If you've never used a fountain pen before, congratulations. Fountain pens do require some care and maintenance, but writers find it a rewarding way to express themselves creatively in ink. This brief guide will help you get started.
The parts of your fountain pen
Your fountain pen consists of four parts when assembled—the cap, the nib, the barrel, and the ink reservoir. Most reservoirs are either a piston converter, a cartridge or an ink bladder. The converter and ink bladder require fountain pen bottled ink. The cartridge is a self-contained, disposable unit filled with ink.
Removing the barrel
First remove the cap. Then remove the barrel by turning it counterclockwise.
1. Filling with a fountain pen converter
Place the fountain pen, nib first, into the bottle of ink until the nib is entirely covered (Figure A). Twist the piston converter counterclockwise at the top. This forces the air out of the converter. Then twist the top of the piston converter clockwise to draw the ink up into the converter. While holding the nib above the bottle of ink, slowly twist the piston converter counterclockwise until a bead of ink flows from the tip of the nib (Figure B). Gently blot excess ink from the nib with a lint-free cloth or blotter paper.
2. Inserting a fountain pen cartridge
Remove the piston converter by gently pulling it away from the nib. Insert a fountain pen cartridge into the nib and push firmly until the cartridge seats itself. You will hear a small click. You can easily switch between bottled ink and cartridges by rinsing the nib and piston converter with cool water periodically.
3a. Filling with a standard ink bladder
Place the fountain pen, nib first, into the bottle of ink until the nib is entirely covered (Figure A). Press the metal bar to deflate the bladder (Figure B).
Slowly release the metal bar to draw the ink up into the bladder (Figure C). Remove the nib from the ink and gently blot excess ink from the nib with a lint-free cloth or blotter paper.
3b. Filling with a crescent ink bladder
Turn the locking ring to the opening (Figure A). Place the fountain pen, nib first, into the bottle of ink until the nib is entirely covered. Press the crescent in to deflate the bladder (Figure B). Slowly release the crescent to draw the ink up into the bladder (Figure C). Then turn the locking ring back into place so that the crescent cannot be pressed down (Figure D). Gently blot excess ink from the nib with a lint free cloth or blotter paper.
Remember to replace the barrel after you fill up
Twist the barrel of the fountain pen onto the nib section.
Now you’re fueled to write.
TIIPS FOR MAINTAINING YOUR FOUNTAIN PEN
Cleaning your fountain pen
- Unscrew the barrel from the nib section.
- Rinse the nib by filling and emptying it with water (repeat this until the water is clear). Caution: Ink residue will flow out.
- If the pen uses a cartridge/converter, place the nib section into a beaker or other container of clean water and let it soak overnight.
- The water level should completely cover the nib.
- Be sure to use room temperature water. Distilled water will work best (tap water sometimes contains particles which may clog the feed). Never use warm or hot water (heat will expand the inner works of the pen) or alcohol, as these will damage the feed or other parts of the pen.
- Let the nib soak for 10 to 15 minutes, then blot dry with a paper towel. Soak the nib overnight if necessary.
- Wash your pen every few weeks or whenever changing ink colors.
Using your fountain pen
- Do not press hard when writing, as this can damage the nib. A good fountain pen should glide effortlessly across paper.
- Use fresh ink. Do not use bottled ink that is more than a year or two old. If you do use older ink, you should first examine it for any mold that may be growing on the surface. Then stir the old ink to make sure that there are no lumps or sediment on the bottom (a sign that the ink is solidifying). Thinner inks, like Waterman, Sheaffer or Pelikan, are less likely to solidify than thicker inks. And if the ink has not been used for several weeks, shake the bottle before filling the pen, as the ink particles may have settled a bit
- Black ink contains gum arabic. If you allow black ink to dry inside of the nib, it may cause permanent damage. If you do not plan to use your fountain pen for more than a couple of days, clean your fountain pen before the ink has dried.
- Store your ink bottles away from direct sunlight to avoid fading.
- Avoid using chemically treated paper, which usually has a slick feel, because it does not absorb ink well. Ink will collect in the nib and ultimately clog the feed. If your pen skips after using treated paper, wipe the nib with a lint-free cloth. If this does not work, wash the pen out with water.
- When traveling by plane, we recommend that you either fill your converter completely or leave it empty to reduce the risk of leakage. Always keep the nib upright during takeoff. When opening your fountain pen in flight, you should hold the pen upright and remove the cap slowly. Always keep your pen capped when not in use.
- Do not loan your pen to anyone, as the nib will adapt to your writing style (i.e., pressure, angle).
- If your pen doesn't "start" right away (i.e., after not being used for a couple of weeks), ink has probably dried and clogged the nib and/or the feed. To start the ink flowing again, resist the urge to press down hard on the pen. Instead, wet the point of the nib with water or ink of the same color. If that doesn't work, wash the pen out.
Storing your fountain pen
- If you do not plan on using your pen for a prolonged period of time, wash and empty it out before storing it away.
- When not using the pen, keep it stored vertically (i.e., in a cup) with the nib pointing up to prevent ink from settling in and clogging the feed.
If, after following these instructions, you still experience a problem with the flow of ink through the nib, please call our Customer Care Department at 800-544-0880 and one of our care representatives will help you resolve the problem.