A pen (Latin penna, feather) is a device with a nib of some sort, used to apply ink to a surface, usually paper, for writing or drawing. There are several different types, including ballpoint, rollerball, fountain and felt tip pens. But, these are not the only types of pen still in existance. Historically, reed pens, quill pens, and dip pens were used. Modern-day pens come in various shapes and forms. The most common colors for ink are black, blue and red.
Ancient Indians were the first to use the pen. According to ancient text the earliest of pens made in India used bird feathers, bamboo sticks etc. The old literature of Puranas, Ramayana and Mahabharta used this kind of pen roughly 500 BC. Ancient Egyptians had developed writing on papyrus scrolls when scribes used thin reed brushes or reed pens from the Juncus Maritimus or sea rush. In his book A History of Writing, Steven Roger Fischer suggests that on the basis of finds at Saqqara, the reed pen might well have been used for writing on parchment as long ago as the First Dynasty or about 3000 BC. Reed pens continued to be used until the Middle Ages although they were slowly replaced by quills from about the 7th century. The reed pen, generally made from bamboo, is still used in some parts of Pakistan by young students and is used to write on small boards made of timber.
The Quill pen was used in Qumran, Judea to write some of the Dead Sea Scrolls, which date back to around 100 BC. The scrolls were written in Hebrew dialects with bird feathers or quills. After the fall of the Roman Empire, Europeans had difficulty in obtaining reeds and began to use quills. There is a specific reference to quills in the writings of St. Isidore of Seville in the 7th century. Quill pens were still widely used in the 18th century, and were used to write and sign the Constitution of the United States in 1787.
The earliest historical record of a pen employing a reservoir dates back to the 10th century. In 953, Ma'ād al-Mu'izz, the Fatimid Caliph of Egypt, demanded a pen which would not stain his hands or clothes, and was provided with a pen which held ink in a reservoir and delivered it to the nib. This pen may have been a fountain pen, but its mechanism remains unknown, and only one record mentioning it has been found. A later reservoir pen was developed in 1636. In his Deliciae Physico-Mathematicae (1636), German inventor Daniel Schwenter described a pen made from two quills. One quill served as a reservoir for ink inside the other quill. The ink was sealed inside the quill with cork. Ink was squeezed through a small hole to the writing point. In 1809, Bartholomew Folsch received a patent in England for a pen with an ink reservoir.