Doctor's Review: Medicine on the Move

January 27, 2022
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Writing with the right symbol — or not

The perfect pen for any MD

Confession time again: I have an unhealthy relationship with pens. Ballpoint, rollerball, fountain – bring ‘em on, I love them all.

Not surprisingly, I never attended a pen show I didn’t like. These are terrific events. If you have even a mild obsession with writing instruments, you’ll find yourself transported.

Manufacturer’s representatives attend with all their wares and lay them out on big display tables. Plenty of pads of paper are supplied for testing whatever catches your eye. I tried out dozens from lowly plastic work-a-day numbers to high-end masterpieces of fine craftsmanship, such brands as Caran d’Ache, Mont Blanc, Montegrappa, Dupont, Visconti and so on.

Pens can cost thousands, even tens of thousands. These are art objects to be admired and passed on to succeeding generations. When it comes to putting pen to paper, the starting point for a good fountain pen is a gold nib. I’m blessed with two such pens: one with a 14-carat nib, the other, a gift, with an 18-carat nib. I prefer the stiffer 14-carat, but it’s a matter of finding a model that feels balanced in the hand, writes smoothly and has dependable ink flow – most important.

Fountain pens add elegance and class to anything you write and are by far the instrument of choice for personal correspondence especially that to do with love or poetry. For the rest of the time it’s ballpoint and rollerball territory, and no matter how finely crafted the pen, the only thing that matters is the refill. I’ve recently started to use a Schmidt Easy Flow 9000M made in Germany ($5.95). It fits any pen that takes a Parker-Type refill and it’s a joy: smooth, never blotches and the black ink writes in more of a dark grey tone which I like.

At the show, I also came across a pen with a handsome Caduceus clip. Aware that not all DR readers approve of the use of Caduceus as a medical symbol back in the office (see the April 2016 History of Medicine, I searched the net to find a pen sporting a rod of Asclepius. All I could find was a British fountain pen at €550, which was a gadget too rich by the column’s modest standards. So it was back to Caduceus and who offer the pen shown here, the choice for this month’s gadget.

“Buffed and polished to a glass-like finish” it comes in a velvet pouch along with a Certificate of Authenticity. $39.95.

For those who believe Asclepius is the only way to go, consider a neat, but not gaudy pair of unisex cuff links. $37.55.


Win your choice of either the Caduceus pen or the Asclepius cuff links by entering the Gadget of the Month contest here.

This article was accurate when it was published. Please confirm rates and details directly with the companies in question.


Showing 4 comments

  1. On May 25, 2017, Dr. Sandi Frank said:
    This pen would still be beautiful--and somewhat appropriate for my office manager, especially!
  2. On May 27, 2017, Nikki powar said:
    I love pens and I collect them. I have different ones depending on how I feel that day
  3. On May 29, 2017, Dr Constance Goulet said:
    Doctors are well renowned to write badly. With this beautiful pen , every doctor will make the effort at a better writing!
  4. On May 30, 2017, Renu Bajaj said:
    The pen is beautiful and practical. It's like an accessory.

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