Fountain Pen Design

Function, Development, Construction and Fabrication

Welcome to Fountain Pen Design

… a collection of stories about my adventures developing a fountain pen in the late seventies

It was in the middle of the year 1978 when a fountain pen model arrived at my desk.  Actually, they were two models of the same pen, both made from a solid piece of painted Perspex and wires.  One showed the pen as it would look with the cap on and one without a cap. It took almost three years for the pen-wright to make it right, write!

What is so special about Fountain Pens?  As you read along, you will discover, it’s a miracle that they work at all. Building something on such aloof grounds was a big hurdle to jump. Did it work out?  Yes, the proof is in the pudding.  The pen was released to the market in the early eighties and is still sold in large quantities.

Now, about this site:  No stress!  You won’t find long tables of test results but information you will find helpful for understanding fountain pens’ function.

Each topic unravels in a similar way.  It starts with some general information followed by enough scientific background to explain the technical and quality details including the production of components and finally, rounding it all off, with a bit of discussion.

A good start for a novice would be from this page: Components of a Fountain Pen

Otherwise, go wild and click on any title in the Table of Content ⇒⇒

How does magic enter?  I love my work, am passionate about it and I highly care about the user of my product. And for now, it is my wish that you get much pleasure from reading and discovering.


Amadeus W.

29 July 2014

How this site came to exist? Click on How this Site was initiated.

Your participation helps to improve this site and make it grow.  The easiest way is to write to me through my Contact Page.  For sure, my enthusiasm increases proportionally with your level of interest.

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8 thoughts on “Welcome to Fountain Pen Design

  1. This is a really good tip especially to those fresh to the blogosphere. Simple but very accurate info… Many thanks for sharing this one. A must read article!


  2. Thank you for this excellent document. Especially the part about the surface treatment of the feeder is fascinating.


    • Thanks, Daniel, I am glad you like it


      • I recently bought a few Chinese pens that did not work properly. I took them apart and noticed that the mechanism is made out of cheap plastic with zero wettability. I tried a plasma cleaner, but it didn’t help (maybe not long enough, maybe not enough penetration). I am sure a chromic acid etch would have done it, but not worth dealing with dangerous chemicals. I never thought of the PEG treatment, a very interesting idea.

        Sometimes I wonder how the progress in nanotechnology could improve a fountain pen. There have been so many interesting new materials, e.g. superhydrophilic coatings, new metal alloys etc. Inks don’t seem to have improved much beyond novelty inks.

        Btw., I am still using a Herlitz Kolbenfüller and a Pelikan GO fountain pen from school. Even though it is not the prettiest pen, nothing I ever bought has reached the nib quality of the Pelikan GO (early 90s). I think someone gave it to me at a Christmas party, and it immediately replaced my much cooler transparent piston filler. Amazing how much better the quality of the old fountain pens is compared to the new China pens.

        I am sure a lot of people are still using the pens that you designed. Nothing beats a pen that was polished writing hundreds of pages.


      • Like with many other items, the Chinese learn fast. As you know, the information on my my site is from the time when I worked in the field of fountain pens, 40 years ago; therefore, I am sure that there are materials or material coating, which could make any surface hydrophilic. Thanks for you contribution, Daniel.


  3. Your website is fantastic! I have been reading with avarice, as I don’t know how long I’ll have access to this extremely valuable information. Thank you for the time and effort put into this site, I still have a lot to read as I’m just a few pages in. If nothing else, just maintain this web presence, it only costs like $10a year, $30 max (inflation by the time or read this, I dunno). And I also assume that there are plenty of readers who don’t take the time to pay like I am, so multiply me.


  4. I’m impressed, I have to admit. Rarely do I come across a blog that’s both educative and amusing, and let me tell you, you’ve hit the nail on the head. The problem is an issue that too few men and women are speaking intelligently about. I’m very happy I found this in my hunt for something regarding this.


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