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Terms commonly used when talking about fountain pens

This blog post is actually a copy of a page I already have written but I thought you all might be able to find it easier if it was a blog post.

I was recently advised by my husband that he had no clue about the parts of a fountain pen and he suggested I include a page about it on my site.  So here it is.

The nib is the tip and writing end of the pen, commonly made of steel but can be made of other materials including gold.  The nib pictured is of a Conklin Duragraph.

Fountain pen nib

The section is the black collar that houses the nib and feed and is the part you grip on to in the picture above.

The feed is a black piece of plastic that directs the ink to the nib and regulates the flow of ink.

 fountain pen feed

The barrel is the external housing of the ink cartridge or converter.  The image below is of the barrel of a Pilot MR3 .

fountain pen barrel

An ink cartridge is a disposable plastic container that houses the ink before it gets to the feed. 

fountain pen cartridge

Another option is the converter, this is a reusable cartridge for filling fountain pens from bottled ink. I believe this to be a better option as it is better on the environment and you can then use a broader range of colours from bottled ink.

fountain pen converters

Finally part of the nib is the tines, tip, slit and breather hole these things all regulate the flow of ink and how it appears on your page.  If you are having problems with ink getting to the page it may be the nib needs adjusting or the type of paper is not conducive to fountain pens.  There will be more in-depth articles about problems with fountain pens at a later date. 

In the mean time email me at or phone 0408 924 729


Liz Steel anatomy of fountain pen 

Lee Saul

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