June 07, 2018 2 min read

Fountain pens offer a unique writing experience and consist of a few different parts, utilizing gravity to deliver controlled ink flow to your paper. First invented in the early 1800's and later coming into production in the late 1800's the fountain pen is a fun, analogue tool for writing and sketching.

This guide shows the anatomy of a fountain pen so you can familiarise yourself with the different parts and common terms used to describe a fountain pen.

Like a ballpoint pen, a fountain pen will usually have the barrel, clip, grip section and a cap to stop the pen from drying out. Where a fountain pen differs from a ballpoint is in the reservoir that holds the ink (typically referred to as an ink converter) and the writing tip which is called the nib.


The Nib -

The nib is one of the main pieces that separate a fountain pen from a ballpoint. Nibs are made in different materials like steel, gold and titanium. The nib sits on top of the feed and the ink travels along the slit and ink channel to the tip. The tip of nibs are available in different sizes, the bigger the tip (nib width) the wider the line your pen will write.


The Feed -

This is the part that delivers the ink to the nib. Ink runs along the ink channel and the flow of ink is regulated by the fins. This is what gives you consistent, controlled ink for writing.


Ink Converters & Cartridges -

Most fountain pens are made to take both ink cartridges which are pre-filled with ink (check this guide on using ink cartridges) and ink converters. Ink converters and ink cartridges attach inside the grip section in the same way. Some pens such as the Pilot Custom 823 and Custom Heritage 92 and TWSBI fountain pens have ink converters built into the pen which holds more ink, but means you can't use ink cartridges.

Ink converters attach to your pen and allow you to draw ink from bottles up through the nib and into the ink converter. There are a number of different styles of ink converters available such as the squeeze converter, piston converter (the most common) and push button converter. We will look at converters and filling your pen closer in our follow up guide.


All these parts come together to create a pen that makes writing more enjoyable. We hope this guide has helped as an introduction to the anatomy of a fountain pen. We will delve a little deeper into using fountain pens in our upcoming guides.

Click here to view our range of fountain pens, or visit the Standard Bindery Store to view our range of fountain pens in store.