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Curiously enough the concept of fountain pen design pre-dated the invention of the fountain pen itself; not by any significant length of time, -by perhaps a hundred years. The fountain pen was probably invented in the commercial sense in the 1880s. Like the motor car whose development it paralleled in the early stages, it was invented by numerous different people at around the same time. Early patents are recorded for working systems, all using the same principal by Paul E. Wirt and by Stewart at Mabie, Todd and Bard, two dipping pen companies who probably saw it as nothing more than an outcrop of their main business (and therefore didn't feel the need to shout about it); also by Lewis E. Waterman, an insurance salesman who was prodded into it's development apparently by having just lost some money by accidentally spilling ink all over an insurance contract when a wealthy and valuable client was on the point of signing it. Realising it's potential as a revolutionary new way of writing without having to dip the nib into the ink every few words, Waterman took out a patent and set about telling the whole world about it in a particularly vociferous fashion.

Early Mechanisms Early Mechanisms

The Channeled Feed: The development of the Channeled Feed

Self-Filling Pens: The Development of Self-Filling mechanisms

Complex Mechanisms: How self filling mechanisms were made more complex (and why!)

Pen Materials: Materials Which Pen Companies Used After the Initial Use of Black, Red/Black Mottled, Red or Green Woodgrain, Ripple and Finally Red Hard Rubber

Modern Filling Systems: Which Filling Systems Are In General use Today

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