The fountain pen is a classic writing instrument and they are becoming more and more popular. If you ask any fountain pen enthusiast, they’ll tell you there’s nothing quite like the feel of writing with a quality fountain pen.
Although cartridge fountain pens are easier to use and require less maintenance, many people still prefer to use a fountain pen without a cartridge.
Cartridges can only hold one color of ink at a time. Conversely, an ink converter fountain pen allows you to refill the ink yourself, allowing you to experiment with using different colored inks. Since bottled ink usually has a wider variety of colors, you can customize your pen according to your style!
This article will discuss the pros and cons of using fountain pens without an ink cartridge, plus how to refill them when the time comes.
Fountain Pen Ink Cartridges vs. Converters
If you’re new to fountain pens, you might wonder about the difference between an ink converter fountain pen and a cartridge fountain pen.
The answer is pretty simple. An ink converter lets you use bottled ink in your fountain pen, while cartridges are pre-filled with ink. Ink cartridges are usually made of plastic and contain a small amount of ink inside that is meant to be slowly released into the nib as you write.
On the other hand, an ink converter is a little reservoir that stores the ink and screws onto the bottom of your fountain pen. This setup gives you more control over the color of the ink and the feel of your writing. It also means you’ll need to refill the converter every time it runs out of ink.
Cartridges are sealed inside plastic enclosures that are easy to install in your fountain pen. The downside is that they’re more expensive than bottled ink, especially if you use them for everyday writing. Moreover, they have limited color options when compared with bottled ink.
Ink cartridges are not universally compatible as there is no “one-size-fits-all” option. The ink that comes in a cartridge is made to work with a specific brand and model of pen, so if you try to use another brand’s cartridge in your pen, it might not fit.
Before you buy an ink cartridge for your pen, check the manufacturer’s website or look at their packaging to see what kinds of cartridges will fit your pen. If you can’t find any information about your pen online, contact the manufacturer directly for details.
Alternatively, the ink refilling process is simple: all you do is unscrew your pen’s section (top), fill it with ink from a bottle, and then screw it back on.
How Does a Fountain Pen Without a Cartridge Work?
Fountain pens have three main parts: the nib, the feeder, and the barrel. The nib is what touches the paper (and releases ink) when you write with your pen. The feeder pulls ink from the ink reservoir and feeds it to the nib as you write. Lastly, the barrel is the main body of a fountain pen and keeps the other parts intact. It’s what you grip when you write with your pen.
The ink converter fountain pen uses an internal reservoir to hold the ink and then transfers the ink to the nib as you write. When you press down on your fountain pen’s nib and drag it across the paper, this action draws ink from the reservoir to the nib, and onto the paper.
Ink converter fountain pens are a classic way to write and they’re making a serious comeback. They’re basically like those old-fashioned dip pens you used in grade school, but with a cool twist: instead of dipping your pen into an inkwell, you fill your fountain pen with ink from a bottle and then write away!
Different Types of Ink Converters
Writing with a fountain pen is considered by some, a small act of rebellion against the digital world. But these pens can be a little tricky to use. One of the biggest barriers to getting started is finding a suitable fountain pen ink converter. So today, we will walk you through the different ink converters.
Here’s a quick breakdown:
Piston Style Fountain Pen
The piston converter is the most common ink converter and comes with a knob on the converter’s bottom.
You can activate the filling mechanism by twisting the knob at the back of the barrel. This step causes a plunger to push air into the barrel and draw ink from the bottle, which then flows into the feeder system inside the pen.
Once this process is complete, you turn the knob back.
Squeeze Converter Fountain Pen
Squeeze converters are an old-school, fountain pen technology simpler than piston converters. They use a plastic sac reservoir to store ink.
To fill, simply squeeze the sac to expel air and create a vacuum. This way, the ink gets sucked up into the reservoir. The squeezy part of the pen is typically found on the barrel.
Push-Button Converter Fountain Pen
Push-button converter fountain pens use a simple push-pull action to create a vacuum and fill their reservoirs with ink through a small opening.
Although the push-button converter is the least common, it has some advantages over other types. For instance, these converters have more capacity, so you can fill them with more ink before they need to be refilled.
