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Glossopedia of Pen Terms

(This page revised October 28, 2022)

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Reference Info Index | Glossary of Paper Terms  ]

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Faber See Eberhard Faber.
faceted (also sided, as printed in some period catalogs) Having a number of flat sides, as opposed to a continuous round contour. The Omas Arte Italiana series and the Eversharp Doric (shown here, upper) are Art Deco-style faceted pens from the Golden Age; modern faceted pens include the Filcao Tukano (lower) and the Retro 1951 Double Eight. Contrast with fluted. See also Art Deco.
Fountain pen
Fountain pen
Fairchild (Leroy W. Fairchild) A manufacturer of gold nibs, located in New York City; founded in 1837 as Randall & Fairchild, renamed Leroy W. Fairchild in 1843, and went through a series of name changes, including incorporation in 1890, until its foreclosure in 1895 over an issue of unpaid debts. ¶ In 1851, Leroy Fairchild revolutionized nib manufacture by welding iridium tipping material to the gold nib instead of soldering it as had been done previously. His invention prevented corrosion by galvanic action between the solder and the tipping material and, in essence, created a nib that could last indefinitely. Fairchild is thought to have been the first supplier of nibs to L. E. Waterman. ¶ In 1896, Fairchild’s sons Leroy C., Harry P., and James C. Fairchild purchased all the tools and machinery of the defunct corporation and incorporated anew with themselves as directors. By 1897, the company had reincorporated again as the Leroy C. Fairchild Co., Inc., with Julia M. Fairchild, W. Clifford Moore, and Leonard S. Wheeler as directors and Leroy C. Fairchild as president. Although the elder Fairchild did not manufacture fountain pens, he did take out U.S. Patent No 325,663 for improvements to the body and feed of a typical eyedropper filler. Under its new organization, however, the company began selling fountain pens, and it was apparently still in business into the 1920s. It is unclear whether it actually manufactured its fountain pens or jobbed them from a now-unknown manufacturer. See also Diamond Point (definition 2).
Falcon  1  A dip nib shaped generally as illustrated below (upper) by an Esterbrook No 442 Jackson stub, with provision for increased tine flexibility and a broadened neck having a stamped horseshoe-shaped depression for increased body rigidity. Esterbrook used the Falcon name explicitly, assigning it to the No 048 Falcon and No 182 Lady Falcon, both fine flexible nibs — and again, beginning in the 1930s, to the No 2442 Renew-Point nib, a fine relief stub. See also Relief.  2  A pen model (below, middle, the Flighter version), produced 1978–1983 by Parker, whose principal feature was an integral nib (U.S. Patent No D252,464). Parker advertised the Falcon (Model 50) as being the second pen to have an integral nib, the first being the quill. This claim conveniently overlooked Parker’s unsuccessful T-1 of 1970-71 and Pilot’s MYU of 1972–1977. See also integral nib, MYU, T-1.  3  A modern pen model (below, lower), produced by Pilot of Japan, whose principal feature is an oddly shaped “soft” nib.
Esterbrook Falcon 442 nib
Fountain pen
Fountain pen
fantasy Collectors’ term for a custom pen made on the model of a production pen (often vintage) and sometimes using some of the original’s parts; but also using materials or colors, or both, that were never used by the original’s maker. Shown here are a fantasy Parker “51” by Brad Torelli and a fantasy Montblanc 149 by Paul Rossi.
Fountain pen
Fountain pen
Farrell & Hosinger (Farrell & Hosinger Company) A pen manufacturing company located in Jersey City, New Jersey; founded c. 1910 by Lawrence J. Farrell and George N. Hosinger. In its first few years, the company produced high-quality hard rubber fountain pens featuring Farrell’s leakproof inner cap (U.S. Patent No 999,440, issued August 1, 1911), gravity stylographic pens (illustrated below), and ink pencils, under the Paramount brand. Farrell & Hosinger’s products bore a circular logo reading F & H CO. In 1919, the company introduced what was claimed to be the first lever-filling stylographic pen. In 1921, Farrell & Hosinger began manufacturing pen barrels and other small products of Bakelite. Also in 1921, the company was renamed to be the Paramount Pen Company and incorporated with Farrell as treasurer, Hosinger as president, and Charles J. Morley as secretary. The company appears to have relocated to Weehawken, New Jersey, by 1931, and to North Bergen, New Jersey, sometime before 1949. It was still in operation in 1957.

