How Pens Work

January 18, 2010

Old fashioned fountain pens. Some things I never knew before include that ballpoint pen ink is oil based.  That makes sense when you know how hard it is to get rid of when you accidentally get it on your clothes or couch, uh, leather couch to be exact.  It would make sense then to maybe use salad oil to break it down and remove it instead of something that would help set the stain.  The proverbial Bic  ballpoint pen.

Okay, so moving on:  ball point pens have replaced fountain pens pretty much entirely, except for the discerning fountain pen user (moi!).  There is a little ball in the tip that rolls that dispenses the very viscous ink which incredibly dries on contact.   How do they do that with an oil based ink?  Consider it one of the mysteries of the modern world because before the ballpoint pen there was the fountain pen and you always have to wait for that ink to dry or you’ll smear it everywhere.

Egyptian statue pens. Curious aren't they?

In the late 1970’s I remember my brother going on and on about a cool new pen that I had to have: the rollerball pen.  Being that said brother is 11 years older than I, I listened to my elder and found that it was indeed,  a new innovation for art.  The rollerball pen was the first gel pen ever.  It has a similar delivery method to the ballpoint pen, using a little ball to dispense ink, but the ink is not as viscous and is actually absorbed into the paper instead of just sitting on top of the paper like ballpoint ink.   This made for a much

Rapidograph technical pen close up.

smoother appearance to the ink laid down, like it was painted on, much like a rapidograph pen but without all the hassle of one.

Considering we all started with dip pens (or branches as the case may be), we’ve come a long way in what is available.  So take a look at that writing instrument you’re using next time.  It’s a piece of technology in your hand.

Crazy new nail art pens!


6 Responses to “How Pens Work”

  1. tessA said


  2. garine said

    im from lebanon where can find them

  3. arrin said

    do you sell the nail pen?

  4. armaan said

    hi from could i get these?????????

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