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Who Invented the Fountain Pen


Most people do like to use or simply stare at a fountain pen doing its thing. This is a marvellous piece of engineering that draws beautiful lines on the paper. However, it didn’t just appear on site. Fountain pens UK involve some complexity and we took a while until getting them invented.

Today, we enjoy vintage fountain pens that are basically based on the exact same system that they used during their early days. It remains close to its original concept, optimizing one thing or two in order to get the best possible results.

However, most people, even those who love this accessory, ignore who invented it.

The Art

Before talking about its clever inventors (yes, in plural), we need to address what its invention meant at that moment. Centuries before the invention of the fountain pens UK, the printing press created by Gutenberg unleashed an unprecedented cultural, religious, and social revolution all across Europe.

Thanks to the printing press, mass production of books became possible, distributing this way knowledge that was simply unavailable before. However, writers continued to have important limitations. The quill and inkwell were not as efficient and reliable as people wanted them to be, forcing writers to write a few words at a time. The vintage fountain pens solved this problem once and for all.

The Two Protagonists

As we mentioned before, the fountain pen didn’t have one inventor but two. However, it isn’t that simple. Historians aren’t fully agreeing on who invented the first pen of this kind and if you research, two names in different points of time will come up. First, we have Petrache Poenaru, a Romanian mathematician. But then we also find Lewis Edson Waterman, which seem to have more of the popular vote.

Petrache Poenaru

People of Romania hold Poenaru in great admiration, being almost like a nation-wide celebrity from the past. This mathematician was also dedicated to disciplines like education and engineering, experiences in life that lead him to work on the very first fountain pens UK.

In 1827, while working in Paris, Poenaru received the patent for its invention, which he described as a portable pen that didn’t run out of ink. Better said, a pen that fed itself with ink.

Lewis Edson Waterman

A few decades later and at the other side of the Atlantic, Lewis Edson Waterman, an inventor born and raised in New York, received his first patent on the fountain pen. This happened almost 60 years later, and it has been described, especially for those who support Poenaru, that Waterman was responsible for greatly improving but not really inventing the fountain pen.

However, Waterman is better known than Poenaru, which is often forgotten even by those with a special relationship with vintage fountain pens. By offering a five-year guarantee of his products, Waterman grew from selling his pens behind a cigar shop to opening a full-featured factory and expanding his business overseas.

Probably the very best option is to remember both inventors as defining for the fountain pen, two creative visionaries that made the world a better place with an invention that allowed all kinds of people to spread the word through reliable, convenient writing.

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