Ink Filling For Vintage Pens

How to refil Your Vintage Fountain Pen

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Security Eyedropper or Piston Stopper Eyedropper

This "system" is found exclusively on Japanese pens, and can be considered a variant of the plunger filler of the Onoto, from which it was probably inspired. On a mechanical level, in fact, the mechanism is essentially identical, but in this case it is not used to fill the pen, but only to block the flow of ink to the nib when the pen is closed. It is not known an inventor of this mechanism, that it is found on around all Japanese pens produced until the years '30 from companies like the Pilot and the Sailor.

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The pen is filled by unscrewing the nib group and inserting the ink directly into the body of the pen, as for the ordinary eyedropper filler. However, to avoid possible losses, which would be disastrous for the traditional clothing of the Japanese (the kimono), the pens equipped with this system are equipped with a piston mounted on a shaft operated through the bottom of the pen.

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When the bottom is screwed on, the piston, which serves exclusively as a blocking valve, comes into contact with the nib group, blocking the access of the ink to the same, so as to prevent any possible leakage.

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Lever Filling Mechanism

This is where I tell the story of an Iconic brand. The lever filling fountain pen was presented in 1908 and Sheaffer was the first company to successfully market it. Most pen makers adopted the lever fill soon thereafter, where it remained dominant until the post war era.
The lever filler is very simple in operation. A lever on the outside pushes a springy bar on the inside. The bar compresses the rubber ink sac. When the lever is released, the ink sac is released, drawing ink into the pen in much the same manner as an eyedropper.

Assuming the lever is intact, lever fillers are very easy to repair if you can get the section off. You'll have to replace any crumbled ink sac (simple enough for trained chimpanzees to do) and possibly a pressure bar if the existing one is snapped or rusted. The hard part is in the initial disassembly.


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