When the first generation of official court reporters when to work in America, they were armed with pens or medium hard pencils. For courtroom work, most reporters preferred to take shorthand notes with a dip pen. Until 1884, fountain pens were considered “worthless” because their ink flow was unpredictable. Sometimes it would stop completely, and sometimes it would flood ink all over the paper.
Additional information about the origins of official court reporting in the U.S. can be found in Guardians of the Record, which can be purchased by clicking on its cover in the right hand column.