When I was in 3rd grade (1957), we had to learn the Palmer method of cursive using a steel-nib dipping pen. When we were good enough, the teacher allowed us to purchase (for $2.50, as I recall) the then new Sheaffer cartridge fountain pen. Because we could see the ink cartridge and how much ink we had, we students thought it was neater than indoor plumbing. I remember the ball point pens of that era, including the BIC pen (which I think sold for a dime), and how they'd leak and get ink on your fingers, just like a fountain pen. The cheap student fountain pens then included the aforementioned Sheaffer and the Esterbrook, which filled with a lever on the side and sold for a couple of bucks. I collect fountain pens and have hundreds of them, including the ones I used in school, and I still prefer to use them because they make my penmanship better, but I find uses for ball point pens (and roller balls, too), too.
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