Talk:Fountain pen

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Former featured article Fountain pen is a former featured article. Please see the links under Article milestones below for its original nomination page (for older articles, check the nomination archive) and why it was removed.
Main Page trophy This article appeared on Wikipedia's Main Page as Today's featured article on April 5, 2004.
WikiProject Technology (Rated C-class)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Technology, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of technology on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
C-Class article C  This article has been rated as C-Class on the project's quality scale.
Checklist icon

Proper use[edit]

This is going to seem minor, and forgive the edit if it is misplaced, but upon coming to this page I saw nothing on how to hold or use a fountain pen. Most notably, I didn't know which side of the nub was "up." as I came here specifically to learn this, having just bought a disposable fountain pen, I found it troubling that neither the article or its linked pages pointed me in the right direction. Any chance of adding a basic use page? 06:59, 22 May 2007 (UTC) Why don't you try looking at WikiHow? Wikipedia is not a how-to...but WikiHow is :-D Hope I could help! (talk) 20:34, 3 January 2009 (UTC) then stick it in your vagina

photo request[edit]

It would be nice if there was a picture of a Fountain pen to go with the article. Anyone want to try and find a public domain image?

Someone could perhaps photograph theirs?

some copyediting perhaps required[edit]

The pen is said to be a status symbol, but if you ask people using fountain pens why they do, they will probably answer it is for aesthetic and comfort reasons. Arguably no other kind of pen can reach the same level of fluid and effortless writing and produce such lively line. This could perhaps be mentioned.

This seems to be a flow problem in the text. Some parts come off denying a thing and a little afterwards there's an "also"-chapter. It could use a lot of rephrasing and arranging.

Yes, and it has reached a size where a division between the introduction, the historical part and the other parts might be useful. AlainV. 2003-12-06

I'm a moderator for The Fountain Pen Network (, and know the central opinions of fountain pen users. I'll have a read through this article again, and fix some of this division up. I'll make sure it's well explained on the edit pages. Pactio kiss 13:39, 25 January 2007 (UTC)Pactio_kiss

Second paragrap, first sentence: "Filling the reservoir with ink may be done manually (via the use of an eyedropper or syringe), or via an V]], the caliph of the Maghreb, demanded a pen that would not stain his hands or clothes, and was provided with a pen" does not make any sense. SirteP (talk) 19:27, 31 August 2011 (UTC) Make sure to use plenty of lube wink wink — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:50, 28 February 2014 (UTC)

gravitation, surface tension[edit]

Ramir 09:23, 5 Apr 2004 (UTC): I put links to "gravitation" and "surface tension". If you don't like it, remove them, and put a note here for others who want to link to those articles.


I'm curious why there is no separate article on nibs, the redirect sends you here? --Phoebus 23:15, 11 Jun 2004 (UTC)

This seems wrong to me, too. Nibs get used on dip pens, too.

try the site

There is already a highly informative website that covers that area. Try and search "Nibs" Pactio kiss 13:40, 25 January 2007 (UTC)Pactio_kiss

filling mechanisms?[edit]

Various filling mechanisms also have to be listed and discussed either inline or in separate articles. --Sivaraj 07:24, 18 Oct 2004 (UTC)

There seems to have been quite a bit of addition and deletion of filling systems. Having looked at previous edits, the detail was quite overwhelming and started concentrating on each manufacturer's particular system and patents.

It appears to me that here it would make sense only to include the generic filling systems, not the specifics. The specifics would be placed on each of the individual manufacturers pages.

That is the key filling systems would be:

- Eyedropper - Crescent - Piston - Lever - Button - Cartridge


Unfortunately, in the world of vintage fountain pens, some filling mechanisms that were only used by specific brands were a cornerstone to fountain pen development and history. They cannot be neglected. Such examples are the Vacumatic filling system by Parker, Aerometric filling system by Parker "51"s and the Sheaffer Snorkel filling system. Some specific filling mechanisms require a mention.

