fountain pens, sometimes also known as reservoir pens, have a long history in the world of writing utensils. Some records show evidence of the use of the fountain pen as far back as 10th century Egypt. But it wasn’t until the mid 19th century that it became very common to see portable fountain pens for sale and use throughout society.
To create a fountain pen that users could rely on to write consistently, without excess blotting or leaking, inventors experimented with various design methods and ink filling techniques. The first major breakthrough in portability came in 1827, when a Roman inventor named Petrache Poenaru created a fountain pen with a refillable ink cartridge. The inside of the pen contained a hollow barrel into which users poured ink through a long eyedropper. Unfortunately, these first fountain pens were prone to leakage and often created a mess.
The answer to the leakage problem came about in 1907, when L.E. Waterman perfected what was known as the -safety pen-. This model featured a retractable point that would pump into and out of the ink well, corking the reservoir like a bottle so that no ink could escape. In the decades that followed there were many technological advances in the design of fountain pen features such as their nibs (points), filling methods, and cartridges.
While their day-to-day popularity faded with the the advent of the ballpoint pen in the 1960s, many people still prefer fine fountain pens over their modern cousins. There is an air of nostalgia, history and romanticism inherent in writing with a fountain pen. They also suggest a degree of formality, which is why they are the tool of choice for many calligraphers and artists.
Many antique hobbyists enjoy collecting vintage fine fountain pens for their period charm and aesthetic value. It is is not uncommon to see fountain pens for sale from various historical eras decorated with jewels, precious metals and inlaid lacquer designs.
Whether is to sell or buy, fountain pen enthusiasts have set up many physical retail stores and Internet sites where other fountain pen lovers can exchange information and add to their own private collections. They can shop for top names such as Waterman, Mont Blanc, Dunhill, Parker and Visconti, or find rare items that may not be as well known in the mainstream community. They have access to services, such as ink refilling, and they can also buy fountain pen accessories such as wooden pen cases and leather notebooks and organizers.
The world is constantly changing, and humans are adapting more and more every day to our increasingly digitalized environment. But the enduring popularity of the fountain pen proves that is still possible to hold on to a piece of the past.