Instructables
Picture of Fountain Pen Care!
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First off let me say that I love fountain pens and that their a great thing to collect. They are beautiful and write so much better than any ballpoint pen(Besides mont blanc) I will be covering the history of fountain pens, types, and finally how to care and use a one properly.

If you haven't used one yet I recommend going out and buying a cheap disposable one to see how they really are.

I only own two pens but hope to acquire more. They are a MUJI and a Jinhao pewter Dragon's Descendant. The Muji is in the second and third picture and the Dragon's Descendant is the fourth and fifth.
 
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Step 1: History

Picture of History
The first fountain pen
The first fountain pen was made in In 953, Ma'ād al-Mu'izz, the caliph of Egypt, demanded a pen which would not stain his hands or clothes, and was provided with a pen which held ink in a reservoir and delivered it to the nib via gravity and capillary action.

Nibs
The nib of the fountain pen was introduced by the German inventor Friedrich Soennecken. Today, the nib is usually made of stainless steel or gold, with the most popular gold content being 14 karat and 18 karat. Gold is considered the optimum metal for its flexibility and its resistance to corrosion, since fountain pen inks tend to be somewhat acidic or alkaline. Gold nibs are tipped with a hard, wear-resistant alloy that typically uses metals from the platinum group. The tipping material is often called "iridium", but there are only a few penmakers that still use this metal in their nibs. Steel nibs may also have harder tips; those with un-tipped steel points will wear more rapidly due to abrasion by the paper. The nib will adjust itself more readily to the user's style as it wears down.

Fountain Pens Today
Despite the perceived heightened prices in the modern niche, good quality steel and gold pens are available inexpensively today, particularly in Europe and China, and there are even some "disposable" fountain pens available. There are many fountain pen users around the world, even today. The main reasons people seek fountain pens in recent times are for: effortless writing and comfort (some sufferers of arthritis are unable to use ballpoint pens, but can use fountain pens), expressive penmanship and calligraphy, longevity (fountain pens are known to last several lifetimes, whereas ballpoints are disposable), professional art/design, wide range of ink colours available, recreational collecting (history and heritage), and academic benefits. Many users also mention that fountain pens retain a sense of timeless elegance, personalization and sentimentality that computers and ballpoint pens seem to lack , and often state that once they start using fountain pens, ballpoints become awkward to use due to the extra motor effort needed and lack of expressiveness.

Thanks wikipedia :P
I actually found a real (not counterfiet) Parker Sonnet MK1 Lacquer GT medium point fountain pen in a briefcase I bought from a thrift store. I haven't tried using it yet, but after reading this instructable I'm definitely going to soon.
heh i bought one and my friends didnt know where to buy it and I was like "oh yeah its from 1770.."
mephistocat5 years ago
Another thing you can try for very clogged pens is to take a bottle of carbonated water, put a hole in the cap, then hold the hole closed and shake the bottle 'till it's about to burst. Standing over a sink {or outside...}, press the non-writing end of the pen nib into the hole in the bottle's cap as quickly as you can. Dry your pen off then re-flush as described above. Eh, and make sure that the water's only carbonated: sugars or additives of any kind will only further damage the pen. X_x;
omatiu5 years ago
One small thing to add to the History section: the modern fountain pen was invented by Romanian engineer Petrache Poenaru who obtained the French Patent for his invention in May 25, 1827. The invention was called "Condei portăreţ fara sfârşit", i.e. Endlessly portable pen.
shaunak5 years ago
I left my pen open for some time (Ok, a lot of time), now the ink has dried in the tip and is refusing to work properly. How can I fix this?
unscrew the nib and run it under quite warm water for a few minutes until the dried ink washes away. insert a new ink cartridge (if that's the system), give it a gentle go. if it still doesn't work, try the warm water again... and try to keep the lid on when it's not in use :D
pudicobar6 years ago
My first fountain was a cheap plastic Sheaffer too :-) Not very good, but cool anyway. I gave it to a friend. I now own a cheap Crown, which is very good. Aiming at a Parker Sonnet Black Laca CT and a Sheaffer Prelude 373... These are great and affordable. Good work!
I have one question... Most fountain pens i see are pointed on both "axies" in the nib... Mines is flat only on one "axis"... Should i cut its 2nd "axis" for a sharper line?
NO!
Ok... i meant shapen it not cu it off so having a thick nibe one he axis closest o the paper is normal then right?
but still no sorry
kwl. i have been using a parker fountain pen. the cheap ones, that cost twenty rand. ive had it for about 2 years now. it is the kiffest pen ever. i love it!
haha just today i bought the same sheaffer pen for $5 at a michaels! small world. i've spent the last 2 hours writing random words and phrases on a piece of copy paper. i love this thing!
P.S. which nib do you prefer?
CowGuy (author)  technodude926 years ago
I like just a plain old Iridium nib, mid range pen.
wilcbr016 years ago
This borders on plagiarism. I've read these exact same words at websites not mentioned in the Instructable. http://www.nakaya.org/ejiku.html, for instance. Even if you were the originator, which I doubt, it would be best to mention where the material was first published or used. Nice compilation of information, but please cite your sources.
CowGuy (author)  wilcbr016 years ago
I know I'll go threw it and site my sources. I should of before.
maker127 years ago
pewter?
CowGuy (author)  maker126 years ago
What do you mean by "pewter?"
maker12 CowGuy6 years ago
it a metal aloy.
CowGuy (author)  maker126 years ago
You were just like pewter? So I wasn't sure what you meant.
maker127 years ago
I have this jingle stuck in my mind: "food professional =WOOT=" lol!
capybaraman7 years ago
Yeah, fountain pens are great tools, they really look sophisticated and your writing gives off that air when you write with them. However, for those really anachronistic folk, nothing beats a good old fashioned quill pen. : )

ball points are good respect the balls!

PERFECT TIMING!, i just got a paker foutain pen (8 pounds) about 2 days ago (already lost it on the bus but found it again) i got it maily for drawing but i find it also make my handwriting much more ledgiable. also it splats, great artistic feature which i find much alureing (sorry about spelling). my friend got one and said that he filled it with his own blood and then with some alcohol to stop it cloging up the nib, im so gulliable, but most interested in maby trying, or like not, thanks for the instructable!
I've got the £8 parker, and mine broke entirely after about 14 months. But for £8, i'm not bothered.
Thanks for the background information on fountain pens! I've used one off and on over the years because i like the feel and they almost make my handwriting look legible. Your comment on fountain pens needing to be used regularly is right on target. If you are going to buy a fountain pen, you better plan on using it just about every day to keep the ink flowing smoothly.