INK... the most essential part of any pen

INK... the most essential part of any pen


Whethey you are writing with a old fashioned feather quill, or a $.05 dollar store pen or a $250 custom made fine writing implement they all rely on ink to get your thoughts on paper. But there are great differences in the quality of ink and how it is delivered from pen to paper. Here are some of the basics.


Ballpoint Pens Ballpoint twist pens have a transmission that extends the ballpoint refill forward. These generally come in a “Cross™ or Parker™ style” refill that have a “paste” type of ink. There’s a spring at the nib end of the refill. The Cross™ style is the least expensive refill with the least expensive mechanism consequently a favorite for beginners. Users often prefer a Parker™ style because of a larger ink reservoir and better writing characteristics. .


Rollerball Pens use a refill that has a liquid ink reservoir. They don’t have a twist mechanism and come with a removable cap that can be posted onto the end of the pen, which keeps the airflow away from the tip that may dry out the ink. They insert into the pen cavity with a spring at the back end pressing the point through the nib. Many writers prefer rollerball pens since the liquid water based ink applies more smoothly than a ballpoint. Rollerball refills are often German-made, and available in multiple colors of ink. Rollerball kits don’t have transmission mechanism, but usually have threaded more elegant components (i.e. to attach and post the cap) making them more expensive.


Fountain Pens are a traditional favorite style pen that has an ink cartridge, ink pump, nib and removable cap like the Rollerball. These inks are water based. The ink refill cartridge simply presses into a pin located on the back end of the fountain pen nib. Most Fountain pen nibs are German-made with iridium tips. Fountain Pens and Rollerball pens have a similar construction and in most cases, Rollerball nibs and refills can interchange with Fountain pen nibs and ink cartridges.


Fountain pens can use either a prefilled ink cartridge or a refillable piston pump mechanism.