Categories: Pens

Fountain Pens Vs. Ballpoint Pens

In this age-old battle of classic versus modern, artistic versus practical, and reusable vs. disposable, you’ll learn more than you ever wanted to know about fountain and ballpoint pens, from the promotional product company that brings you the best of both.

History of Fountain Pens & Ballpoint Pens

While the first practical fountain pen was patented by insurance salesman Lewis Waterman in 1884, the oldest known fountain pen in existence dates all the way back to 1702! Today’s fountain pen is based on a thousand-year history of the conventional quill pen, originally created when inventors discovered the natural ink reserve found in the hollow channel of bird feathers and aimed to recreate it.

The ballpoint pen was first patented in 1888 by John J. Loud, a leather tanner who needed a pen that would write on his leather products. While his model worked on coarse surfaces, it didn’t prove capable of common-use letter-writing. It wasn’t until 1938 that a frustrated Hungarian newspaper editor filed a British patent on the first controlled flow ballpoint pen, not unlike the custom rollerball pens we have available and changed the (pen) world forever! Learn more about the history and inventor of the ballpoint pen.

How They Work

Fountain Pens allow for natural ink flow from the ink reservoir through the nib (the tip of the pen). The speed and angle of the nib control the width of the strokes as you write, and ink cartridges, though disposable, must be replaced manually as they are used.

Ballpoint Pens are today’s dominant pen, viewed as cleaner and more practical than the fountain pen. These disposable writing utensils dispense ink through a ball bearing at the point of the pen roll it any direction and a uniform stroke of ink will appear.

Which Type of Pen is Better?

So, it’s up to you!  Use a fountain pen if you’re looking for ink control and expressive lines with varying widths that’ll impress your friends, or turn to a ballpoint pen if you want something that’s low maintenance, disposable, and easy to use and replace. With pros and cons to both, it makes sense to have one of each, and you can find them at National Pen!

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