Paramount Gravity Stylo

FDW Frank D. Waterman, nephew of Lewis E. Waterman. In 1901, on the death of Lewis, Frank took over the L. E. Waterman company and expanded it overseas. Some English-made Waterman pens with trim or overlays of precious metal bear these initials as part of their imprints.
feathering Spreading of ink along the surface of the paper by capillary action between the fibers of the paper. Pens adjusted to write extremely wet are more prone than dry writers to produce feathering; other causes can be paper with long, loosely packed fibers, ink with an excessive amount of surfactant, or a nib that is so sharp it catches and tears the paper fibers. Compare with bleeding, which is essentially feathering in the third dimension. See also capillary action.
Feathertouch Sheaffer’s trademarked name for the duo-point nibs that it began using for non-Lifetime pens in about 1931 (illustrated below). Feathertouch nibs were generally two-tone in appearance, with the slit walls and upper surface of the tines attractively platinum plated. The slit-wall plating was a feature claimed to improve ink flow (U.S. Patent No 1,869,950). These nibs were essentially the same as those in Lifetime pens except for the imprint and, on some lower-priced pen models, the absence of platinum plating. See also duo-point, nib number.
feed (also feeder, feed bar, ink feed, underfeed) A usually cylindrical part against which the nib is placed, which carries (“feeds”) ink from the reservoir to the nib and delivers it in a controlled flow by means of capillary action. Feeds frequently have slots, combs, or other design elements providing increased surface area that capillary action can draw ink onto or release it from, as a means of controlling the evenness of flow (buffering). Early feeds were made of hard rubber; beginning in the late 1940s, inexpensive feeds have been made of plastic, while high-quality feeds are still made of hard rubber. Illustrated here is a feed from a 1900-era Conklin’s Crescent-Filler pen. See also buffer, capillary action, collector (definition 1), overfeed, over-under feed.
feedback The sensation of resistance to motion when the pen is traveling across the paper. In general, a smooth nib will give less feedback than one that is rougher (toothier), and a wet nib will give less than a dry one. See also dry writer, tooth, wet writer.
feed channel See channel.
feed starvation (also ink starvation) A failure in the transfer of ink from the ink reservoir to or through the feed to the nib. Feed starvation can be caused by clogs, grease, or oil in the ink path; or by surface tension inside the ink reservoir. To deal with this latter condition by disturbing surface tension, some vintage pens had short nonfunctional breather tubes, and some modern converters have a ball or other small object inside. See also clog, hard starting.
fei pai Anglicization of the Mandarin term 飛白 (fēi bái, “flying white”). A style of Chinese calligraphy done with a flat brush instead of the usual pointed type; noted for skips in the strokes, which add a sense of movement and life to the characters as shown here.
Fend (Gebrüder Fend) A manufacturer of writing instruments, located in Pforzheim, the jewelry capital of Germany; founded c. 1900 by Georg and Karl Fend, who received their first patent, Swiss Patent No 24,220, for a retractable pen holder, on July 10, 1901. Other patents followed. Fend was known for the high-quality overlays, in both rolled gold (gold filled) and sterling silver, that it supplied to other companies (including Montblanc); but its most noted product was two-, three-, and four-color mechanical pencils, which it sold under the Norma brand (below, upper). Sometime around 1930, Fend opened a foreign branch named Fratelli Fend di E. Fend, in Milan, Italy. Fratelli Fend produced a series of excellent retractable safety pens (below, lower), most fitted with overlays, under the Fendograf brand. See also Norma.
Mechanical pencil
Fountain pen
Fendograf See Fend.
Fermo A pen model produced by Pilot, introduced in 2006; a reintroduction of the twist-action operation of the original 1963 Capless. Shown here are a standard post-2000 Capless (upper) and a Fermo. See also Capless.
