How to fill fountain pens

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.

  • 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 fountain pens

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

How to fill fountain pens

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 fountain pens

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.

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.

How to fill fountain pens

Ready to learn how to fill a fountain pen with ink? Whether you are a recent convert to fountain pens or a fountain pen addict that is ready to try a different inking method, you’ll find this Pen Chalet How To video featuring a number of different methods right up your alley! Watch as frequent guest reviewer (aka @pen_gangsta ) walks you through different methods of filling your fountain pen with ink. Or if you prefer written instructions, find the common filling types listed below with step by step instructions on how to fill a fountain pen with ink depending on the filling system you’re using.

How to Fill a Pen Using an Ink Cartridge:

  1. Make sure you are using the right size ink cartridge. Many fountain pens take an international standard ink cartridge, but some (like the Kaweco in the example in the video above) require a specific brand/size of ink cartridge.
  2. Identify where the opening of the ink cartridge is/where the ink will flow out.
  3. Remove the cap, and unscrew the barrel of the fountain pen and set it aside.
  4. Insert ink cartridge (opening first) into the section of your pen.
  5. Before you insert the ink cartridge, you may be able to see a small protruding piece of the pen’s feed. When you insert the ink cartridge, you’ll need to apply a small amount of pressure because that small protruding piece of the pen’s feed punctures the “opening” of the ink cartridge to access the ink.
  6. Push the cartridge into the section firmly until you feel the pen puncture the cartridge. Sometimes you’ll have to push harder than you think.
  7. Once the cartridge is inserted, reattach the pen’s barrel.
  8. Then give your fountain pen a minute so the ink has time to work its way down through the feed to the nib. (It helps to point the nib down so gravity can assist the ink).

Note: Most fountain pens that take an ink cartridge are also compatible with an ink converter, and are usually referred to as cartridge converter fountain pens.

Choosing a fountain pen begins with choosing an appropriate ink-filling system. There are several ways to get ink into a fountain pen. In this post, we cover the most popular methods and weigh the advantages and disadvantages of each method.

In this JetPens Primer video, we give a general overview of the most common filling methods for fountain pens.

How to fill fountain pens

In the text below, we discuss each filling system in more extensive detail and list the different products that were used in the video.

A cartridge is a small reservoir of ink, usually coming in tube form. This system makes ink filling easy.

1. To install a cartridge, begin by inserting the cartridge’s stopper into the fountain pen’s grip section.

2. Press the cartridge down firmly into the fountain pen’s grip section until the cartridge stopper is punctured.

3. Leave the pen pointing downward to help the ink saturate into the nib. This step can take an hour or two.

  • Cartridges are the simplest way to fill fountain pens with ink. They come preloaded with ink, making it easy to pop in a new cartridge with ease.
  • Cartridges are lightweight, which makes them more convenient and portable than converters and built-in filling systems, where bottled ink is necessary.
  • Among the systems covered in this post, they tend to be the least expensive.
  • Many fountain pen brands use proprietary cartridges that are incompatible with pens from other brands, which limits color choice.
  • Cartridges don’t allow the use of the wide range of inks in bottled ink form. However, it’s possible to work around this drawback by using a blunt-tipped syringe to refill a spent cartridge with bottled ink.
  • Cartridges have less ink capacity than other filling systems since they are separate components from the barrel.

A converter uses mechanical force to create a low air pressure chamber into which ink is drawn. Begin installing a converter the same way that you would install an ink cartridge. Dip the pen into a bottle of fountain pen ink until the nib and part of the grip section is submerged in the ink.

There are two types of converters: piston converters, which use a twist mechanism to draw ink, and squeeze converters, which use a simple press mechanism to draw ink. Below, we explain how to install each type of converter.

1. Insert the converter into the pen and twist the end knob until the piston is fully extended.

2. Twist the piston in the other direction, retracting to draw ink. Repeat if the converter is not full.

3. Clean up by wiping off the nib with a paper towel and reassemble the fountain pen.

Make sure you have a cartridge that will work in your pen. You’re usually safe buying the cartridges made by the same company that made the pen, but many pens (generally European) use a standard design making these cartridges more or less interchangeable.

If you use cartridge pens, you should consider switching to a bottle fill converter; not only is this more economical (not to mention more environmentally sound), but you’re flushing out the feed every time you fill, so it will stay cleaner and will be less likely to clog).