Request for references[edit]

Hi, I am working to encourage implementation of the goals of the Wikipedia:Verifiability policy. Part of that is to make sure articles cite their sources. This is particularly important for featured articles, since they are a prominent part of Wikipedia. The Fact and Reference Check Project has more information. Thank you, and please leave me a message when a few references have been added to the article. - Taxman 19:33, Apr 22, 2005 (UTC)

I've added some references from various news articles. Pactio kiss 13:02, 29 January 2007 (UTC)Pactio_kiss

Left-handed people[edit]

I would like to see some mention to the difficulties on the use of fountain pens by left-handed people. It seems that there are special pens made for lhp, but I have yet to find a true reference. Luis Dantas 06:50, 9 November 2005 (UTC)

Your wish is my command ;-) A VERY complete treatise on the subject has been written by one of the great nibmeisters still extant - Jim Mottishaw. His article on the subject "The Left-handed Writers Page" at <> has also been reprinted by the Pen Collectors of America <>

Additional excellent resources relevant to the topic are:

"Varieties of left-handed writing"

"Pen hold and hand position for writing left-handed"


"Teaching Left-Handers to Write"

Courteney Camry Hyzy 12.30.2005


It seems to me that there's a whole lot of information here rather densely packed - perhaps so much that a newcomer to fountain pens would be confused and discouraged. I understand the reasons behind this, since apparently overzealous FP fans have come up in droves to support their favourite hobby on the Wiki. But maybe we could lean back on the more esoteric knowledge here, and concentrate on the straight facts. A little copy editing wouldn't hurt either. Just a thought. --God_ofcoffee 06:57, 14 Feb 2006 (UTC)

I read this whole page when I was a newcomer to fountain pens. Contrary to your concern, I have found this big mass of information very interesting and informative :-) Pactio kiss 13:42, 25 January 2007 (UTC)Pactio_kiss

Indian Ink[edit]

"In addition, they cannot be used with the various oil- and particle-based inks (such as India ink)..." I have a fountain pen and i use Indian Ink for it with no problem

I guess you're lucky so far. India ink contains particles in suspension which can block the feed of the pen, especially if it's allowed to dry out.
India ink is a big no-no for fountain pens. I don't know how you've managed to use them in fountain pens so far, but it's guaranteed to do damage. Pactio kiss 13:41, 25 January 2007 (UTC)Pactio_kiss


Whats with all the spam & commericial links? shouldn't we take care of that? Ddahlberg 17:07, 23 May 2006 (UTC)

  • Since no one took the time to do it, I sorted and deleted through the least informative websites. Ddahlberg 12:50, 29 June 2006 (UTC)

brands, porsche[edit]

I seriously doubt porsche manufactures fountain pens. They probably just license their name to some other maker; it's possible they do some of the design. The makers section should probably be retitled "brands", similar to the ink section. -- Akb4 06:03, 31 August 2006 (UTC)

The licensee is Faber-Castell as far as writing implements are concerned.--Cancun771 13:46, 5 January 2007 (UTC)


fountain pen collecting seems to be a large field, which is given little coverage in this article. perhaps a seperate article about it could be created? (this leads me to wonder if there should be (or is?) a template or style for articles on collecting various things...) -- Akb4 06:03, 31 August 2006 (UTC) use it anywhere you like××× use caution — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:54, 28 February 2014 (UTC)

The Sultan of Egypt[edit]

Can anybody verify this bit of information about the "Sultan" of Egypt demanding a pen in the 10th century? With an independent source? It was put in anonymously on the 13th of March last year. According to the wiki on the title of Sultan, as well as the Mamluk and Ayyubid_dynasty, the islamic rulers of Egypt only began to style themselves as Sultans from the 12th century onwards. In the 10th century, ist should much rather have been an Emir. If this is not corrected and/or properly referenced in a week, I will delete it.--Cancun771 13:58, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

Timeline Complications[edit]

Purvis invented the ink-feeding tube and received a patent in 1890. The very next sentence reads: "The first fountain pens making use of all these key ingredients appeared in the 1850s." How can something that received a patent in 1890 be used in 1850? S. Randall 11:31, 23 February 2007 (UTC)

Similarly, in History: "The earliest historical record of a reservoir pen dates to the 10th century. " then shortly after, "The earliest surviving reservoir pens date to the 1st century." Are these dates BCE? 15:03, 2 March 2007 (UTC)

