Fountain Pen Design

Function, Development, Construction and Fabrication

1.1 Welcome to Fountain Pen Design

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… 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 design model landed on my desk in my laboratory.  Actually, they were two models of the same pen, each made from a solid piece of painted Perspex and wires.  One showed the pen as it would look with the cap on and the other one without a cap, appearance models we call it in the trade.  Needless to say, the parts could not be separated and had no function, not even the clip.

It took almost three years for the “penwright” (me, the ingeneer) to not only fill the pen’s interior with the parts of the pen and make it write but also, to circumnavigate the barriers (shape) the designer (shaper) had placed on the path of manifestation.  Of course not intentionally but by naif ignorance. At your leisure, I recommend your lecture of the book about the Lorelei sitting on a rock in the middle of the fast-flowing River Rhine.  She had been totally oblivious that her appearance and singing distracted the skippers, and they collided with the many rocks.  Just like that.

There is a reason for this spelling of ingeneer

Before I rattle on, in the sidebar (right) the second item from the top is the Google translator.  I tried the German translation, and it turned out quite readable.  Therefore, if reading English causes any trouble, try it.


Let’s begin the journey.  What is so special about Fountain Pens?  As you keep on reading 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 for an ingeneer who likes rising from a solid foundation. Did it work out?  Have a read, and you will find out.  (It sure did; who wants to write about something which didn’t?)

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 similarly.  After introducing you to some general information, I continue with providing enough scientific background so that you can follow my explanations on the technical and quality details, of form and function, as well as the production of the components pertaining to this topic.  Finally, a chapter will be rounded off, with a bit of discussion.

A good starting step for a novice would be from this page: Components of a Fountain Pen (PS: coloured bold, italic text indicates a link to a place on this site if not mentioned otherwise, Wikipedia, quite often.)

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

How does magic enter into the design of a pen?  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

PS: May I tempt you to a regular visit?  Even though you are/might be a follower of this site, you may not be aware of the fact that the ‘automatic announcing’ is only triggered by new blogs but not by a new or changed article (page).

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

Please consider donating if you like Fountain Pen Design and want to support my continuing work.

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

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6 thoughts on “1.1 Welcome to Fountain Pen Design

  1. Dear Mr. Amadeus,
    Thank you for sharing your knowledge and wisdom about this beautiful world, pen world. For me, as an architect, and designer, it has been a real journey going through all of it. It has inspired me to design a couple of pens.
    Your site is worthy of a printed publication.
    Thank you,
    José Alberto


  2. Thanks for your words. Websites/blogs are not that difficult. Give it a go, it’s fun. I am not getting paid for advertising WordPress! Ha ha ha


  3. Hello Amadeus W
    Please can you tell me – do you still remember if the tipping of Lamys steel nibs had been Iridium as well those days – and not just extra hardened steel as the nib in principle?
    For today, you supposely cannot say for sure, but there’s a debate on fountainpennetwork and elsewhere about that question which (naturally) left things open. So would you give us a clue?

    Thanks in advance,



    • Hi Alfred
      In Germany, we called it Wolfram which is tungsten.  The biggest problem was its high melting point.  Iridium-platinum-blends are easier to process.  
      I believe its more about company tradition which material a manufacturer prefers.  Tungsten is the more durable material but when you consider the time frame it does not matter, really.

      Ich hoffe, das ist hilfreich



      • Danke vielmals. Ganz wunderbar erläutert.
        Unter uns: Ich schreibe hier – thematisch bezogen – ebenfalls in Englisch, um eine größere Breite von Leuten zu erreichen (obwohl Deutscher von Geburt, wie aufgefallen sein müsste.) Dafür sollten meine Kenntnisse dieser Sprache genügen.
        Ansonsten ist/war Lamy (das alte Lamy jedenfalls soweit es sich in seinen Produkten bis in die heutige Zeit erhalten hat) meine Lieblingsfirma und ich selbst kreativer Vielschreiber – Hobbyschriftsteller. Das erklärt manches.

        Grüsse vom verregneten Olfen nach Australien!


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