The Blog for GW Pens

A peek at what we make

Anatomy of a Fountain Pen

Handcrafted Fountain Pen by Greco Woodcrafting

Handcrafted Fountain Pen by Greco Woodcrafting


Have you ever wondered about fountain pens? Wondered how they work and just what the heck it looks like on the Inside? Well sit back, because I am about to pull the curtain back on this (not so) mysterious ink pen.

Chances are if you are reading this, you probably never used a fountain pen. Maybe you’re interested in giving it a try. Maybe you’re just a curious individual and like to learn how things work. Whatever the case, you’re here and I’m here, so let’s get started!


Internal pieces of a fountain pen.

Internal pieces of a fountain pen.


A – This is the Converter. It is a reservoir that stores the ink and they come in several types and sizes. When this is an assembled unit, you lower the Nib (D) into the ink bottle and twist the rear of the Converter. This makes the piston inside retract, drawing the ink into the cavity.  There are also squeeze bulb versions, ones that use levers, as well as longer and shorter versions. Additionally, this piece can be replaced with a similar sized disposable ink cartridge. It sort of looks like an odd plastic bullet with ink it in. These fit onto the bottom nipple of the Feed Housing (B), which in the case of the disposable cartridge, breaks the seal and allows the ink to flow.

B – The Feed housing. As the name suggests, it houses the Feed (C). The nipple at the bottom is what the Converter or disposable ink cartridge attaches to. It has a small hole allowing ink to pass through.

C – The Feed. It slides into the Feed Housing until it is fully seated inside with its nipple ‘plugging’ the hole in the feed housing. So how does the ink pass through? The nipple on the Feed is shaped more like the letter ‘C’ with the open part on top, creating a small channel. If you look closely, you can see a solid black stripe running down the center from the bottom to the top of the Feed. This is like a spine with small flexible wings extending off of it. The ink moves through and fills this space through capillary action.

D – The Nib. The Nib sits directly on top of the feed and partway inside of the Feed Housing. As the feed fills with ink, it is transferred to the underside of the nib. The line going through the tip of the nib is a slice. When pressure is applied, the 2 parts, known as Tines, separate slightly and the ink is drawn from the Feed. Different nibs have different ‘feels’ on how the Tines open. Some are more firm, others are more flexible. Most seasoned fountain pen users have experimented with many nib types and brands before finding one they have as a favorite.


The internal fountain pen pieces assembled.

The internal fountain pen pieces assembled.


Once assembled, this is what all of the pieces look like. The Feed Housing screws into the nib holder, or the lower most part of the pen where you hold it as you write. And believe it or not, that’s all there is to it! Ready to give one a try? Head over to the Fountain Pen section of my shop to see what I have in stock, or feel free to Contact Me to discuss a custom order (or even just to answer any questions you might have). Thanks for reading, and don’t forget to Follow me on Facebook!


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This entry was posted on August 3, 2013 by and tagged , , , , .
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