One fountain pen can differ from another in terms of its style, nib size, weight, or feel, but what truly sets them apart is the filling system each one uses. Although it is less common than the cartridge-converter design that many manufacturers produce, piston fillers are another popular type of fountain pen on the market. Here, we’ll answer what a piston fountain pen is, how it differs from a cartridge-converter filling system, and how you can fill it.
How piston fountain pens work
The best way to describe piston fountain pens is that they are like syringes you can write with. Both these tools have a synthetic piston that creates a vacuum to draw fluid into the body, but instead of pulling up on a plunger, piston filler fountain pens use a twist mechanism. As the piston advances, air is forced through the nib and the feed, allowing the user to add or remove ink into the barrel as needed.
How pistons differ from cartridge-converters
Pistons differ from cartridge-converter pens in that they don’t rely on a separate ink reservoir to be inserted into the pen’s barrel. Rather, for the piston filler, the barrel itself is the ink reservoir.
The capacity of a cartridge-converter pen is rather limited, so writers find themselves refilling their penns often. This isn’t ideal if you use your pen frequently, especially if you’re always on the go. Piston fillers can hold large amounts of ink, so you can write longer and more often.
Converters are also a separate piece to maintain, and they are not always included with the pen upon purchase.
How to fill a piston fountain pen
Filling a piston fountain pen is simple. Here’s how to do it:
- Move the filling mechanism of your pen forward by twisting the knob at the back of your fountain pen.
- Once the piston is at the very front of the pen, dip your pen’s entire nib into the inkwell. Ensure that your nib is entirely submerged so that the breather hole is covered.
- Draw ink into your pen by twisting the knob in the opposite direction so that the piston moves away from the nib. The vacuum it creates sucks ink through the nib and into the pen. Do this slowly and at an even pace to ensure you draw ink into the chamber instead of air.
- Remove the nib from the inkwell and, with the nib over the ink bottle opening, let a few drops of ink drip back into the bottle.
The bottom line
There are many different filling systems for fountain pens, and the piston filler is just one of them. If you’re looking for a pen that has a large ink capacity and is easy to refill, then you might want to consider getting yourself a piston fountain pen.
Happy inking, and happy writing!
Written by EndlessPens Blogger Ramona Kabigting