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Ink Bottle vs. Cartridges

Discussion in 'General Attire & Accoutrements' started by Davep, Jun 30, 2009.

  1. Davep

    Davep One of the Regulars

    Any difference or advantage/disadvantages, in using one or the other or changing back and forth?
  2. SweetieStarr

    SweetieStarr A-List Customer

    The main advantage of using bottled ink over cartridges is that bottled ink works out to be less expensive than cartridges in the long run. I also find there is a greater selection of colors in bottled ink rather than carts. Also, you have to make sure that the type of carts you buy fit their intended pen(s).

    Aside from that, there is usually less risk of making a mess with carts. Otherwise, it doesn't really matter.

    You can also change between carts and converters, or even refill your carts with bottled ink.

    If you excuse the shameless plug, there are reviews of inks at my website (www.plume-etoile.com) if you are interested in reading them.

    I hope this helped! I am happy to answer more questions if you have them.
  3. Naphtali

    Naphtali Practically Family

    Unless something has changed, Noodler's indelible inks (especially Polar Blue and Polar Black) are not available in disposable cartridges. So far as I am concerned, this is a hammer for bottled ink -- that is, Noodler's.

    Hope this helps.
  4. Dixon Cannon

    Dixon Cannon My Mail is Forwarded Here

    Dave, funny you should ask that - I just filled my Mont Blanc cartridge from my Quink bottle for the one millionth time. I've been doing it for some twenty-five years! I have a small syringe which I fill from the bottle and just fill the cartridges (2) from the top. They still fit in the pen nice and snug and never leak. The bottle of ink lasts for decades it seems. Try it!..you'll like it!

    -dixon 'quink' cannon
    navetsea likes this.
  5. Got ink?

    Cartridges are a good choice if you are traveling, because in that way you don't have to bring a bottle along with you. In addition, if your pen uses a long cartridge, such as most Parkers, your pen will usually carry more ink than if you were to use a filler device (like converter or lever-fill). However, if you want variety of ink, then bottles can't be topped (pun was not intended, but I kind of like itlol).
  6. For some people cartridges are easier to deal with, but you have a smaller choice of inks and colors to use with cartridges. Also not all cartridges are the same design and it is possible that you may not be able to find your style when traveling or in the future they can be discontinued.

    Many cartridge style fountain pens will take a converter which replaces the cartridge and allows for filling from the bottle. The disadvantage there is that the capacity is often smaller so refilling is more often. The advantage of filling from any bottle of fountain pen ink allows for more choices and availability.

    A converter allows you to flush the pen out, to clean it much more easily than with a cartridge, which makes for a happier pen and better writing experience.

    There are some pens that are bottle fill only such as higher end Pelikan and Montblanc and their capacity is quite large. Older pens that are vintage or some re-issues will often have a bladder or rubber sac that is the filler with a variety of levers plungers buttons and such to fill the bladder.

    Bottle fill allows for great choice and can also be an excuse to mix inks of the same brand to create new personal colors, for use in your pens. You may find some pens work better with one ink and not so hot with another.

    I have pretty much removed cartridge only pens from my collection moving to bottle fill exclusively in the last few years.
  7. and since no one has really answered the second part..

    there is no issue switching back and forth, as long as the pen you have is cartridge/converter......

    which means there is a converter that acts like a -permanent- cartridge for the pen. Use the converter...it works like a bottled ink pen. Use the cartridge that fits the pen...and its a cartridge pen. Its -magic- :D

    However...if you have a pen of the otherwise filling type, (piston, lever...etc)...you are -stuck- with bottled ink.
  8. SweetieStarr

    SweetieStarr A-List Customer

    A note of caution if you are new to inks. Different inks and brands have different pH levels and mixing them could create an adverse reaction that can clog the pen. There are many people who mix inks with no problem, but it is something to consider. If you want to try mixing inks, I would use a cheap pen instead of something like a prized vintage pen, just in case there is a problem with the mixture.
  9. Davep

    Davep One of the Regulars

    Thank you all very much, I got something from each post ;)

    Cleaning/flushing the pen? How do you do this and How often?

    The pen I'm getting say it takes cartridge and can be filled. Does that mean I will be removing something, in order to switch it from "fill" to "cartridge"?

    Also thanks for the website;)
  10. As I wrote above mixing with in the same brand is less likely to have problems.

    Private Reserve is designed to mix without problems.

    Mix and let stand over night if you are experimenting with different brands and avoid using mixtures that have particulates falling out that may clog the pen or strain thru a coffee filter to avoid the schmutz.

    It's not likely you will create something more powerful than sulphuric acid that will instantly disolve both pen and flesh.
  11. SweetieStarr

    SweetieStarr A-List Customer

    You are welcome. I hope you enjoy it and let me know if you have more questions.

    Cleaning/flushing routines vary. If you are changing ink colors, you want to flush before each ink change, so that you do not mix inks. If you are sticking with the same ink, you can just flush periodically for maintenance.

