Pen

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A pen (Latin pinna, feather) is a long, short, rounded device used to apply ink to a surface for the purpose of writing or drawing, usually on paper. There are several different types, including ballpoint, rollerball, fountain, and felt-tip. Historically, reed pens, quill pens, and dip pens were used. Modern-day pens come in a variety of colors, shapes and assortments. The most common contain black or blue ink.

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Modern pens

The main modern types of pens can be categorized by the kind of writing tip or point:

  • A ballpoint pen dispenses viscous oil-based ink by rolling a small hard sphere, usually 0.7–1.2 mm and made of brass, steel or tungsten carbide.[1] The ink dries almost immediately on contact with paper. This type of pen is generally inexpensive and reliable. It has replaced the fountain pen as the most popular tool for everyday writing.
  • A crowquill pen is a favorite instrument of artists, such as David Stone Martin and Jay Lynch, because its flexible metal point can create a variety of delicate lines, textures and tones with slight pressures while drawing.
  • A fountain pen uses water-based liquid ink delivered through a nib. The ink flows from a reservoir through a "feed" to the nib, then through the nib, due to capillary action and gravity. The nib has no moving parts and delivers ink through a thin slit to the writing surface. A fountain pen reservoir can be refillable or disposable, this disposable type being an ink cartridge. A pen with a refillable reservoir may have a mechanism, such as a piston, to draw ink from a bottle through the nib, or it may require refilling with an eyedropper. Refillable reservoirs, also known as cartridge converters, are available for some pens designed to use disposable cartridges.
  • A marker, or felt-tip pen, has a porous tip of fibrous material. The smallest, finest-tipped markers are used for writing on paper. Medium-tip markers are often used by children for coloring. Larger markers are used for writing on other surfaces such as corrugated boxes, whiteboards and for chalkboards, often called "liquid chalk" or "chalkboard markers." Markers with wide tips and bright but transparent ink, called highlighters, are used to mark existing text. Markers designed for children or for temporary writing (as with a whiteboard or overhead projector) typically use non-permanent inks. Large markers used to label shipping cases or other packages are usually permanent markers.
  • A rollerball pen dispenses a water-based liquid or gel ink through a ball tip similar to that of a ballpoint pen. The less-viscous ink is more easily absorbed by paper than oil-based ink, and the pen moves more easily across a writing surface. The rollerball pen was initially designed to combine the convenience of a ballpoint pen with the smooth "wet ink" effect of a fountain pen. Gel inks are available in a range of colors, including metallic paint colors and glitter effects.

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