In 1809, F.B.Folsch made the first pen with a reservoir, nib holder and capsule and a steel nib. He is credited with "who invented the fountain pen." The nineteenth century saw the submission of over one hundred U.S. patents, but all had defects in the ink supply system, they leaked. It wasn't until 1884 that L.E. Waterman produced a workable ink feed fountain pen. Four years later the Parker Pen Company was founded and in 1894 produced the "Lucky Curve" feed system.
In 1898, Roy Conklin invented the first built in filler system called the Crescent Filler which doomed the funnels and eyedroppers that had been used to fill pens. The first lever filling system was invented by Walter Sheaffer in 1908. His system consisted of a rubber sac that drew in ink as it was inflated.
The early 1900s saw many other great corporate names in the history of the fountain pen. In America there was Waterman, Parker, Sheafer, Conklin, Cross, Wal-Eversharp and John Holland. In Germany there was Montblanc, Pelikan and in England Conway Stewart, De La Rue-Onoto and Mabie Tood. In Italy there was Aurora and Omas.
All fountain pen manufacturers in the early 1900s shared the same goal of making their pens safer, cleaner, more practical. Their pens were beautiful and desirable as well as status symbols for the sucessful businessman. Fountain pen companies were always searching for new filling systems, better nibs and for new barrel material such as bakelite, celluloid and hard rubber in a variety of colors and patterns, all with overlays of gold, silver and lacquer.
It was not until the early 1920s that the fountain pen reached its peak in popularity and reliability. The 1920 were a boom for fountain pens, a boom that died away in Depression of the 1930s. The Depression gradually forced many manufacturers to close shop after 1937.
Over the past 30 years a slow recovery and finally a great comeback of the fountain pen as collectors began seeking vintage fountain pens and antique fountain pen for sale. Even the age of the computer and printers, people are again seeking out this magnificent writing instrument for a more elegant and personal touch.
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