Fountain Pens

Fountain pens are the Rolls Royce of pens and yes, you can get some that cost several hundreds of pounds but equally Bic, Pentel and Pilot sell packs of disposable fountain pens for a similar price as biros or ballpoint pens. There are over 20 different nib sizes and filling mechanisms include piston filling which allows the user freedom to try different inks and colours and ink cartridges which are arguably easier and less messy to use but which offer a restricted variety of ink colours. To find out more read our guide to Choosing a Fountain Pen.

If you need any help or assistance selecting a fountain pen then please call the Office Allsorts team on 0115 9455833.

Category Guide

A fountain pen is a pen with a nib that is fed ink from an internal reservoir. The ink being drawn through a feed to the nib by a combination of gravity and capillary action. Because the ink flows to the nib, the pen requires little or no pressure to write. Some sufferers from arthritis whilst unable to use ballpoint pens, can use fountain pens.

Nowadays, gold (usually 18carat), is the favoured metal from which to make nibs because of its resistance to corrosion (from water based inks) and its flexibility. It’s common though to have gold nibs tipped with harder wearing alloys or metals, usually, rhodium, stainless steel or platinum.

In the middle of the nib there is a ‘breather hole’ which exchanges air for ink in the ink reservoir to assist the flow of ink and to prevent the nib splitting along its length through prolonged pressure from the user. Nibs commonly have a single slit down the middle to convey the ink to the tip by capillary action.

There are a bewildering array of nib sizes and types available, usually though, most everyday pens come in the sizes below.

  • Needlepoint – an extremely fine point for precise work. Useful for designers and architects but not ideal for every-day use.
  • Extra Fine – for fine line writing and requires minimal pressure.
  • Fine – Produces a fine line and is great for every-day use.
  • Medium – Most common and used for general use.
  • Broad – Produces a bold, wide line.
  • Extra Broad – Produces a ‘heavy’ line, great for bold signatures as it has a large rounded point.
  • Extra Extra Broad – As the name suggests, this produces a bold broad line.

If you’re buying a nib, make sure you buy a good one as nibs can and usually do, last longer than the lifetime of the user.

Nowadays, most pens will be filled using either a piston filler or an ink cartidge. Many pens will also use a ‘converter’ which is a device which has the same fitting at one end as a cartridge but has a reservoir and filling mechanism to allow the user to use cartridges or fill the reservoir from a bottle of ink.

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