Writing instruments that were able to carry their own supply of ink had been there for many years before Lewis Waterman was granted the patent for the fountain pen in 1884.
The oldest known fountain pen, which has been preserved even today was designed by M. Bion, a Frenchman in 1702.
Soon after, the half quill half-metal pen, the self filling fountain pen and other such models were invented.
The fountain pen’s design is based on the design of the quill-pens, which were used before it.
Quill pens were writing instruments that used bird’s feathers. The end of the feather had a little hollow channel, which was able to store ink when it is dipped into it.
This is how inventors designed the modern pen to have a system that could hold ink inside it, which was an improvement on the quill-pen, which needed to be dipped often.
Waterman’s pen had three main parts to it, the nib (the part that toughed the paper), the ink reservoir (stores the ink), and the internal plate (when squeezed it fills the reservoir with ink) which directs ink into the ink reservoir.
The outer layer of the pen, which protects the whole inside is called the round barrel.
There are many types of standard nib sizes and the nib was made out of a metal called iridium.
The reason that many people never lent their fountain pens to anyone was because the metal iridium nib shapes itself according to the person’s writing style. Therefore, anyone else using it would not be able to write properly.
The ballpoint pen was introduced to America in October 1985 when a paper advertisement in New York read “fantastic... miraculous fountain pen... guaranteed to write for two years without refilling”.
On the first day over 10,000 pens were sold. However, this pen’s birth was almost a century before, when an American leather tanner, John Loud invented and requested a license for a roller-ball-tip marking pen.
Strangely, neither Loud’s invention, nor the 350 other patents after that were even marketed.
The major problem was the ink. If the ink was too thin, the pen would leak ink, if the ink was too thick, it would clog up. Depending on the temperatures sometimes both happened.
Two Hungarian brothers, Ladislas and Georg Biro, designed the ballpoint pen, as we know it today, in 1935. The pen was first produced in a factory in Argentina.
Thorough many experiments in trying to perfect the ink and after introducing a rough metal “ball” to the end of the nib, the clogging and leaking problems were solved too.
This metal ball acted like a sponge by improving ink flow.
Many pilots during the World War II preferred this ball-point pen to the fountain pen because it worked great even high up in the skies, and it didn’t need to be filled all the time.
The ballpoint pen was manufactured by many people in America and around the world after that, and today is perhaps the most popular writing instrument used.