Origin stories fascinate me. How people met, how they found their passions, even hobbies they developed a love for. I always want to know more. We’ve decided to highlight how different people got into fountain pens with our “My First Fountain Pen Was A….” series.
I had the good fortune to spend some time chatting with Jim Hinze of Hinze Pens at the St. Louis Pen Show. Hinze Pens is based out of Texas and is a brand you’ll soon be able to buy from Atlas. The following is an excerpt of our conversation:
What was your first fountain pen?
My first fountain pen was one a friend of mine made for me. It was a kit-based pen, but it was an amboyna burl and antique brass. Working with wood as long as I have, amboyna burl is my favorite of all time. The two tones where you get the sapwood and the hardwood together, and that was streaked throughout, it was perfect. It was a gift of new beginnings. That was the first time I ever wrote with one.
What is your favorite aspect of fountain pens?
I think it’s just the analog nature of the tool and options. Being a maker myself, options are everything. People want what they want. And not everybody fits into the commercial mold. I find them rather restrictive. I love commercial pens, I’m a Sailor 1911-aholic. But it’s not for everybody. Taking a nib, a slow leak delivering the ink, the tactile feel, and wrapped up in whatever package you want is kind of cool.
Do you have advice for someone who is interested in getting a custom-made, one-of-a-kind pen like you make?
Talk to a maker. Tell them what you want. Basically, outline your dream pen. What would you feel coolest writing with, or holding, or walking into a meeting with something clipped to your pocket and someone says, “What the hell is that?” There’s nothing to be afraid of. All the makers are great people. There aren’t any out to screw you over or anything like that. They’re all willing to bend over backwards to get you what you want.