Fountain Pen Magic

Function and Fabrication of Fountain Pens . . . shared by an insider

A good Start

Fountain Pen Magic?  Once you begin to read, sooner or later, you will ask yourself:
“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.”

Welcome to my Blog

From 1978 to 1983, I worked for a German pen manufacturer and rather sooner than later, I arrived at the same point.  Accepting magic was a big hurdle to jump, for an ingeneer.  I did 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 four years to completed.  This site tells stories about its development for the technically interested.

You find a collection of stories about my search for solutions and magical adventures as well as the technical and scientific background on these topics. I applied strategic methods in my work, which was tedious sometimes, but I won’t bore you with those parts.

You won’t find long tables nor proof.  The proof is in the pudding.  Since my work, the all fountain pens of the company rely on the same functional components, their success is my evidence.


This site is a work in progress.  It takes time to dress experience in words, make drawings and and upload it all. One thing is for sure, my enthusiasm increases proportional with your level of interest and participation.  Fair enough?

Each topic starts with general information and ideas, then follows the scientific background, then technical and quality details.  When you tackle a topic, I would highly recommend, start at the beginning and make your way through.

Completed chapters are shown in the Table of Content ⇒⇒
just right of this note.

at the top of this column.

The following chapters are completed (or in process).  There is a page with a summary of all the components of a standard fountain pen.


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

Ink is a significant component of writing, and I wonder why designers and ingeneers neglect it, often. I studied rheology, fluid statics and dynamics and developed reliable test methods. Without this my fountain pen (the one I brought to life) would be long forgotten.  Time weeds without attachment.


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 probably the most significant part of a fountain pen. It is there, where it all happens. The ink is transferred to the paper. The nib determines the characteristics of writing. The width of line alters in response to the pressure the writer applies to the nib, providing the writer with an additional form of expression, only surpassed by the brush.


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

(in process, almost finished!)
It is the least understood component of a fountain pen. In my early days of trying to work out what it does, I drew up a flowchart of functions, interactions and feedback loops.
…Having arrived from computer design, I believed, that only a microprocessor could fulfil this complex task. When I suggested it to management they looked at me as if I had newly arrived from Mars, just a second or two ago.
…With a bit of help from miracles, I managed to design a feed without microprocessor.  Last but not least, I had to, because they at the time of my work they had been still too large to fit inside a pen.

Seriously, today, with micro chips being cheap as chips and being so small, and nano technology around, I wonder, why not anyone has taken it on this task.


This blog has grown a lot since its inception and for some of you all this technical writing and diagrams can appear quite daunting.  Send me a brief note about your interest and I would be delighted to offer you some direction.  Click on Contact and it will take you to my contact page.

Finally, I enjoyed putting it all together, for you, with the hope that you get as much enjoyment from reading and discovering.


Amadeus W. Penmacher



Brisbane, 29 July 2014





2 thoughts on “A good Start

  1. Take a look at our pens, they’re made in Paris, Im sure you’ll at least get amused by their design.


    • 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.


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