ecridor retro fountain pen

Marian ParsonsFavorite Things61 Comments

I used to spend my birthday money on clothes.  It just seemed like the thing to do.  Go out, do a little shopping, buy a few new things.  But, a few years ago, I realized that those clothes just got lost in the rotation of articles pulled from my closet when I needed something to wear.  I didn’t remember what I got for my birthday or what I bought when I needed or wanted something.  My birthday money wasn’t being spent on something that was truly special and I didn’t like that.  It felt wasteful.

So, a few years ago, I decided to pool all of my birthday money together and buy something memorable.  I bought my 1800’s ironstone cake stand…

Even as I was bidding on it on eBay, I was nervous; literally biting my nails.  I kept waffling and debating with myself.  I shouldn’t spend this much money on a cake stand…but I love ironstone and I’ve wanted one of these for years…these things are ridiculously expensive and I am participating in driving up the price in this auction…I should stop bidding… 

Jeff could see my angst and stepped in.  “Is there anything else you’d rather spend your birthday money on?”

“No.  I want this more than clothes or whatever else I would buy.”

“Okay, then.  You have the money, so let’s win this thing.”  He took over the bidding while I hovered over his shoulder and we won the cake stand.

And I have not regretted that purchase once.  Every time I look at it or think of it or use it to serve a cake or anything else, I’m glad I bought it with my birthday money.

Since then, I’ve purposed to use my birthday money on something special, memorable, and that I might not normally buy.  My birthday money can be spent on something that feels frivolous or expensive.  All arguments about practicality and sensibility are off limits when birthday money is the currency.

And, surprisingly, instead of feeling wasteful, I feel like my birthday money matters more.  Instead of buying a bunch of little things, I buy one special thing that I will, more than likely, love and remember for a long time.

This year, I didn’t know what I wanted to buy.  Sure, I can always find something, but I hadn’t settled the thing.  So, I just saved the money and waited.

I finally realized that what I would like to buy is a nice fountain pen.  I’ve been thinking about getting one for a while, but I could not believe what a nice fountain pen actually cost and they were way outside of my birthday money budget and way beyond what I would even be comfortable spending!  So, I started doing some research to find a nice, but not a ridiculously nice fountain pen.  The search led me to the Caran d’Ache Palladium-Coated Ecridor Retro Fountain Pen.  And that was it.  My birthday splurge.

I ended up finding the best price on Walmart’s website (of all places!)  The list price of the pen on the Caran d’Ache website was $295, but it was $147.50 at Walmart.  I wanted the fine nib, though, so I ordered that from The Pen Company.  And, to fully “move into” the pen and make it my own, I swapped out the blue ink for black.

Well, and it does have a spot for engraved initials, so I’m going to look for a place locally to have it engraved.

It is a beautiful pen and writing with it is a joy!  Those who love writing and creative supplies will understand.

Isn’t that the most beautiful nib?

I like that it doesn’t look like a corporate pen.  Do you know what I mean?  This isn’t a pen to sign contracts but to write letters and stories.  It’s an instrument of creativity, not of work.

And it is just the perfect thing for my 41st birthday.

ecridor retro fountain pen

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61 Comments on “ecridor retro fountain pen”

  1. A few years ago, I adopted a friend’s habit of never spending $5 bills. She told me, “It’s not for underwear.” So several weeks ago I bought a good bike. No guilt, and I have my next fun money fund started.

  2. I bought myself a fountain pen for my birthday almost 2 years ago. I now own about 15! Then there are all the bottles of ink in amazing colors. My handwriting has improved and I find reasons to pick up a pen, using a stub nib and sparkly ink makes the grocery list less of a chore!

    Your pen is not one I’ve seen, it’s beautiful, enjoy being creative with it!

  3. I like your thoughts on birthday money. I too have been a bit dismayed that I never can remember what I got… The type of purchases I make is probably the reason. Time to start brainstorming something big!

    1. Yes! I was always of the mindset of stretching my money as far as it could go on little, inexpensive things. Now, I’d rather come home with one thing I absolutely love.

  4. It’s unfortunate that you didn’t do a little more research. You could have purchased a Handcrafted Fountain pen from a Craftsperson like myself. We own F and B Works and we design and craft Fountain pens and other Heirloom Writing Instruments and our pricing is about the same for a custom made piece.

