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Advantages of Using a Fountain Pen Converter: A Comprehensive Guide

Fountain pens have long been a favorite of writers, calligraphers, and artists for their smooth and elegant writing experience. While modern fountain pens often come with cartridges for convenience, there is a growing number of enthusiasts who prefer to use a converter over cartridges. 

Advantages of Using a Fountain Pen Converter

In this article, we will explore the benefits of using a converter in a fountain pen and why it may be a better option for some users.

Expanded Ink Selection

One of the biggest benefits of using a converter over cartridges is the ability to choose from a much wider range of inks. Fountain pen enthusiasts often enjoy trying out different colors and brands of ink, and using a converter allows them to do so without being limited to the cartridges offered by the pen manufacturer. With bottled inks, you can experiment with different shades, hues, and saturations, giving you the freedom to express your creativity with the perfect color.

Cost Savings

While purchasing a converter may initially seem like an additional expense, it can actually save you money in the long run. Buying bottled inks is often less expensive than purchasing pre-filled cartridges, and since converters can be refilled as needed, you won't have to continually replace cartridges when they run out. This cost savings can add up over time, especially if you use your fountain pen frequently.


In addition to being cost-effective, using a converter over cartridges can also be more environmentally friendly. Many converters and bottled inks are recyclable, reducing the amount of waste generated by disposable cartridges. Making the switch to a converter can be a small but significant step towards a more sustainable future.

Improved Writing Experience

For many fountain pen users, the writing experience is just as important as the visual appeal of the pen. Some people prefer the feel of using a piston filler, as it allows for a smoother and more controlled ink flow. This can result in a more enjoyable writing experience, as well as a more consistent line quality.

Convenient Refilling

Finally, using a converter makes refilling your fountain pen much more convenient. Converters can be refilled with ink as needed, so you won't have to replace cartridges every time they run out. This is especially helpful when traveling, as it is easier to bring a bottle of ink with you than a large number of cartridges.

How to use a Converter

A piston converter operates by twisting a knob or lever to draw ink into the barrel of the converter. This type of converter is filled by submerging the nib of the pen into the ink bottle and twisting the knob to draw the ink into the barrel. This is a simple and straightforward method of refilling, making it a popular choice for many fountain pen users.

Below is a Twist action Piston converter from Pilot - A Con 40 Converter

Piston converter from Pilot - A Con 40 Converter


A press-bar filler is an extremely simple mechanism, not much removed from a bulb or lever filler.  A flexible reservoir is held inside a protective cylinder with a window cut in its side.  One pokes a finger through the window to fill, striking not the side of the reservoir but rather a bar which compresses the reservoir more completely for a more efficient filling.

Below is an original modern press-bar filler: the Parker “51” aerometric.

The original modern press-bar filler: the Parker “51” aerometric.

Will any Converter fit my pen?

As with cartridges, some converters are proprietary and will only fit one manufacturer’s pen, while others are not so specific. You may find that some manufacturer’s converters are also somewhat specific to era– i.e most Sheaffer converters won’t fit the earlier pens, and likewise some older Parker converters won’t go in newer pens. Discuss with BD Pens, if you are not sure about your pen.

Disadvantages of Converter

The great disadvantage to converters is that they have a much smaller capacity than the cartridges they replace, because the mechanism takes up space that might otherwise be full of ink.  For most of us, this is not a great issue, but those facing unusually large demands for writing might want to stick with cartridges, or consider a different pen with a more voluminous filler system.

Pilot Converters and their ink capacity

There are 6 different types of converters are available from Pilot. Check the picture below.

Pilot Fountain Pen Converter
  1. Squeeze converter for long/short pen (I think it’s a CON-W): 0.6 ml.
  2. Generic squeeze converter, found in low end pens like the 78G or Birdie: 0.7 ml.
  3. CON-20, squeeze converter: 0.7 ml.
  4. CON-50, piston: 0.5 ml.
  5. CON-70, pump: 1.0 ml.
  6. The most modern Pilot pens use CON-40 model, twsit: 0.6ml (check the picture below)
Pilot con 40 converter

Lamy Converters 

Lamy converters, the more generic Z26 on the left, while to the right is the Z24 specific to the Safari line; notice the little lugs on the sides that snap into holes in the back of the section: 0.8 ml either way. Some Parker pens will admit the Z26, but I haven’t got an exhaustive list– if you’re trying it, go gently, because it might bind in the section or the barrel.

Lamy Fountain Pen Converter

Some International Converters and their ink capacity

Below are three International Standard sized Converter for example, there are many, if you have a question regarding to any specific model, feel free to ask BD Pens.

International Standard Fountain Pen Converter
  1. Rotring converter: 0.7 ml.
  2. Pelikan converter: 0.8 ml.
  3. Waterman converter: 0.7 ml.  Newer versions have more plastic and less metal at the mouth, but the capacity is the same.

In conclusion,

Using a converter in a fountain pen offers a range of benefits, including expanded ink selection, cost savings, eco-friendliness, improved writing experience, and convenient refilling. Whether you are a seasoned fountain pen user or just starting out, using a converter is definitely worth considering. So why not give it a try and see for yourself why so many people prefer this method of filling their fountain pens.

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