    How you flush depends on what pen you use. For vintage pens that have sacs, you just need to fill the pen with water (just like you would with ink) and then pull the lever (or other filling mechanism) to let the water out. Do this a few times or until the water runs clear.

    It sounds like you are getting a cartridge/converter pen, so what you would do is take out the cart or converter, flush the nib by running it under room temperature water under the faucet until the water runs clear. As for the converter, keep filling it with room temp water and then releasing the water (rinse and repeat, lol) until the water is clear and the ink is out. Then reinsert the converter and refill with your next choice of ink!

    When you are changing cartridges, you will always have to take the empty cart out to insert a new one. Make sure the opening of the cart punctures when you insert it into the pen or the ink won't flow. :) If you use the converter, take the cartridge out and insert the converter, then dip the nib of your pen into the ink and fill it. If you keep using the converter, you can leave it in the pen, unless you want to flush, as described above.

    Which pen are you getting?

    Have you ever had a new fountain pen that just won't write well? You’ve filled it with your favorite ink and it skips or won't write at all. Well friend, the culprit may be releasing agents, grease or oils left over from manufacturing that is interfering with the delivery of ink.

    Stylofiles magazine gave this pointer, which they do on every fountain pen before testing it for their article. But use caution, you may damage a pen if the chemicals attack a part, so no long term soaking! Bare aluminum is most susceptible to chemical damage of the metals but even steel will corrode if left soaking in chemically laden water. Celluloid is fairly strong but damage is possible if left in soaking too long. Casein should neither be soaked nor have any chemicals applied to it, it’s very susceptible to damage. The caveat: Do NOT DAMAGE YOUR PENS! We are not responsible for any damages to pens!

    Take regular Formula 409 and a small glass like a cordial or shot glass. Spray some 409 in the glass and mix with 3 to 4 parts of COLD water. Dip the nib and feed in the mixture then fill and flush the converter or filling system with the mixture for 1 or 2 minutes. Then replace the mixture with plain COLD water and flush for a minute replace water and flush repeat replacing and flushing again and again for a couple more minutes so no trace of the Formula 409 remains. Then fill with new, clean ink. The writing should be much improved if the oil or grease was the culprit. Be sure to empty the pen of all ink first then flush with plain water before using the cleaning mixture. Always use COLD water as warm or hot can damage the feed!

    This is supposed to work on both new and older pens that are
    presenting a skipping on no flow challenge. Stylus Magazine and some pen aficionados contend that both Formula 409 and Simple Green are too harsh to use on pens. Their alternate flusher and cleaner is a solution you can easily mix up. Mix 1 Tablespoon of Clear Household Ammonia to 2/3rds cup of Cold Water. Flush with this mixture and then flush thoroughly with PLAIN cold water to remove any residue as listed above for version one.
  13. SweetieStarr

    SweetieStarr A-List Customer

    Have you tried the 409 version and if so, how did it work? I have only heard of the ammonia version and I agree the 409 could be too harsh.
  14. The 409 version works well and never gave me a problem. Stylophiles was well regarded. The ammonia one is good too.
  15. Lou

    Lou One of the Regulars

    I have a Waterman Kultur that takes cartridges, a Sheaffer Valiant that uses bottled ink, and a Lamy Al-Star with a converter. I prefer filling with bottled ink and having the much bigger color selection, but having a pen with cartridge convenience is nice.
  16. Dixon Cannon

    Dixon Cannon My Mail is Forwarded Here

    DaveP, I found that my MontBlanc converter leaked early on. That's when I began just filling the cartridges instead. About twice a year I dismantle the old Meisterstuck and drop into a glass of water. That dissolves any old dried ink, clears out the nip and brings it back into shape for the next six months or so. I just do it on whim if it looks like it needs it. My MontBlanc is now twenty-five years old and going strong!

    -dixon cannon
  17. Davep

    Davep One of the Regulars

    For my unit, I'm the company clerk. So I was taken by "pens" to use as part of our barracks impression, and to use it for signing guys on the roster, and to give out weekend passes. And eventually to make "hand written letters" from home addressed to each member (together with easy to reproduce v-mail).

    I first was thinking about getting a Conklin Glider, after seeing it on the Allied Workshop Page.

    But then looking for what else Conklin had I found the "Victory Pen" which was made for soldiers. So that is the one I'm starting with. should get it tommorrow.

    From there I think I will start exploring pens that would have been available to a soldier in WW2. Should be an interesting study.

    The only problem I have with foundation pen, was the last time I used one, I was a kid in school. And I found myself playing with the nib, touching the black area, and getting ink on my hands :D Hopefully I won't be tempted to play with it again/
  18. SweetieStarr

    SweetieStarr A-List Customer

    Sounds great! I'm glad you started with the Victory, since it is less expensive then the Glider. The Victory got some fine reviews and I am interested to hear what other period pens you find in your study.

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