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Pens and Pencils | Reviews and Data

Fountain Pen Cartridge Guide

In theory fountain pen cartridges should be easy — you insert one into your pen and you start writing. In practice, they are rather confusing. Some only work on one brand of pen, some work on lots of pens, but they all look alike. The are not labeled well and the downside of messing up an cartridge installation can be a broken pen (bad) or a leaky cartridge (usually worse).

This guide should help with some of your common fountain pen cartridge questions as well help you visually identify which cartridge is which.

Popular Cartridges Compared

Here is a guide comparing different popular fountain pen cartridges side-by-side.

In the image you can see cartridges ranging from the longest to the shortest: Parker Quink, Lamy T10, Pilot, Platinum, Sailor, Olika (also Hero), and then finally standard international short. This isn’t an exhaustive list, but it should give you some idea of how the cartridges compare.

And here is a side shot of each of the cartridges so you can visually identify them by the opening by which ink flows through once they are punctured.

Visual Guide To Ink Cartridges

Have a drawer full of fountain pen cartridges but can’t figure out which is which? Check out the image below to tell one cartridge from another.

Pilot Cartridge

Pilot’s cartridge is known for its large collar at the open end, making it relatively different from the rest of the cartridges. The  plastic is relatively soft at the bottom so it can be squeezed.

Platinum Cartridge

Platinum cartridges are most easily identified by their tapered shape and metal ball at the insertion end. They are otherwise pretty standard, having a step-down at the front end, a 6 mm outer diameter, and a clear plastic body. Their plastic is on the hard side so it’s a bit difficult to squeeze them and to push some ink out.

Lamy Cartridge

Lamy’s T10 Giant cartridge is one of the most distinctive of the shapes and the most easy to visually identify.

Sailor Cartridge

Sailor’s cartridges are not tapered and are shorter then most of the major types. It’s one of the simplest designed but can be distinguished by the arrow pointing towards the end the ink flows from. This is necessitated by the lack of a taper.

Which Cartridge Does Each Fountain Pen Company Use?

  • Acme – Standard International
  • Ancora – Standard International
  • Aurora – Aurora, Parker, or Lamy
  • Bexley – Standard International
  • Caran d’Ache – Standard International
  • Cartier – Standard International
  • Conklin – Standard International
  • Conway Stewart – Standard International
  • Cross – Cross
  • Delta – Standard International
  • Diplomat – Standard International
  • Dunhill – Standard International
  • Faber Castell – Standard International
  • Itoya – Standard International
  • Jean Pierre Lepine – Standard International
  • Kaweco – Standard International
  • Krone – Standard International
  • Lamy – Lamy
  • Montblanc – Standard International
  • Montegrappa – Standard International
  • Monteverde – Standard International
  • Nakaya – Platinum
  • Namiki – Pilot
  • Omas – Standard International
  • Osmiroid – Standard International
  • Parker – Parker or Aurora
  • Pilot – Pilot
  • Pelikan – Standard International
  • Pentel – Standard International
  • Platinum – Platinum
  • Recife – Standard International
  • Retro 51 – Standard International
  • Rotring – Standard International
  • Sailor – Sailor
  • Schmidt – Standard International
  • Schneider – Standard International
  • Sensa – Standard International
  • Sheaffer – Standard International
  • S.T. Dupont – Standard International
  • Stipula – Standard International
  • Taccia – Standard International
  • Tombow – Standard International
  • Visconti – Standard International
  • Waterford – Standard International
  • Waterman – Standard International
  • Yard O Led – Standard International

Which Cartridges Work Across Companies?

These swaps won’t be recommended by the companies but they will work. They will save you money and are super useful in a pinch.

Aurora fountain pens will generally, but not always take Parker cartridges and/or Lamy cartridges thanks to them all having a thin profile and an opening with an inner diameter that is very close to one another.

(Please email your suggestions for this! We’ll add cartridge hacks as we find them.)