The converter (or convertor) is a refillable cartridge with a small piston mechanism (see below). The converter can be removed and substituted by a disposable cartridge.

Fill a pen as follows: unscrew the gripping section from the pen and turn the piston of the converter counterclockwise (the piston goes down). Then, place the nib in the ink bottle (submerged) and turn the converter clockwise making the piston come up: you will see the reservoir filling with ink. This procedure may be repeated until the reservoir is full enough.

Some converters do not have a piston mechanism, but have a rubber sac with push mechanism. The principle is the same: when pushing on the designated space on the converter, whilst the nib is submerged in the ink bottle, and releasing the pressure the converter will be filled.

Below a movie of a Visconti Converter.


Most “better” convertible pens today, like Waterman and Montblanc, have piston-fill converters. The chief advantage of these is that they can be broken down and cleaned should they dry out; also, with the ink reservoir being totally transparent, you can see how much ink is left in the pen at any time.

To fill a piston filler, immerse the point completely in the ink bottle, then twist the knob (or push the slide on more recent Parker converters) until the piston is all the way down. Then, move the piston back up, drawing ink into the converter. Again, repeat this to completely fill the converter if it was pretty empty to start with.

Remember to “prime” the pen by releasing a few drops of ink after filling, then screw the piston back up to the top.

Below a movie of a Visconti Piston.

Tibaldi ”Perfected” Piston

The “perfected” piston filling mechanism, secured by exclusive Tibaldi patent, which may be compared to the winding mechanism of a high quality watch. Rotating the blind cap, when filling the pen, has the same sound and feel as manually winding a watch crown. What’s more, the mechanism applies a slight resistance to rotation, avoiding brusque movements at the bottom of the pen reducing the risk of accidental leakage.

Lever Filler

The great majority of older (pre-1960) pens you will see will be lever fillers, which have a small lever (usually nickel or gold plated metal) running lengthwise down the side of the barrel. Immerse the point completely in the ink bottle. Using a fingernail, flip the lever out to a 90 degrees angle (or as far as it will go without forcing it) to collapse the sac (this will eject any ink remaining in the sac, so clean the pen first if you’re changing colors). Then, flip the lever back in place and leave the point in the ink for a few seconds. Remove the pen and wipe down the point. Typically, no priming is necessary as with a piston fill pen.

Power Filler

This internal system causes sometimes confusing when filling. From the back end of the barrel, unscrew the blind cap and pull the rod all the way out stopping when you meet resistance. Submerge the nib into the ink until the front end of the section is covered and depress the plunger downward with one single stroke. Count to ten (allowing the pen to fill) and then remove from the ink and screw the blind cap back into the barrel end.

Below a movie of a Visconti Power Filler.

Visconti Mosquito Filler

The Visconti Mosquito ink filling adaptor may only be used together with the new Smartouch nib. This interesting device attaches to the end of the pen and is used to fill the pen with ink. The adaptor avoids dipping the pen directly nib into ink and at the same time every last drop of ink will be used from the ink bottle.

Below a movie of a Visconti Mosquito Filler.

Push Button

Parker’s button fill was an effective response to the Sheaffer lever fill system, and was used through to the 1940s. Since Parker pens were so widely copied in other respects, it isn’t surprising that the button filler appears on many other brands as well. Remove the blind cap (don’t lose it!), mash the button to expel old ink, hold the button down, then release it with the point completely inside the ink supply. Give the pen ten seconds or so to fill, then remove it, wipe the point, and replace the blind cap.


If you have a very old pen, and it has no visible means of filling (e.g., no lever), chances are that it is an “eyedropper filler”, basically a big empty vial into which you drip ink from an eyedropper. Unscrew the point-section assembly from the barrel. Use an eyedropper (some drug stores still carry glass eyedroppers) to draw ink from the bottle and fill the barrel. Replace the section and screw down tight to make a good seal. Needless to say, keep the barrel upright during all this!

Should your eyedropper pen leak (as they are often prone to do), you can try rubbing some cake soap or wax on the threads to make a better seal.

Ink cartridges or ink bottle?