      1. I was thinking the same thing….where is the link? You can’t make a comment like that, and then not share a link…it simply isn’t fair! 😉

      2. I would also be interested in a link to F and B Works, as I had no luck finding either. Thank you!
        Marian, your pen is beautiful! Can’t wait to see it engraved. These pens would make lovely gifts for special occasions!

      3. Hey I found them: F&B Works. I too got curious. I wanted to see what they sell. Marian your pen is beautiful. Any ways, here is F&B Works Facebook store/business.
        205-480-8658 F&B Works. I do not think anyone would have found it. He needs an actual website. Any ways I just wanted to share. He does have interesting pens.

        1. Well, they are pretty pens, but I don’t see fountain pens or how to buy them. Well, he got people interested, so maybe that was the goal!

    1. Oh please, share your link – or give it to Marian to share in another post. This was too tantalizing to dead-end!

    2. Such a snarky comment Mr. Frank Webner. If Marian had done her research she wouldn’t have found you and F and B Works because we can’t find you now and we know your name.

    1. Thanks! I was stuck one afternoon and decided to play around with some pen and ink studies. It got my creative brain humming again!

  5. You brought back a memory…………. As a young girl I had an Estabrooke
    Pen. What was cool about it was that you could buy different style nibs.
    I remember going to the stationary store and selecting my nib.
    I remember how you opened this lever and it would suck up the Carter’s Ink.
    Also for people who are left handed you can buy left handed calligraphy pen
    nibs. I struggled through a calligraphy class until I discovered on my own that
    one could buy a calligraphy nib for a left handed person.

  6. I’m a fountain pen girl too!

    Bonus – no one will EVER borrow your pen – especially at the office. I can’t tell you how many people have picked up my pen to write something when they’re in my office, only to drop it like it’s poisonous when they realize it’s a fountain pen 😀

  7. Love the pen, the lesson, and the bunny sketches! I would frame them and hang them in my daughter’s bedroom. They are so sweet. You are so very talented. Thx for sharing.

  8. What a lovely idea! As a once avid fountain pen collector — there’s a fine line between “collector” and “hoarder” and I didn’t want to cross it 😉 —, I could not be happier for you. When I look at a loved fountain pen, I think of all the stories within it, the places it has been, the hands that have held it. A fountain pen has a story. It is personal to its owner and tells a bit of his / her story. I consider them family heirlooms. Simply regularly using a fountain pen sets you apart from the masses; actually, simply writing by hand sets you apart!
    I truly miss letters in the mail. Do not misunderstand, I love the convenience and immediacy of email and texts, but a handwritten letter is a cherished, increasingly rare entity. (Think of the ribbon-bundled letters of our grandmothers. What will we have? A thumb-drive?)
    A gentle reminder…typical fountain pen ink is not waterproof so, for regular fountain pen scribes who write checks, use a ballpoint else be potentially exposed to easy check fraud. There are waterproof fountain pen art inks but I would be reluctant to use in an expensive pen.
    Enjoy, Marian!

    1. Thank you to Marian and Deborah both! You have reminded me of my initial delight in pens of all sorts – but, Deborah, you’re so right. That first Perfect Fountain Pen is the thin edge of the wedge. Restraint must be shown in the face of websites & catalogues & office supply stores (I’m lookin’ at you, Staples) & wait – Walmart? Whoa, Marian! 🙂

    2. Exactly what is what with being a fountain pen hoarder? My “hoard” of 282 pens gives me great pleasure and keeps me pretty busy!

  9. Marian, check out Jake Weidman online, and on Instagram. He is one of the world’s few Master Penmen, and creates beautiful pen holders, nibs, etc. He and his wife create heirloom jewelry pieces as well, and one of their pendants is a gold pen nib!
    Jake is also an accomplished artist, sculptor, and painter, as well as a master calligrapher. You will love him!

    Congrats on your birthday splurge! Such good advice to make our special day memorable. ❤️

  10. I write with a fountain pen every day and have quite a collection from estate sales, etc. You will LOVE that pen! Our kids gave me one for our silver anniversary and I love the weight and feel everytime I pick it up!

