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Filling mechanisms of a fountain pen

July 14, 2021 4 min read

Filling mechanisms of a fountain pen

What are they and how do they work

There are multiple fountain pen filling mechanisms on the market, which is something to take into account when choosing your instrument.

If you prefer it, you can find a video at the end of the post.

Although there are others, the main fountain pen filling mechanisms are:


The simplest method, since they are plastic cylinders that are already filled with ink. So, in order to fill the fountain pen, it will only be necessary to fit the cartridge into the gripping section

How to put the cartridge in the fountain pen?

To correctly set the cartridge, it will be enough to fit it with a certain pressure on the inside of the gripping section, with the fountain pen disassembled. Once the cartridge is in place, we recommend leaving the pen in a vertical downward position, as it may take some time for the ink to flow into the nib.They are disposable, so when the ink has run out, it can be easily replaced by another one.

  • Advantages: Portability, ease of use
  • Disadvantages: Disposable, little variety of colors due to the different cartridge formats of each brand, compatibility between brands, capacity.

IGUANA TIP: It is possible to give the cartridges a second life and expand the diversity of ink colors by refilling them with any inkwell ink by using a syringe.


The most common are plunger or piston converters. By moving the plunger, a pressure difference is created and this causes the ink to enter the converter, refilling it.

How to use the fountain pen converter?

It is screwed or pressed into the grip section of the fountain pen, in the same way the cartridges are. Then, the nib is dipped into the ink and the plunger must be extended. By retracting the plunger, you create the pressure difference that will cause the ink to enter the converter.

Finally, it is important to clean the excess ink from the nib and the converter before reassembling the part.

  • Advantages: wide variety of ink colors, reusable, low cost
  • Disadvantages: compatibility, capacity


Patented by Pelikan in 1929. Its operation is similar to that of the converter, with the advantage that it is not necessary to disassemble the fountain pen to fill it with ink.

How to use the plunger mechanism?

Its operation is similar to that of the plunger converter. To fill the fountain pen with ink, it is necessary to dip the nib into the ink. The plunger is then actuated, this is, it is turned until the plunger is fully extended and then turned in the opposite direction. When retracted, the ink will enter the fountain pen.

  • Advantages: higher ink capacity, wide variety of colors, beauty (as it is part of the part, it usually has transparencies that allow the ink to be seen).
  • Disadvantages: If damaged, it will be difficult to repair, as it is part of the fountain pen.


This integrated system allows the ink to flow into the fountain pen by creating a vacuum.

How to use the Vacuum filling system of the fountain pen?

First of all, it is necessary to create a vacuum. To do this, unscrew the part of the body of the fountain pen attached to the mechanism and pull it outwards to retract the plunger. Then, with the nib submerged in the ink, we must push inward until the plunger is fully extended, which will create a vacuum that is broken just at the last moment to allow the ink to enter.

  • Advantages: higher ink capacity, wide variety of colors, beauty (as it is part of the part, it usually has transparencies that allow the ink to be seen).
  • Disadvantages: If damaged, it will be difficult to repair, as it is part of the fountain pen.


Patented by Conklin in 1903, it is one of the simplest mechanisms for those who start writing with fountain pens and do not want to use ink cartridges.

It is also called crescent filler system, and it consists of an inner bar with an outer crescent-shaped protrusion that comes out through a slot in the body. At the same height of the pen where we find this crescent, a plastic ring with an opening the width of the crescent surrounds the body of the fountain pen.

How to refill a Crescent Filler fountain pen?

To refill the ink, turn the ring until it clears the space where the crescent moon comes out, press on it to let the air out of the reservoir and insert the pen into the inkwell, covering only the nib.

Once it is inside the inkwell, we release the crescent so that the ink enters the system. We turn the ring again to make sure that the crescent is not pressed by the error (which would make all the ink come out), and we will have our pen ready to write.

  • Advantages: greater ink capacity, large variety of colors.
  • Inconvenientes: If damaged, it will be difficult to repair, as it is part of the fountain pen.

If you still have doubts, we believe this video might help.

Thus, each system has its advantages and disadvantages, some of them being compatible with each other depending on the moment. For example, a converter pen user may prefer to use cartridges when traveling.



For more information, please do not hesitate to contact us.

It is our pleasure to assist you in the purchase of your fountain pen and the choice of the charging system that best suits your needs.

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