Fountain Pen: Poenaru’s fountain pen shortcomings are overcome at last in a breakthrough design

Fountain Pen by

“None of us can have as many virtues as the fountain pen or half its cussedness.” by Mark Twain

The invention of the modern fountain pen is really more a story of perfection than invention. In 1883, more than fifty years after the fountain pen was the first invented a New York Insurance broker Levis Waterman was set to sign an important contract and decided to honour the occasion by using the standard ink-filled pen of the day. However, fountain pens were notoriously unreliable, especially in their capacity to regulate their ink flow so when the pen spilled ink across the contract so that it could not be signed Waterman decided to do something think about it.
Within a year Lewis Waterman had designed the world’s first practical, usable and virtually leak-proof fountain pen. To regulate the flow of ink he successfully applied the principle of capillary action with the inclusion of a tiny air hole in the nib of the pen along with grooves in feeder mechanism to control the flow of ink from his few leak-proof reservoir to the nib. Although Waterman deserves credit for the invention of the modern fountain fen we know today, he nonetheless stood on the shoulders of many who had gone before.
As early as the beginning of the eighteenth century, the chief instrument-maker to the king of France M.Bion crafted fountain pens with nibs, five of which survive to this day. The first steel pen point was manufactured in 1828 thought to be invented by Pettrache Poenaru and in the 1830s the inventor James Perry had several unsuccessful attempts at designing nibs that employed the principle of capillary action. But it was Lewis Waterman who overcame every obstacle and crafted a successful was so successful that by 1901, two years after Waterman’s death more than 350,000 pens of his design were sold worldwide.