Fountain Pens

What is a Foutain Pen?

A fountain pen is a type of writing instrument that utilizes a metal nib to apply fountain pen ink to a writable surface, usually paper. There are a few components to most, if not every, fountain pen: a nib, ink reservoir, feed, grip section, cap, and barrel.

The invention of an ink-holding pen dates back to over 1000 years ago, when there was demand for an pen that wouldn't leak when held upside down. New developments continued throughout the 17 & 18 century as innovations in nib construction and ink reservoirs were made. These writing devices remained largerly obscure until the 19 century, when they became mass-produced through cheap & effective means. After the addition of self-fillers, the use of hard rubber (later celluloid), leak prevention, iridium nib tipping, and consistent ink flow, fountain pens became popular worldwide. Literary competence was granted among those who perviously couldn't afford to write. Fountain pens reached the height of their popularity in the 1900's until modern ballpoint pens rendered them obsolete. Today, fountain pens are seen as a status symbol and are seldomly used casually.

Types of Fountain Pens


The following details the variety of nib-tipping sizes commonly found on fountain pens:

  • Extra Fine
  • Fine
  • Medium
  • Broad
  • Stub
  • Architect


Filling-Mechanisms are the means by which a fountain pen can draw in ink. There are many but I'll just list a few:

  • Cartridge - disposable containers of ink
  • Converter - a tool either using a piston or aerometrics to draw ink into the pen
  • Vacuum-Filler - A system which creates a vacuum that—when broken—sucks ink into the barrel of the mechanism
  • Eyedropper - Eyedropper pens have a hollow barrel which safely contains ink. You simply unskrew the grip section off the pen and place in ink using an eyedropper.


There's an almost endless assortment of materials used in fountain pens but I'll just make note of a couple:

  • Ebonite - a hard rubber
  • Celluloid - a type of material containing, itrocellulose, camphor, and often dye
  • Acrylic Resin
  • Wood
  • Bone & Antlers
  • Urushi - a laquer only found in East Asia
  • Elforyn - similar to acyrlic but with added heat resistance
  • Brass & Steel