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Let’s Reevaluate Converter Filling Fountain Pens

Posted by on Sep 25 2014, in Articles

Hi Pen Fans.

I recently completed an article and have included it withiin the Articles page on the site.

This article, along with the others, are written with the intention of clearing up misconceptions, as well as providing the best information to aid in choosing a fountain pen.

Within this article, I ask the reader to reevaluate converter filling fountain pens.

You can read the article here.  Let me know your thoughts!

Brian at Edison

Comments

  • glennhkc

    Excellent article, Brian. I like variety in filling mechanisms – they add greatly to the enjoyment of my pens. As a frequent ink changer with many pens inked, converter capacities suit me fine. The ease of servicing a converter pen and the option of cartridges are also a plus. I’m for having as many filling mechanism options as possible. Vive la difference!

  • Joe in Seattle

    A prime advantage of the converter filler is that one can use a baby ear bulb syringe to quickly and completely rinse out the new unit thereby cleaning the pen excxmuch faster than repeated rinses with Clearwater.

  • Thanks Glenn and Joe!

    Good points. I’ll consider editing the article to include some verbiage about ease of cleaning with a bulb syringe.

  • Raghuram Marur

    Good article to clear the misconceptions! Some points-

    1) One of the "piston fillers" that I have developed crack on the barrel where the blind cap fits. Store guy said this happened due to too much pressure. I think this sort of thing will never happen on a converter filler, because you won’t put any kind of pressure on the pen barrel, section or the cap.

    2) In case of leakage, converter pens are less likely to stain the apparel as in most cases the barrel acts as a secondary barrier.

    3) Converters hold less ink, but its not too less. It all boils down to how much one writes in a single session. I am sure most of us can use a single fill of a converter for half week at least. This, I am sure is good enough. Once in 3-4 days, we fill in ink and during this process, clean the interior of the pen. That’s bonus!

  • Great points, Raghuram, thanks!

  • Bill

    I just have one question:

    When you wrote the first draft of this essay, did you use a fountain pen?

  • Andrea Kirkby

    Thanks for putting the case for cartridge/converters – I think there’s a lot of snobbery about them.

    While some people say they have small ink capacity, if you have a lot of inks and want to change inks regularly, converters work well – you get a clean flush and you’re not committed to a huge amount of ink at a time as you are with an eyedropper.

    Main gripe? Cartridge pens that don’t include the converter (particularly at higher price points), and manufacturers who charge nearly as much for a converter as they do for the darn pen. Oh, and non-standard carts and converters; still trying to find anything that will fit my Waterman c/f!

  • sd1o521

    great points in the article and comments so far.

    I feel converters will not hold as much ink, but the bottom line for me is how the nib hits the paper and the ink looks on said paper.

  • Stephanie

    It crossed my mind that removing and reinserting the converter would cause wear, but I thought it would be mostly wear to the converter, not the housing unit. But since you say it’s rare that the housing unit wears down, I won’t worry about it much. It’s simplest to remove the converter for cleaning… Thanks for the article!

  • Bill – no, the article wasn’t written with a fountain pen! I’m more of a letter writer, note-taker and signature guy with my pens!

    Andrea – Thanks for the comments! I also have no idea why some pens do not include a converter! Completely agree!

    sd10521 – yep, I like hearing your comment. How the nib performs is more important than how the ink gets into the pen, my opinion.

    Stephanie – correct. Wearing of the converter or feed nipple is rare. I’ve only seen it happen a few times. However, since the repair is so easy, maybe it’s happened more to our pens, and the customer never bothered to even let me know, and handled it themselves! In any case, it definitely is rare, and personally, I wouldn’t make that a factor when deciding if a converter filler is right for you.

  • Pedro Persson

    I can sure see the advantages of a C/C filler and am no longer a snob, but I still do prefer piston fillers due to their greater capacity, usual smoother operation and the pure subjective cool factor; to me they are a more complete machine. Maintenance is sure a disadvantage of piston fillers, but that can be mitigated by systems that can be easily disassembled even without tools, or at least give access to the ink reservoir. I think it’s safe to say that the worst system out there are captive converters, normally they offer the disadvantages of both and none of the advantages, with a reek of lazy engineering just to have a piston filler.

    One thing I would like is more C/C pens with O-rings and other types of seals to make then ready to be used as eyedroppers or at least make the conversion easier. And that more C/C pens could come with ink windows like your do.

    Talking about eyedroppers, do you think a shut-off valve is really needed? Wouldn’t a hermit cap be enough to avoid leakage if that is a problem at all with modern feeds? While they are cool and all they do look like an over-complication on eyedroppers and plunger fillers, and quite frankly leaving a gap on the knob/blind-cap when in "open" is off-putting.

  • Hi Pedro. All good comments, thanks! When it comes to the eyedroppers with shutoff valves, I’ll be honest, I don’t understand it. I don’t really know what the advantage is. I’m not putting the system down, I just don’t know what it really does, except shut off ink flow, and I don’t see how this is necessary. I think that someone needs to give me more information as to the advantages.

  • Christoph

    Hi Brian,

    the nice/unique thing about your company: You offer different/crazy methods of filling a pen. Cartridge/converter pens works fine, thats right. But we pen fans want sometimes something different… I

  • Thanks for the kind words, Christoph!

  • Otter1

    For me, and I suspect others, the knocks against converter fillers are mostly guilt by association. I tend to buy and use vintage pens from the 1930s to 1950s, and enjoy using most of them, whether piston, lever filler, or whatever–mostly because of the semi-flex nibs. When I have purchased a modern pen, they tend to be cartridge fillers with stiff nibs, and after the initial infatuation period, they get put aside—it isn’t the filler, it’s the fact that it is a modern pen I guess. The only modern pens that stay in the rotation are my Lamy 2000 (piston), Pilot VP (cartridge), and my MB 149 (piston). To be fair I haven’t tried one of yours yet, but your Beaumont is on my ‘to buy’ list…

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