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The first inkling of a pen dates back to the 4th century with the Egyptian scribes. They would right hieroglyphics on papyrus using a Reed Pen, a single piece of reed pointed into a square and split at the point. Needless to say, the point on these rather inflexible nibs became blunt rather quickly. These pens are still available today and can actually work fairly well.

The first fountain pen (almost) was introduced in the early 1600's when German inventor, Daniel Schwenter modified two quills, using one inside of the other serving as an ink reservoir. This era of the quill pen drew to a close in the early 1800's with the mass-produced dip pen. The birth of the true fountain pen can be traced back to May 25, 1827, when the Romanian inventor Petrach Poenaru received a French patent for the first "fountain pen". This was quickly followed in 1828 with the mass production of strong and cheap steel nibs.

The first "practical" fountain pen was invented in 1884 by Lewis Waterman when he solved the problem of ink leaks by inventing the capillary feed, but more about that later.

Whether you are a long-time pen enthusiast or new to the pen world, pens offer a variety of choices not only in color but in pen size (not only length but circumference as well), type of filling system and nib size. Some of these choices may be easy while others may take several trials with different pens before a final choice can be made.

In this 4-part series, we will attempt to provide some idea of just what is available to you with the 21st century pen.


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