"What is a pump inkwell ?
When the peculiar shape of a pump inkwell is spotted on the table of an antique dealer, the potential customer invariably asks, “What is it ?”. In fact, these inkwells are quite unusual and few writing implement collectors know anything about them.
The reason they are difficult to recognize is that they are mechanical machines and not simply dipping reservoirs. The accommodation of the mechanism and outlets dramatically influences the overall design.
A formal definition can help to appreciate the technical elements and how the inkwell works:
“ a pump inkwell is an hydraulic pump that displaces ink from the main reservoir to a lateral font, into which a pen can be dipped”.
Consequently the design must include the reservoir, the font or spout and a means of operating the pump. The maker must incorporate such necessities but true craftsmen, even if dominated by functional requirements, will always strive to create interesting and attracting visual impact."