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How to Fill a Cartridge Fountain Pen

Supplies for refilling a cartridge style fountain penFilling a fountain pen using an ink cartridge is probably the easiest way to fill a fountain pen. Ink cartridges where invented in 1927 for convenience making filling a fountain pen quick and painless. The ink cartridges contain the same ink as bottled in but in a ready to use cartridge.

Insert Cartridge onto the nib section
1
First, check that the ink cartridge fits your pen. Not all cartridges are the same. You will need to match the type of cartridge with the fountain pen you have. The most common ink cartridge is the standard international ink cartridge but some brands have proprietary ink cartridges and are designed to only accept their brand of ink cartridge. Your pen should have initially come with at least one ink cartridge included.

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Next, unscrew the grip section from the barrel of the fountain pen. Once you have the pen apart you may need to remove the converter if it is attached to the pen. Some converters are threaded and must be unscrewed, others are simply a compression fit that can be pulled out of the pen. On some pens such as the Lamy Safari fountain pen you will need to remove the small cardboard ring that keeps the cartridge from being inserted during shipping.

Cartridge attached to fountain pen
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Now that the grip section is ready simply insert the ink cartridge onto the backside of the nib section. There is a small point inside the pen that will accept the ink cartridge. Take the small end of the cartridge and simply press it onto this point. This punctures the ink cartridge and allows ink to flow. Usually you will hear a click as the pen punctures the seal on the ink cartridge.

Cartridge fountain pen assembled
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Once the ink cartridge is attached the ink will work its way with capillary action through the feed and down to the nib. To speed up this process you can "prime" the nib by compressing or squeezing the cartridge, forcing ink through the feed. You can then write with the pen. It may take some writing to get the ink flowing through the initially dry nib and feed.

If you are replacing one ink cartridge with another if they are the same color and brand ink you can simply pull the old cartridge off the pen and replace it with a new pen. If you are changing ink to a different color or brand you will need to flush the pen feed and nib to clean out the excess ink. See our How to clean your fountain pen article for instructions on how to do this.
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