Who Invented The Fountain Pen?

Who Invented The Fountain Pen? Was it Poenaru? Waterman? Who Did What?

Who Invented Fountain Pen Postcard

Who Invented The Fountain Pen? Answer Follows…

Petrache Poenaru patented the fountain pen on May 25th, 1827, he invented the fountain pen while he was in school in Paris and wanted a way to continue note taking without stopping to dip for ink.

Second only to Gutenberg’s invention of mechanical movable type that started the printing revolution, the invention of the fountain pens allowed writers to write without dipping a quill in ink every few letters.

It’s amazing when you think about it. Before the fountain pen was mass produced, you had to be able to afford to write. Why? Well you had to be able to afford to pay a quill cutter to cut your quill with a razor at the proper angle and sharpen it after a few pages of writing.

I thought about this the other day when I noticed a pen discarded on the street, today people toss them out or drop them and don’t even bother picking them up.

“If I were answering a question about who invented a fountain pen close to what we use today…. Well that’s different.”

There was a struggle to invent a fountain pen that wasn’t ink-starved and wouldn’t blob ink all over your paperwork. With the advent of a tube feeder or bladder to hold the ink, people didn’t yet understand how to regulate the ink supply.

Petrache Poenaru

Petrache Poenaru patented the fountain pen

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fountain pen patent collage

Collage of Early Fountain Pen Patents

This media file is in the public domain in the United States. This applies to U.S. works where the copyright has expired, often because its firstpublication occurred prior to January 1, 1923. See this page for further explanation.

Lewis Waterman (Founder of Waterman pens) is commonly an answer to who invented the fountain pen, but his 1884 patent was for an improvement on the existing pen; Waterman patented a design in which ink was fed to the nib by gravity and air being drawn into the reservoir to allow a constant flow of ink without flooding.

Several early attempts at nibs (the tip of the pen that does the writing) have little channels that held some ink but weren’t a reliable way to regulate the ink coming down from the reservoir.

Once people understood that air needed to travel into the reservoir in order to allow ink to flow down the feed to the nib with some control the modern nib and feed system were mastered.

The original nibs were made of steel which corroded with the inks of the time.

Fine writing instruments evolved with gold nibs that were iridium tipped because the iridium is a hard metal that allows for many years of writing without wearing down and the gold was flexible enough to give lettering some character.

After the modern gold and iridium tipped nibs were invented, the ink filling mechanisms evolved and retractable nibs were introduced. The fountain pens of today are largely iterations of the pens made in the early 20th century with modernized filling mechanisms.

Fountain pens have a beautiful history and brought writing to the masses.  Petrache Poenaru, who invented the fountain pen, was just the beginning of the evolution of fine writing instruments. Check out a few reviews for yourself to find the best fountain pen for you!

Thank you for visiting BestFountainPen.com, your readership is a constant gift and I hope you start your pen collection today; you’ll love them as much as I do! (Don’t forget to check out my pages on Journals & Inks.)
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