: relating to, reviving, or being the styles and especially the fashions of the past
: fashionably nostalgic or old-fashioned (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)
The past has always held a certain attraction for us. Even if we are removed from a previous era’s reality, our innate curiosity shapes the desire to experience even a little bit of it. This translates into the art, design principles, objects, and lifestyle choices we adopt into our present. For the fourth installment for this month’s series about love, we focus on how the past made tangible can capture our hearts.
History of Retro
Retro is just one of the descriptors for the time period or design principles which help characterize an object. Antiques refer to things aged 100 years or older from the current year. For example, the oldest existing fountain pen, designed by Nicholas Bion and known as “La plume sans fin” (the endless pen) is an undeniable antique. Vintage items are those from 20 to 99 years back. Among these are the more accessible, well-known fountain pens we hunt for and collect such as the classic Parker 51 Aerometric.
Retro was first coined in the early 1970s, although people then had been adopting styles from the past much earlier. Originally, retro style referred to the principles of color and design characteristic of the 1960s and 1970s. Since then, the whole concept has broadened to include objects with aesthetics from the more recent past. Newly-made items with design elements inspired by earlier decades are now generally considered retro as well. A fountain pen with a vibrantly colored body or with abstract design details fall under the umbrella of retro style.
Why are we continually charmed by such objects? On a more personal level, why do we find vintage or retro-styled fountain pens so attractive?
First reason is the nostalgia elicited by tangible reminders of the past. Having a fountain pen from our parents’ or grandparents’ era strengthens our connection to history. It likewise allows us to experience using a writing instrument from a time quite different from ours. A pen with retro elements can remind us of our younger years, bringing back memories and emotions from that time.
Second is the timelessness of these objects. The iconic designs of some fountain pens have a classic appeal which transcends fluctuating trends. If the materials used in their construction are durable enough, these pens can survive decades and still function beautifully if given proper care and maintenance.
Third, these objects serve as mediums for self-expression. They can be indicators of our personal style, reflecting our individuality or nonconformity. The essence of retro style lies in its flexibility and adaptability. From its original association with mid-century modern design to maximalism, it has since evolved to incorporate attractive features from other time frames. We can mix and match various fountain pens with more freedom to be creative and unique using retro aesthetics.
Our Retro Picks
EndlessPens has a few recommendations inspired by the spirit of this style. We hope this selection helps you appreciate how versatile and interesting retro can be —
– The Pelikan Souveran Series pens are meticulously crafted using high quality materials available. Distinguishing features such as the striped celluloid overlay and the beak shaped clip make the Pelikan Souveran M400 fountain pen anything but ordinary. Virtually weightless in the hand, the 400 Collection poses flexible 14k nibs which are engineered to 100ths of a millimeter for sure strokes and clear lines.
– The clean lines and selected materials of this slim writing implement make an excellent impression. They are distinguished by clear-cut visual design combined with professional functionalism.
The barrel is made of precious resin, with crocodile skin design produced using a 3D printer.
– This is a pocket-sized fountain pen that features a translucent acrylic body accented with a stainless steel clip. It is an eyedropper-filler pen with a shut-off valve mechanism and a #5 Jowo nib. It is available in four different styles — Checkered, Stripes, Ladybug, and Dots.
– The Duofold is an emblem of Parker's heritage. A symbol of excellence since 1921, it remains the most distinguished pen in Parker's discerning lineage. Driven by a commitment to superior craftsmanship, every detail of the Parker Duofold Classic Centennial Fountain Pen is carefully thought out and executed. From the emblematic design of the ace emblazoned 18K gold nib to the precious metal finishes, each piece is meticulously brought together by hand to ensure the finest writing experience.
– With its colorful pop design, the new Pilot MR Retro Pop Collection is ideal for balancing monotony. These pens bring you a vibrant touch of elegance. They embody life as a happy story with a good dose of playfulness. This modern fountain pen delivers refined style and an exceptionally smooth writing experience. It has a premium brass barrel with stainless accents, and fine or medium nib options.
– The name Procyon originates from the constellation of Canis Minor. The pen’s Slip-Seal mechanism allows the writer to use the pen straight away without any dryness of its nib. The ideal weight balance of the aluminum, textured body and reliable pen nib enhances the writing experience. The bright pen body colors add to the joy of using this pen.
– Since its establishment in 1911, the Sailor Pen Company has proudly maintained its belief in the importance of precision writing instruments. They continue to offer the discerning customer technical perfection and superior writing quality. This fountain pen has a unique design with a cut-away cap and inlaid Sailor anchor logo on the top, available in youthful colors.
– This model is inspired by the Blue Monarch butterfly. The pen’s nib features a delicate flower engraving. It uses an original pen blank from Tailored Pen Company, with swirls of vibrant teal and blue and accents of burgundy, yellow, and black.
– Considered a timeless classic, this iconic fountain pen is engineered with fiberglass polycarbonate. The LAMY 2000 is available as a piston fountain pen with partially platinized 14-carat gold nib. This pen was conceptualized with Bauhaus design elements in mind.
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Written by @lekzumali
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