The History of the Fiber Tipped Pen

May 21

The versatile, colorful, and convenient marker pen is a staple in every artist’s toolkit. Perfect for adding the finishing touch to charcoal drawings, taking notes in class, even sketching or animating, fiber tipped pens are convenient and portable. We can thank a man named Lee Newman and his ingenuity for this modern convenience, and should thank our favorite felt tipped pen brands for keeping our world colorful and detailed.


Fiber Tipped Pen Fundamentals

The brilliant design and functionality of the fiber-tipped pen should not be overlooked. What for us is colorful convenience, has been created only through innovative design. Fiber tipped pens generally consist of a plastic or glass container that surrounds a core of an absorbent material, typically polyester, that holds the marker’s ink. The interior ink is typically comprised of a mixture of water or solvents, dye, additives such as nonylphenylpolyglycol ether, and preservatives.

The tip, or nib, that protrudes from the core is typically composed of highly compressed synthetic fibers or porous ceramics that pull ink from the absorbent core as the nib is pressed and pushed across the writing surface. A protective cap attaches to the plastic shaft to keep the interior ink, by way of the exposed nib, from drying out.

The History of the Fiber Tipped Pen

In 1910, a man named Lee Newman patented the world’s first felt-tipped pen. His design was simplistic: a cylinder filled with ink that led to a felt tip. Sixteen years later, a patent was established by Benjamin Paskach, which took Newman’s design a step further, offering the world a “fountain paintbrush.” Paskach’s invention earned its name thanks to its sponge-tipped handle, inside of which was housed a variety of paint colors.

While Newman and Paskach are credited for brining markers to the world, their products did not reach mass popularity. In 1944, Walter J. De Groft patented a “marking pen.” De Groft’s evolution held liquid ink inside a handle, and utilized a felt tip. It would later be known to the world as a “Sharpie” pen in 1964.

It was1953 when marker pen tools began to rise in popularity, thanks to Sidney Rosenthal’s Magic Marker, a product that earned its name based on its claim that it would write on any surface. This invention was comprised of a glass tube of ink with a felt wick. The Magic Marker grew in popularity throughout the 1950s as a tool for professionals and children looking to add color to creative works and various documents. Some of the most popular applications of the magic marker included labeling, poster design, and lettering.

In 1962, what is today considered the modern fiber-tipped pen, with its thin, precise nib, was created by Yukio Horie and the Tokyo Stationery Company—known today as Pentel.

Throughout the decades, the marker pen continued to evolve as more brands emerged that we remember from our childhoods. During the 1970’s, highlighters and fine-line markers entered the stationery scene, and in 1989, Binney & Smith, founders of Crayola, bought the name “Magic Marker” in order to sell their version of Sidney Rosenthal’s versatile pen.

A Modern Fiber-Tipped Pen for the Modern Artist

Thanks to the creative genius of the individuals and companies that evolved the convenient marker pen throughout history, we now benefit from the convenience of the modern fiber-tipped pen. For your next creative project, we recommend the Stabilo 68 20-color Parade Set.


The ingenious design of the Color Parade set case is available with Pen 68 fiber tip pens. The set includes 20 pens in vibrant colors that come in a convenient plastic case. The case folds out into a fun stand-up easel, making it easier to choose pens and keep them organized. With their sturdy bullet tips and brilliant, intense colors, Pen 68 fiber tip pens are perfect for layout, detail and sketching. The odorless water-based ink will not bleed. It also will not dissolve the toner or ink of permanent markers. These ideal pens can also be left without their cap for 24 hours without drying out—just in case.

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