and leading brand in Spain and its products were marketed in 80 countries. Its pens and other stationery were the default choices of Spanish students for decades. However, the Barcelona-based company fell upon hard financial times after the death of its founder, Manuel Vaque Ferrandis, in 2003. As of September 11 this year, the company is said to be in liquidation.
Despite its corporate woes, Inoxcrom produced a good-quality line of pens that were sturdy and reliable. The student pens are made of plastic barrels, caps, etc. with stainless-steel nibs.
This is the “Panda” fountain pen from the “Nature” collection. There are ten animals in the set: cow, cat, mouse, ram, donkey, penguin, chick, dolphin, toucan, panda. As far as I can find out, the collection was released in 2007.
Inexpensive pens such as Inoxcrom are great for experimenting with. In this pen, I’m running my own blend of ink – “Old Rose” – made of 9 parts Diamine Cerise and one part Parker Quink Black, more or less. I’m not sure I can duplicate this exact shade, which I can’t find among bottled brands. Anyway, ink blending is part of the fun of being an FP user.
The notebook is Moleskine. The nib is cooperative, no matter what kind of ink I fill the cartridge with. The text is something I made up after the manner of Sei Shonagon.
Inoxcrom pens from 2007 and older were made in Europe; from 2008 onward, they were made in China.
If you ask me, I’d tell you to buy all the Inoxcrom you can get your hands on, seeing as the company is insolvent and this could be the end of their marvelous colorful reliable products. There still might be some stock at Fully Booked and National Bookstore in Manila.
Photo taken with an iPhone 4S.