7. Fountain Pen


The fountain pen was born out of sheer exasperation! In 1884, Lewis Edson Waterman, an insurance salesman, won an important contract from several rivals. When the client was about to sign in the contract, ink spattered on it. When Waterman went to get a new form, one of his rivals moved in and finished the sale.

Waterman designed the first fountain pen—the forerunner of the modern fountain pens. He used the principle of capillary action. This is the principle by which the sap rises in the plants, defying gravitational attraction!

In a piece of hard rubber, which linked the nib and the reservoir of ink, Waterman cut a hair-thin channel. This allowed the air into the ink chamber, keeping the pressures inside and outside, in balance. But when the nib was pressed on the paper, ink leaked from the reservoir through the nib, enabling person to write.

At first ink fillers were used to fill the pen’s reservoir. Later flexible rubber sacks were introduced. These can suck in the ink when dipped into the bottle, after squeezing out the air inside them,

Ancient Egyptians used a simple reed stem filled with ink and a copper nib. Roman used quill pens and also made bamboo pens which could carry a reservoir of ink.

The word “fountain pen” was first used in 17th century, to denote that the pen had a reservoir of ink in it.

Visalakshi Ramani

8 Responses to 7. Fountain Pen

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