How Does a Fountain Pen Work – Learn Everything About it


Some people are curious to know about the working of different things. If you are holding a fountain pen then you must have thought about how does a fountain pen work at least once. Well, today we are going to tell you how does it work.

In this article, we will explain the full mechanism of the fountain pen from filling mechanism to writing. So fasten your seat belts and sit tight because we are going to explore a teensy mechanism of something mightier than the sword.

Let’s stop wasting time and jump straight to the working principle of a fountain pen.

Main Parts of a Fountain pen

Before actually know how does a fountain pen work you need to know its main parts. Any fountain pen has 4 main parts and each part has its own function. These parts are as follow:

  • Reservoir
  • Nib
  • Feed
  • Collector


The reservoir is also known as the cartridge or the converter of the pen. This is one of the main parts of the pen that contains ink. Some fountain pens come with cartridges but they are also compatible with converters. These are very delicate but thanks to the structure of the pen which protects them.


The feed of the pen is the bridge between a reservoir and the nib. It draws in from the cartridge of the pen and takes it to the nib. Fountain pen feeds are small, narrow, and delicate parts. The feed of the pen is located under its nib.


Collectors are basically the grooves of the pen that collects the ink and hold it. The ink stays controlled and flows to the paper in a controlled manner. It prevents the overflowing and dropping of excessive ink.


Finally, there is a nib of the pen. It consists of stainless steel usually but it mainly depends upon the price of the pen. Some of them actually consist of gold and silver though. Fountain pen nibs are different from ballpoint pens.

You don’t need to apply as much pressure as a ballpoint pen when writing with it. It has a narrow lane that gets ink from the feed and allows it to reach the paper.

These were the most important part of any fountain pen. If any of these parts are missing then your fountain pen won’t work.

Now that you are aware of the parts of a fountain pen. We hope it will be clear for you to understand the working mechanism of the pen. Let’s see how does a fountain pen work properly.

How Does a Fountain Pen Work

Below is the full mechanism of a fountain pen. We hope this article will help you understand the working of a fountain pen.

Filling the Pen With Ink

The first thing about any fountain pen is filling it with ink. There are different types of inks that are available in different colors. Most of them are blue, red, and black. The fountain pen is dipped into the ink. Fountain pens have a vacuum inside their cartridges and converters.

Due to this vacuum, they start sucking the ink until they are filled with it. Once the pen is full of ink it will be ready for writing. It should be kept in mind that fountain pens use thin ink, unlike gel pens.

Ink Flowing through the Feed

As soon as the writer starts writing on the paper, the feed draws ink from the cartridge. It acts as a bridge for the nib and the reservoir. Feeds of the fountain pens are usually designed in such a way that they draw the ink in a continuous manner.

Once the ink is drawn it is sent to the Nib of the pen just as we mentioned earlier. But how does the whole system works? You might be thinking about it but don’t worry we are going to tell you in a step-by-step manner to make it easy and understandable.

The Nib of the Pen Making a Window

As soon as you put the nib of the pen on the paper and apply a little bit of pressure the nib absorbs that pressure. As a result, it bends slightly and makes a narrow opening for the air. Due to this air, the vacuum of the cartridge breaks due to the air and it stops holding the ink.

Due to this action, the ink flows from the cartridge or converter depending on what the case may be. And it goes down all the way to the nib of the fountain pen. However, it would be a mess if all the ink starts flowing to the nib of the pen. There should be a proper mechanism to block the excess ink and allow only the required about.

For this purpose, the manufacturer adds collected right below the feed and the nib of the pen. Just as we mentioned earlier, these are small groves usually 4 to 5 in number and sometimes 3 to 4. These collectors hold the excess amount of ink and prevent it from flowing to the paper.

How do the Collectors work?

Well, this is another important question you may have in your mind. To answer this question we would like you to think about the bubbling spring for a moment. You may have seen that as you dip the spring in the soapy water and draws it back. It catches a thin film of soap and this thin layer is due to the surface tension of the liquid.

This is exactly how the ink of the pen stays in the collectors. The surface tension of the ink drops holds it from overflowing and prevents creating a mess.

Final Words

Writing with a fountain pen is an awesome feeling. However, understand how does a fountain pen work is even more interesting. Therefore, we wrote a detailed article and broke down the process into a few steps. Our goal was to make it as helpful as we could so that you can get the most out of our article.

We hope you have enjoyed reading our article. If you did please share it with your friends and family to let them know about this interesting process. Apart from that, if you have any thoughts on your mind about the working of a fountain pen please feel free to share with us in the comments.

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