How good is a fountain pen
Piston filler - giving meaning to words in style
- A piston filler does not need any cartridges - instead it has a reservoir that is filled with ink via negative pressure.
- Piston fillers seldom need to be refilled due to their large capacity. They do not cause plastic waste and are very environmentally friendly.
- Due to their particularly high-quality materials, some piston fillers are considered status symbols and can cost several thousand euros.
Piston fountain pen with gold-plated stainless steel nib from Pelikan
- Noble design
- gold-plated stainless steel nib
- Shaft made of precious resin
- Edition green marbled
- Spring in strength B
Piston fountain pen with shaft made of polycarbonate by LAMY
- Polycarbonate shaft
- Stainless steel trim
- 14 carat gold nib, platinum refined
- Spring in strength B
Pelikan piston fountain pen with gold-plated stainless steel nib
- gold-plated stainless steel nib
- High quality material
- Cap with gold-plated beak clip
- Ink viewing window
- Nib width B
Faber-Castell fountain pen with barrel made of high-grade resin (black)
- Black precious resin shaft
- Parquet design
- solid, high-gloss chrome-plated metal
- spring-loaded metal clip
- Stainless steel spring in size M
Guide: special features of piston fillers
Piston fillers now have a tradition of almost 100 years. Their predecessor models were still filled in the classic way with a pipette - here, however, blotches and colored fingers were the order of the day. The solution was provided by the Pelikan brand in 1929 with a device they called differential pistons. With the help of a screw mechanism with two threads, ink was drawn directly from the keg into the fountain pen with small rotary movements. This piston mechanism has hardly changed to this day and is still used by many manufacturers of stationery.
Nowadays, the piston mechanism shines above all because no ink cartridges are required. This is more environmentally friendly, you avoid compatibility problems due to different cartridge sizes and you have a much larger range of colored inks available.
Sure, admittedly, in the age of digitization, handwritten notes and documents have moved more and more into the background. In some Scandinavian countries, cursive script has even been removed from the curriculum. Nevertheless, a carefully handwritten document shows special appreciation, style, class and continues to enjoy constant popularity.
They are used particularly frequently in these areas of application:
- And much more.
Piston fountain pens stand for a particularly high-quality, confident and careful writing experience. Let's take a closer look at what this is all about in the following information.
Material and components: How is a piston filler constructed?
Piston fountain pens hold the ink directly in their body, do not require cartridges and - similar to converter fountain pens - are filled directly from the inkwell. Pictures say louder than words - so that you can better imagine the mechanism, take a quick look at this video:
The structure and functions of all piston fountain pens are very similar - there are, however, major differences in quality. Some brands focus exclusively on functionality, rely on plastic and are available for as little as 5 euros.
But there are also very high-quality and high-priced piston fillers. The materials used for this leave little to be desired. From high-quality woods and gold, silver to diamond setting, there is not much left that does not exist and so piston fountain pens are now also considered works of art and status symbols. Since particularly high-quality nibs are used here, they stand for a particularly pleasant writing experience and beautiful typeface.
Regardless of the different materials and designs, the structure of the piston filler is usually very similar. It consists of these components:
The material of the nib has a great influence on the typeface and writing feel. Gold is best suited for this. However, since pure gold is too soft and would abrade when you write, 14 or 18 carat gold is used. The tip of the nib is also provided with a platinum pen.
But there are also cheaper variants - here the springs are usually made of stainless steel. They don't write as softly, but they are cheap, very robust and also more durable.
Some manufacturers also choose to join forces with both materials and offer gold-plated stainless steel springs. These are coated with a thin layer of gold, are stable and, above all, look good.
The body contains the piston device - the most important unique selling point of a piston filler. Two threads allow the piston to be moved in and out with only a slight turning movement and the ink is sucked out of the barrel. The ink reservoir of piston fillers is very large, which is why you rarely have to refill them. Incidentally, this general functionality hardly differs between the respective fountain pens - no matter which materials are used. As already mentioned, the spectrum ranges from plastic to high-quality woods, metals, resins, gold, silver and Co.
Incidentally, piston fillers are usually designed symmetrically - they can be used equally by right and left-handers. Some fountain pens also have an ink window (mostly made of plastic) on the body. In this way you can see at an early stage when a filler should be topped up. However, high-priced manufacturers in particular often do without this viewing window for aesthetic reasons and rely more on a minimalist design than on this functionality.
A plug-on cap is generally not recommended and is only very rarely available for piston fillers - it just comes off too easily. Instead, a cap with a screw thread is recommended. You should only clean them regularly with water so that the thread does not stick.
It is not uncommon for caps to have a fastening clip - here you should make sure that it is tensioned correctly. If it is too tight, marks can appear, for example on clothing. If it is too loose, the pen can be lost quickly.
Advantages and disadvantages of the piston filler
It is often of very high quality, ensures a particularly beautiful typeface and is also very environmentally friendly. But a piston filler has even more advantages:
What does a piston filler cost?
There is a large selection: you can get piston fillers made of plastic (and used if necessary) for as little as 5 euros. The price range can vary greatly here. If you see the piston fountain pen more as a status symbol, value unusual designs, gold, silver and inserted crystals, you can expect several hundred euros per pen.
You can buy piston fillers online (e.g. on Amazon, ebay and Co.), from the manufacturer or in common stationery stores.
Important purchase criteria - the piston filler
When looking for a piston filler, the functionality, materials and design will probably convince you first. But there is more to look out for. We have put together a few criteria for you:
Clean & maintain piston filler
With regular use, it is sufficient to rinse the mouthpiece once a year under lukewarm water. If you rarely use the pen, we recommend cleaning it every six months. If you use colored ink outside of royal blue, it has more pigments - so you should clean the fountain pen here even more often. (This also applies if you change the ink color, by the way.)
If you want to clean the plunger, you pull the plunger filler several times with lukewarm water. Then turn the water out until it is no longer discolored. Important: The rotating end of the fountain pen must not be submerged to prevent it from entering the mechanism.
So that your fountain pen will last a long time regardless of this, always close it with a cap and do not expose it to excessive temperatures. If you are not going to use your pen for a long time, it is best to store it empty and dry.
If the filler has actually dried out, some manufacturers also offer special cleaning fluids - but these are not always suitable for all materials. The best thing to do is to just follow the instructions and follow the steps outlined on them.
Popular manufacturers - Pelikan, Lamy, Montblanc
Piston fountain pens are the classic among fountain pens and are usually offered by stationery manufacturers, also for shipping. You can find some popular ones here:
You can get piston fillers online, directly from the manufacturer, in stationery stores and also in shopping centers.
Other popular brands are:
- Faber Castell
- Wing Sung
- And much more.
FAQ - the most important questions about piston fillers
|How do I fill a piston filler?||It's relatively quick and easy. You turn the plunger filler fully counterclockwise. Then you dip the nib completely into the ink and suck it in by turning the plunger back completely clockwise. Then put a few drops of ink back into the glass by turning the plunger back a little counterclockwise. Last but not least, hold the pen up and turn the piston back completely - this will also allow the remaining air to escape and you can start writing.|
|How are piston fillers made?||That is different. In the cheaper segment in particular, however, fillers are often made by machine. If you are more interested in high-priced brands, production is often done manually.|
History of piston mechanics: https://www.pelikan.com/pulse/Pulsar/de_D…
Clean piston filler:
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