The history of the fountain pen cannot begin otherwise than with the quill pen. The quill pen was used for the writings of Egyptian kings 4,000 years ago. They most often used a goose feather carved into a sharp tip and dipped into ink of vegetable origin.
It remained like this until the end of the 18th century when the metal pen was invented.
Efforts to manufacture a pen with its own ink supply began in the year 1656. For example, Samuel Pepys had one in the year 1663. It functioned in such a way that a small pipe above the tip of the feather was filled with ink by means of a small piston. But a slightly more practically usable pen came to the world in the 19th century. A fountain pen which functioned on the same principle (a pen with a piston) was created by the inventor Folsch in 1809. Joseph Bramah replaced the small piston of the reservoir with an elastic material, the pressing of which drew out the ink. An additional improvement, which took many years to appear, was the rubber cam at the end of the reservoir (Walter Mosely in the year 1859.) Of course, there were problems with this pen. The American insurance agent, Lewis Edso Waterman, was convinced of this. He was writing out an insurance policy for his client when some ink leaked out of his pen onto the form. He committed himself right then to the manufacture of a pen which would function more reliably.But before that he had to solve the problem of the ink. The kinds, which had been used up to that time, contained a quantity of fixed particles (sediment), which did not interfere with the use of quill pens, but caused fountain pens to clog and plug. A more appropriate ink began to be manufactured for the first time in the 60's of the 19th century. And then an additional problem arose; the ink was very aggressive and corroded the steel pen fairly quickly. It was necessary to make it of a different material. Gold fit the bill. This was safe from corrosion, but it was too soft, so the tip soon wore out from writing. Some different material was needed, sufficiently hard, capable of being soldered with gold and capable of being polished. The choice fell on iridium, a rare metal, much more expensive than gold at that time. The iridium was manufactured as a powder, then formed into small balls and these were soldered to the gold tip of the pen. Finally, a thin cut was made in the nib.
L. E. Waterman patented this construction in 1884 and since that time the first relatively reliable fountain pen has been manufactured.
However, a few problems remained to be solved. The most important was the fact that a change in the temperature of the ink changed its appearance. And then, if the owner put it in their pocket, the ink warmed up and leaked out. But this was eliminated and at the beginning of this century. . .
Parker Duofold from the year 1921.
Arthur Conan Doyle wrote stories of Sherlock Holmes with this type of pen
(pict. was taken from the web page http://www.jimgaston.com/parker.htm)