Pen Ingeneer and Designer
Over a period of five years, starting in 1978, I was employed by a German company as ingeneer and designer for pens. I was lucky because, at that company, product quality and consumer satisfaction weighed highly on design decision making.
There is a reason for the spelling of ingeneer
Thirty years later, in 2008, my knowledge of fountain pens occupied my mind too often, writing about it I was hoping that my mind would be freed again and able delf into new adventures. So, here I will tell you my stories about the development of the inner components of a fountain pen. Amongst ingeneers, we say: “A drawing says more than a thousand words”… and often even more. Therefore, there will be many images.
To Draw a Fine Line
The desire to draw fine, intricate and continuous lines, in particular for writing, had led to writing with a nib, bringing ink (stain) on paper (writeable surface) in a controlled fashion. For thousands of years, this desire has not changed. Fountain pens facilitate this process.
The studies of books and patents indicated that principally, their structure has not changed over the last two, three hundred years. My own research on several older fountain pens, reaching back into the early 1900th, confirmed this statement. In addition, I can assure you, it has not changed since 1980 because that’s when I was involved.
Therefore, I trust my knowledge has not become obsolete. It appears to me, in the small enclave of fountain pens, technology has not progressed much at all, there seems to be no need for change. Alas, I have noticed, changes in manufacturing and material technology have reduced their reliability and quality.
People writing with fountain pens are special. Once they have embraced their fountain pen, they remain satisfied with it and remain loyal to their pen even it may deteriorate in appearance and function. For them, tradition is of high significance. Due to this characteristic of their users, fountain pens belong to the group of the few products, of which many are still produced with the intention to last.
Therefore, there is no innovative push (one of marketing’s motivation) in this market. So-called innovation and consumer enticement rely on styling and change in colour, finish and material.
Every now and then, I meet people, who talk about their fountain pen, and often, it is my fountain pen. I hear words of pride and joy. Such moments fill me with happiness. What an uplifting feeling this is. This assures me, I have contributed towards creating a positive feeling of joy in our world. This makes me happy and proud.
My fountain pen has been manufactured and sold since the early eighties. Multiply this number of years by the number of days, by 12 hours in a working day in the beginning, later 24 hours a day, every twenty seconds, six pens. It’s a huge number.
What you find
The work published on this site is based on my own (re-) search for understanding the function of fountain pens. The forming of ingeneered components of this fountain pen was highly influenced by this knowledge and my attitude as a conscientious ingeneer, which quality I had acquired during previous work and I continued applying it in all my subsequent work.
Occasionally, you may find me mentioning facts, which may sound like divulging company secrets. Far from it. Any mechanical ingeneer can grasp the principles I explain, and once they put their minds to those matters they would work it out because this is what I did, being a mechanical ingeneer and a designer.
I would like to finish with a sentence I found on the internet: “Today, a majority of fountain pen users write with fountain pens primarily for reasons related to writing comfort, expressive penmanship, aesthetics, history and heritage.” And I am proud to have contributed to the upkeep of this tradition.
Above all: Enjoy!