Please delete all the variations of "Pen" from the names of inventors. David Pen? really? 05:18, 19 June 2007 (UTC)

Inexpensive fountain pens outside Europe?[edit]

The article states that "cartridge-filler fountain pens are still in common use in France, Germany and the United Kingdom". A quick search in W H Smith's website found quite a few cheap cartridge pens, so that part is certainly true as applied to the UK at least, but is it the case, as the phrase quoted above seems to imply, that inexpensive cartridge pens are considerably less common outside Europe (and China)? 01:15, 6 October 2007 (UTC)

Ink choice[edit]

My grandma told me that it's best for the pen to use blue ink. Because black inks are usually made of carbon and they jam the pen when dried. Any truth to that? Lightblade 18:03, 8 October 2007 (UTC)

Very few black inks today contain carbon relying instead upon dyes. Use black if you prefer. No matter what ink you choose, periodically flush your pen with clear water. Any ink left in a pen long enough can dry and clog the pen. If you are going to store a pen for long periods, flush it with water and put it away empty. 21:35, 13 October 2007 (UTC)


Exactly when was a reservoir pen first used? First the articel states the 10th century and then mentions the 1st century. --Klaus Bertow 22:39, 28 October 2007 (UTC)

al-Mu'izz pen[edit]

A Mediaeval Islamic Prototype of the Fountain Pen? by CE Bosworth - Journal of Semitic Studies, 26(2):229-234 is used in a number of articles for the claim of the 1st fountain pen. This is a short (6 page) article, mostly made up of translation of a passage from al-Quadi al-Nu'man, Kitab al-Majalis wa 'l-musayarat; the author of the original Arabic text is described as 'confidant and companion of the heir-apaprent al-Mu'izz.'(p229)

The passage describes a non-leaking pen with a reservoir, first described and requested by al-Mu'izz, then produced, out of gold, by a craftsman in 'not more than a few days'. 'gravity and capillary action' are not in the cited article and are original research. There is no mention of how the pen functions, how it is filled, or what sort of ink it uses. A quote suggests that the pen only works for certain people, and has a will of its own - "it only bestows benefit on a person really desiring it, and it does not let its ink flow except for a person who has a right to summon it forth because the pen approves of him" (p233) This suggests that the account cannot be entirely factual. The question mark in the article title suggests that Bosworth may have some doubt about its veracity.

I am not sure how best to situate this in the article, other than to say that it may have been an early fountain pen, but point out that this single historical source seems to be the sole source of this claim, no fountain pen from this period has been found, and the mechanism remains unknown.

Dialectric (talk) 23:36, 20 May 2010 (UTC)

Merger proposal[edit]

I propose that Nibmeister be merged into Fountain_pen. I think that the content in the Nibmeister article can easily be explained in the context of nibs on the Fountain Pen page, and the Nibmeister article is of a reasonable size in which the merging will not cause any problems as far as article size or undue weight is concerned. Tfwall (talk) 23:04, 18 February 2011 (UTC)

The size of the Nibmeister article is such that very little discussion is warranted for such a merge. Go for it. Frotz (talk) 01:11, 19 February 2011 (UTC)

Fountain pen ink Is it worth the effort?[edit]

I note that this article has remained in poor shape since 2008. The list of manufacturers has been expanded in a hit-or-miss manner, but substantive content and references have remained elusive. Seeing that no progress has been made in 3 yrs, can we just delete this stub article and move on? Tfwall (talk) 12:31, 18 February 2011 (UTC)

I've tried now and then to get this article into some sort of sensible shape. Originally I felt that Noodler's ink was unique enough to warrant special mention, but then other people morphed the article into a huge list. I'd like to merge the leading paragraph into the Fountain pen article and junk most of the rest. What is deleted would do much better in a wiki for fountain pens. I'll get on the Fountain Pen Network and let them know what's going on. I eagerly await your suggestions. Frotz (talk) 01:19, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
I agree with moving the general introductory paragraphs into Fountain pen. I don't think there is much else salvageable. Tfwall (talk) 09:41, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
I copied what I think is appropriate. We can work on attributions later. Also, I will copy this discussion to Talk:Fountain pen to preserve it. Anything else? Please reply at the new place. Frotz (talk) 03:08, 21 February 2011 (UTC)

