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First Attempts.

The first practical fountain pen.

 The first practical pen recognisable as a fountain pen is thought to have been produced by Lewis Edson Waterman of New York, in 1883. This formed the foundation for the formidable Waterman Pen company.

 There are a number of patents for fountain pens that precede that of Waterman, notably one by Petrache Poenaru 25th May 1827 in France:



and U.S. patent 68445 by M.Klein and Henry W Wynne in 1867:


There also exists some 15th. Century drawings by Leonardo De Vinci showing what appears to be a fountain pen designed to work on gravity and capillary action.  

 This led to studies of Leanordo's handwriting which, in his later works, shows a consistency of contrast that could not have been achieved with a pen that had to be constantly reloaded with ink. This led to the proposition that Leanardo actually constructed and used the pen he had designed and prompted researchers to construct a pen based on the drawings.  It worked, apparently very well and is on show in the Da Vinci museum.

 Nevertheless the title of 'father of the fountain pen' belongs to Lewis Waterman.  Not only did he design and implement a much more efficient feed and a number of other small improvements which led to a more practical and reliable solution to the problem of storing ink in a pen and transferring it to the paper in a controlled manner.

In 1884 Lewis patented his first pen, which he called 'The Regular'.  It was consructed in hard rubber but also had attractive wooden 'accents'.  In his first year he sold around five pens, not an auspicious start, but by 1895 he had renamed the pen 'The Ideal' and went on to exploit his invention and use his skill as an entrepreneur to build a company of titanic proportions in a global environment.