Every writer wishes to have a pen which wouldn’t stop or spill, disrupt his free flow of thoughts which are being poured out unto the paper, that rare surge of emotions that may or may not be the same next time he/she sits down to write their heart out; a pen, which run like the current of a stream, delicate as a plume and elegant in its own sense. Fountain pens were designed primarily to fulfil this purpose, it has been believed.
In fact the origin of fountain pens is said to be from the inked quill which writers in early centuries like Sophocles, Aristotle used to use to write their precious works of art which have been preserved since time immemorial. These parchments inscribed in dark inks with firm yet soft quills never got erased or spoilt over time. With time and with newer developments and inventions pens were made from two quills being put together for the purpose of writing. One of the two quills was being used to store ink inside it to be transferred to the other quill by which the user can write. Since quills can contain inks for long and eventually it could evaporate before being used, the ink would be sealed in the quill by means of a cork and then when required it was squeezed to be able to write through s small opening inside the quill. This continued until the 17th century.
By the early 18th century, metal pens had come into the picture wherein the tip of the quill was converted into a nib shaped like a feather and inside the metal protective covering was a small tube to transfer the ink from the bottom of the pen i.e. ink reservoir to the tip of the pen. Such pens were commonly being called “fountain pens”.
Until the 19th century manufacturing of efficient and dependable fountain pens in the industries was on a smaller scale and at a slower pace since most inks being used in such pens were extremely corrosive and sedimentary in nature. Also the mechanism of air pressure and capillary action which are crucial concepts in the working of a fountain pen were unknown to people before. But eventually after excelling the studies of crafting instruments especially for writing, there was a high growth in the production of fountain pens with free flowing ink, harder nibs, firmer grip and exterior. Prominent manufactures of fountain pen during the 1880s and 1900s was Waterman Phileas and Wirt.
By the 1920s fountain pens with hollow coverings, firmer, shorter nibs dominated the market. The ink had to be inserted in the pen through an eyedropper which caused a lot of leakage and was also a time consuming procedure. This problem was solved by the invention of self fillers in the pens which could be filled by merely dipping the tip of the pen inside the ink and pressing the tube to be able to suck the ink inside the pen.
Fountain pens as we know them now with removable cartridges resembling a refillable ball point or a gel pen became popular since the 1950s after the launch of Parker’s stylish and improved pens.