Fountain pen
Fountain pen
Fern Green  1  One of three green colors used on Sheaffer’s Snorkel, a high-cachet color due to its relative rarity. See color chip at Pastel Green.  2  Shown here, a color used on Esterbrook’s Dollar Pen.
Color chip
ferrogallic ink See iron gall ink.
ferrule  1  The metal tube at the nib end of a dip-pen holder, into which the pen point (nib) fits.  2  A threaded metal sleeve; see connector.
FERT Brand name for a self-filling fountain pen produced by Luigi Pagliero e Figli (LPF) in Settimo Torinese, Italy; thought to have been produced by Aurora until the discovery of an LPF brochure from the latter 1930s (shown below). The FERT pen’s filling system was a hoop filler similar to that in the Parker “51” Special, differing in that only the back half of the barrel screwed off (like a very long blind cap). See also Pagliero.
Brochure page
Fiesta Red One of two bright red colors used on Sheaffer’s Snorkel, a high-cachet color due to its relative rarity. See color chip at Vermilion.
Fifth Avenue  1  A pen model introduced by Eversharp in 1943, intended to compete with the Parker “51” but poorly thought out and, initially, a poor writer. The cap of the Fifth Avenue was vermeil; a sister model called the Sixty Four had a cap of solid gold. Eversharp improved the pen’s writing qualities, but the public’s impression was already sour, and the model was withdrawn after about two years. Shown below (upper two) are a men’s model (capped) and the clipless Stowaway, which was intended to compete with Sheaffer’s Tuckaway. There exists some question as to whether the Fifth Avenue might have succeeded if Eversharp had not changed the design of the gripping section from that in Raymond Loewy’s original version (U.S. Patents Nos D137,866, D137,867, and D139,551). (The section is not shown in the patents; in Loewy’s prototypes, it is an ordinary ink-view section with an open nib.) Read a profile of the Fifth Avenue here. See also Sixty Four.  2  A house brand of F. W. Woolworth Company, produced by Parker under the name Safford Pen Company. Shown below (lower two) is a Fifth Avenue combo. See also combo.
Fountain pen
Fountain pen
Fountain pen
Fountain pen
“51”  1  A pen model introduced by Parker in 1941; remained in production until the early 1970s. The first pen to use a hooded nib. Arguably the best fountain pen ever designed, the “51” (U.S. Patent No 2,223,541) is reliable, remarkably durable, and attractive in a modern, minimalist way. (The original design was executed by Kenneth S. Parker and Marlin S. Baker and may have been influenced by the work of László Moholy-Nagy.) Shown below is a Vacumatic-filling “51” made in about 1946. Read a profile of the “51” here.  2  Parker’s name for a proprietary superfast-drying fountain pen ink (U.S. Patent No 1,932,248) developed in the 1930s but not introduced until 1941. “51” ink dried so rapidly that a finger dragged along the paper " (1.3 cm) behind the pen would not smear the freshly drawn line. This incredible drying speed resulted from a formulation based on sodium hydroxide, which caused the fluid to penetrate the paper chemically. This formula yielded a solution with a pH higher than 12; the ink was terribly damaging, dissolving celluloid pen bodies and corroding metals commonly used in pens (including stainless steel). Before it could market such an ink, Parker was compelled to develop a pen that could withstand the ink’s destructive action, and that pen was the “51”. See also Superchrome.
Fountain pen
Fountain pen
“51” Special A reduced-cost version of the Parker “51”, introduced in 1950. The “51” Special looks outwardly very much like a standard “51”, but it has an Octanium (stainless steel) nib and the non-Aero-metric hoop filler that was initially used in the “21”. Other cost-saving measures were a limited choice of colors, a bright-polished stainless-steel cap, and a black cap jewel. Late examples of the “51” Special came in more colors and with a gold nib and a matte cap with a gray jewel, but these pens still retained the cheaper filler. See also Aero-metric, “51”, hoop, Octanium.
