How Do Fountain Pens Work? Exploring The Inner Workings of The Classic Writing Tool

How Do Fountain Pens Work? Exploring The Inner Workings of The Classic Writing Tool

Fountain pens have an elegant and timeless look. Used for many centuries, fountain pens are a great writing tool not just for calligraphy, but for sketching and day-to-day writing or journaling. While they have been commonly used during the older ages, fountain pens are still around today because of the exquisite writing and sketching that you can get from them that cannot be provided by other writing tools. 

But how does a fountain pen work? Compared to your typical ballpoint pen, a fountain pen looks very different and functions differently too on how it delivers ink to a paper. If you have the question “How do fountain pens work?”, you are in the right place. In this article, we will look at the intricacies of a fountain pen and how it works from the ink reservoir to the nib.

The Main Parts of a Fountain Pen

While a fountain pen may look like a single simple tool, it has multiple components that are much more intricate than a normal pen. A fountain pen has main components which are the reservoir, nib, and feed. Each of these parts plays a crucial role in delivering a consistent and smooth ink flow onto paper. 


When one speaks of a fountain pen, the most distinct part that comes to mind is the nib. Made with a slender metal, the nib is the part of the fountain pen that makes contact with the paper and delivers the ink. Nibs are made with various metals but the most common are made with gold alloy or stainless steel. While very thin, a nib should be made to be strong and hard-wearing so as not to easily get bent while being used. 

Nibs also come in various shapes and sizes which determine the writing experience. Smaller and finer nib tips would produce finer lines while nibs that are bigger and broader would of course deliver more ink and wider lines. The differences in nib shapes also define how much ink would be delivered to a paper to be used for different purposes such as sketching or writing. 


The feed is a crucial part of a fountain pen, without which the ink won’t be delivered to the nib. The feed is placed underneath the nib of the fountain pen and ensures that the right amount of ink is transferred from the ink reservoir. 

Made with fins, wings, and ink channels, the feed delivers ink at a controlled rate so that it will not cause ink blotting or skipping. Since this part of a fountain pen is very important, regular cleaning and maintenance is needed. You can flush the feed with warm water or let it soak overnight to remove dried-up ink. 

Ink Reservoir

The ink reservoir is where the fountain pen’s ink is stored. Whether it's refillable or single-use, the reservoir holds the ink that is delivered to the feeder and then the nib. There are different filling options for various fountain pens where some are easily refillable while some cartridges are replaceable. 

Single-use ink cartridges are great for use when on the go since you can easily remove it and replace it with a new cartridge once the ink runs out. For those who regularly use their fountain pen and require more ink, an ink converter is a great choice since you can easily refill it with bottled ink. 

A fountain pen has main components which are the reservoir, nib, and feed.

How Do Fountain Pens Work?

Now that you understand the main components of a fountain pen, you can easily understand how these are connected and how they work when writing. The writing process with a fountain pen is a harmonious working together of the nib, feed, and ink reservoir. When writing, gravity works to push the ink from the reservoir or cartridge, down to the feed and then to the nib.  

As the nib makes contact with the paper, it releases ink onto the surface, guided by the feed's intricate channels. The result is a smooth and effortless writing experience made distinct with a type of writing only produced by a fountain pen. 

Which Fountain Pen Should I Get?

If this is your first time exploring the world of fountain pens, you should opt for ones that are made to be durable but easy to use. YSTUDIO fountain pen come in various models for office use and even to carry with you everywhere. These fountain pens are made with durable materials so you won’t have to worry about practicing with them and using them daily since they can stand the test of time. 

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