Fountain Pen Cartridge Compatibility

Fountain Pen Cartridge Compatibility Guide

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Fountain pens are a timeless writing instrument that have been cherished by writers, artists, and pen enthusiasts for centuries. They offer the elegance of handwriting with fluid ink flow and a unique writing experience. 

However, fountain pens store their ink differently than modern gel or ballpoint pens. They have three basic filling systems: cartridge, converter, and built-ins that will change how you use and maintain your pen. For this post, I’ll be talking about fountain pen cartridges.

Choosing the right cartridge for your fountain pen can be daunting, given the vast array of options available in today’s market. To help you choose the correct cartridge, we’ve compiled a guide on fountain pen cartridge compatibility to assist you in finding the right fit for your specific pens.

Fountain Pen Cartridge Compatibility Guide
Long: Waterman
Short: Kaweco
Proprietary: Pilot

Types of Fountain Pen Cartridges 

A fountain pen cartridge is a device that allows you to fill your fountain pen with bottled ink instead of using disposable cartridges. Several fountain pen cartridges are available today, but they break down into two main categories: Standard International and proprietary cartridges.

Standard International Cartridge 

The Standard International cartridges are widely used in fountain pens. International size cartridges come in both short and long sizes. Many manufacturers such as Kaweco, Faber-Castell, and Monteverde create cartridges to this standard specification. As long as they are labeled as “Standard International” they can be used interchangeably in other fountain pens that also take standard international. 

While they come in long and short sizes, the only difference is the amount of ink they hold and, obviously, the length of the cartridge. Almost any pen that accepts standard international cartridges will work with both with the exception of very short-barreled pens such as the Kaweco Sport. Short cartridges hold about 0.8 ml of ink while the long holds 1.4 ml. See my guide to the Best International Short Cartridges.

Shop for Short Cartridges

Shop for Long Cartridges

Proprietary Cartridges 

On the other hand, some manufacturers have created their own proprietary cartridges that will only work with their pens and may only work with a specific pen and not all of their products. Notable brands that use proprietary sizes are LAMY, Montblanc, Parker, Pilot, and Platinum.

Fountain Pen Cartridge Compatibility Chart

To ensure you choose the correct cartridge for your fountain pen, it’s always best to check the manufacturer’s recommendations. As an overview, I’ve created a chart to show the compatibility of top pen brands and their cartridge.

Pen BrandCartridge Type
BenuStandard International
BexleyStandard International
Caran d’AcheStandard International
ConklinStandard International
EdisonStandard International
EsterbrookStandard International
Faber-CastellStandard International
Franklin-ChristophStandard International
Graf von Faber-CastellStandard International
KawecoStandard International 1
LabanStandard International
Leonardo Officina ItalianaStandard International
LOCLENStandard International
MontegrappaStandard International
MonteverdeStandard International
Noodler’s InkProprietary
PelikanStandard International
PineiderStandard International
Porsche DesignStandard International
Retro 1951Standard International
rOtringStandard International
SchmidtStandard International
S.T. DupontStandard International
TacciaStandard International
TWSBIStandard International
ViscontiStandard International
WaterfordStandard International
WatermanStandard International
YstudioStandard International
**These pen brands use multiple cartridge styles. Please consult with the manufacturer’s use and care guide or do some research online to find which specific refill is compatible with your pen. You may also contact us if you’re not sure.

1 Kaweco Sport Pocket Fountain Pens use the standard international small cartridges. Other full-size Kaweco pens ucan use any standard international cartridge.
2 Sailor’s Chalana fountain pen uses specific slim cartridges. All other Sailor fountain pens (except for the Realo) use the Sailor standard cartridges.

How to Install a Fountain Pen Cartridge

Filling a fountain pen cartridge is less tricky than filling a converter and is perfect for those on the go, or that want as little mess as possible with their fountain pen., it’s very easy.  

