Saturday, November 29, 2003

did you know...
The oldest fountain pen that survives dates to 1702

Lewis Waterman patented the first practical fountain pen in 1884. But the oldest known fountain pen that has survived to date was designed by a French man M. Bion in 1702.

Peregrin Williamson, a Baltimore shoemaker, received the first American patent for a pen in 1809. John Scheffer received a British patent in 1819 for his half quill, half metal pen that he attempted to mass manufacture. John Jacob Parker patented the first self-filling fountain pen in 1831.

The earliest 19th-century pens used an eyedropper for filling ink. By 1915, most pens had switched to having a self-filling soft and flexible rubber sac as an ink reservoir. The button filler type of fountain pen was patented in 1905 and first offered by the Parker Pen Co. in 1913 . Walter Sheaffer patented the lever filler type of fountain pen in 1908. The W.A. Sheaffer Pen Company of Fort Madison, Iowa, introduced this pen in 1912. Its design became the winning design for the next 40 years. The button filler was the second most favoured design. Roy Conklin of Toledo commercially produced the click filler, which was at first called the crescent filler. The matchstick filler was introduced around 1910 by the Weidlich Company.

The coin filler was developed by Lewis Waterman. There are nine standard nib sizes, and three different nib-tip cuts: straight, oblique and italic. The early inks caused steel nibs to quickly corrode while gold nibs did not corrode. Iridium used on the very tip of the nib replaced gold because gold was too soft.

Each nib wore down according to each owner's style of writing. People did not loan their fountain pens to anyone else for that reason.

Compiled by Gaurav Sood