Thursday, July 7th, 2011

Fountain Pen Users: Piston, Converter, Cartridge or Other?

Stephanie

I have been a fountain pen user for several years and own a few different kinds. In a pen like my Sailor 1911 shown above, you can either use a *disposible ink cartridge or an ink converter which will allow you to use a bottled ink of your choice. (Such as J. Herbin inks.) Some pens like my Pelikan M200 use a piston to draw ink into the pen.

If you use a fountain pen, which of these filling mechanisms do you prefer? Lately I’ve been drawn to the pistons because they hold a ton of ink. I also like my vintage Parker Vacumatic which utilizes a diaphragm and a plunger to create a vacuum to draw ink into the pen. These also hold a good amount of ink before needing a refill.

Learn more abut fountain pens on Wikipedia, and be sure to check out the forums on The Fountain Pen Network.

*Disposable ink cartridges can be refilled by using a syringe type tool.

Image above All Rights Reserved © Stephanie Smith

47 thoughts on “Fountain Pen Users: Piston, Converter, Cartridge or Other?

  1. I used to be suggested this web site via my cousin.
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  2. Piston or converter. Unfortunately the Marc Newson only comes with cartridges. Lovely pen but I don’t use it a lot for that reason.

  3. The best way to use a fountain pen is not written anywhere. Do not use anything. Just dip slighty the tip of the pen into the ink bottle and write.

  4. I like piston fillers because they hold more ink. That was when I used to use just two fountain pens (both Pelikans) everyday. But now that my everyday fountain pens are so many that they fill an entire large tumbler, and I have amassed a rather large box of inks, I find that I prefer converters now, because they carry less ink, and I can get to use my different inks every week or so, and because I have so many everyday pens in my bag, there’s no danger of running out of ink!

  5. I like piston fillers because they hold more ink. That was when I used to use just two fountain pens (both Pelikans) everyday. But now that my everyday fountain pens are so many that they fill an entire large tumbler, and I have amassed a rather large box of inks, I find that I prefer converters now, because they carry less ink, and I can get to use my different inks every week or so, and because I have so many everyday pens in my bag, there’s no danger of running out of ink!

  6. Hello Miss, I also have a Sailor 1911 and a mid ’40s Parker Vacumatic. Great pens both, especially the Vacumatic. Writes like a dream. While I don’t mind cartidges, I’m more partial to piston fillers like my Pelikans, but I have to say the ease of use of the Vacumatic is sensational. I have a mid ’50s Mentmore with a lever fill, but it doesn’t seem to hold muck ink. Although, it has a re-ground medium nib which throws down a lot of ink, so maybe it runs dry sooner because of that. Nicee blog you have, too. Rhodia notepads are a favourite to use with fountain pens. Great paper, no feathering, no bleed-through. But you probably know this already.

  7. Hello Miss, I also have a Sailor 1911 and a mid ’40s Parker Vacumatic. Great pens both, especially the Vacumatic. Writes like a dream. While I don’t mind cartidges, I’m more partial to piston fillers like my Pelikans, but I have to say the ease of use of the Vacumatic is sensational. I have a mid ’50s Mentmore with a lever fill, but it doesn’t seem to hold muck ink. Although, it has a re-ground medium nib which throws down a lot of ink, so maybe it runs dry sooner because of that. Nicee blog you have, too. Rhodia notepads are a favourite to use with fountain pens. Great paper, no feathering, no bleed-through. But you probably know this already.

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