CARE AND USAGE
the five years after the first ballpoint pen was introduced in
1945, fountain pen production dropped by almost 90%. The new
ballpoint pen was more convenient, less expensive and more
versatile than the fountain pen. In the last 15 years the
fountain pen has been growing in popularity at an astonishing
rate. The ballpoint, although convenient does not give the
writer the very personal feeling and control that a fountain pen
gives. Today fountain pens are seldom used as an all day pen of
choice but serve as a signature pen, a special letter or note
FOUNTAIN PENS REQUIRE BASIC KNOWLEDGE TO PROPERLY FUNCTION
ballpoint pens, you must learn to properly use and maintain
fountain pens. A good way to begin is to establish a general
understanding how fountain pens work. In the simplest of term
ink travels from a sealed container (cartridge or converter
pump) through a hole then into the feed. The feed has a thin
groove on top which carries the ink to the feed fins and then to
the tip of the nib. When the nib touches paper the ink is drawn
to the paper by capillary action and flows from the feed fins
which are replenished from the feed groove which is replenished
from the sealed ink container. As more ink is used a vacuum is
created in the sealed ink container which is relieved by
“gulping” an air bubble from the hole in the nib. The ink in
the feed wings and under the nib is held in place by a
combination of water surface tension and molecular attraction
and the vacuum in the sealed ink container.
and Using a New Fountain Pen
you are using an ink cartridge or the converter pump the
fountain pen must first be primed with ink. Ink must be
in the feed groove, in the feed wings, and under the nib before
the fountain pen will write properly and continuously
Cartridge: Insert the open end of the cartridge firmly onto the nipple inside the
back of the section. Now you must prime the pen. There are two
methods. The first is to squeeze the cartridge so ink comes out
of the tip of the nib. Clean the nib and under the feed with a
tissue; write a few words to test the pen. It should write but
if not, squeeze again but harder. The second method is to screw
on the pen the section, nib and feed assembly and then quickly
snap the pen down hard so ink comes out the front of the nib.
Clean the ink from the nib and under the feed with a tissue.
Test and repeat if the pen does not write.
Pump. Insert the open end of the pump firmly onto the nipple in the back of
the section. Turn the black ridged piston handle very gently
counter clockwise until the piston is at the bottom (open end)
of the pump. Dip the nib entirely into your inkbottle and then
turn the piston handle clock wise to draw the ink up into the
pump. Clean the nib and bottom of the feed with tissue paper.
The pen is now automatically primed and writing can begin.
and Maintaining a Fountain Pen Over Time
years ago before ballpoint pens people would purchase and use
the same fountain pen their entire life or at least for many
years. The more that you write with your fountain pen the more
it becomes “your” pen. The nib breaks in according to your
way of holding the pen and your writing style. If you would
write with a new or another person’s fountain pen it would not
Your fountain pen will occasionally need minor maintenance. If
you don’t write with it for a few days the ink may dry at the
nib tip. The symptom is that the pen will not write or skip. To
remedy this run a small warm stream of water over the tip of the
nib for a second or two; the pen will now write. (DO NOT get
water on or in your quality wood pen!) If you do not
write with your pen for a long period of time, for example two
months or longer, you may have to use a stronger stream of water
for a longer period. It is also possible that you may have to
remove the ink container and flush the ink out of the nib
entirely and re-prime the pen. When not in use the best way to
store a fountain pen is in the horizontal position.
A SHORT TROUBLE SHOOTING GUIDE
pen will not write, skips, or writes a few lines and stops.
this is the first time the pen is used and you are using the
cartridge then the pen has not been properly primed. Prime the
pen again by squeezing the cartridge hard; you need to see a lot
of ink come out of the tip.
the fountain pen has been in use for a while and has written
well in the past first run a small stream of warm water over the
tip of the nib-test the pen – it should write. If this does
not work try priming the pen again. If this does not work you
may have to flush out the pen entirely. Do not soak
your entire pen in water. Unscrew nib from the pen and
soak or flush the nib only.
pen “globs” ink while writing or a large amount of ink flows
onto the paper.
means the ink holder has lost vacuum. When using a cartridge,
this can occur when the ink supply is very low. Change the
cartridge when the ink gets very low; do not wait until the pen
stops writing. If this happens with a converter pump then the
pump is bad; obtain a replacement. Occasionally a small hair or
paper fiber can get caught in the nib slit. Inspect the nib with
a magnifying glass and remove the hair or fiber with a tweezers.
use India ink or similar inks in a fountain pen.
inks have a very high solids content and will clog a fountain
pen; always use inks made for fountain pens.