by Mike Shea on 1 February 2006
I've received a few emails from people looking for a fountain pen without the fancy pen price tag. Here are a couple of recommendations.
I would start with a Lamy Safari fountain pen to see how you like it. It has a steel nib instead of gold, but for under $60 that is what you are likely to see. Everyone speaks very well of the Lamy Safari. I have two of them and I like them a lot. The pen is very industrial and durable. They run about $20 but do not include a converter for taking ink from a bottle.
Another choice is the Waterman Phileas. This is a little bit more, $36 plus shipping. They have a plastic barrel and a steel nib that is a lot more flexible than the Lamy Safari. This is not necessarily a good or bad thing, just different. The style is a little fancier than the utilitarian German engineering of the Lamy Safari. It is also an excellent writer. You can get it in black, blue, green, or red. Like the Safari, it has a converter to take ink from a bottle.
For ink, you can try out the free ink both pens include, but I recommend using Noodler's ink from a bottle. A bottle of Noodler's costs $12 without shipping for a three ounce bottle from Fountain Pen Hospital. This ink is permanent on paper, waterproof, chemical proof, pH neutral, and fade resistant. It is the only waterproof fountain pen ink I have seen.