Fountain pens were originally developed to solve the twin problems of dip pens; the constant dipping of the pen into ink and the frequent ink stains resulting from their use. The key idea was to incorporate the ink reservoir into a barrel that would allow the flow of ink to match the amount used when writing. This may sound simple, but it was a considerably complex and delicate engineering problem to solve.
Fountain pens were patented in 1827 by the Romanian Petrache Poenaru and there were various innovations during the 19th century, but they were not mass produced until the 1880’s by Waterman Pens. To fill the pen various devices were developed including crescent fillers, eyedroppers, twist fillers and lever pulls. Today, cartridges are the most common forms of reservoir, though prestige pens all come with modern alternatives.
The range of fountain pen inks available today is truly staggering with new colours being released regularly by the main manufacturers.