Why are old pens lighter than new pens?

Not all new pens are massive, but a large proportion of the higher-priced models are metal-lined and quite heavy – much heavier than virtually any of their vintage counterparts. In times past, the fountain pen – however elaborate – was first and foremost a writing instrument; and for most hands, a light pen is less tiring in use. Nowadays fancy fountain pens fill a different niche: they are luxury goods first, writing instruments second. Few new pens are used to write more than a page or two at a sitting, so there has been little reason not to indulge contemporary consumers' equation of heft with quality.