Anatomy Of A Fountain Pen

There is lots to the anatomy of a fountain pen that can be confusing if you are newer to the hobby of fountain pen collecting. I was recently advised by my husband that he had no clue about what parts of the fountain pen were called and he suggested I include a page about it on my site.  So here is the anatomy of a fountain pen.

Starting at the writing end or nib it’s the tip and writing end of the pen, commonly made of steel but can be made of other materials including gold.  The nib has tines, you can see that there is a slit down the middle of the nib, the tines are the two separate halves made by this slit. The slit is the very thin cut running from the breather hole to the tip of the nib that carries the ink from the feed to the tip. Also in this picture is the breather hole it allows air to assist in the ink flow, it’s also called a vent hole.

Fountain pen nib anatomy

This next part is called the feed, it’s a black piece of plastic or ebonite that directs the ink to the nib and regulates the flow of ink with the fins that you can see below. The feed sits underneath the curved surface of the nib. Part of the feed is the fins, they are the small, thin pieces on the feed that allow ink to saturate into the air channels. These act as an ink regulator for consistent flow when writing speed varies.

fountain pen feed
Feed and Fins

The next part of your fountain pen is the sectionit’s the black collar that houses the nib and feed and is the part you grip on to in the picture below.

Fountain pen section
Nib and Section

The barrel is simply the external housing of the ink cartridge or converter and where the section screws into.  The image below is of the barrel of a Pilot MR3 .

fountain pen barrel

On to ink, you have two options for ink for your fountain pen, cartridges or converters. An ink cartridge is a disposable plastic container that contains ink, it’s designed to be thrown away and another inserted (see pic below)

fountain pen cartridge
Ink Cartridge

Another option instead of an ink cartridge is the converter, a small filling mechanism (usually a screw-piston type) that fits onto your fountain pen. This allows you to use any brand’s bottled ink instead of relying on limited proprietary ink cartidges. I would recommend the converter because it is environmentally friendly and there is a greater range of coloured ink in bottles than in cartridges.

fountain pen converters

Liz Steel anatomy of fountain pen

So that is the basic anatomy of a fountain pen for beginners.

Next: Why you need a Pilot Metropolitan fountain pen
Also: Does a left-hander need a left-handed fountain pen?

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