Writing in the West

24. Eighteenth-century Bion pen

Bion Fountain Pen

Bion fountain pen, 2012-105

One of the earlier attempts to escape the tyranny of the inkwell, this type of fountain pen was patented by Nicholas Bion around 1689. The example here dates from 1749. It is made mostly of brass and comprises quill nib and ink chamber, lid, base and internal weight. Like a modern fountain pen, it depends on air pressure to encourage the ink to flow. The shaft is filled with ink; in the shaft there is a weight that allows a fixed flow of ink through a slanted bore onto the quill nib. When writer is finished, screwing the cap winds an internal screw into the nib which prevents further ink flow.