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Pen is the tongue of the mind


Features | Spotlight, Spotlight


How Waterman Designed The Fountain Pen



30th June 2018


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There is an unmatched joy in feeling the ink float through the surface of white paper. One almost feels the swaying sensations in the heart while giving fine strokes to make letters with gentle pressure.
The sheer joy of calligraphy that comes with the handling of a fountain pen can be fulfilled with a variety of nib, hold and angle of pen.
The process of writing, however, was a luxurious and industrious labour which required the regular services of a quill cutter.


Petrache Poenaru had been sitting with despair over the inefficiency of quill and the labour of dipping it repeatedly into the ink pot. Something more smooth and flowing was needed to comfort the young man’s desire for writing.
And as is the York City in 1883 who had suffered this frustration when an ink spill from a fountain pen ruined his coveted deal. Waterman was so outraged that he pledged to never encounter such embarrassment and took to designing his own fountain pen. When Waterman started working in his brother’s workshop to redeem his future, little did he know he was laying the foundation of the modern fountain pen.


By using the capillarity principle to recreate the fountain pen, Waterman relied on natural air to bring about an even flow of ink. Before he rushed to obtain the patent in 1884, he famous proverb “Necessity is the mother of invention”, the fountain pen was born. Poneru obtained the patent on May 25, 1827, in Paris.

To write with a fountain pen on creamy paper is one of life’s great sensual pleasures.

– Daisy Goodwin, in the Sunday Times.

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