April 20, 2018 2 min read

When using a fountain pen you have two options for ink.

One is using bottled ink and an ink converter and the second option is pre-filled ink cartridges.

This guide will show you how to use ink cartridges. Ink cartridges are a convenient way to fill your fountain pen with ink as they come pre-filled and sealed so they can easily be carried with you.

Some brands use their own proprietary cartridges such as Pilot pens which only accept Pilot brand cartridges, where as others take a standardised size so you can use multiple brands. Check out this table for a rundown of popular brands.

Brand Cartridge Type
Pilot Proprietary 
Platinum Proprietary
Faber-Castell/Graf Von Faber-Castell International Standard
Traveler's Company International Standard
Super5 International Standard
TWSBI Doesn't take cartridges
Waterman International Standard
Cross Proprietary
Lamy Proprietary
Parker Proprietary
Visconti International Standard

Regardless of which brand you choose, you can follow these same steps to use ink cartridges in your pen.

Start by unscrewing the barrel section of your pen. If you have previously used an ink cartridge in your pen you will see it attached as per the photo above. If your pen is new and you haven't used it before, skip the next step.

Holding the pen with the nib (writing tip) pointing upwards, pull on the used cartridge to remove it and then discard.

Take a new ink cartridge and the nib section of your pen. You will see a small black prong inside the section of the pen, this is what the ink cartridge attaches onto. Push the end of the cartridge with the lip onto the pen, it will pierce a hole in the cartridge to allow ink to flow out and be held in place.

If this is the first time you have filled your fountain pen with ink you will need to leave it with the nib facing down for a few minutes to allow the ink to flow through before it will start writing. You can speed up the process by giving the cartridge a gentle squeeze before assembling your pen.

Enjoy writing with your new fountain pen!