Wednesday, 2 July 2014

The Origins Of The Fountain Pen

Welcome back my fellow learners, I don't know about you, but when I was growing up having a fountain pen was a symbol of wealth and standing. Even though mine used to be an old plastic one, and regularly leaked onto my school books, using it always made me feel superior.

The modern fountain pen has it roots taken from the simple quill, which was originally made from goose tail feathers, at least it was in Western history. But save me from writing pages and pages on this, let’s move forward to the fountain pen as we know it today. Traditionally they come with a nib, a feed and an reservoir for ink. Beginning in the 1850s there was a steady stream of fountain pen patents in production. In the 1870s a Canadian living in New York City known as Duncan MacKinnon, and Alonzo T. Cross of Providence, Rhode Island designed stylographic pens that had a hollow tubular type nib and a wire which acted as a valve. Today, stylographic pens are used for drafting and technical drawing, but in 1875, these were popular writing instruments. It was only after three important inventions were made, that the fountain pen became a popular writing device. Those inventions were iridium tipped gold nibs, hard rubber, and ink which was free flowing.

While the oldest recorded fountain pen is still around today, and was created by a Frenchman called M. Bion in 1702, the first fountain pen was actually patented in 1884 by Lewis Edson Waterman. Legend says that Waterman, who was a 45 year-old insurance salesman, had an appointment with an important client for a major insurance policy. On the way to this meeting, he decided to purchase one of the new fountain pens which had come on the market. His client agreed to take the policy, however, when Waterman gave him the pen, all it did was blot, and so no signature, no policy. However, this is probably just an old advertising lore.

So there you have it my lovelies, my very short version on fountain pens.

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