Using pens with an internal filling system (like an eyedroper or piston fountain pen) means most of the times your pen can bear a lot more ink than cartridge/converter pens. Using an ink bottle also means you will get more ink for your money than with the same money spent on cartridges (cartridges tend to be more expensive). Also, using an ink bottle is more environment-friendly and you have a lot more choice on colours and brands.

Using ink cartridges means ease of use, bringing these with you is easier than bringing an ink bottle and also filling a pen is simpler.

This overview is not complete: pen producers are still inventing new filling systems and there are also many vintage pens, which use different filling systems. Please do not hesitate to contact us in case you have questions about filling systems or would like our advice.

If you’ve just bought a fountain pen, you will need to know how to fill it with ink. You can choose to use liquid ink or ink cartridges for your fountain pen; neither is necessarily better than the other – cartridges are probably easiest to use but converters give you a larger selection of ink colours. The choice of ink filling system often comes down to personal preference. Below you will a guide on how to replace your cartridge and how to use a fountain pen converter.

Just a quick note before we get into the filling instructions, if you do want to use liquid ink you may need to buy a fountain pen converter. Check to see if your pen comes with one first. Certain fountain pens will have specific cartridges or converters so always check for compatibility before purchasing.

How To Change a Fountain Pen Cartridge

If you want to use an ink cartridge for your fountain pen, you will first need to check what cartridge size your pen requires. You might notice ‘standard size’ or ‘international size’ available for purchase; these cartridges do fit a few different types of pen, but they won’t fit every fountain pen. Always check the type and size of cartridge that your fountain pen allows.

Once you’ve got your ink cartridge sorted, you will need to disassemble your fountain pen. This is not as difficult as it sounds, and only involves pulling apart a few components. Remove the cap from the pen and then unscrew the barrel (the part of the pen you hold in your hand). Check there’s nothing in the barrel before you put that to one side. Sometimes pens include a cartridge with them when you buy them – these cartridges won’t already be installed, they will just sit inside the barrel. You would need to connect them when you’re ready to start using your pen.

Once you’ve opened your pen pick up the section or the grip, this will have a plastic tube inside. Gently push the cartridge into the plastic inner tube, you will hear a click when its connected. This plastic tube will pierce the cartridge ready for your ink to flow. You can then put your fountain pen back together. If there is additional space in the barrel you could also store a spare cartridge in there for easy changeover when your pen runs out. Screw the barrel back on the pen and you’re ready to write.

If your fountain pen doesn’t write immediately that’s normal and there’s no need to worry. It can take a bit of time for the ink to first come through. Hold the pen vertically with the nib pointing downwards. This will get the ink flowing.

What Is A Fountain Pen Converter?

A converter allows you to use liquid ink for your fountain pen. It’s essentially a cartridge that has a mechanism connected to it, that allows you to draw ink inside from the bottle. A converter attaches to your fountain pen just like a cartridge but it allows you to use a wider range of ink colours. Ink cartridges are disposable and once you’ve used up your ink, you simply throw them away. A pen converter can be reused multiple times, although you will have to clean it properly before using a different ink.

As fountain pen converters attach in the same way as cartridges, you can use either of them interchangeably, depending on your preference. To make sure your converter fits your pen shop by your fountain pen brand when purchasing one. You also have a choice between push and screw fit, although this choice might be determined by what your chosen pen brand stocks.

How To Use A Fountain Pen Converter

There are two types of fountain pen converter you should be aware of before attempting to fill with liquid ink. Essentially both converters look the same and act the same. The key difference is a piston converter involves a rotating mechanism to draw up the ink, and a squeeze converter works by releasing the vacuum when absorbing the ink. The rest of instructions are the same but we will cover both in the guide below.

Start by taking the pen apart. Just as you would when inserting a cartridge, remove the grip from the barrel. Attach the converter to your pen grip – how you do this will depend on the pen and converter you have. Some push into the grip and some screw in. Once attached, draw any air out of the cartridge. You can either do this by turning the top of the piston anti-clockwise or by squeezing the vacuum. It’s important to remove the air as this will dry the ink out quicker and possibly clog up your feed.

After you’ve removed the air, open your bottled ink of choice and insert the fountain pen nib inside. When you insert the nib into the ink, make sure you completely cover the breathing hole on your fountain pen with the ink.

If you have a squeeze fountain pen converter keep squeezing the cartridge until the nib is emerged in ink. Then let go once and your cartridge will start filing ink.