Filcao (Fabbrica Italiana Lavorazione Cappucci Alluminio e Ottone, “Italian Factory Machining Aluminum and Brass Caps”) A manufacturer of high-quality mid-priced pens, located in Settimo Torinese, Italy; founded in 1963 by Franco Grisolia to do job-lot machining of tubular metal parts. By the late 1960s, Grisolia had adapted his machining techniques to the production of cartridge/converter fountain pens; thereafter, pens were Filcao’s primary business. Early models were based on the use of metal tubing for bodies, with celluloid and acrylic resins being added later. Filling systems also branched out, to include piston- and sac-filling models. In 2004, Filcao introduced “Columbia, the Gem of the Ocean,” designed by Richard Binder as the first new button-filler in more than 50 years. The gold-on-blue Lapis Columbia proved very popular, and it became the first of a series of button-fillers: the Atlantica, a larger version of the Columbia; the Nobile, a cracked-ice Atlantica variant honoring Italian aeronaut and Arctic explorer Umberto Nobile; the New Leader, a tribute to the Parker “Big Red” Duofold; and the Silvia, a tribute to the Pelikan 100N. Among Filcao’s last production was an Atlantica variant with a Chilton-style pneumatic filler. Shown below are a Veltro (metal body), a Columbia, and a Silvia LE (with a simulated horn barrel). Filcao ceased operation in 2012. See also the Tukano at faceted.
Fountain pen
Fountain pen
Fountain pen
filigree  1  Intricate ornamental work made from gold, silver, or other fine twisted wire as illustrated below (upper, a Hero 3000 pen and an enlarged image of the filigree work).  2  (as customarily applied to pens) A solid metal overlay made from a tube or sheet with shaped cutouts and incised engraving as illustrated by the Waterman’s Ideal No 412 shown below (lower). This type of decoration is properly called cutwork.
Fountain pen
Filigree pen barrel
Fountain pen
filler  1  (also filling system or filling mechanism) The mechanism that draws ink into the pen’s ink reservoir. See diagrams of many filling systems here.  2  Early manufacturers’ term for the eyedropper supplied with an eyedropper-filling pen. See also eyedropper.
filler unit (also filler pump or just pump) The filling mechanism in a Parker Vacumatic pen or Vacumatic-filling “51”; comprises a spring-loaded plunger, a rubber diaphragm, and the two collars that secure them into the pen. Produced in three versions referred to as Lockdown, Speedline, and “plastic.” Illustrated in cutaway below is a third-generation filler, from a pen made after the U.S.A. entered World War II. See also Vacumatic.
Vacumatic filler unit
Fineline A line of Sheaffer ecomony-model pens with an interchangeable nib system, introduced in 1948 and produced into the 1950s. (Sheaffer had earlier introduced the Fineline name for its line of mechanical pencils.) The Fineline was Sheaffer’s first pen range to use steel nibs. The illustration below (upper) shows a Fineline section and screw-out nib unit. Later Fineline production lacked the extended rim on the screw-in sleeve. Although similar in appearance to Esterbrook’s Renew-Point nibs, Fineline nibs are not interchangeable with them. Shown below (lower) is a Fineline pen with a metal cap; the brand also included plastic-capped models. See also Personal-Point, Renew-Point, Select-O-Point.
Fountain pen
fingernail nib A nib that is installed into a fully streamlined gripping section in a manner that resembles the appearance of a fingernail, with the feed concealed within the end of the section. This style was pioneered by the Moore Finger tip, but it appears most frequently on Japanese pens made from the mid-1950s into the 1990s, as shown here on a Pilot pen. Among other Western pens, the Sheaffer “Dolphin” Imperial models of the 1960s and the Waterman Carène have had fingernail nibs. See also Dolphin nib, Finger tip.
Fingernail nib
Finger tip (Also Fingertip; but the pen’s distinctive logo shows two words) A pen model introduced by Moore in 1946, intended to compete with the Parker “51”. The Finger tip’s novel fingernail nib, set into a conical brushed metal gripping section with the feed concealed, wrote very poorly when mated with the pen’s unorthodox gold-channel feed. Moore fixed the writing issues, but the pen continued to do poorly and was withdrawn in 1951. Read a profile of the Finger tip here. See also fingernail nib.
