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Early mentions of fountain pens


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#1 antoniosz

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Posted 10 July 2007 - 02:49

George in this article said:

"In 1707, Nicolas Bion was granted a French royal patent for what he called a "plume éternele". An illustration and description of this fountain pen was published first in 1709 in Bion's "Traité De La Construction Et Des Principaux Usages Des Instrumens De Mathématique", then again in Edmund Stone's English translation, "The Construction And Principal Uses Of Mathematical Instruments", in 1723. An illustration and description identical to the ones in Stone’s book also appear in "A New And Complete Dictionary [Of] Arts And Sciences" published in 1754-55, with a second edition in 1764-66, thus showing that the form of the fountain pen hadn't changed in half a century. The term "plume perpétuelle" appears in Denis Diderot and Jean d'Alembert's "Encyclopédie, Ou Dictionaire Raissonné, Des Arts Et Des Métiers", 1777-1779. By 1823 the term "fountain pen" was common enough to be included as a separate entry in "A Dictionary Of Mathematics And Physical Sciences"."




So I found this link on the web that has Hutton's 1795 "Dictionary of Mathematics and Physical Sciences" which shows the exact entry for this early fountain pen including an illustration:






Also from this link here is the text from 1777 Diderot's and d'Alembert Encyclopedie. The translation is almost identical to Hutton's article.

"Plume perpétuelle

Plume perpétuelle, (Papetier.) c'est une espece de plume faite de maniere à contenir une grande quantité d'encre qui coule petit à petit, & par ce moyen entretient fort long - tems l'écrivain, sans qu'il soit obligé de prendre de nouvelle encre. La plume perpétuelle (mauvais instrument) est composée de différentes pieces de cuivre, d'argent, &c. dont la piece du milieu porte la plume qui est vissée dans l'intérieur d'un petit tuyau, soudé lui - même à un autre canal de même diametre, comme le couvercle; on a soudé à ce couvercle une vis mâle, afin de pouvoir le fermer à vis, de boucher aussi un petit trou qui est en cet endroit, & d'empêcher l'encre d'y passer. A l'autre extrémité de la piece est un petit tuyau, sur la face extérieure duquel on peut visser le principal couvercle: dans ce couvercle est un porte - crayon qui se visse dans le dernier tuyau dont on vient de parler, afin de boucher l'extrémité du tuyau, dans lequel on doit verser l'encre par le moyen d'un entonnoir.

Pour faire usage de cette plume, il faut ôter le couvercle & secouer la plume, afin que l'encre y coule plus librement. "




From this link

"In Samuel Taylor's " Universal System of Short-hand Writing", published in 1786, we find proof of the the fountain pen's great age.
"I have nothing else to add", wrote Samuel Taylor, "for the use or instruction of the practitioner, except a few words concerning the kind of pen proper to be used for writing shorthand. For expeditious writing some use what are called fountain pens, into which your ink is put, which gradually flows, when writing, from thence into a smaller pen cut short to fit the smaller end of this instrument, but it is a hard matter to meet with a good one of this kind."




In "SIDE-LIGHTS ON MARYLAND ISTORY" by HESTER DORSEY RICHARDSON, Published serially in the Baltimore Sunday 'Sun' from May 17, 1903, to December 25, 1904, we find the following:

"The quill pen and inkhorn have long been thought to be the most elegant accessories of a Colonial gentleman's writing desk known in the period of the Stuart kings. There is now, however, reason to believe that many a courtier in drooping plume and velvet doublet carried a fountain pen tucked away in some hidden pocket behind his lace ruffles, for in the criminal records of the English local courts the writer recently found an entry, dated "December 17, Charles II," stating that several persons broke into the house of one George Agard (in England) and stole among other things, "three silver fountain pens, worth 15 shillings." •

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#2 Gerry

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Posted 10 July 2007 - 04:08

Thanks George / Antonios. The info is really interesting. It pushes back what I used to think of the 'birth' of the FP by a century.

Regards,

Gerry

#3 Vintagepens

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Posted 12 July 2007 - 01:53

As far as I know, there is no evidence that Bion ever received any sort of patent for a fountain pen. The so-called "Bion" type of fountain pen is referred to by his name because he was the first to describe this type in print -- and it bears emphasizing that he did not there claim to be the inventor. And as far as I know, there is no Bion-signed writing instrument known to the collecting community (though I have heard of one in a private collection -- not sure yet if it is a fountain pen or some other device).

#4 antoniosz

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Posted 12 July 2007 - 02:58

QUOTE(Vintagepens @ Jul 11 2007, 09:53 PM) View Post
As far as I know, there is no evidence that Bion ever received any sort of patent for a fountain pen. The so-called "Bion" type of fountain pen is referred to by his name because he was the first to describe this type in print -- and it bears emphasizing that he did not there claim to be the inventor. And as far as I know, there is no Bion-signed writing instrument known to the collecting community (though I have heard of one in a private collection -- not sure yet if it is a fountain pen or some other device).



Thank you for the information David. So the pen shown in http://penlovers.net...resources&s=fph is a later Bion-type pen? Those of you who have not seen it before, check it out, it is a very nice article. It says: "About five pens of Bion's design are known today. Two of them are owned by Dr. Stephen Berger of Columbus, who directed PenLovers to the materials for this article and whose Bion pens we have been able to examine."

Incidentally, the diagram in Hutton's book shown above is identical with Bion's sketch.

Edited by antoniosz, 12 July 2007 - 03:26.







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