My fountain pen goal has always been to collect no more than twenty pens. If you check the pens in the collection you’ll find a list of sixteen lovely fountain pens. To be honest, there is a 17th pen lurking around. It’s the pen I throw in my backpack or my pocket for when I’m in a close setting where people will see my pen. It’s the pen that doesn’t scream for attention and distract from the task at hand. This pen is always inked and standing by for action. It’s the pen I use when I don’t really want anyone to notice what pen I’m using.
The secret fountain pen is an Autopoint “Big Cat” made in Germany. Mine came to me as part of a “Student Kit” for learning to smooth nibs. The pen uses international cartridges only. The nib is steel. If you look closely at the next photo you’ll see there’s a seam in the plastic section.
Out of the box the pen wrote without a hitch. Then I beat the nib up to make it “rough.” I wanted to see if I could smooth a rough nib. And then once having made the nib smooth again, I decided to try to make the nib finer. The end result is not an elegant job but then the idea is to practice nib smoothing on cheap pens so you don’t screw up the pens you love.
This pen always writes no matter how long I leave it sitting. The nib is smooth and the pen is a wet writer. The line is not very, uh, crisp though. I’m not used to using pens inked with cartridges. The ink doesn’t last very long when I’m writing with these types of pens. One time during an important meeting the pen ran out of ink. I’ve learned to carry a spare cartridge in the barrel.
The end result is a pen that acts as a stand-in for all the other pens. Not a great pen by any means but something steady, quiet and at the ready.