Fountain Pen Hospital celebrates the handwritten word

On Warren Street in downtown Manhattan, you'll find a unique hospital. The patients are pens of every kind. And the staff services and sells them.

Terry Wiederlight is the co-owner of the Fountain Pen Hospital, a store his father and grandfather opened in 1946. It started as a repair shop in the 1940s and then turned into an office supply shop in the 1960s and 1970s.

Today, the store sells all sorts of writing instruments from all over the world. It is now one of the only stores still selling fine writing instruments in New York City, landing a spot in the book 111 Shops in New York That You Must Not Miss.

Terry says that in today's world you have to be unique and out of the box to survive. That's how they've stayed around for 72 years.

The Fountain Pen Hospital carries 40 different brands of pens from all over the world. They also get customers from all over the world, including some faces you might recognize. According to Terry's father, Count Basie and Duke Ellington used to come into the store. Alicia Keys was in recently. And Neil deGrasse Tyson always stops in. Jerry Bruckheimer came in years ago. So did Arnold Schwarzenegger.

You can buy a basic fountain pen here for about $10. A Star Wars collectible will run about $450. Some of the intricately detailed Japanese fountain pens cost thousands of dollars.

The most popular brand is Germany-based Mont Blanc. Terry says Mont Blanc is the No. 1 luxury brand today.

If you're looking for a unique writing instrument, Terry's collection can't be beaten. They have a copper pen by Montegrappa in Italy that comes with a copper mule. Montegrappa also makes a Game of Thrones pen that, Terry says, has been unbelievably successful.

In the front case at the Fountain Pen Hospital, Terry has an Abraham Lincoln pen by Krone. The limited edition pen came out 20 years ago and has Abraham Lincoln's DNA in the cap. Terry sold all of them—just one is left on display.

The most expensive pen at the hospital is the Krone Moulin Rouge. One of just 18 pens in the world, it has real diamonds and rubies in the band and retails for $17,500.

Terry says a market for $17,000 fountain pens still exists even though Americans are writing less and less. He says they sell more fountain pens than ballpoints or rollers, combined.

Terry believes handwritten letters and invitations are still meaningful and special and says he'll keep selling fine pens until they catch him on the floor with ink coming out of his mouth.