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A quill pen in an ink pot.

A pen (from Latin penna, feather) is a writing instrument that applies ink to a surface, usually paper. Pens can be used with inks of many colors but commonly make use of inks in shades varying between black, blue, red, and sometimes green.

Types of pen:

Quill pen

A quill pen is a writing implement made from a flight feather (preferably a primary wing-feather) of a large bird. Quills were used for writing with ink before the invention of the dip pen, metal-nibbed pens, the fountain pen, and, eventually, the ballpoint pen. The hand-cut goose quill is rarely still used as a calligraphy tool, mainly because many papers are derived from wood pulp and wear down the quill very quickly, but it is still the tool of choice for a few select professionals and does provide a sharp stroke, and more flexibility than a steel pen. The hollow shaft of the feather (calamus) acts as an ink reservoir and ink flows to the tip by capillary action

Dip pen

A dip pen or nib pen usually consists of a metal nib with capillary channels like those of fountain pen nibs, mounted on a handle or holder, often made of wood. Other materials can be used for the holder, including bone, metal and plastic, while some pens are made entirely of glass. Generally speaking, dip pens have no ink reservoir; therefore the user has to recharge the ink from an ink bowl or bottle in order to continue drawing or writing. (However, there are simple, tiny tubular reservoirs that illustrators sometimes clip onto dip pens; these allow drawing for several minutes without recharging the nib.) Recharging can be done by dipping into an inkwell; however, some illustrators and cartoonists (who are the main current users of such pens) are more likely to charge the pen with an eyedropper or a syringe, which gives them more control over the amount of ink applied. Thus, "dip pens" are not necessarily dipped. Many illustrators call them "nib pens

Fountain pen

A fountain pen is a nib pen that, unlike its predecessor the dip pen, contains an internal reservoir of water-based liquid ink. From the reservoir, the ink is drawn through a feed to the nib and then to the paper via a combination of gravity and capillary action. As a result, the typical fountain pen requires little or no pressure to write.

Filling the reservoir with ink may be done manually (via the use of an eyedropper or syringe), or via an internal "filler" mechanism which creates suction to transfer ink directly through the nib into the reservoir. Some pens employ removable reservoirs, in the form of pre-filled ink cartridges.

Felt-tip pen (marker)

A marker pen, marking pen, felt-tip pen, or marker, is a pen which has its own ink-source, and usually a tip made of a porous, pressed fibres; such as felt or nylon.

Permanent markers are porous pens that can write on surfaces such as plastic, wood, metal, and stone. The ink is generally resistant to rubbing and water, and can last for many years. Depending on the surface and the marker used, however, the marks can often be removed with either vigorous scrubbing or chemicals such as acetone.
Highlighters are permanent markers used to highlight and cover over existing writing while still leaving the writing readable.
A non-permanent marker (also called a whiteboard marker or dry erasable marker), uses an erasable ink—an ink that adheres to the writing surface without binding or being absorbed by it—for temporary writing with overhead projectors, whiteboards, and the like. They may also be used by children when adults want to be able to clean up after them. The erasable ink does not contain the toxic chemical compounds xylene and/or toluene, unlike permanent markers.
Wet erase markers are another version that are used on overhead projectors, signboards, whiteboards, and other non-porous surfaces.
Special "security" markers, with fluorescent but otherwise invisible inks, are used for marking valuables in case of burglary. The owner of a stolen, but recovered item can be determined by using ultraviolet light to make the writing visible.
Marker pens with election ink (an indelible dye and often a photosensitive agent such as silver nitrate) used to mark the finger, and especially the cuticle, of voters in elections in order to prevent electoral fraud such as double voting. The stain stays visible for a week or two and may also be used to assist in vaccinations in developing world communities and refugee camps.
Ballpoint pen

A ballpoint pen (also pen) is a writing instrument with an internal ink reservoir and a sphere for a point. The internal chamber is filled with a viscous ink that is dispensed at its tip during use by the rolling action of a small sphere. The sphere, usually from 0.5mm to 1.2 mm in diameter, may be made of brass, steel, tungsten carbide,[1] or any durable, hard (nondeformable) material.

Rollerball pen

Rollerball pens are writing instruments which use ball point writing mechanisms with water-based liquid or gelled ink, as opposed to the oil-based viscous inks found in ballpoint pens. The characteristics of these less viscous inks, which tend to saturate more deeply and more widely into paper than other types of ink, give rollerball pens their distinctive writing qualities. Some people refer to them as "inky" pens.

Close up of an extra fine rollerball pen next to something written with it.The rollerball pen was initially designed to combine the convenience of a ballpoint pen with the smooth "wet ink" effect of a fountain pen. Gels usually contain pigments, while liquid inks are limited to dyestuffs, as pigments will sink down in liquid ink (sedimentation). It is the thickness and suspending power of gels that allows the use of pigments in gelled ink. Using pigments (the same pigments that are used in paint) yields a greater variety of brighter colors than is possible in liquid ink. Gels also allow for the use of heavier pigments with metallic or glitter effects, or opaque pastel pigments that can be seen on dark surfaces.

Gel pen

A gel pen uses ink in which pigment is suspended in a water-based gel.[1] Because the ink is thick and opaque, it shows up more clearly on dark or slick surfaces than the typical inks used in ballpoint or felt tip pens. They can be used for many types of writing and illustration.

The general design of a gel pen is similar to that of a regular rollerball pen, with a barrel containing the writing mechanism and a cap, and a reservoir filled with ink. The barrels can be created in many different sizes and designs; some have finger grips of rubber or plastic

Parts of a pen


The front (bottom) part of a quill, dip pen or fountain pen which comes into contact with the writing surface is called the nib.

Pens, especially dip pens and markers, are also popular as drawing instruments, particularly in cartoons, comics and manga. Artists who specialize in drawing clean lineart with a pen are called inkers.

See also

More information on this topic is available at [ Wikipedia:Pen ]


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