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Glossopedia of Pen Terms

(This page revised January 24, 2019)

Introduction  A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z

Reference Info Index | Glossary of Paper Terms  ]


Like any other specialized item, the fountain pen has amassed a lexicon of terms that are unique. A collection of terms peculiar to a certain subject or field of endeavor is called a jargon; and like other jargon languages, fountain pen jargon can be cryptic or misleading, even to collectors with more than a little experience. One reason for part of the confusion is that some terms have changed meanings, in some cases quite dramatically, since they first came into use more than a century ago.

Fountain pen

This Glossopedia is a compact glossary/mini-encyclopedia of words, phrases, and names, with more than 1,600 definitions and descriptions, more than 925 illustrations, more than 180 patent citations linked to their respective patent documents at various archives, and extensive cross-references. Its specific focus, like my own, is fountain pens; but I am sufficiently distractible that some entries relating to ballpoint pens, mechanical pencils, etc., have inevitably crept in.


In addition to defining jargon words and phrases, the Glossopedia also includes historical and usage notes. There are also brief histories of many pen companies and capsule biographies of some of the people who made important contributions to the advancement of fountain pen technology.

The content of the Glossopedia is organized alphabetically, without regard to white space; fingernail comes before Finger tip. For numbers, look under the spelled-out form; e.g., for 14K, look under fourteen.
Filling system
Filling system

Pronunciations for Japanese terms are based on “An Introduction to Japanese Pronunciation,” by Ryo Furue of the University of Hawaii.

The information in this Glossopedia is as accurate as possible, but you should not take it as absolutely authoritative or complete. If you have additions or corrections to the Glossopedia, please consider sharing them with us to improve the accuracy of our information.

This complete Glossopedia is also available as The RichardsPens Guide to Fountain Pens, Volume 1, an ebook for your computer or mobile device.

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