The phrase “student fountain pen” doesn’t get thrown around as much as it once did, but there still exists a whole class of fountain pens known as “student” pens.
What is a student pen? What makes one good? What are the best student fountain pens today, at a time when much fewer people are actually learning to write using a fountain pen.
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Few people would argue that one of the main draws to fountain pens is the amazing variety of inks on offer. This selection can quickly go from an allure to a curse when the paradox of choice sets in and you are presented with literally hundreds of shades of blue, all of which are relatively affordable and easy to access.
If you don’t quit fountain pens right at that moment you are presented with an interesting dilemma: how can I test inks? Taking things to their logical conclusion, we here at Unsharpen further asked, “How can we test fountain pens inks cheaply, efficiently, and accurately?”
Here’s what we’ve found…
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The Classic K200 is one of Pelikan’s entry level ballpoint pens. This is, of course, a luxury pen so the retail price of this pen will still be well north of $120, but this is on the low side for Pelikan’s ballpoints — which are generally more affordable than the company’s fountain pens.
The K200 is the companion ballpoint to the M200 fountain pen. (Learn more about Pelikan’s naming conventions.)
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One of the finest European rollerball refills if the Pelikan 338. This is metal-bodied refill designed for Pelikan’s rollerball pens, but it will fit many extended rollerball families, like Pentel’s LR and Pilot G2 due to it’s neutral shape and lack of any odd features.
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The Pelikan 337 is a standard Parker-style G2 refill with a metal body. It adheres to ISO 12757-2 standard, which is the guideline for ballpoint pen refills.
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