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How to Fill a Converter Style Fountain Pen

Written Instructions

Most fountain pens that use ink cartridges can also use an ink converter. An ink converter allows the fountain pen to use bottled ink, rather than ink cartridges. Some cartridge style fountain pens are proprietary and only allow for their brand of ink cartridge to be used. Bottled inks come in a wider range of available inks and color selection than the cartridge inks. Due to converters being larger than ink cartridges, not all cartridge style fountain pens are able to use converters. Some pens do not have the room within the barrel, such as the Stipula Passaporto. The Monteverde tool pen, for instance, can only use the Monteverde mini ink converter with the plunger partially extended.

There are multiple styles of ink converters and filling them will vary slightly. Popular ink converter styles include:
  • Piston type converter This converter style uses a piston inside the converter to draw the ink in. There are multiple styles of piston converters. Some operate by simply pressing, or pulling the piston in and out of the converter. Others operate with a screw which, as you turn, moves the piston in, or out of the converter.
  • Squeeze type converter This converter style comes with a bladder which is squeezed. When released the vacuum pulls the ink inside.

How to fill a converter fountain pen supplies

So how do I fill a converter style fountain pen with ink?

How to fill a converter fountain pen - disassemble pen
First, you must take the pen apart by unscrewing the grip section of the pen from the barrel.

The next step, is to attach the ink converter to the pen. Most cartridge/converter style pens will come with a converter included, and most are attached to the pen. If the converter is not attached, you will need to attach it.. Ink converters match the style of the cartridge the pen uses. Most pens will use a standard international ink cartridge, but some brands have proprietary ink cartridges. Make sure you get the correct converter for your pen. Insert the ink converter onto the back side of the grip section. The ink converter will either press onto the pen using a compression fit, or some ink converters are threaded and must screw into the pen.

Flush the air from the converter. This method will vary with the type of converter.

For a piston style converter, move the piston to the front towards the nib. Depending on the style, you will either twist it counterclockwise, or push the piston in.

On a squeeze converter, simply compress the bladder and hold.

How to fill a converter fountain pen - ink bottle
Next open your bottle of fountain pen ink, if you haven't already. Dip the nib into the ink bottle until the breather hole is completely immersed in the ink.

Once the nib is submerged in the ink, it is time to fill the converter. This process will vary based on the type of converter. Remember to keep your nib submersed during this entire process.

With a piston style, draw the piston away from the nib by pulling it out, or by screwing it clockwise. This will depend on the type of converter you have.

To draw the ink into a squeeze converter, simply release the bladder. The vacuum effect will draw the ink inside.

Remove the pen from the nib and point the nib upwards. With a piston style converter, you can twist the piston counterclockwise slowly to force the bubbles out of the converter. Be careful to go slowly so you do not force the ink out as well.

You may repeat the filling process if you would like to completely fill the converter, but it is not necessary. If you do not use your pen much, you may want to only partially fill the converter with ink, so that it does not dry out before you next use it. Remember, ink is water base and will evaporate when left in a pen for an extended period of time. We suggest you clean and flush your pen when not using them.

Reassemble your fountain pen and you’re done. That's all there is to it.

Converter style fountain pens can also use ink cartridges. Read our detailed instructions on how to fill a cartridge style fountain pen to learn more.
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