I See Right Through You: Demonstrator Pens

TWSBI demonstrator fountain pen

Fountain pen fans may have heard of so-called demonstrator pens, pens with transparent bodies that allow you to see inside. Demonstrator pens have a modern aesthetic that showcases the mechanisms inside, emphasizing their function as much as their form. 

Surprisingly, though, today’s clear pens with their modern appearance have their roots in a tool made in the first half of the 20th century. The original demonstrator pens weren’t designed for writing, but instead were used as teaching tools by pen manufacturers, to instruct pen sellers on the way different models functioned for sales and repair purposes. These demonstrator models had cutaway windows or transparent bodies to show the parts inside, and were sometimes missing nibs or other functional pieces. 

Today’s demonstrator pens, though, have turned these purely illustrative roots into design inspiration for a popular new kind of pen. Not only do modern see-through pens serve the practical purpose of letting you monitor your ink level, they also show off the pen’s inner workings, so any fountain pen user can learn how their pen functions. Demonstrator pens strip away the mystery of the pen’s interior, highlighting the beauty of great design and making you feel like an engineer. TWSBI, a brand which is particularly well-known for its demonstrator pens, takes this idea to the next level, including tools for disassembly and maintenance with each pen they sell so you can get hands-on with your pen. 

But demonstrator pens don’t just appeal to mechanics enthusiasts and DIYers. The gemlike appearance of a translucent pen filled with colorful ink is a treat for anyone. Perhaps the biggest draw of demonstrator pens is the way they show off the ink inside, particularly with so many beautiful ink colors available these days. Some demonstrator pens use cartridges or converters, but many models have built-in filling mechanisms so that the whole body of the pen is filled with ink. The latter type, which takes only bottled ink, tends to have a large ink capacity and really highlights the color inside.

Ready to try out one of these transparent pens? Check out our Demonstrator Pens collection!

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