What Are the Parts of an Ink Pen?


Several parts make up an ink pen, and they vary depending on the pen. The most popular ink pen is the ballpoint pen but other types are also widely used. The mechanics behind any ink pen is basically the same: draw ink down and transfer it to whatever material is to be written on.


  • The most common types are the ballpoint pen, the rollerball pen, the fountain pen and the felt-tip pen. Each of these ink pens are constructed differently from each other and utilize different parts and materials to function.

The Facts

  • The tips of most ballpoint pens and their springs are usually made out of brass because of its resistance to corrosion. The roller-balls used to be made out of steel but are nowadays made out of tungsten carbide because of its strength and resistance to deforming. Ink tubes and cases can be made out of any number of materials, including plastic, aluminum and steel. Inks are usually specially made by the manufacturer, and any number of materials can make ink for pens. Rollerball pens are the same as ballpoint pens except they use different, more easily-absorbed inks.
    Fountain pens contain a case, cap, point, feed, section and sac. Gold alloys used to be used as tips for fountain pens because of its resistance to corrosion. The feed is used to control ink movement, and is usually made out of a type of rubber. The section joins parts of the pen and holds all the parts together.


  • All types of pens serve the same function. They are used to make markings on paper and other materials. Ink is drawn down to the ball and point in ballpoint and rollerball pens. The ball grips ink, and as it rolls, transfers ink onto paper. Felt-tip pens use capillary action to draw ink down to the point. Fountain pens are a little trickier, as ink is drawn down to the point or nib, which is slit in two. As pressure is applied, the nib separates slightly and ink draws down to whatever material is being written on.


  • Ballpoint pens have been around for more than a hundred years but they did not receive significant use until the 1950s. The first patent on the idea of the ballpoint pen was issued in 1888 on Oct. 30th. These pens leaked however until the idea was perfected in 1945 by Baron Marcel Bich, the founder of Bic pens.


  • Ballpoint pens are the most popular type of ink pen, as nearly 100 million ballpoint pens are sold around the world each year.


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