Year 1884. An insurance solicitor in New York City was getting ready to sign one of his most crucial contracts. In honor of the occasion, he bought a new fountain pen. The contract was ready. The client was willing. But the pen refused to write. Not only that, the ink leaked onto his precious document. Before another contract could be made ready, a competitor clinched the deal.
This was incentive enough. This insurance solicitor, whom the world knows as Lewis Waterman, developed today’s leak proof fountain pen, which revolutionized writing nearly a century ago.
Before his fountain pen, pen tips had to be dipped into ink after every few words. The problem with other pens was the regulation of ink flow, which is why no self contained ink reservoir had successfully been incorporated into a pen.
Waterman, created his fountain pen using natures principle of capillary action. Waterman discovered that the capillary attraction had an important and dynamic relationship with atmospheric pressure. Therefore in the feed, which guides the ink down the backside of the nib (pen point) and eventually to the paper, Waterman created two or three conduits or channels which allow the simultaneous movement of air and fluid; this way, air displaced the used ink allowing constant smooth flow of ink.
Waterman patented his invention in 1884. All fountain pens thereafter are only a modification of this basic invention .