Advert for the Paul E Wirt Fountain Pen, reverse side
Medium: Print on paper
The fountain pen first appeared commercially in the early 19th century, but there are surprisingly few records tracing its development up to that point. For the bulk of the Victorian period, most people still dipped pen nibs into external reservoirs of ink before writing. The first practical, affordable and long-lasting fountain pen was invented by Lewis Edson Waterman in 1884. Waterman was spurred on in his researches by the memory of losing out on a contract to a rival broker, simply because his pen wouldn't work. His invention was a huge success and inspired many imitations - between 1884 and 1904 over 400 different patents for fountain pens were granted in England.