If you have a piston converter, you will need to start rotating the end of the converter clockwise. This will start filling up the cartridge inside the converter. Once you’ve filled the converter about half way, stop and point your nib towards the ceiling. Turn the converter anti-clockwise to force any air out of the ink. You might notice a few bubbles escape. Once done, insert the nib back into the ink and repeat until the ink is full. Make sure to release any air again after you’ve finished.

Your converter sits inside the barrel like a cartridge does so once you’ve got the ink stored, put your fountain pen back together and you’re ready to write.

We’ve all seen them, and many of us enjoy them on the daily, but the question we are asked most often is: how do you even use a fountain pen ?

With so many different options on the market today, it can be overwhelming if you’re a beginning pen-thusiast that wishes to get your hands a little inky. Where would I even begin?

Well, the first step in taking the plunge is to determine which filling method your pen uses.

Determining The Filling Mechanism Of Your Pen

How to fill fountain pens

If you’re looking at a fountain pen and don’t know where to begin, it’s naturally easiest to ask the sales representative what filling mechanism your pen uses.

But, if you’re shy like me and don’t feel like asking, you can tinker around and find out quite easily on your own.

Start by placing one hand on the barrel, and the other hand on the grip section, just above the nib. Gently twist to see if the piece comes apart.

If these two pieces do not come apart, this likely means that your pen has a built-in filling mechanism. If they do twist apart, go ahead and take apart the pen. Make sure none of the guts fall out when you’re doing this.

Once inside, you may see nothing at all! This is a sign that your pen uses either cartridges, or a piston converter .

It may also have a piston converter installed already, which means that you can use ink from a bottle . The other, less common option that we have seen is called a squeeze converter. See the images below to determine which option you see when unscrewing your pen.

Once you have determined which method your pen uses, just click the below links and jump straight to find how to fill your pen :

Built-in Filling Mechanism

Piston fillers

These are a bit complicated to manufacture, so they are typically seen on more valuable fountain pens, such as a Montblancs or Montegrappas .

They involve internal mechanisms that can suck ink straight into the pen, typically by turning the piston knob on the back, or butt-end of the pen. To start, fully untwist the piston. If it shatters, you’ve twisted too far! Just kidding, this definitely shouldn’t happen – stopping at the resistance point is recommended.

How to fill fountain pens

Then, simply insert the nib into a bottle of ink, and twist the piston the opposite direction. This draws that precious liquid gold inside the internal reservoir by retracting the piston, which also seals it from leaking. You can wear that white dress shirt with confidence now!

How to fill fountain pens

After you have filled your pen, you may want to dab it on a cloth to remove the excess ink on the nib, unless you enjoy getting a little messy. Now it’s time to write!

Vacuum fillers

Used by brands such as Visconti on their top of the line Homo Sapiens , and Opera models.

They are highly complex to produce, but are pretty darn fun to use! To start, twist the knob at the end of the pen out completely. You’ll feel that the knob is loose once it has been completely untwisted.

How to fill fountain pens

It may be a little tight, but now you can pull the knob towards you. This pulls the plunger up the barrel, which creates a low-pressure environment inside the chamber of the pen.

Insert the nib into an ink bottle, and now push the knob all the way back in. It’s important to allow 5-10 seconds for the chamber to fully fill with ink.

How to fill fountain pens

Then you can twist the knob back into place, and your fancy new pen is ready to manifest your visions!

How to fill fountain pens

Crescent filler

Used on some Conklin pens. It consists of a crescent-shaped metal piece that must be pushed inside of the barrel.

It’s kind of awkward at first, but super easy once you figure it out. There is usually a plastic piece that goes underneath the crescent.

You can twist this piece around until the opening lines up with the crescent, which allows it to be pressed into the barrel. This piece prevents you from accidentally discharging ink in your pocket.

How to fill fountain pens

When depressed, this collapses the ink sac inside the pen. Then, simply insert the nib into your favorite ink bottle, and let the crescent piece go and the pen fills with ink.

How to fill fountain pens

The crescent can also act as a roll stopper for that crooked desk in your office!

Cartridges and Converters

Cartridge Filled

Simply unscrew the grip section from the barrel of the pen. If you look inside the grip section, there is a small piece that protrudes. How to fill fountain pens

How to fill fountain pens

Fountain pens tend to seem relatively self-explanatory, but that doesn’t mean the correct process for filling every pen is obvious. This article will out how to fill any common fountain pen we’ve encountered.

