Varieties and Types of Pens
Pens are writing instruments that use ink to leave a mark on the surface. It is probably the oldest writing tool that we still use (although we again use styluses but in a different way).
Reed pen is pen made from one piece bamboo or reed. It has a split nib that leads ink to the point of a pen. It is the oldest type of pen that we used and they have been found in Ancient Egyptian sites dating from the 4th century BC.
Quill is a pen made from a flight feather of a large bird. They replaced reed pens that were too stiff and had short lifespan. They also have split nib and work with help of capillary action and gravity. They were most important writing tool in the Western world between 6th and 19th century.
Ink brush is a small brush used for calligraphy in East Asia. Its body is made from materials like bamboo, gold, silver, jade, ivory, red sandalwood or spotted bamboo. While for its hairs were used hairs from a goat, Siberian weasel, pig, mouse, buffalo, wolf, rabbit, tiger, fowl, deer and even human hair.
Dip pen is a pen, similar to quill but with a metal nib and a handle. It appeared in 19th century and because it could be mass produced very cheaply it replaced quills for good. Like quills they didn’t have reservoir for ink and had to be dipped in the inkwell from which they got their name. They were used for writing but are now mainly used in illustration, calligraphy, and comics.
Fountain pen is a pen that has its own reservoir for water-based liquid ink. It has nib as a dip pen but in flows from reservoir placed in the handle of fountain pen through a feed and gets to the point by capillary action and gravity. Early models appeared in 10th century, but the first working model was made in the mid-19th century.
Ballpoint pen is a pen that leaves a mark on the surface by dispensing ink from its reservoir through the rolling of a metal ball that is placed at its point. First one was designed in 1888 but this one and all others had problems with work until the ballpoint designed and improved in 1938.
Marker , or felt-tip pen, has its own reservoir for ink filled with absorbent material and a tip made of felt. Its body is made of glass, aluminum or plastic. First one was made in 1910 but it didn’t become popular until 1950s. It is usually made to write on many different surfaces.
Rollerball pen is similar in almost every way to ballpoint pen but it uses water-based liquid or gelled ink instead of the oil-based viscous inks. Roller Ball pens were invented in 1963 by Ohto Japan.
Space pen is a special type of ballpoint pen that has pressurized reservoir for ink and is hermetically closed. This allows it to write under any angle, when no gravity is present and under water. It was invented in 1966 and was used by NASA in its space flights.
Ruling pen is similar to a dip pen but it has two nibs whose distance can be changed with a screw. It was used for technical drawings in engineering and cartography but today it is mostly used in picture framing or calligraphy
Gel pen uses gel ink which has high viscosity. Its ink can be seen on dark surfaces, can be used on smooth, non-absorbent materials, is less likely to bleed through to the other side of paper, and makes finer, nicely controlled lines.