Fountain pen
finial An ornament, often distinctive, at the closed end of a pen’s cap or barrel; e.g., the decorative crown-shaped dome and ring on a Pelikan cap crown, as illustrated here by a Pelikan M800. See also derby, tassie.
Pelikan finial
First Edition Parker’s marketing designation for its first production of the 61, in 1956. Each First Edition pen bore on its cap, near the lip and in line with the clip, the small First Edition medallion illustrated below. See also 61.
First Edition medallipn
first tier Term applied to a high-quality pen from one of the top manufacturers. Also applied to a manufacturer of such pens. Among U.S. manufacturers of early pens, the first tier included Conklin, Parker, Sheaffer, Wahl, and L. E. Waterman. See also Big Four, Conklin, Parker, second tier, Sheaffer, third tier, Wahl, Waterman, L.E..
first year Self-explanatory term applied to pens whose features identify them as having been manufactured during the first year of their product life, e.g., the 1939 Waterman’s Hundred Year Pen or the 1941 Parker “51”. First-year pens of desirable models are usually more sought after than later production.
Fischer (Gustave Fischer & Company, name changed before 1915 to Gustave Fischer Company) A manufacturer and retail stationer located in Hartford, Connecticut; established in 1901 as a retailer by Gustave Fischer, who had been retailing and wholesaling books, newspapers, and office products for two years prior to that date. Later, the company began manufacturing some of the products it was selling: it produced steel pens and “Sunrise” branded pencils, carbon paper, and typewriter ribbons, and it claimed to be making the Fischer Safety Fountain Pen. Shown below are two examples of the Fischer Safety Fountain Pen, a BCHR eyedropper filler and a later chased celluloid lever filler. Both of these pens have nibs made by the Eagle Pencil Company; it is not known whether Fischer jobbed the pens from Eagle or merely bought Eagle nibs. In 1992, the company merged with the L. E. Muran Company of Billerica, Massachusetts. As of this writing, Fischer is a division of Muran but is still operating under its own name. See also Eagle.
Fountain pen
Fountain pen
fissure  1  The more correct name for one of the narrow capillary channels in a feed. See also channel.  2  One of a network of tiny cracks in the surface of a pen that has undergone, or is undergoing, deterioration due to chemical action (caused usually by aging). See also crazing.
Flat-Top (also flat-top or flattop) A term describing a pen that is cylindrical in shape (not tapered or barrel-shaped) with flat ends. The classic Flat-Top shape is exemplified by Sheaffer’s pens of the 1913–1928 period, as illustrated here by a 1920s Senior Lifetime pen in black Radite. See also cigar shaped, torpedo shaped.
Fountain pen
fleabite (also flea bite) A small nick in a pen’s surface, such as might be made accidentally by the tip of a knife.
flex (also flexibility) The springlike tempering and shaping that render a flexible nib capable of repeatedly bending under pressure and returning to its original shape when released. See also flexible.
flexible (also flex, as in “flex nib”) An adjective describing a nib that is made of a springy alloy and is tempered and shaped especially so that its tines flex during use, spreading apart under increased pressure to yield line variation that is unique to the individual user’s handwriting. (Different nibs have varying degrees of flexibility; a common description of one with relatively little flexibility is semiflexible.) Illustrated below is the nib of an eyedropper-filling Waterman’s Ideal No 12 made in about 1910. This pen has an extremely flexible nib with a 3XF tip (usually referred to as an artist’s nib). Unlike an italic nib, a flex nib cannot produce broad strokes in both upward and downward directions; it can make broad strokes only when the writer makes what are called “pull” strokes, i.e., strokes in the direction toward which the pen is leaning. Exerting pressure on a “push” stroke forces the nib to dig into the paper, and the usual result is that the nib then “pings” loose, spattering ink in all directions and not infrequently popping the tipping material from one or both tines. The Waterman’s nib illustrated here is capable of greater spread, but pushing a nib to its limits can damage it. See also artist’s nib, springy, sprung. Read an article about the potential for springing nibs here.