New: List of terms about pen/ink[edit]

I have created a general, catch-all list as "List of terms about pen and ink" to also hold terms of questionable separate notability (such as "nibmeister"). Recall that Wikipedia's WP:NOTABLE policy allows topics (or people) to be mentioned within another notable-subject article, although each of those topics (or people) do not quality for a separate article which requires "individual notability". However, those topics/people can have redirect pages (containing "#REDIRECT") to point into other articles which describe them. When a subject has "250" short topics, then they could all be defined within a very long list page, as 250 more terms related to the list subject. In that manner, WP can contain some extra detailed information, about numerous pen-and-ink topics, without having tons of tiny articles subjected to protracted debates. For more explanation, see talk-page: Talk:List of terms about pen and ink, and discuss there. -Wikid77 13:49, 17 April 2011 (UTC)

solid-ink fountain pens undermentioned[edit]

Nothing to be found on "solid-ink fountain pens", except this one sentence mentioning patents (numbers, please, since there's nothing else). Searching elsewhere comes back here or to wikipedia copies on other sites, often without attribution (it's a great way to find some of those), but that doesn't inform me.

Seems like a nicely obscure subject for some aspiring historian to dig into. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:35, 13 January 2013 (UTC)

Cartridge & mess[edit]

"While cartridges are mess free"

There's optimism :) I've owned several, and they aren't. (talk) 21:54, 25 June 2014 (UTC)

GA Review[edit]

This review is transcluded from Talk:Fountain pen/GA1. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the review.

Reviewer: David Eppstein (talk · contribs) 22:03, 25 July 2016 (UTC)

Reviewing. But before I look at it more seriously, it would be helpful to address the following issues:

  • The "History", "Nibs", and "Filling mechanisms" sections are quite long, and there are no subsections. I think adding subsection headings will make it much less intimidating to read these parts of the article.
  • The "Feed" section is very short, and doesn't tell me what I want to know: how does the feed allow ink to flow out when I'm writing but not at other times? I think it is in need of significant expansion.
  • Is "Most pens use either a piston filler or a cartridge" actually true? My Pilot Metropolitans use a squeeze filler. Is it possible to back this up with some statistics?
  • What is the current share of fountain pens in the overall pen market? How many people actually use them?
  • There are whole paragraphs and even a whole section (the feed one) without sources. To pass GA, everything must have a source.
  • There are many bare-URL references. All references need to be properly and consistently formatted. Additionally, many references appear primary (e.g. patents) or unreliable (e.g. blogs).

David Eppstein (talk) 22:03, 25 July 2016 (UTC)

The nominator left a note on my talk page, which for convenience I copy here:

I've worked through the article making edits where appropriate. I think it now meets the GA criteria, but would especially appreciate additional clarification about whether the article meets criteria point 2 (verifiable). Thanks! Seba5tien (talk/contribs) —Preceding undated comment added 07:21, 26 July 2016 (UTC)

However, I think the sourcing is still deficient. Every claim in every sentence must be sourced. If two or more consecutive sentences of the same paragraph have the same source, it's only necessary to footnote the last one, but footnotes should not span more than one paragraph. As the article is now, many sentences (in all sections) and four entire paragraphs (in the nib flexibility section) are missing footnotes, and many footnotes that look like they span multiple sentences really only cover the material in the final sentence of the span. Additionally, the source in the "Limiting issues" section is an unreliable-looking web page that itself cites Wikipedia, violating WP:CIRCULAR, and the MacKinnon source in the "New patents and inventions" section also looks dubious for reliability. Again, there are many primary (patent) sources and many bare-url sources that need to be fixed. —David Eppstein (talk) 22:18, 26 July 2016 (UTC)

clock In progress Hi David, thank you for the helpful clarification regarding sourcing. I have started to review the entire article to ensure that the patent and bare URL sources are rectified. I have also tagged every instance where a source is not present, and will work to provide verifiable and notable references for these. Thanks! Seba5tien (talk/contribs) 06:04, 27 July 2016 (UTC)
YesY I've just finished cleaning up the article, checking references and adding sources. Please let me know if any additional changes need to be made. Thanking you in anticipation, Seba5tien (talk/contribs) 07:44, 27 July 2016 (UTC)

