Short history of the of the fountain pen
The history of fountain pens is a fascinating journey that spans several centuries, with notable contributions from various inventors and iconic brands such as Parker, Waterman, and Sheaffer. Let’s explore the evolution of these pens and the role these brands played in shaping their development.
The origins of fountain pens can be traced back to the 17th century when early versions of these writing instruments began to emerge. In 1636, a German inventor named Daniel Schwenter described a pen with two quills, one holding the ink and placed inside another quill, in a magazine. This pen featured a cork seal to prevent ink leakage. Samuel Pepys, an English naval administrator, also mentioned a metal pen that carried ink in his writings in 1663.
However, it was Lewis Waterman who made a significant breakthrough in the development of the modern fountain pen. In 1883, Waterman patented a fountain pen that harnessed capillary action, solving the major setback of ink flow and making it the first truly usable modern fountain pen. Waterman’s invention marked the beginning of a new era for American fountain pens. Even today, vintage Waterman pens are still cherished by collectors and known for their writing performance.
Parker is another prominent brand that has played a pivotal role in the history of fountain pens. George Safford Parker, the founder of Parker Pen Company, made his mark in the industry with his innovative designs and high-quality pens. The company’s legacy can be traced back to 1888, when Parker received his first pen patent. Over the years, Parker pens became synonymous with excellence and craftsmanship. The Parker 51 pen, introduced in 1941, is considered an iconic model and earned accolades for its innovative design.
Sheaffer is yet another brand that left an indelible mark on the fountain pen history. Walter A. Sheaffer founded the Sheaffer Pen Company in 1912 and made significant contributions to the industry. Sheaffer’s pens were known for their elegance, durability, and superior writing performance. The company introduced many innovative features, including the lever-filling system, which allowed users to fill their pens directly from an ink bottle. Sheaffer pens became sought-after writing instruments among enthusiasts and professionals alike.
Throughout the history of fountain pens, these brands – Parker, Waterman, and Sheaffer – have continued to innovate and produce pens that have stood the test of time. Their contributions to the art of pen making, quality craftsmanship, and commitment to excellence have made them household names in the world of writing instruments.
The history of fountain pens is a captivating tale of ingenuity and innovation. Lewis Waterman’s breakthrough invention, the contributions of Parker, Waterman, and Sheaffer, and the countless inventors and improvements along the way have shaped the modern fountain pen into a reliable and cherished writing instrument. The legacy of these brands continues to inspire pen enthusiasts and collectors worldwide.