  1. Unscrew the barrel from the grip section.
  2. Find the correct end of the cartridge. This will be the small cup-like end.
  3. Insert the new cartridge into the opening in the grip section.
  4. Press the cartridge firmly into the grip section.
  5. Let the pen rest with the nib down for an hour or two.

For a more in-depth look, check out our guide on How to Install a Foutain Pen Cartridge.

Cartridges are a great way to refill your fountain pens on the go or with as little mess as possible. You can change our colors to create different writing styles. However, finding the right cartridge for your fountain pen can be tricky, especially if you have a collection of pens from various brands. 

Hopefully we’ve been able to provide valuable information on the compatibility of popular fountain pen cartridges with different brands of fountain pens. With this knowledge, you can select the right cartridge that fits perfectly with your favorite fountain pen and enjoy a seamless writing experience every time.

If you have any questions, check out our FAQs below or leave a comment, and we’ll try to help you out with your fountain pen problems.

Fountain Pen FAQs

What is a fountain pen cartridge?

A fountain pen ink cartridge is a small disposable capsule that comes filled with ink. The cartridge attaches to the fountain pen feed and supplies the pen with ink. When the cartridge runs out of ink, you simply swap out the cartridge for a new one.

What’s the Difference Between The Long and Short Standard International Cartridges?

The only difference between the short and long cartridges is the amount of ink they hold and, obviously, the length of the cartridge. Short cartridges hold about 0.8 ml of ink while the long holds 1.4 ml.

Almost any pen that accepts standard international cartridges will work with both with the exception of very short-barreled pens such as the Kaweco Sport. So if you are looking to buy one of the standard cartridges, first see if your pen can hold a long cartridge. If it does, you then need to decide if you want your cartridge to last longer or if you’re okay changing out inks more often.

What is the best fountain pen for beginners?

As a beginner in the world of fountain pens, it can be overwhelming to choose the best option for your needs. Many beginner fountain pens come with cartridges, but can also accommodate a converter if you wish up take your fountain pen to the next level. Here are some recommendations for the best fountain pen with converter for beginners:

  1. LAMY Safari
  2. Pilot Metropolitan
  3. Kaweco Sport

For more recommendations for beginner users, check out our post Here.

Should I shake my fountain pen before writing?

While it might be tempting to get your ink flowing by shaking a pen, it’s not a great idea. Shaking the pen may cause the ink to come out too quickly, spraying ink around the room. If your pen isn’t writing, you can let your pen rest nib down for a few hours, or add a few drops of water to the nib. For more help, check out our guide on what to do if your fountain pen won’t write

Can I refill a cartridge-based fountain pen without a converter or a piston?

It may be possible to do this and it is called an eyedropper conversion. I wouldn’t recommend doing this for beginners because if done incorrectly can be a huge mess. However, if you would like to, you need to make sure your fountain pen barrel is airtight. For more help, see our guide here on how to do an eyedropper conversion

Do LAMY pens only work with LAMY Cartridges?

Yes. LAMY Cartridges are proprietary so LAMY pens will only work with LAMY cartridges. However, if you want to use ink from a different brand you can buy a LAMY converter and add any fountain pen ink you want.

Do fountain pens work with gel ink?

That’s a big No. You shouldn’t add any ink into your fountain pen that isn’t specified as fountain pen ink. Using ink that’s not meant for fountain pens, such as calligraphy ink, gel ink, or drawing ink, can cause leaking, clogging, poor ink flow, or possibly corrosion of the fountain pen’s components. 

How often do you have to refill a fountain pen?

That depends on your fountain pen, the filling system, your ink, and how much you write. If you write multiple pages a day, you may need to refill daily, or at least every 2-3 days. If you only write occasionally, your pen may last you weeks or months.

It’s a good idea to clean your pen between refills, or at least every few times, and definitely clean if you are changing ink types or colors as the mixing inks can cause clogs or corrosion of the pen’s parts.

Learn more about How Fountain Pens Work Here.

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