Anatomy of the fountain pen

the fountain pen

The fountain pen has evolved a great deal since its inception, becoming more and more complex over time. Four main parts have remained since its invention:

  • the body or barrel
  • the cap
  • the filling mechanism (built-in converter, free converter, cartridge)
  • the nib

As well as other parts:

  • the trims, which serve as ornaments such as rings or a filigree; the clip is used to attach the fountain pen to a jacket pocket or a notebook
  • the section, which is the part you hold when writing
  • the feeder, which brings the ink from the reservoir to the nib
fountain pen detailled

Fountain pen Professional Gear Sapporo by Sailor

The nib

Although at first glance the nib appears to be a very simple piece of equipment, it is much more complex than it seems when you take a closer look. It is composed of 7 different parts:

Sailor 14-carat gold nib

  • the body: part of the nib on which engravings can be found (brand name or logo, thickness of the line, degree of purity of the gold
  • the base: the upper part of the nib (hidden in the section)
  • the shoulders: the two wider sides of the nib, between the body and the tine
  • the tine (teeth): the upper part of the nib that joins the tip
  • the breather hole: a round, heart-shaped or teardrop-shaped hole at the end of the slit, which is involved in the flow of ink (ink-air exchange)
  • the slit: an ultra-fine notch that runs from the nib to the breather hole in order to circulate the ink from the reservoir to the nib and at the same time ensure a good flow of air (the pressure of the pen opens a space that allows the ink to flow)
  • the tip: the end of the nib to which a tiny amount of iridium (a platinum group metal) has been soldered, to ensure its longevity. After soldering, this small round tip is flattened and then hand-ground into its final shape. Some manufacturers prefer to use an alloy of osmium and iridium (osmiridium). Other brands use an alloy of precious metals whose composition remains confidential.
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