Meet Mr Modal Average

I have 20 pens in my collection at the moment, after stripping out my for-sale and my toys.

I thought it would be a quick little diversion to see what if anything they had in common.

I counted up how they fared on ten different attributes, from trim colour to nib width to price paid, and which the most popular answer was:

  • Material: plastic accounted for 13
  • Colour: 6 are black
  • Country of origin: 8 from Germany
  • Nib width: 11 write a medium-ish line
  • Nib softness: 16 are firm
  • Clip: 17 have them
  • Trim colour: 11 are silver or grey
  • Filling mechanism: 11 are piston
  • Nib material: 15 are gold
  • Cap mechanism: 15 are screw
  • Value: 7 are over £750

Only one pen landed in the most popular group against all 10 questions, making it Mr (or Miss) modal average.

The Montblanc Agatha Christie.

Surprised? I was. But it is a great pen.

If you asked the same ten questions of your pen horde, what would the most popular type be? Does any one (or more) pen fit every most popular category?

8 thoughts on “Meet Mr Modal Average

      • Material: plastic 4/9
        Colour: black 6/9
        Country of origin: Germany 5/9
        Nib width: medium 5/9
        Nib softness: all firm
        Clip: 7/9
        Trim colour: silver 9/9
        Filling mechanism: cartridge/converter 7/9
        Nib material: steel 7/9
        Cap mechanism: screw 5/9
        Value: average £60

        Lamy Aion is the closest


  1. Material: 9 are plastic
    Colour: 6 are black
    Country of origin: 13 are German
    Nib width: 12 are medium-ish
    Nib: 12 are barely flexible
    Clip: All 14 have one
    Trim colour: 11 are gold
    Filling mechanism: 9 are piston
    Nib material: 13 are steel
    Cap mechanism: 9 are screwed on
    Value: I barely paid more than 50 Euros for a single pen
    Age: Every pen but two are older than I am…

    Apparently my average pen can be either a Reform Iridium Point or a Pelikan 481.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Nice exercise! My scores for 15 pens:

    Material: 12 are non-metal
    Colour: 3 are black, 3 are green and 3 are red
    Origin: 6 are Japanese
    Nib with: 10 are M(-ish)
    Nib material: 12 are gold
    Clip: 13 have one
    Cap: 14 screw on
    Trim: 8 are silver
    Filling: 9 use a converter
    Value: 8 are above EUR 500

    The greatest common denominator is my Sailor King of Pen Ebonite RT. A great pen with a superb nib.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Fountain Pen Quest Trail Log – May 31, 2020 | Fountain Pen Quest

  4. Sorry to reload this fascinating post. The exercise is very interesting. these are my results for my 50 pen horde:
    Material: plastic accounted for 26
    Colour: 10 are black
    Country of origin: 15 from Italy
    Nib width: 17 write a fine line
    Nib softness: 46 are firm
    Clip: 49 have them
    Trim colour: 28 are silver or chrome
    Filling mechanism: 34 are c/c
    Nib material: 35 are gold
    Cap mechanism: 37 are screw
    Value: average cost of purchase was 180 €

    No one filled all these features. The closest one was my Omas MIlord cruise red, which fitted 9/10 criteria. So this is my representative pen.
    Thank you for your very valuable and informative blog.


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