Nib flex
Flexigran Trademarked name for a specialized blend of polyurethane resin, dry pigments, and a wetting agent, developed by Richard L. Greenwald, LLC., for use in making pen bodies. The material is both beautiful and remarkably strong; Greenwald has demonstrated its durability by throwing pens made of Flexigran at walls, destroying the pen mechanisms without harm to the Flexigran parts. The Flexigran pen shown here is a Bexley 2014 Owner’s Club limited edition.
Fountain pen
Flighter A style of pen introduced by Parker in 1949, with cap and matching barrel of brushed stainless steel to resemble an airplane. The original “51” Flighter, shown here, included features designed to make the pen more reliable at high altitude. The Flighter name applies properly only to Parker pens; but it is the appearance that collectors today identify with the term, and many collectors refer to any brushed stainless steel pen as a “flighter.” Read a discussion of Flighters here. [Historical note] In 1959, on the coattails of the Douglas DC-8 passenger jet’s début two years earlier, Parker introduced a Flighter version of the 61, calling it the Jet Flighter.
Fountain pen
Flip-Fill Eversharp’s name for an improved version (1951) of its “unitized” lever filler (illustrated below), originally patented by Fred P. Moore in 1943 for use in the Skyline (U.S. Patent No 2,325,069).
Lever filler
floaty (also tilt or action) A pen or mechanical pencil fitted with a barrel whose back half is a sealed transparent tube containing clear mineral oil and an object that can move back and forth in the oil; invented in 1946 by Peder C. Eskesen. When the floaty pen or pencil is in the normal writing position, the object sinks slowly in the oil until it stops at the joint between the barrel and the oil tube or at a stop molded into the inside of the tube. When the instrument is turned point upward, the object sinks to the back end of the instrument. Floaty pens and pencils have been widely used as promotional gimmicks, and they have also found a place in the novelty world. In the latter application, it is often the unclad figure of a woman that is silkscreened on the surface of a transparent rod and secured in the tube so that it can be seen through the oil, and the floating object is a short length of transparent tube on which is silkscreened a bathing suit or dress that can float down just enough for modesty. See also Camel.
flooding (also blotting, burping, drippy nose, gushing, runny nose) A condition in which a fountain pen’s “controlled leak” is not sufficiently controlled, causing the feed to fill with ink such that the excess can easily be dislodged and fall as large drops (blots) from the point. Some pens, especially early ones, suffer a tendency to flood just before the ink supply runs out; in other cases, the problem is often a pinhole leak in the ink reservoir.
flow The movement of ink from a pen’s reservoir to the nib and thence to the paper. Ideally, a pen’s flow is uniform and neither too heavy (wet) or too light (dry). Reliable flow control is the essence of a good feed system. Read an article on feed development here. See also dry writer, feed, wet writer.
fluorescence A change in color that sometimes occurs in celluloid, signaling the beginning of the material’s decomposition. An area that is fluorescing usually exhibits greater transparency and increased color saturation (almost as if it were glowing, whence the term), and there is also frequently a change of hue (e.g., brown areas turn redder). See also crystallization.
Fluoresence on a pen cap
flush To clean a pen by repeatedly filling it with water and/or pen flush and emptying it, until the ejecta come out clear. In most cases, water alone is sufficient; but stubborn cases can benefit from the use of pen flush. See also pen flush.
fluted Having a number of inwardly-curved sides, like an ancient Greek column, as opposed to a continuous round contour. The Parker Parkette Deluxe, an Art Deco pen from the mid-1930s (shown here), is probably the best known fluted pen. Contrast with faceted. See also Art Deco.
Fountain pen
folded-under nib See rolled-under nib.