    Now, if I could only draw bunnies……

    Happy penmanship, friend,

  11. I belong to a Birthday Club of 12 women. We get together every month to celebrate whoever has a birthday that month. We used to buy gifts for each other, but “at our age”
    ( unspecified 😁) noone needed anymore cute things!
    We decided that everyone would bring a funny card with a $10 bill for the birthday girl, and it has been wonderful! The rules are that you cannot spend your money on bills or usual things, you have to buy yourself something special, and tell us the next month what you got!
    I think that you had the same spirit and bought yourself something to love!

    1. That is wonderful! My mother-in-law does a birthday group, too, and they have a lot of fun with it.

  12. Twelve years ago, my graduate student- husband and I took advantage of a snow day, hired a babysitter who would otherwise be in school, and went into Manhattan to visit The Fountain Pen Hospital. It was my birthday adventure and we spent way more money than was reasonable for our student-with-kids budget on a Visconti fountain pen. And I am glad every time I open my bag because I need a pen.

  13. I totally agree that gift money should be spent on special things you wouldn’t normally get for yourself.

  14. That is a fabulous way to think about and use your birthday money! I’m sure that the people who gave you the money wanted you to have something special that you would particularly enjoy. The pen is beautiful! Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this and your lovely choice!

  15. My only question here is…where do you get birthday money from, Marian? lol…I wish I still got birthday money from someone! I’m in my 40s too so don’t consider myself too much older than you are so to get birthday money in your 40s…wow! what a novel idea. The last time I got birthday money from anyone was in my teen years, I think. I thought that practice kind of stopped when you reached the young adult stage which is like 18 or 19 but today you’ve surprised me with your post! 🙂 I definitely like the idea and think I should reinvent the practice in my family because I would love to get money instead of gifts!. As for fountain pens, a young girl my father gifted me beautiful fountain pens from the time I was about 9 years old. I developed a love for calligraphy because of his beautiful gifts. Each time I’d achieve something at school, a certificate or merit award, I’d get a beautifully boxed fountain pen and I’d write and write forever…lovely stories and drawings and practiced arty signatures over way too many Such wonderful memories. Thanks for the reminder and sounds like you had a beautiful birthday.

    1. Ha, so funny! Well, Jeff and I set aside birthday money for each other and then I get birthday money from Jeff’s parents and my parents! I guess that was just always the thing to do in our family. 🙂

  16. My splurge was a bedroom makeover. I saved all my B’Day, Mothers’ Day and Christmas money for a couple of years. I bought a second hand 4 poster bed with a chest. It is from the now defunct Bombay Co; and was in immaculate condition. Next, I stalked a WHITE(!) quilt embroidered with ferns from a well known home furnishings co. until it went on clearance! I removed the wall to wall carpeting and installed hardwood floors. I bought a faux jute rug on clearance (indoor/outdoor) made from plastic soda bottles. I created some prints made with ferns and twigs gathered from my property (I live in the Pacific Northwest). I rotate my bedding according to season; this ensemble is for Spring/Summer! I just LOVE it! I look forward to making my bed everyday (probably neurotic) and enjoy how serene and peaceful it makes me feel. Delaying instant gratification was one of the best gifts and challenges I ever gave myself!

  17. I remember my gram always used a fountain pen to write checks. (Probably letters too, but I only remember the checks.) I couldn’t write very well with fountain pens…but I was about 8 years old! I sure wish I had that pen now…even if I still can’t use a fountain pen!

  18. Not sure that it made any difference to my teachers but back in the ’60s I would write all my assignments with a fountain pens. Ball points were the common writing tool but I liked the look and feel of the paper after writing with a fountain pen. I haven’t thought about that in years. I totally understand your purchase.

  19. Hi Marion. I will have to take a page out of your book and finally spend birthday money on me. When the kids were little, birthday and Christmas money always just seemed to be absorbed into household expenditures. This September I will get something for myself. I really enjoyed reading your blog tonight. It is very well expressed and made me happy. Thank you for your words. Carol

  20. Great use of birthday money!
    In high school and my 20’s I often used a fountain pen…. and loved it! Thanks for the reminder of how wonderful they are — now I might have to get one myself!