If you need some more explanation about the different types of fountain pen filling systems, check out our guide.

Universal Rules

Despite all the different types of fountain pen filling, there are some rules that always apply!

One important rule is to fully submerge the pen nib when filling it. Fountain pens have a nib and a breather hole, the latter of which isn’t usually very obvious when looking at the pen, but it’s where most of the ink will enter some pens when filling them. As a result, a pen won’t fill unless both of these things are fully submerged in your ink bottle.

Piston Fountain Pens

A piston-filling fountain pen has a piston — just like in a car — inside the barrel. This piston goes down to expel air or ink and then back up, pulling ink into the barrel.

The typical process is very simple, assuming the pen is clean and dry:

  1. Push the piston down, expelling any air in the barrel
  2. Submerge the nib, ideally up to the lower grip
  3. Turn the barrel and pull in the ink
  4. Turn the piston it’s open-most point, lock if possible

Twsbi Eco

How to fill a Tswbi Eco

Like most piston-fillers the Twsbi Eco has a knob on the top that turns to have the piston go up or down.

Twsbi Go

How to fill fountain pens

The Twsbi Go has a piston-filler that is spring-loaded, instead of twisting to go up and down. It’s fundamentally the same concept, but the push-button spring mechanism gives you less fine control of the fill.


A cartridge-converter is a fountain pen that takes a cartridge or a fountain pen converter, like Pilot’s CON-40. A converter is a device that attaches to a fountain pen, bringing the filling mechanism with it. The mechanism can be a piston, a squeeze sac, or any other number of fill types.

Pilot Metropolitan

How to fill fountain pensHow to fill a Pilot CON-40

The Pilot Metropolitan is a cartridge-converter fountain pen that usually uses Pilot’s disposable cartridges.

Working with a fountain pen cartridge is very easy. You simply open the pen, then get the cartridge and push it into the little stem on the inside of the fountain pen, at the top of the grip piece. There will be a firm click and you’ll notice that the cartridge is firmly stuck onto the grip piece, with no wiggle. The ink will start flowing on its own and soon the pen will be writing.

The number one thing to keep in mind is that not all fountain pens and cartridges are compatible. This fountain pen cartridge guide will help!

If you opt for a converter then you simply open the pen, then get the converter and push it into the pen firmly. Just like with a cartridge you’ll need to make sure the pen and converter are compatible!

Since there are all sorts of converters, you’ll have to figure out the type you have (or even the specific model) before you know how to fill in. Here are some popular options:


An aerometric filler is a rubber sac. Using it is very simple: open the pen, submerge the nib and breather hole, squeeze the sac or spring around the sac expelling the air inside, and then let go, all the rubber to go back into its original shape and pulling in ink.

A rubber sac or aerometric filler is the simplest mechanism in any fountain pen, short of an eyedropper — which has no mechanism at all! This method was very popular, having been found on pens like the Parker 51 and Aurora Hastil, but isn’t as popular these days.

Vacuum Filler

Vacuum-filling fountain pens might seem like magic, but they are very simple to use in practice. You simply need to:

  • unscrew the top of the pen
  • pull the top of the pen out all the way
  • submerge the nib and breather hole entirely
  • push the top of the pen down until there is a pop sounds or similar break in pressure
  • you will see the ink flowing in the pen and up the barrel as the vacuum area you created by pushing the top down is filled with ink

Note: This article is a work in progress and will expand as we get access to more pen documentation! Feel free to email if you have any you’d like to share.

How to fill fountain pens

To fill your pen with a piston converter, please unscrew the pen barrel and pull the converter mechanism from the forepart of the fountain pen.

Clean the used ink converter first

Hold the middle metal section of the converter and twist counterclockwise to the end to squeeze out excess ink. Flushing the converter with water. Put until it’s dry.

Fill and insert the ink converter

Submerge the converter into ink. Twist clockwise until filled. Insert the converter into the fountain pen nib and push firmly until converter seats itself.

Assemble the fountain pen

Screw clockwise to assemble the grip part and barrel. Wipe any excess ink from the pen nib with line free cloth, however, do not wipe the black ink feeder under the nib.