Foley (John Foley) Father and son, competing manufacturers of gold pens (dip nibs) and (son only) fountain pens, both located in New York City. Foley Sr. founded his business in 1848 and within a few years was producing Foley’s Diamond-Pointed Gold Pens (iridium tipped). His nibs were widely considered to be among the finest made anywhere. Foley Jr. worked for Aikin Lambert; in 1888 Aikin Lambert began offering a gold pen whose imprint included the name Foley. Foley Sr. secured an injunction compelling Aikin Lambert to stop selling these nibs. Immediately thereafter, Foley Jr. set up his own business and began selling his own John Foley nibs, and this time Foley Sr.’s attempt to obtain an injunction failed. Foley Jr. also sold fountain pens, stylographic pens, and mechanical pencils. In 1897, Foley Jr. was named as one of the defendants in L. E. Waterman’s lawsuit against A. A. Waterman. By 1898, Foley Jr.’s business was in trouble. Foley misrepresented its condition to Joseph R. Jackson, who purchased the business in August and then, in January 1899, discovering what he had actually been sold, rescinded the contract and sued for the return of what he had paid. In July 1899, judgment was handed down by the New York State Supreme Court in favor of the plaintiff. Foley thereafter relocated his operations. See also Aikin Lambert.
Ford  1  Ford’s Patent Pen, a multistroke syringe-filling British pen invented by George Stewart Vivian (a series of British Patents culminating in No 376,019, issued July, 1932) and sold by T. B. Ford Ltd beginning in 1931. Ford, a maker of blotting paper, jobbed the pens from a now-unknown manufacturer. The filler used an interesting design in which the plunger seal could slide partway along the shaft. On the upstroke, the seal was lodged at the lower end of the shaft and would draw ink into the barrel. On the downstroke, the seal slid upward along the shaft, stopping at a point where the shaft had a channel that straddled the seal, allowing ink to flow past the seal into the space above the seal. Two or three cycles sufficed to fill the pen. The plunger remained in the downward position after the final cycle, allowing a much shorter overall length than otherwise. The pen included an effective automatic ink shut-off; its construction was unusually complex, and it is notorious for being difficult to repair. Shown here is a Ford’s Patent Magnum, which was advertised as holding 8 ml of ink.  2  Ford’s Fountain Pen, a range of ordinary lever-filling third-tier pens produced in the 1930s. Clips were imprinted with the Ford’s name, some in script and others in block letters. Some models, notably oversize ones, were imprinted Ford’s Deluxe.
Fountain pen
forepart The part situated at the front of the pen; i.e., the gripping section, including its associated trim bands and/or bezel, if any, along with the nib and feed. See also gripping section.
formal See crisp.
formaldehyde A pungent gaseous organic compound (CH2O) that is used in the production of many polymers, including the casein and Bakelite used for pen bodies. Because it is toxic to bacteria and fungi (including their spores), it is also used, in aqueous solution (called formalin), as a disinfectant and as a biocide in ink. Like many other biocides, it can be carcinogenic or even toxic; with mild exposure, it irritates the eyes and mucous tissues, and it can also cause headaches or trigger an allergic reaction. See also fungicide.
formalin A solution of formaldehyde in water, used in the production of casein plastic. See also casein, formaldehyde.
Forticel A cellulosic resin manufactured by the Celanese Corporation and used for Sheaffer’s pens (as Radite II) beginning in 1947; discontinued in 1952 with the advent of the Snorkel. Forticel was cellulose propionate, which is somewhat prone to decomposition that appears as shrinkage, distortion, or, in some cases, stress cracks. It is also slightly hygroscopic, and some Forticel pens exhibit a whitish surface bloom (shown below, on a Fineline mechanical pencil). See also Bakelite (definition 2), polystyrene.
Aspergillum, capped
Foto-Fill Parker’s original name for its Aero-metric filling system. See also Aero-metric.
fountain pen A pen with a nib and an ink reservoir, arranged so that the reservoir supplies ink to the nib as needed. The release of ink in most fountain pens (e.g., the Parker Vacumatic shown below, upper) is controlled by capillary action and a metered inflow of air so that flow is continuous like that of a fountain. ¶ Some pens (e.g., the Austrian-made “VICTORIA” Self-Filling Fountain Pen shown below, lower, 1910s-1920s) require the user to turn the filling knob periodically to eject ink from the reservoir onto the nib. See also capillary action, dip pen, stylographic pen.
