In a world obsessed with texting and emails, it’s so very refreshing for me to be able to put away my electronic devices and use something that doesn’t require electricity to convey thought. Oh there are No. 2 pencils, mass-produced and disposable pens galore that I’ve used over the course of my lifetime, but for me the ultimate tool for fine writing is the venerable fountain pen. Directly descended from the first simple cut reed pens and bird feather quills that gave way to metal tipped dip pens, reliable fountain pens began emerging in the mid-nineteenth century and became the dominant writing instrument until the 1960s when inexpensive ballpoint pens began superseding them.
Fountain pens work by a combination of capillary action and air pressure on what is essentially a controlled leak of ink from the pen tip or nib as it called, hence the lack of a requirement for heavy pressure to push out the ink as you would in say a ballpoint. The nib sizes one normally finds fall into roughly three categories, fine, medium and broad, each corresponding with the thickness of the line of ink.
Light on paper, requiring very little if any pressure to write with, using a fountain pen is a distinctly different experience, and to my mind more enjoyable, than either pencil or modern ballpoint pens. Properly cared for, fountain pens can last a lifetime, as evidence by my own 1935 Parker Vacumatic fountain pen that’s still in excellent condition.
Helping fulfill fountain pen users’ needs, the good folks at JetPens have a dizzying array of fountain pens in addition to other special writing instruments. One of the fountain pens available at Jetpens.com is the Kaweco AC Sport Carbon with Fine nib. Kaweco, originally named Heidelberger Federhalterfabrik Koch, Weber & Compagnie, is a German writing instrument firm that has existed in one form or another for over a century, so they ought to know their pens.
The attractive metal pen case. At just a hair over 5″, I was intrigued by the resulting size of the pen enclosed within.
The Kaweco AC Sport when close was a mere 4.25″ or so in length, very compact!
Against the red backdrop the pen takes on a golden hue, but the pen is actually a silvery color with carbon fiber black portions on the cap and the bulk of the pen barrel. The initial stock image at the top of the post shows its actual color.
The pen disassembled showing the pen and screw-on cap together:
The AC Sport pen’s nib, in this model, a “fine” nib, as denoted by the “F” on the nib just before the Section (in the photo below, the Section is the silver portion just behind the nib where one normally puts fingers to grasp the pen):
Nibs can be plain, but are often ornately decorated. Here is the same nib, close up to better show nib detail:
Here’s a semi-exploded view of the Kaweco AC Sport Carbon showing the primary components of a typical modern fountain pen:
As you can see, the Kaweco pen here uses a disposable ink cartridge, in this case the International Short Cartridge, that can be had in various colors, most commonly blue or black.
The Kaweco logo on the aft portion of the cap:
While much of the housing of the AC Sport Carbon is metal, it was surprisingly light. As writing with fountain pens is not as labor-intensive as using a pencil or ballpoint, this fact in tandem with its light weight made it a joy to use.
While one can certainly write with the AC Sport Carbon without attaching the cap to the end of the pen, I find the weight of the two combined offers the best balance, and in general I suspect most pen designers take this into consideration. If nothing else it prevents one from easily losing the cap!
Close up of the barrel:
Note the carbon fiber weave on the barrel and cap accents. This gave the pen an interesting meld of old with new, lending to the “Sport” in its name.
How did it write? In a word, splendidly. The Kaweco AC Sport Carbon glided almost effortlessly across different paper types, with the occasional exception of more textured paper. Additionally, due to the more fluid nature of the ink, certain types of paper might soak up the ink and leave blurred text, but this has often been the exception rather than the rule in my experience. I did not experience that with this pen and Kaweco ink cartridge.
Yes, my handwriting, unfortunately, is abysmal. It has always been so since the Second Grade. I attribute this partially to my desire to write as fast as the teacher spoke, so my cursive handwriting took on a bastardized shorthand look. Well, we can’t all be Palmer Method experts, can we?
It was just tad little trickier on banana paper, as banana paper falls into the textured paper category. I love to write on banana paper: it makes use of otherwise wasted banana plant fiber, making it in a sense “recycled” material and is rather eye-catching I think. In the case of my AC Sport Carbon pen, it could be occasionally nib-catching, though this was more a minor sensation than problem. To be sure this isn’t the fault of the Kaweco pen as this would likely happen with other fountain pens, particularly those with finer points.
Then again, I’m not sure large numbers of people use banana paper on a regular basis, but as many banana consumers as there are in the U.S. there ought to be.
All in all this was a beautiful and expertly crafted writing instrument and a real pleasure to write with. The pen was light and balanced and using the Kaweco AC Sport Carbon pen in writing was unforced. It’s difficult to explain the difference in sensation between writing with a pencil or ballpoint and a fountain pen, but if you enjoy handwriting and jotting down prodigious amounts of notes and such, you owe it to yourself to give a fountain pen a try, and JetPens.com has a vast selection of fountain pens to satisfy just about anyone’s taste in pen aesthetics.
The AC Sport Carbon pen exudes…well, a futuristic, sporty style with its octagonally-angled barrel and silver tones, with its nib offering a subtle nod to the sophisticated Old World origins of another era. Once a common instrument, fountain pens have in many cases evolved into beautiful and useful objects of art. The Kaweco AC Sport Carbon fountain pen shows the best of both worlds nicely.
What I Like: Elegant but sporty design; lightweight yet durable; small yet eminently usable; readily available cartridges
What Needs Improvement: None that readily come to mind. I would love a gold nibbed version.