* To avoid clogging, please use your pen regularly.

* If you think your pen dried out because of clogging, you can flush the nib with water, or soaking it in warm water to soften and flush out any hardened ink or sediment.


Disassemble your fountain pen

To load the cartridge, remove the cap of the fountain pen and unscrew the forepart from the barrel by turning it counterclockwise while pointing the nib away from you.

Insert an ink cartridge

Remove the empty cartridge and insert a new one. The narrower side of the cartridge goes into the forepart. Apply pressure at the other end of the cartridge until its punctures.

Wait a while, let pen draws ink from the reservoir through a feed to the nib. If you want to write immediately, please gently squeeze the inserted cartridge, to speed it up. Be careful while squeezing, ink might leak from the nib feeder part.

* Always use Laban or European standard cartridges for Laban fountain pens.

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Fountain Pen Filling System Families

(click on any Family to go directly to that section, or Ctrl-F to search)

Detailed Family, Genus, and Species


    – removable section – full internal removable reservoir – Eagle correspondent, (there is a Wirt variation as well)
  1. Jointless (not in my collection – feel free to contribute pics!) (not in my collection – feel free to contribute pics!) – probably not a production pen
  1. Rotating knob
    – Moore style
  1. Wirt retractable nib

BUT WHICH DROPPER FILLED SYSTEM REIGNS SUPREME? Click to participate in the dropper filling system showdown!


    , 1890s , c1922 , c1936-1955
  1. Modern plastic cartridge

DIRECT FINGER PRESSURE APPLIED TO SAC (or bar on sac) aka Thumb Filler Fountain Pens

Direct sac squeeze, sac reservoir. Press on a pressure bar except where noted.

    – No frills, just squeeze a naked sac – bar is a backstop, your finger presses directly on sac – hinged bar that squeezes sac against a half sleeve for thumb filler opening for thumb filler opening (Waterman and Eureka) for thumb filler opening
  1. Internal rotating cover for thumb filler opening (also seen on Century pens)
  1. End of barrel not attached – like a big friction fit blind cap
  2. End of barrel stays attached – Laughlin, Le Boeuf
  3. Entire barrel slides – Le Boeuf

Direct squeeze, barrel reservoir

    – Postal, etc – Utilizes a diaphragm to direct air flow


Matchstick (some patents even picture a pencil point being used)


    1. Pin (Sheaffer)
    2. Lever box (Waterman)
    3. C ring (everyone)
    4. Pressure bar, side arms (Eagle)

    Barrel end mechanisms activate lateral pressure

    1. Barrel end activated pressure bars (pressure causing bending)
        – Parker, Wearever Pacemaker/Meteor – Stephens, blind cap stays attached – Mabie Todd

        1. Knob under blind cap (Blackbird)
        2. End knob activated (Swan)
        1. Turnstile
        2. Conway Stewart Speedy-Phil
          – pull to pivot compression arm – push to pivot compression arm – Kritikson Security
          – Macniven Cameron – Autopoint

        Hump fillers

          Rotating Locking rings



            Pull activated lateral sac compression (rather than typical push)

              – John Holland style pull filler (can be seen as reverse lever, but pulling results in back side sac pressure)

            Slide activated lateral compression


              with segmented lever – diamond medal


            Linear compression sac fill

              Accordion filler with extendable push rod–

                (flip out extension) (slide out extension)

              Linear compression barrel fill

                linear compressed sac – Visofil VT – Topfiller – Parker Vacumatic (lockdown, speedline, plastic)

              Linear compression sacless? (see reciprocating pump fillers)


              1. Barrel slides
              2. Internal tube slides (Chiltonian)


              Twist – sac reservoir

                (unlimited rotation) – Ingersoll – Ingersoll Bakelite and AA Waterman – WASP – Autofiller – Colonial Pen company and Boston Pen Company – “other Ingersoll” sac entangle

              Twist – barrel reservoir

                – Wahl Oxford twist – a complicated mechanism


                – Wirt Simplicity – Dr. Faber’s and Hartline Blotter Pen



              No subcategories here… But here is an explanation of the plunger filler with a great video of a Sheaffer plunger filler demonstrator in action.

              Below are instructions on how to fill your fountain pen. There are several different types of filling mechanism, so please read carefully and choose the mechanism that is appropriate for your pen. If you are unsure then don’t hesitate to contact us.

