10 Overlooked Brands

In the fountain pen community, there are certain brands that enthusiasts all over revere. But, there are also some brands that don’t get as much love. That’s why I’ve created a list of ten fountain pen, paper, and ink brands that I find often overlooked.These brands range from hidden treasures to those that deserve more recognition. Ready to explore? Let’s jump in!


Ink Miser

Ink Miser Ink-Shot Inkwells

Let's start with small but mighty. Ink Miser is a brand you might not have heard of, but trust me, their Ink Shot inkwell is a game-changer. This tiny gadge is a must-have for any ink enthusiast. It’s simple, durable, and gives you full control over your ink-filling process. Whether you’re a novice or a seasoned ink user, this inkwell will save you from the hassle of awkward angles and guesswork when filling your pens. They also have a version that fits inside certain ink bottles, but it's a bit limited in compatibility. So, if you’re all about ink samples or just want a smoother filling experience, keep Ink Miser on your desk. It’s a little gem that makes a big difference.



Apica Notebooks

Apica is one of those brands that even the most seasoned stationery enthusiasts can overlook. Why? Maybe because they don’t bombard us with new products. But here’s the scoop: their paper is consistently top-notch. I spent a week writing in three different Apica notebooks, and let me tell you, I was impressed. Their Premium A5 notebook, with its incredibly smooth paper and elegant presentation, is a perfect gift for any writing aficionado. On the other hand, their Basic B5 notebook offers 200 pages of excellent quality paper with a smaller price tag! If you're looking for a steal, the Apica CD-11, which is less than $5, provides 56 pages of high-quality Japanese paper. Apica might not be flashy, but their paper is reliably superb. Give them a try—you won’t be disappointed.



Opus 88 Fountain Pens

OPUS 88 is a brand that doesn’t get the attention it deserves. Their pens utilize a unique “Japanese eyedropper” filling method, which might be why they’re not as popular. A Japanese eyedropper pen has a rod within the barrel that you can operate with a knob. When the knob is fully tightened, the gasket at the end of the rod blocks off the flow of ink, so you’re simply writing with the ink that’s already collected in the grip area, which is a surprisingly large amount. When unscrewed, ink can flow freely from the reservoir through your nib and feed onto the page. But don’t let that scare you off! This method gives you incredible control over ink flow and a substantial ink capacity.

Their pens, made in Taiwan with German JoWo nibs, are reliable and beautifully crafted. Whether you’re a fountain pen newbie or a connoisseur, OPUS 88’s unique filling system and quality make them worth a spot in your collection. Don’t let these pens pass you by unnoticed!


S.T. Dupont

S.T. Dupont Line D Large Fountain Pens

S.T. Dupont is renowned for their luxury lighters, but their fountain pens are equally deserving of attention. Their never-before-seen pen special edition designs may not always resonate with every fountain pen user, but this Parisian brand brings a level of craftsmanship and design that’s truly exceptional. Their pens, like the Line D or ones using the Firehead Guilloche technique, are heavy and meticulously detailed, offering a tactile quality that photos can’t fully capture. They’re not cheap, but if you’re looking for a pen that exudes elegance and precision, S.T. Dupont is worth considering. Follow your curiosity and explore their range—you might just find your new favorite pen.


Maruman Mnemosyne

Maruman Mnemosyne Notebooks

Maruman Mnemosyne is my go-to paper brand, and it should be yours too. This Japanese brand has notebooks that are versatile, high-quality, and thoughtfully designed. Whether it’s their pocket-sized B7 top wirebound notebook or their larger formats, Maruman Mnemosyne offers a variety of sizes and layouts that cater to different needs. The paper is fountain pen-friendly, and the subtle yet practical design elements like subject/date lines and intermittent bold lines make them perfect for note-taking. If you value quality and functionality in your paper, don’t overlook Maruman Mnemosyne. They’ve got something for everyone.


Rohrer & Klingner

Rohrer & Klingner Glass Dip Pen & Inks

Rohrer & Klingner, a German fountain pen ink company, has been around for ages yet remains under the radar despite their exceptional products. Their Helianthus ink is a bright yellow that’s surprisingly legible. Their iron gall inks, such as Salix and Scabiosa, are permanent and beautiful. Iron gall ink is made from iron salts and tannic acids, and while it historically had a reputation for being harsh, Rohrer & Klingner’s modern formulations are gentle on your pens and paper. If you’re looking for something permanent and waterproof, these inks are great options. If you’re in search of reliable, long-lasting inks, give Rohrer & Klingner a try. They know their stuff and do it well.


Private Reserve

Private Reserve Infinity Inks

Private Reserve is a brand many are aware of but often overlook. Their inks come in vibrant colors and various formulations, including the Fast-Dry and Infinity series. Fast-Dry inks are perfect for left-handers or those who close their notebooks quickly after writing, while Infinity inks prevent pens from drying out even after being left uncapped for extended periods. One of my favorite shades is Spearmint, my all-time favorite green. If you’re in the market for versatile and reliable inks, don’t overlook Private Reserve. Their performance is solid, and their color range is delightful.



Waldmann Commander 23 Fountain Pen

Made in Germany, Waldmann is another brand that flies under the radar. Their pens, crafted with sterling silver and intricate hand engravings using the guilloche technique, exude quality and craftsmanship. Despite their substantial weight, they are not cumbersome and offer a writing experience that is both elegant and precise. If you appreciate detailed workmanship and are looking for a pen that stands out, give Waldmann a chance. They are a brand that surprises and delights once you experience them in person.



Jacques Herbin Fountain Pen Inks

Jacques Herbin’s 1670 and 1798 inks are well-known for their beautiful sheen and shimmer, but their standard line, the “D” bottles, often gets overlooked. These inks, housed in bottles with integrated pen rests, offer a range of beautiful, practical colors that are perfect for everyday use. Poussiere de Lune, Vert Pré, and Vert Olive are just a few of my favorites. These inks are also recommended by pen manufacturers for their compatibility with both modern and vintage pens. Don’t forget about these gems next time you’re shopping for ink.



TWSBI Fountain Pen Ink

TWSBI is known for their pens, but their ink collection deserves attention too. Their inks come in beautiful bottles with built-in cups for easy filling, and their colors, though not flashy, are reliable and well-formulated. Gifting a TWSBI pen alongside TWSBI ink provides an intentionally branded and cohesive gifting experience without breaking the bank. Speaking of gifting, TWSBI’s 70ml bottles not only look good, but they’re also one of the few glass bottles that feature a cup within the opening. This design allows you to tip the closed bottle upside-down and fill the cup, making it easy to access ink no matter how much is left in the bottle.

TWSBI Blue/Black is a modern iron gall ink, providing permanence, while TWSBI Black is one of the darkest blacks I’ve encountered. If you’re a fan of their pens, give their inks a try—they complement each other perfectly and offer a cohesive, quality experience.


And there you have it! These 10 brands might not always be in the spotlight, but they each bring something special to the table. Whether you’re looking for a trusty inkwell, exquisite paper, or vibrant inks, these hidden gems deserve a place in your collection. So, explore, experiment, and enjoy the wonderful world of fountain pens. Tally ho and sally forth, dear friends, and write on!


Shop Fountain Pens