Eyedropper Fountain Pens
These pens are filled with a syringe or eyedropper to transfer ink from the inkwell into the barrel. While eyedropper fountain pens are easy to spill while filling, they also have the highest ink-carrying capacity since they lack a filling mechanism. History buffs will love knowing that this is the oldest pen filling method to date.
Fountain Pen Feeds
The feed attaches the nib to your fountain pen’s ink reservoir. It allows for a “controlled leak”, but that not all feeds are the same.
Hand-cut ebonite feeds are on the expensive side but more malleable and porous with increased capillary action. Plastic feeds are more common, with a smooth surface. While they may not flow as well as an ebonite feed, they have almost-perfect ink-air exchange.
Fountain Pen Nibs
This is the metal part of the pen that makes contact with the paper. You can find them in extra fine, fine, medium and broad sizes, as well as italic and stub. The material, size, and shape of the nib depends on your writing style and preferred ink output.
Key Innovations and Patents
Air Pressure and Fountain Pens
Air pressure plays a crucial role in capillary action. This is the process in which reflexive forces draw ink down the reservoir and out through the nib onto paper. A breather hole in the nib helps regulate the flow and must be regularly unclogged. The way a fountain pen is held, temperature and altitude, and ink viscosity all contribute to the exchange of air pressure that leads to a smooth writing experience.
Fountain Pen Patents and Innovations
Frederick Fölsch was issued the first English patent for a fountain pen in February, 1809. A secondary patent for an improved pen was issued to Joseph Bramah in September, 1809. The first patent that saw commercial success was for John Scheffer’s “Penographic” in 1819. Another patent pioneer, John Jacob Parker, received a patent in 1832 for a self-filling pen with a screw-operated piston.