Which Fountain Pens Have a Long-Lasting Ink Capacity?

Aurora Optima Demonstrator Fountain Pen - Red Auroloide w/Chrome Trim
Aurora Optima Demonstrator Fountain Pen – Red Auroloide w/Chrome Trim

If you’re looking for a long-lasting fountain pen, one that writes for a long time before having to refill it with more ink or a new cartridge, which one should you choose?

A fountain pen with a cartridge filling system is convenient when you are on the road and want the convenience of bringing ink refills with you. When you run out of ink just remove the empty cartridge, pop in a new one and you’re ready to go. However, not all ink refill cartridges are created equal. Short standard universal cartridges are easy to buy and many fountain pens use them, but they don’t have a very large ink capacity. Some proprietary ink cartridge brands have a greater ink capacity than others. A few examples of brands with large ink cartridges are Pelikan, LAMY, Parker, Waterman, Aurora and others. Choose a fountain pen that can use large size ink cartridges and you’ll find you get more mileage from your pen before you have to refill. Avoid ink converters since their ink capacity is generally smaller than the ink capacity of ink cartridges.

Aurora Ipsilon Deluxe - Blue with Gold Trim
Aurora Ipsilon Deluxe – Blue with Gold Trim

Using a fountain pen that has a piston filling system or another non-cartridge style filling system can increase your fountain pen’s ink capacity even more, especially if you’re writing with a large pen. For example, a Pelikan Souveran M1000 or M800 (M805) Fountain Pen has a large barrel that can hold plenty of ink! Fountain pens with these types of filling systems do not use ink cartridges, instead the pen is filled with bottled fountain pen ink.

Pelikan Souveran M800 Fountain Pen Black - Medium Nib
Pelikan Souveran M800 Fountain Pen

Maximum ink capacity can be achieved by using an eyedropper fill fountain pen since the entire pen barrel is used as an ink reservoir. The Noodler’s Ahab, Kaweco Sport (Ice or Classic) and Platinum Preppy are examples of fountain pens that can be converted into eyedropper fill. This type of filling system is not recommended for beginners since it can be rather quirky. Often, only 2/3 of the ink can be used before the pen needs to be refilled. Read about the pros and cons of eyedropper fill fountain pens in one of our previous blog posts.

Noodlers Ahab Maximillian Emerald
Noodlers Ahab Maximillian Emerald

Other factors to consider when trying to stretch your ink are nib size and paper type. Fine or extra-fine nibs will lay down less ink than medium or broad nibs. Some types of paper tend to absorb ink and this will use up your ink more quickly.

Days when I know I’m going to be taking extensive notes I usually take 2 or 3 fountain pens with me. I enjoy switching ink colors during a long note taking session and my hand appreciates a change in the type of pen I’m using.

What type of fountain pen would you recommend when you want the ink to last as long as possible?

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8 Reasons to Own an Expensive Fountain Pen

Pilot Metal Falcon Semiflex Nib Fountain Pen - Burgundy
Pilot Metal Falcon Semiflex Nib Fountain Pen – Burgundy

In the age of ten-cent disposable ballpoint pens and digital technology, we’ve been asked why anyone would want to spend a couple of hundred dollars or more on what some feel is a writing instrument of the past – a fountain pen. Here are a few reasons to cherish a fine fountain pen:

  1. Gold Nib. Fans of gold fountain pen nibs will tell you that they feel the writing experience using a gold nib is softer, smoother and more satisfying than using a less expensive steel nib. This isn’t to say that steel nibs can’t be smooth – different metals have different characteristics and some writers say the softness of gold makes for the best nibs. Of course, the price of gold is much higher than steel.
  2. Quality. It has been said that you get what you pay for. When you spend more on an expensive fountain pen the materials used and the craftsmanship will be superior (at least up until a point). It’s like buying jewelry made from genuine gold and gemstones as compared to buying cheap costume jewelry.
  3. Collectible. Limited edition fountain pens are desired by collectors and are often more expensive than regular fountain pens.

    Pelikan Souveran M800 Fountain Pen Black - Medium Nib
    Pelikan Souveran M800 Fountain Pen
  4. Filling System. Some writers prefer a piston-style ink filling system instead of a cartridge/converter filling system. Piston-fill fountain pens are more common among expensive pens.
  5. Family Heirloom. A quality fountain pen can easily last a lifetime and beyond. Many writers today treasure writing with a fountain pen that was used by one of their grandparents. Why not create fond memories by passing along a fountain pen to one of your own children or grandchildren?

    LAMY Dialog Palladium Fountain Pen
    LAMY Dialog Palladium Fountain Pen
  6. Less Waste. A good quality fountain pen will write for years and does not get tossed in the trash when it runs out of ink – instead it gets refilled with your choice of fountain pen ink.
  7. Status. Let’s face it, in those certain situations where status matters, your classy fountain pen will convey a message of success and impeccable taste much more so than a cheap plastic ballpoint will.
  8. Design. Besides being functional writing instruments, some fountain pens are also compact works of art.

Do you write with a high quality fountain pen? Why do you treasure this kind of writing instrument?

Aurora Optima Auroloide Fountain Pen - Blue with Chrome Trim
Aurora Optima Auroloide Fountain Pen
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