In 953, Ma'ād al-Mu'izz, the caliph of Egypt, commissioned the construction of the pen instructing: 'We wish to construct a pen which can be used for writing without having recourse to an ink-holder and whose ink will be contained inside it. . .’ It would take 900 years for his wish to come true when the first practical fountain pens emerged in the 1850's. The key is a combination of gravity and the magic of capillary action. Once the ink starts to flow through the nib, capillary action keeps the flow going by drawing in more ink from the reservoir. This is a closeup photo of an 18k gold nib on an Omas 360 fountain pen. Canon Rebel XTi, 8/10 sec @ f/16.0, ISO 400, 65mm macro lens.