              How to fill fountain pens

              Lever Fillers

              Remove the pen cap. Dip the nib into a bottle of ink. Lift the lever on the side of the barrel to compresses the ink sac. Close the lever and count to ten to allow the sac to re-inflate completely. Remove from the ink and wipe the nib. Replace cap.

              How to fill fountain pens

              Button Fillers

              Remove the pen cap. Unscrew the blind cap at the end of the barrel to reveal the filling button.

              Dip the nib into a bottle of ink. Press the button firmly to compress the ink sac. Release the button and count to ten to allow the sac to re-inflate completely. Remove from the ink and wipe the nib. Replace blind cap and cap.

              How to fill fountain pens

              Vacumatic Fillers

              Remove the pen cap. Unscrew the blind cap at the end of the barrel to reveal the filling piston. There are three types of vac filler, the first is an aluminium piston inside a blind cap (about 25mm long).

              How to fill fountain pens

              The second is a lockdown aluminium piston inside a short blind cap (about 15mm long). To release the lockdown piston push it in and turn it anticlockwise about an eighth of a turn, the piston will release and spring upwards.

              How to fill fountain pens

              The last, and most common, type is a plastic piston inside a long blind cap.

              The filling method is the same for all three types: Dip the nib into a bottle of ink. Press the piston rapidly about five or six times or until bubbles stop appearing in the ink. Release the piston and count to ten to allow the reservoir to fill completely. Remove from the ink and wipe the nib. With a lockdown piston, push the piston down and turn it clockwise until it locks in place, replace the blind cap. With the standard aluminium or plastic piston simply replace the blind cap.

              How to fill fountain pens

              Aerometric Fillers

              This applies to Parker pens with the aerometric squeeze filling mechanism fitted to later Parker 51’s and 61’s.It also applies to all the aerometric Duofolds from the early fifties onwards.

              Remove the pen cap. Unscrew the barrel from the nib unit. Dip the nib into a bottle of ink. Press the metal bar on the aerometric filling mechanism rapidly until no more bubbles appear in the ink. Release the metal bar and count to ten to allow the sac to fill completely. Remove from the ink and wipe the nib. Replace the barrel and cap.

              How to fill fountain pens

              Onoto Plunger Fillers

              To fill an Onoto plunger pen, unscrew the blind cap at the end of the barrel and gently pull the plunger all the way out, put the nib in the ink and then smoothly and slowly depress the plunger all the way in.

              As the plunger travels down the barrel, it creates a partial vacuum behind the washer which is released when the plunger reaches the end of the barrel. Ink is then sucked in to fill the barrel behind the washer. Leave the nib in the ink for around 15 seconds to ensure the barrel has taken up as much ink as possible and then screw the blind cap back into position and wipe the nib.

              Note: Most Onoto pens have an ink shut off mechanism to prevent leaks when the pen is not being used. The shut off mechanism is applied by screwing up the blind cap completely (not too tight – just normal light hand pressure is sufficient). To use the pen simply unscrew the blind cap by half a turn, this releases the shut off and allows the ink to flow.

              Sheaffer Snorkel Fillers

              Sheaffer Snorkels and PFMs are equipped with a filler tube located under the nib.

              The tube extends by turning the knob at the end of the barrel anticlockwise. Once the snorkel tube is fully extended the plunger tube can be pulled out of the pen. Dip only the tip of the filler tube into the ink, then depress the plunger slowly and steadily.

              Leave the filler tube in ink for around 15 seconds to allow the ink to flow into the sac, then remove from the ink and turn the end knob clockwise in order to retract the filler tube.

              General Care

              All pens need flushing out with water occasionally to remove any dried ink and keep the airways from becoming blocked up. It is good practise to flush the pen out with cold water once a month using the instructions above, relevant to your pen. If you know you won’t be using the pen for a while (for example if you are going on holiday) it is best to flush it out and leave it empty. Do not leave the pen unused for more than a couple of weeks with ink in it. This will allow the ink to dry in the feed channels and make it difficult to flush out.

              The outside of the pen can be kept clean with some non-abrasive spray polish (Mr Sheen or similar) and a soft cloth. Keep the cap on the pen at all times when the pen is not being used to prevent damage to the nib.