They are also great for people who want some extra precision when writing. However, since the reservoir is larger, ink residue has more room to build up and stick around. So be sure not to overfill the reservoir or you’ll be in for some heavy cleaning!
How Do You Use a Fountain Pen Ink Converter?
If you’re new to fountain pens, you might not know how to use an ink converter, and that’s okay! Fountain pen ink converters are super simple to use if you follow the right steps.
First, you need to unscrew the grip section of your fountain pen. This will reveal an opening where you can insert the converter.
Then, place your chosen ink converter and screw it back onto your fountain pen.
Now submerge the nib of your pen into the ink bottle. The next step will vary for each ink converter. Let’s have a look below.
Piston Converter Pen
Twist the piston knob until it reaches its lowest point and expels air from the ink chamber. You may notice some air bubbles! Now fill your pen with ink by turning the knob in the other direction until it stops at the maximum position.
Squeeze Converter Pen
Gently squeeze the sac to flush out air and wait until all air bubbles vanish. Then, slowly release pressure on the sac to draw ink. Repeat this step a few times.
Push-Button Converter Pen
Hold the button on top of the converter to push air and release it to suck up ink from the bottle. Repeat this step a few times.
Once you’re done, wipe off any excess ink with a tissue or paper towel and reassemble your pen to start writing.
When Should You Avoid Ink Converter Pens?
While ink converter fountain pens are eco-friendly and cost-effective, they aren’t perfect for every situation.
Here are some instances where you might want to consider using an ink cartridge fountain pen:
When You’re Traveling
Ink cartridges are easier to pack than bottles of ink.
If you want to ensure your writing is still a priority while on the road, an ink cartridge fountain pen might be the best option.
Traveling with an ink bottle is risky because it can leak and damage your belongings.
When You Need to be Quick
If you’re in a hurry, you might want to avoid using a fountain pen with an ink converter. You may find replacing the cartridge easier and faster than refilling it.
If You’re Lazy or Clumsy
If you don’t keep the ink converter clean and free from debris, it can start to clog up and make it difficult for your pen to function properly.
Fountain pen ink converters can be messy and difficult to clean up because you have to occasionally remove the entire converter from the pen and then clean it thoroughly.
You must also be careful not to spill ink on your hands or clothes when refilling these converters. So if you’re clumsy in general (no offense), ink converter pens may not be the best choice.
Ink Converter Fountain Pen Tips
You can have a smooth writing experience with the right knowledge about fountain pen maintenance. Here are some tips on how to properly maintain your pen.
First, check the converter is securely screwed into the pen’s section (the part where the nib attaches). If it isn’t screwed tightly, your pen may not write. Additionally, a loose converter can cause leaks and make it harder to get a good flow of ink, so it’s important to double-check that you’re getting a good seal.
Remove and reinstall the converter several times to fix this problem until it feels tight.
Some pens can only use certain types of ink converters. If you’re unsure which type of converter is right for your fountain pen, ask an expert at the store or check online to see what other people have used successfully with their pens.
Ink converters are sold separately from fountain pens and come in many different shapes and sizes. If you don’t check the compatibility, you could end up with a leaky pen or one that doesn’t write well.
When a fountain pen becomes over-saturated with ink, it can write unevenly. In addition, over-saturation can cause problems with the ink flow, which is why we recommend cleaning your fountain pen nib after every use.
If you’re having trouble getting your ink converter fountain pen to write, it could be because there’s dried ink in the nib. In this case, you should clean the nib after refilling the ink using a paper towel or cotton swab. Don’t use anything abrasive as this can damage the nib.
Fountain pens have a timeless quality that other writing tools can’t match – they’re elegant, unique, and can make you feel like a true wordsmith.
As long as you’re willing to work with a little mess and properly maintain your pen, you can use a fountain pen without a cartridge with no issue. Using an ink converter fountain pen without a cartridge doesn’t require special knowledge or effort.
Just fill the barrel with ink and start writing. If you want a different color of ink, refill the reservoir when the ink runs out. It’s that simple!
Cartridge fountain pens are a good alternative if you don’t want to deal with refilling your ink and cleaning out your pen occasionally. Cartridge fountain pens use pre-filled cartridges that slide into the pen and are easily replaced when they run dry.