Fountain Pen Design

Function, Construction, Development and Fabrication


What is so special about Fountain Pens?  As you start reading, sooner or later, you will find: “There are so many aspects involved in the function of a fountain pen, and the demands for precision are so stringent, it must be a miracle that it works at all.”

You find the story about how this site came to exist on the page How it began.  It also tells you a bit about me, where I am coming from and about my intentions.  I enjoyed putting it all together, for you, with the hope that you get much pleasure from reading and discovering.

Welcome to my Fountain Pen Website

From 1978 to 1983, I worked for a German pen manufacturer and rather sooner than later, I arrived at the same point: There must be some magic involved in the function of fountain pens.  Accepting magic was a big hurdle to jump, for an ingeneer.  (If your wonder about my spelling, click on it and find out.)  I did jump, and the rewards were magical.

During this time, my main project was to make a fountain pen work, which had been handed over to me as a visual design model.  It took almost three years to complete the job.  This site tells the stories about my search and adventures.

You won’t find long tables of test results nor scientific proof, since “the proof is in the pudding”.  The pen is in production ever since, and all fountain pens of the company rely on the same functional components.


If you are left with any questions, ask me.  You would not be the only one.  Today, it is not unusual for this site to receive fifty visitors a day from individuals as well as forums.  Some of them I have joined and conversations on various topics have expanded.  They help improve this site, and one thing is for sure, my enthusiasm increases proportionally with your level of interest and participation.  The simplest way is to write to me through my contact page.


This site is structured, somewhat.  Each topic starts with general information, then follows the scientific background, then technical and quality details and finally the production of the component.  When you tackle an issue, I would highly recommend, start at the beginning.

Completed chapters are shown in the Table of Content ⇒⇒
 Click on a title to get there.

The following chapters are completed (or in process).  Click on their dark blue title, they are links to their pages.  I included another page, which offers a summary of the standard components of a fountain pen, including all those topics, which still wait to be written.


The making of Ink – Components of Ink – Drying – The Perfect Ink – My Commentary on Comments of Clients

Ink is a significant part of writing, and I wonder why designers and ingeneers neglect it, often.


The Magic about Nibs – What is the purpose of the slit? – The “Breather Hole” –  Control of Ink Flow  –  Pressureless Writing  –  Nib Manufacturing Process  –  Materials

It is the most significant part of a fountain pen. It is the point, where it all happens. Ink is transferred to paper.


How does it fulfil its role? –  The Main Task – Physics needed to understand the function – Capillaries – Surface tension – Design – Test – Materials – Manufacture

It is the least understood component of a fountain pen.  Since this component occupied me the most it fills the largest part of this site.


This blog has grown a lot and there is more to write.  Where to start?  Send me a brief note about your interest and I use it as a guide.  Click on Contact, and it will take you to my contact page.


Mark Twain said this: “None of us can have as many virtues as the fountain-pen or half its cussedness, but we can try.”


Amadeus W. Penmacher

29 July 2014

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3 thoughts on “Introduction°

  1. Wow! I am very impressed. Simplicity and frivolous beauty in one. Specially, I like the schreiber model (not because it is a German word). Would love to test one and see how it works and writes. What is the price range? The Ultima I like because of the visible nib.


  2. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, insights, and observations. As a biologist and chemist who has become more and more of an an amateur ingeneer each and everyday as I seek to understand how organisms functions, I am deeply impreesed by the clarity and detail of your explanation of fountain pen design, function, and associated topics. You recall me to my love of topics in physics and phyical chemistry.

    Reading your blogs is a life-changing, pleasant experience that causes me to reflect and yes, often smile.

    We have a few things in common as well: both my beloved and much-missed, beloved grandmothers were German, and I was also lucky enough to live for a year in Australia (in that Oz of the West, Perth).

    Please keep writing -I promise, I will keep reading.

    Charlotte, North Carolina USA


    • Thank you Brian for your encouraging and kind comment. I am so glad that you smiled, that’s the hole point… whole.
      My writing is inspired… letters like yours certainly help.
      There is learning everywhere: first I had to overcome the barrier of writing, then putting it out into the wild wide world www. and now, receiving comments ranging widely, from some like yours and others. Won’t leave them the last word!


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