The History Behind The Fountain Pen

Parker, Waldmann and Montblanc. If you’ve heard of these brands, you’ll know that their common link is specializing in the humble Fountain Pen. But how did the Fountain Pen originate and how has it become such an iconic stationery item? Read on as we discuss the rich history behind its invention and its importance in today’s world.


The Early Stages

Whilst it’s important to know that the first incarnation of a fountain pen became a patent in 1884, this was not when it was first discovered. In fact, the oldest recorded fountain pen was actually designed by M. Bion in 1702. If we look at the first American patent, it would be in 1809 and was received by Peregrin Williamson. A British patent was then given to John Scheffer in 1819. This was an important advancement as this was known as the first half quill and half metal pen that he later tried to mass manufacture. Perhaps the most important development came in 1831 though, where the first self-filling fountain pen became a patent filed by John Jacob Parker. It would later influence refillable pens thanks to his new discovery.


FMS Blog Ink And Quill Fountain Pen


The First Designs

After almost a thousand years of people using quill pens as their main writing instrument, the very first fountain pen designs began to emerge. An important observation that many early inventors managed to make was a natural ink reserve which could be found within a bird’s feather. This would produce several concepts, many of which would form from a simple feather, that didn’t require dipping into ink to continue writing with. To modernize this invention, Lewis Waterman began to research into improvements on the original fountain pen. The inspiration came to him after he has destroyed a precious sales contract on paper due to leaky pen ink. Waterman then began to work on new designs that meant the feather was encased in a protective rubber to contain the ink. It would also include a metal ‘nib’ at the bottom of the pen to stop the ink escaping. This would then later lead to the modern fountain pen that we all use today.


FMS Blog Pencil Illustration


The Fountain Pen In Today’s World

Many classic fountain pens today serve as very prestigious collectables. Famous brands such as Parker and Waterman have also helped to establish them also as thoughtful gifts. Of course, the most common use for one is to write with. Using a fountain pen will often provide a very professional touch to letters and documents should you use one. Fountain pens hold very high regard in the modern day and it’s not difficult to see why!


FMS Blog Parker Pen




Sam Rose