May 05, 2023 3 min read
Fountain pens are works of art; we can all agree on that. Other than the most hardcore fountain pen aficionados, not many people appreciate the science behind how fountain pens work. If you’re interested in learning how fountain pens work, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into the different components that make up a fountain pen and how they work together to give you a smooth writing experience that other types of pens cannot.
Parts of a Fountain Pen
How the fountain pen evolved into the instrument as we know it will fill a book. To keep things simple, we’ve described the main components of the modern fountain pen.
How Does a Fountain Pen Work?
To put it extremely simply, ink flows from the reservoir, through the feed, and into the nib and leaves a mark when touched to paper. However, there’s a lot more to it than that, otherwise there would be ink flowing out of the nib every time you held your fountain pen with the nib pointing downwards. The flow of ink needs to be precisely controlled. This precise flow is due to three forces – air pressure, gravity, and capillary action.
The easiest way to explain how air pressure works in a fountain pen is to think of a water bottle. Fill it up, put the lid on and make a small hole in the top of the lid. Hold the bottle with the lid facing the floor and you’ll notice that despite the little hole in the lid, water doesn’t drip through (or very little does). This is because of natural air pressure pushing up against the hole, keeping the water in.
In essence, there are two opposing forces – the air trying to rush in and the water trying to come out. Similarly, in a fountain pen, the ink flow is controlled by letting just the right amount of air in so that the ink can flow out.
The fins/twines in the feed determine how much air is let in along with the little hole on the nib.
Well, this is pretty self explanatory. The weight of the ink causes it to flow downwards when the pen is held at an angle for writing.
So, gravity helps the ink flow downwards and air pressure determines how much ink is allowed through. Instead of the ink flowing willy-nilly over the nib, the path of its flow is determined by capillary action.
Capillary action occurs when liquid is drawn through a small space, like a narrow tube. This happens as many liquids like to adhere to walls of a solid and liquid molecules like to stay together (a phenomenon called cohesion). So, the narrow slit in the ink and one in the feed acts as the tube to draw the ink through and as ink is deposited on paper, more molecules are dragged through for that lovely flowing writing action we love so much.
Blesket Canada has a wide range of fountain pens, liquid inks, and cartridges at great prices. Shop them on our online store today!
Comments will be approved before showing up.