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When is a standard ink converter not a standard ink converter? – Writer's Bloc Blog

When is a standard ink converter not a standard ink converter?

(Pelikan standard universal ink converter)

Not too long ago as we were trying to use an ink converter in a new fountain pen we made an interesting discovery. Not all “standard” fountain pen ink converters are created equal. I’m not talking about the filling mechanism, quality, appearance, length or ink capacity, I’m talking about the part of the converter that attaches to the pen. One would assume that all “standard” converters would be able to attach correctly to all pens that take “standard” cartridges and converters, but this simply is not true.

(Monteverde standard international ink converter)

Take for example the standard ink converter made by Pelikan. It is a good price and has a slightly larger ink capacity than some other standard converters, but it does not attach correctly to all pens that take standard converters. I grabbed my collection of school fountain pens and did an experiment. I tried to attach both the Pelikan and the Monteverde standard ink converters to each one of them with varying success. Here are the results:

Type of Fountain Pen Pelikan Converter Monteverde Converter
Pelikan Script X
Borghini ?
Unknown X
Pilot Vortex X

✓ = fit correctly
X = did not fit
? = was not sure

Even though both of the “standard” ink converters, particularly the Pelikan, did not fit all pens equally, short standard universal ink cartridges worked in all of the pens.

(J. Herbin standard universal ink cartridges)

Our conclusion?  If you don’t want any surprises, if possible, buy an ink converter that is the same brand as the pen you plan to use it in. For the most foolproof results stick to short standard universal ink cartridges since they seem to be able to fit into all “standard” fountain pens.

Have you had any similar experiences with fountain pen ink converters?

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4 Replies to “When is a standard ink converter not a standard ink converter?”

  1. Our Twitter follower @PensPaperToo says “Only ever had trouble with the Monteverde on Pelis and Parkers ‘pen end’. Some are too long for certain pens too.”
    Thanks for the insight @PensPaperToo!

  2. THANK YOU for this post! I thought it was just me. I purchased a Pelikan pen several years ago and could NOT get the Pelikan converter to fit on it tightly. I sent the pen back to the place I bought it and they returned it saying that they fit together fine for them. I ended up with a big ink mess. I gave the pen and converter away. No more Pelikans for me!

  3. There can be problems with converters being either too long or too wide to fit inside a pen’s barrel, sometimes, converters with a metal reinforcing ring at the nipple end will be too fat to allow the nipple to properly engage with the feed on the pen.
    With a blunt syringe, a little practice, and some organization refilling cartridge can be quick and easy, I use it with my Kaweco Sports, too small to take a decent converter and Pilot Preras and Capless models too (a proprietary cartridge rather than intl. standard), but the same idea applies, the Pilot cartridge holds a lot more than the CON-20 or CON-59 converters.

  4. I have to agree that not getting the right ink converter can get messy. I have had to learn this the hard way and ever since that incident, I had always gotten the exact ink converter that is meant for the pen that I always use.

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