Metal Fountain Pens: A Deeper Look

Posted by Wancher Pen on

Since its invention in the 17th Century, fountain pens have been made of a variety of materials ranging from wood, hard rubber, celluloid, glass, and metal. While each material has its pros and cons, and they may differ from person to person, the fountain pen’s versatility is a contributing factor to why thousands of people continue to use this writing instrument on a daily basis. For contemporary fountain pen makers, it’s normal to have at least one collection that utilizes one of the aforementioned materials for its build, yet metal - arguably the sturdiest of all materials - is an unsung hero for fountain pen makers and aficionados. The reason for this is most likely due to the initial reception of the metal fountain pen, but in order to explore that, we must go back in time a couple of centuries. 




The invention of the fountain pen is not credited to any individual as multiple inventors were awarded patents for its invention within the same period of time in the 17th Century with even some records indicating that the genius Leonardo da Vinci had used a prototype of a fountain pen centuries before the first patent. Regardless of the inventor, the fountain pen remains an elegant and influential writing instrument that has transcended its origins into becoming an art form in and of itself. Interestingly, certain prototypes of the fountain pens in the 17th Century involved creating the body out of silver or metal before celluloid, wood, and resin became standardized. In the 21st Century, metal fountain pens remain a niche material used for pens, yet they are growing steadily in popularity and appeal. 



Although the average metal fountain pen is more expensive than a plastic, mass produced fountain pen, they are much sturdier, scratch resistant, and better designed for daily use than their cheaper, plastic counterparts. It’s worth noting, however, that not all metals are made equal, which is why it is important to check the type of metal that was used for the fountain pen. A titanium fountain pen, for example, will typically be lighter or easier to carry than an aluminum fountain pen of the same size and build. On the other hand, a fountain pen made out of silver will be heavier, and typically much more expensive than any standard aluminum pen. When the mass production of metal fountain pens became possible in the late 19th Century, it resulted in an influx of stainless steel fountain pens that even matched the cheapest hard rubber counterparts.

It is interesting, then, that even though fountain pens as writing instruments are not necessary in day-to-day life - or at least, as necessary as it was compared to the daily lives of most people in the 19th or early 20th Century - they continue to be adored by thousands of people around the world. The metal fountain pen similarly is not as necessary as it once was at its peak, but they have gained a cult following for their cool, solid sensation coupled with a different kind of writing experience. 

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