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Fountain pens were initially created due to people becoming increasingly annoyed at the inconvenience of having to dip a pen to refill the ink repeatedly.
Over time, the fountain pen has become a lavish piece of writing equipment that has a smooth flow and allows writers to experiment with different colours of ink and styles of handwriting through nib size.
As fountain pens use liquid ink, it is argued that you will likely have fewer issues with hand fatigue and cramping than with a ballpoint pen as you do not have to press down to write. While fountain pens offer a luxurious writing experience, they do require some maintenance, for example, the changing of an ink cartridge or the refilling of an ink converter.
We’ve compiled some information below about using fountain pen ink converters, for those of you who are new to them.
What is a fountain pen ink converter?
An ink converter is a device that allows you to refill a fountain pen from bottled ink, rather than using the standard ink cartridges. Unlike cartridges, bottled inks offer a plethora of choice regarding colours and brands which makes them a rather popular way to refill a fountain pen.
What types of ink converters are there?
There are different types of fountain pen ink converters that are used in similar, yet different ways. Below is a list of the different ink converters available:
A piston ink converter is the most common variety. It works through the user twisting the knob at the end of the converter. This moves the piston up and down, creating a vacuum that draws ink up into the pen.
Squeeze converters are older in design than piston converters and are quite simple to use. Squeezing the air out and then releasing it creates a vacuum that draws ink up into the pen.
The push-button converter is the least common variety and can hold a lot of ink. However, they require more precision and are harder to clean than other converters.
How do you use a fountain pen ink converter?
Although there are different types of ink converter, they all work in very similar ways. Below are step-by-step instructions of how to use any ink converter.
- Disassemble your fountain pen. Remove the cap and unscrew the grip section.
- Insert the chosen converter into your pen’s grip section.
- Dip the nib into bottled ink – make sure the whole nib is submerged in ink.
- This step depends on what kind of converter you have:
Twist the knob to lower the piston and expel air from the pen; it is normal to notice air bubbles. Twist the knob the other way to raise the piston and draw ink into the converter.
Slowly squeeze and release the bag or sack with your fingers, making sure to do this slowly. Repeat, and a vacuum will be created, drawing the ink into the converter.
Push and release the tap button. Repeat this, and the ink will be drawn into the converter.
- Wipe the nib on a paper towel to absorb any excess ink.
- Reassemble your pen.
Top tips for fountain pen ink converters
On some occasions, you may find that your ink converter does not seem to be working. It is essential to check the following things:
- Check the converter is tightly installed.
- Make sure it is compatible with your fountain pen.
Ensure that you have wiped the nib on a paper towel; if a fountain pen becomes oversaturated with ink, it will drip.
Here at The Pen Company, we sell a variety of fountain pen ink converters as well as spare parts that are easy to use with the above guide. Click here to browse the selection available.