First fibre-tip pen, 1962.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
The fibre-tip pen was invented in Japan in 1962 by Masao Miura and Yukio Horie, who ran a busines making art materials. The pens appeared in Britain in 1967. The radically new writing device, equally suited to writing or drawing, was perhaps inspired by the writing brushes used in the East for centuries. Water-based ink absorbed in a fibrous cartridge feeds through the tip, of harder fibre, by capillary action. The first tips were made of bamboo, but synthetic fibre soon replaced this. These pens are especially popular with children.