  21. Oh I love this! The pen is lovely. I love receiving handwritten letters. As someone with a birthday at Thanksgiving– so close to Christmas, my birthday money was always spent on gifts for other people. A few years ago I was asked what I did with my Birthday money, the person was not pleased I had bought things for other people– knowing I don’t really spend money on my self. So, that started an intentional gift for me purchase. I have bought a small gold ring, a thin gold necklace for layering and an antique metal birdcage on a stand . One really neat and completely frivolas thing each year. So, now when I write my Thank You’s, I include what I plan to spend the money on– holds me a bit more accountable.

  22. Love your stories about fountain pens and nibs. Back in the day when we learned to write cursive, which was in 4th grade, we learned by using a fountain pen. Our teacher, Mrs Morris, said we could buy either a Sheaffer pen or Wearever brand of fountain pen. I bought both kinds ! Each had different kinds of cartridges including different colors of ink. I loved them so much I begged my mom to get a “real” calligraphy pen and ink with a squeeze top for my artwork. Love that you have re discovered a lost art. Enjoy
    Ps. 4th grade was over 58 years ago

  23. Love your new pen. Have you ever read about the pen men? It is such an interesting part of history.

  24. I loved fountain pens when I was young – with peacock blue ink! Took a calligraphy class and wish I had saved pen!

  25. Our hearts beat the same. I have enjoyed buying a bigger ticket item: Fossil purse, James Avery jewelry, ect.. with gift $ for several years now and for the same reasons. Gifts I treasure. Love the look of your pen!

  26. I also love fountain pens! If I were as artistic and talented as you, I would purchase a fountain pen, Thanks for sharing your research with us. Enjoy your pen and share your creations, too.

  27. Loved all the comments as I, too, have a small collection of fountain pens that I don’t use anymore. I remember writing with one in grade school (the old Schaefer) and can still see some of that ink that would invariably grace my finger.

    Sad that most young people today will never experience the joy of those pens, filling them up, and writing in cursive … most only know how to ‘write’ with their thumbs on some device, or print when they need to actually use a writing instrument.

    Hope you let your boys experience the fountain pen. In fact, you could create some sort of “game” when they have friends come over – everyone draws a simple pix of something in your house and ‘signs’ their name, Friends Collage.

  28. MMS,
    Your excellent writing always draws me into your stories. Thank you this time, for the inspiration to choose or request gifts that mark milestones.

    My parents, now deceased, collected 18th and 19th century ink bottles. Their exquisite shapes and colors are limitless. I use a mid 19th century pottery ink bottle to hold ink and then store smaller amounts in a gorgeous late 18th century cobalt octagon shaped for filling my fountain. I’ve crafted small corks to keep the ink from drying.

    Antique Ink bottles can be found on ebay and etsy. Have fun browsing.

    Happy belated birthday,
    Diney on Camano Island

    1. Oh, what a delightful collection! I love inkwells and bottles, too and have a few from the 19th century and 20th century. I would like to collect more. Maybe for Christmas…

  29. My daddy (now deceased) worked for 37 years at a company that sold art supplies, office supplies, school supplies, and various other related items. Among them were the high-end fountain pens, Sheaffer, Esterbrook, Cross. I have several fountain pens that were gifted to him by the salesmen – personalized with his name or initials. One even bears an engraving of his signature on a gold band around the middle of the pen. Your post invoked fond memories of these beautiful works of art.

    I loved the bunny pen-and-ink drawings. Do so more!! I love your creativity and your beautiful work.

  30. Is it hard to change the ink cartridge, and do you have trouble with leaking? My sister had several nib pens, and when she passed away, someone disposed of them along with all the vintage ink bottles. I was horrified! I’ve wanted to invest in one, but like you, worried about the cost. Will you share your experience with practical use? Or is it better for just artistic endeavors? Thanks!

  31. First, I want to thank you for sharing your life with your readers. I always enjoy your blog and find that you inspire me to live a better life. This entry made me recall that throughout my elementary school years, we could only use an ink cartridge pen. Now, as a Kindergarten teacher, I think it was because there is more friction between the fountain pen and the paper which slows the hand down and that makes the penmanship more legible. Several years ago, 2004, when one of my daughters was deployed to Iraq, I sent her a fountain pen with a box of stationary. She loves writing letters and using her pen provided her a small period of time to escape from the reality around her. Your post has inspired me, yet again, to do something I’d forgotten but enjoy.

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