Fountain pen
Fountain pen
FPOTW Collectors’ nickname for FOUNTAIN PENS OF THE WORLD, by Andreas Lambrou. FPOTW is the one indispensable reference book for every fountain pen collector; the wealth of information it contains is staggering, and the huge variety of pens illustrated is unlikely ever to be equaled or surpassed.
Fraktur A subclass of Blackletter scripts used most commonly for the German language prior to the middle of the 20th century. (The Nazi regime abolished Fraktur typefaces in 1941, declaring that they were “Jewish letters.”) Shown below is a style called Karolinus Fraktur. See also Bâtarde, Blackletter, calligraphy, chancery, Quadrata.
Blackletter exemplar
Frankenpen Colloquial term for a pen that has been assembled from parts of several pens, not all of which are appropriate; e.g., an Esterbrook J with a Sheaffer cap. See also cannibalization, marriage.
Franklin  1  (Franklin Fountain Pen Company) A pen manufacturing company located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; founded in the late 19th century by Franklin S. Cooley and John E. Goodrich as the Franklin Manufacturing Company. In 1894, Cooley and Goodrich dissolved their partnership and reformed the company as a corporation with themselves as the principal officers. Initially producing eyedropper fillers that were marketed heavily to educators, Franklin had by 1900 migrated to syringe (Post) fillers like the one shown below (upper two images) and, later, in the celluloid era, lever fillers. Franklin’s syringe filler design was quite sophisticated; it allowed the user to tighten the piston gasket without disassembling the pen, to compensate for wear. The company appears to have lasted until 1936.  2  (Franklin Pen Company) A steel pen manufacturing company located in New York City; founded in 1854 by James M. Kealy through the purchase of the assets of the failed Newark Pen Company. It is not clear when the company ceased operation; the latest reference I have found for it is dated March 1904, at which time the company was still owned by Kealy.  3  A third-tier brand produced during the 1920s by the Morrison Fountain Pen Company. Except for its imprints, one Franklin model was identical to the Morrison overlay shown below (third image). See also Morrison, post (definition 1), syringe.
Fountain pen
Fountain pen
Fountain pen
Frazer & Geyer See Waterman, A. A.
Fred Force (colloquially, Fred) The Targa 1090 by Sheaffer. Designed in collaboration with famed Paris jewelry store Fred Joaillier as part of the Force 10 collection, the Fred Force was produced 1992–1996 and featured a palladium plated body with a nautical rope design. The Fred Force (shown below) is today relatively uncommon and is one of the more sought-after Targa variants. See also Targa.
Fountain pen
frosted Term describing a matte finish that has something of the appearance of frost on a polished metal surface; most commonly associated with the finish used by Parker on most of its stainless steel (Lustraloy) “51” and 61 caps. Shown below is a Navy Gray “51” with a frosted cap that has been cleaned to show the finish to best advantage. The polished cap band gives an idea of what this cap would look like were it entirely polished. See also Lustraloy.
Fountain pen
FRV See Pen-Co.
fude (pronounced fuu-deh, where uu sounds as in boot and eh sounds as in pet)  1  A Japanese word meaning “brush,” applied particularly to a writing brush. Japanese fountain pens that use a brush rather than a nib are offered primarily for calligraphers and artists and are often called fude pens in English.  2  A Japanese calligraphy nib style in which approximately " (3.2 mm) at the tip is bent upward at an angle of approximately 45°, creating a large flat undersurface for producing broad brushlike strokes. There is also a han fude style, which is similar to the fude except that instead of a flat undersurface, the han fude has a slightly curved undersurface that allows more variation in stroke width.
fungicide (also biocide) A chemical agent that destroys fungi, used in inks to prevent the growth of mold. Many fungicides are also toxic to other forms of life, and for this reason modern inks contain agents that are often less effective than those used in inks made before about 1990. See also formaldehyde, ink, phenol.
furniture (also hardware, trim) The exterior metal parts of a pen, including the lever, cap band, tassie(s), clip, etc.

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