Who invented fountain pen?
The 21st century is what they say is the contemporary period. One distinct feature of this era is how individuals pay respect to literature and literary writing.
Even though modern technology has introduced us to various ways to digitalize all sorts of things, a person who is in a deep affection to literature would always argue that handwritten literary pieces are always the top- grade.
Of course, there would have never been such thing as literature without prehistoric people writing on stone tablets and cave walls. Then here comes the classical era where poets and other literary artists used plumes, feather tips soaked in ink, to craft the works that we all look up to today.
The important role pens played in the development of literature was never downgraded. However, as time passes by and people continue seeking ways for comfortability, new innovations on pens arise, changing the fad, and make writing easier.
Now, a pen called the Fountain Pen came to mind during the Enlightenment period. Who came up with the idea of creating a writing tool with ink already contained inside it and will just flow itself out of the metal nib of the pen?
Different sources may confuse you since their answers differ. They point to one person, and to another. However, if we delve into the real history of the first Fountain Pen ever created, it only points out to one significant man named Petrache Poenaru, a Romanian educator.
The Life of Poenaru
Records show that Poenaru came from a very significant family. Born in 1799 in Băneşti, Valceâ Country, it is said that Poenaru’s uncle is one of the catalyzers of an institutionalized education system. Poenaru worked part-time as a copyist at the bishop’s office while studying secondary school. Sometime from 1820 to 1821, he worked at the Metropolitan School in Bucharest and there he taught the Greek language.
The young Petrache was then forced to give service as a part of an Oltenian army gathered to fight the corrupt Turkish colonizers. Though he admitted that he had no outstanding ability in fighting, which eventually leads to him getting a sanction from his commander, the revolution leader Tudor Vladimirescu was impressed by Petrache’s intellectual capability and gave him the position to be his personal assistant.
After Vladimirescu was assassinated, the life of the young Petrache Poenaru somehow started to run smoothly again as he was able to pursue his studies. He went to Vienna in 1822 and got a scholarship grant. He studied the language and technical sciences. Another scholarship was granted to him by Grigore Ghica, a former Wallachian leader.
After pursuing his passion for studying, which took him to say that “the sweetest pleasure a man can experience is learning,” he went back to his country and decided to teach and impart all of the knowledge that he acquired for the sake of his fellow countrymen.
The original Fountain Pen was reportedly invented by Poenaru. It was in 1826, while he was studying geodesy and surveying at the Ecole Polytechnique in Paris, he was able to create a pen that used a swan’s quill as its ink reservoir. The pen was considered to be a more portable and convenient innovation than its predecessor, the metal dip pen.
Even though some would claim that they were the real inventors of the fountain pen, on May 25, 1827, the French Ministry of the Interior had already patented Poenaru’s invention, stating that it is originally his. The ministry also acknowledged Poenaru’s invention as a portable pen “which recharges itself with ink.”
Poenaru After the Creating a Wave
Although there were no records stating about the life of Poenaru after he made a splash with his invention, he has truly made a remarkable part in the development of the pens that we now use today. Even though fountain pens, due to the emergence of the modern ballpoint pen, are now only considered as a piece of luxury, no one can deny the help that it served to the people of the Enlightenment Period.
Many innovations have emerged from different inventors, different features from each of them. However, as they say, nothing beats the classic. The plume, the dip pen, and the nib or fountain pen, these are the pillars that started it all. The trend of pens has arisen and one may look back to these classics as the kick-starters.
Of course, all thanks to Petrache Poenaru that there would have been no more affordable pens nowadays if he did not run for convenience and portability in creating the fountain pen.
What is a Fountain Pen?
During the early days, one of the people’s daily predicaments was how they would write legibly and cleanly through the use of quills. This old system of scribbling required not just a certain amount of ink but a tantamount effort and patience due to the procedure in which the individual must constantly dip the quill to the ink for them to be able to write their thoughts, and the process then goes simultaneously.
Aside from that, because of the drippings caused by this way of the inscription, it could pretty much blemish either the surface of the paper they’re writing to, the table, or even their own hands.
Because of the problem hindering self-expression and learning, a solution must be formulated. It then triggered people’s minds to think of something that would help them execute the said action in a less fatiguing and less time-consuming way. Creative minds tinkered, imagination paid off and voilà, the creation of the solution: the fountain pen.
Fountain pen, compared to the older types of writing paraphernalia, has a reservoir of water-based liquid ink in the body which will then flow to the feed and to the nib. This would be done through the vital aid of gravity and capillary action. The best thing with this kind of pen was when the ink was used up, the user could refill it through distinctive mechanisms dependent on the structure of the pen.
History of Fountain Pen
Back in the year 973, where the use of pen with ink reservoir was first mentioned and recorded, Ma’ād al-Mu’izz, the caliph of the Maghreb, region of Northwest Africa, needed a much better equipment in writing because of the reason that the customary quills and pens usually leave his hand messy by stains caused by the toner. He was then given a pen that had, in its internal body or cavity, inks.
Though the present time doesn’t know the physics behind the way it worked, its structures and components, it was said to not spill even if held or flipped overturned. Hundreds of years later, particularly in the 17th century, a German inventor named Daniel Shwenter devised a pen consisted of two quills wherein one of the quills with ink reservoir was purposely closed by a cork to prevent leakage but it has a little hole where the liquid flows down. The said quill would be sealed off by the other.
In 1663, a metal pen that could carry inks was mentioned in the writing of Samuel Pepys, an English Naval administrator. Some fountain pen that existed around the 17th century was written from the different accounts of a historian from Maryland named Hester Dorsey Richardson. It was, however, in the 19th century when the fountain pen was further developed through the mass production of cheap steel nibs.
Following the trend of evolution of pen, one of the first to have a patent of a fountain pen specifically designed from a large swan quill was Petrache Poenaru, a Romanian inventor. He received a grant from the French government on May 25, 1827. The year 1848 in the United States, when a patent for a fountain pen with the special feature of having a reservoir in the handle to supply the pen if need be, was accepted by Azel Storrs Lyman. Though the patents that were formerly stated weren’t the only ones during that time, these pens needed three iterations to be known around the world.
These three inventions were namely: iridium-tipped gold nib, hard rubber, and free-flowing ink. The reason why the latter was only developed during the mid-18th century was that of the lack of knowledge and comprehension of the essential effect of air pressure when it comes to the mechanism of the pen.
The combination of these three sorts was just created in the 1850s. Some fountain pens like the stylographic pen, which was invented by Duncan MacKinnon and Alonzo T. Cross in the year 1870, used wire in a tube that would serve as a valve for the ink. These kinds of pens then could be filled through the use of an eyedropper.
In the early 20th century, the invention of the first self-filling fountain pens was made. They were termed crescent-filler pens, wherein a crescent button compelled a rubber sac, and the other one is called twist-filler pen.
At present time, due to the continual development of the world and the invisible hand that mold the necessity of the society, usage of the fountain pen has declined as a result of the ubiquity of ballpoint pen in the market. However, the good thing about the rampant production of other writing materials affected the price of the fountain pen leading it to be on higher worth. Nonetheless, the fountain pen is still known and used in calligraphy purposes.