Partial first reading[edit]

Lead section
"its predecessor, the dip pen" sounds like it should be a summary of something in the history section. What is it a summary of?
"a combination of gravity and capillary action": gravity is nowhere later mentioned
pipetting is nowhere later mentioned
The long history section is not summarized here
The nib section is also not summarized
The claim that a detailed technical illustration sourced to a copyrighted blog posting is ineligible for copyright seems at best dubious to me.
Overall, no effort to comply with MOS:LEAD
Original reservoir pens
The French patent figure is misplaced in this section and has a sentence fragment in its caption. Also the claim that it was the first patent needs a source.
European reservoir models
The Schwenter pen is missing a detailed reference
"Noted Maryland historian": WP:PEACOCK
Limiting issues
"Progress was slow" has no source
"the role that air pressure plays" has no source
"most inks were highly corrosive" has no source
"full of sedimentary inclusions" has no source
Poenaru's patent: the source is highly dubious, as it says Poenaru invented the first fountain pen, clearly contradicted by the earlier sections. Also it looks more promotional than scholarly to me.
Mass-manufactured nibs
Mason's nib has no source
The Perry & Co source doesn't mention any 1830 nib machine
"This boosted the Birmingham pen trade and by the 1850s, more than half the steel-nib pens manufactured in the world were made in Birmingham. Thousands of skilled craftsmen were employed in the industry." is sourced to a directory listing for a "Pen Museum" that mentions none of this.
Some of the text reads uncomfortably closely from — was this article copied from the book (in which case we should rewrite to avoid copying) or was the book copied from our article (in which case we cannot use it as a source)?
The reference to "The Manufacture of Steel Pens in Birmingham" could use a link to an online copy, e.g.
That source says nothing about the invention of new manufacturing techniques, worldwide sales, market expansion to people previously unable to afford quills (really? it's a bird feather), or "encouraging the development of education and literacy".
New patents and inventions
Lyman's source could use a link
"steadily accelerating stream": source?
I've already complained about the "who invented" source, but although it mentions gold tips, I don't see any mention of hard rubber and better ink, nor of those three being the key inventions needed for wide popularity.
The source for MacKinnon and Cross looks like a sales site and mentions none of the details of their invention
The remaining source for the five final sentences of the second paragraph sources none of them, not even the last one.
"a slow and messy procedure" has no source
"the most successful of these was probably" sourced by two more unreliable looking sales sites, neither of which compares the relative success of these solutions
"The tipping point, however, was the runaway success of Walter A. Sheaffer's lever-filler" is contradicted by its source, which says that it "wasn’t the first truly successful lever". Also, tipping point for what?
"paralleled by Parker's roughly contemporary button-filler": source?

At this point I gave up on a detailed reading. The sourcing problems already indicated above have been papered over but are far from solved. My impression is that well over the majority of individual sentences are still badly sourced. —David Eppstein (talk) 07:11, 1 August 2016 (UTC)


There has been no additional progress in the last two weeks, and the article is still far from meeting the GA criteria. At this point, I think what the article needs is for an editor to go through the article slowly and carefully, checking that each phrase is meaningful, correct, and sourced to scholarly rather than promotional sources, and that the overall article makes sense as a whole (another issue that needs work but that the review comments above didn't really touch on, because there were more major sourcing issues that needed to be addressed first). But this process will take more time and energy than we have seen so far, and the best way to provide that time is to step back from the Good Article nomination process for now so that there is no need to rush to meet a deadline. Therefore, I am going to fail the GA nomination for now. The article can be re-nominated once that thorough revision process is complete. —David Eppstein (talk) 20:32, 15 August 2016 (UTC)

al-Mu'izz pen (again)[edit]

I took this out [1]. See-also the section above. The original source for the text was, which is now 404. Jagged added the scholarly ref [2] but to the same text; it is likely that he never read the article. So the text is effectively unsourced William M. Connolley (talk) 18:35, 12 March 2017 (UTC)