Fountain pens use ink. This ink is sold in a near-infinite range of colors by a large number of companies. Some inks are sold by the gallon, others are handmade in small batches by artisans who only operate on special orders.
This page will walk through general information and help you on your journey towards finding the best possible fountain pen ink for you.
Two Choices: Cartridge Or Bottle?
Fountain pen ink is generally sold in two styles: in a single-use cartridge or a bottle. A bottle can be used to fill a smaller bottle, a cartridge, a converter, or to fill a pen directly, with some sort of built-in mechanism, like a piston or vacuum. Not all inks are sold in cartridges and not all cartridges fit all pens, so buying ink for your fountain pen almost always becomes a more involved question than you might have expected.
Fountain Pen Cartridges
Ink cartridges can either be of the standardized or proprietary sort. Yes, some companies design cartridges that only work with their pens. It might seem limiting, but this sort of horizontal integration is the norm, not the exception. Think mean fountain pen converters (which convert your cartridge pen to a pen with its own fill mechanism) are proprietary as well.
You can see a list of companies that use the short international cartridge standard at the bottom of this page. The size of this cartridge means that you can usually fit two of them inside of a pen, so you always have a spare handy. And the main advantage of this standard is universality among many (though as you can see, far from all) pens.
And who uses proprietary cartridge types? These are ones that are generally not interchangeable from one company to another (except if by design). This is a short, but highly distinguished list:
- Aurora (Aurora or Parker cartridges)
- Nakaya (Platinum cartridges)
- Namiki (Pilot cartridges)
- Parker (Aurora or Parker cartridges)
Specialty Fountain Pen Inks
Part of what’s special about fountain pens if that the ink is separated from the design of the pen. This allows for a huge variety of inks to be made, since almost every ink will work with almost every pen and every buyer of ink is a potential customer for every ink. Some specialty inks include: quick-drying, pigmented, sheen, shimmer, iron gall, and scented, but these are just general categories within the larger body of fountain pen inks.
Which Companies Use Standard International Cartridges?
- Caran d’Ache
- Conway Stewart
- Faber Castell
- Jean Pierre Lepine
- Retro 51
- S.T. Dupont
- Yard O Led
Fountain Pen Ink Information
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