A piston-filler is essentially a large syringe, where you twist the back of the pen to pull up the inner plunger/piston, which draws up ink. Ink then sits in your barrel.

 

Step 0: You need a bottle of ink and your pen, uncapped.

Step 1: Twist the back of your pen, the piston knob, until the inside plunger goes as far down as possible.

Step 2: Dip your pen into the bottle of ink until the nib is fully submerged.

Step 3: Twist the piston knob in the opposite direction to draw up ink.

Step 4: Wipe off the grip section and nib of excess ink.

 

 

Step 1: Twist the back of your pen, the piston knob, until the inside plunger goes as far down as possible.

 

Step 2: Dip your pen into the bottle of ink until the nib is fully submerged.

 

 

Step 3: Twist the piston knob in the opposite direction to draw up ink.

 

 

Step 4: Wipe off the grip section and nib of excess ink.

 

 

It is fine if your barrel isn’t completely filled, as it will of course empty slowly over time anyways. If you’d like it full, you can empty the ink back into the bottle and draw up again.

 

To clean your piston-filler, draw up clean water, push it out, back and forth, until the water runs clean. If it’s mostly clear, you can also leave the pen filled with water and then leave it overnight. The next day the last residues of ink can be flushed out.

 

The main advantage of a piston-filler over a cartridge/converter fountain pen is that you can hold a lot of ink. Another thing people like about it is that a lot of piston fillers have clear or translucent barrels, so you can see the ink.

 

The fountain pen in the photos is the TWSBI Mini White Rosegold.

 

***

 

A hundred years ago I wrote a blog post outlining how to fill a piston-filler fountain pen. We do have a postcard with instructions and photos that we give out in store, but now that we’re online only, sometimes the staff share the link with customers who need some instructions.

 

I’ve recently stumbled back across it, and the pictures were awful and horrifying and every time I see it I’m terrifically embarrassed. I can see visions of the terrible photography floating around behind my eyelids when I go to sleep at night. I’m doing this new thing in life where I try to embarrass myself less, so here is an updated blog post.

 

Caleb has become proficient at filling fountain pens so he is now my hand model, in between zoom classes.

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July 04, 2021 — Liz Chan

Comments

Zuzanna

Zuzanna said:

Thank-you, Caleb. It is always easier to follow instructions when someone demonstrates the process so well.

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