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Fountain Pens

The somewhat debatable origin of the fountain pen can be traced back to Walter Sheaffer in 1907. He's the one that's credited with perfecting a pen that sucked up ink through the tip, in place of reloading the pen with ink with a cumbersome eyedropper. This made the fountain pen vastly neater than older-style pens1.

Nonetheless, there's something very sensual about writing with a pen that uses liquid ink. Indeed, when writing with a fountain pen, the nib seems to positively glide across the page with such effortless grace as to make the physical act of writing a joy. These days, if you prefer, you can buy plastic cartridges for a fountain pen. These little fellows practically eliminate any chance of a mess2.

In this era of mass production, a $100-plus writing instrument might well seem an extravagance. Yet a good fountain pen will last a lifetime. It lends character to the signature of its user, and makes writing a much more thoughtful experience.


1 Though of course, those of us used to ballpoint pens, still think of fountain pens as messy instruments.
2 Unless you're a complete klutz, or forget to remove a loaded fountain pen from your pocket before embarking on an airline flight. The change in atmospheric pressure will probably cause your pen to leak ink all over your clothes.

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Entry Data
Entry ID: A257960 (Edited)

Written and Researched by:
Researcher 93445
U137089

Edited by:
U53353


Date: 09   February   2000


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Most of the content on h2g2 is created by h2g2's Researchers, who are members of the public. The views expressed are theirs and unless specifically stated are not those of the BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of any external sites referenced. In the event that you consider anything on this page to be in breach of the site's House Rules, please click here. For any other comments, please start a Conversation above.


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