It’s All About the Pistons

It’s All About the Pistons

Not all fountain pens have the same filling system. Some use disposable cartridges, some use converters, some require an eyedropper to refill their ink cavities, and some have built-in piston filling systems.  

Why Are Piston Filling Fountain Pens Good? 

These fountain pens are particularly nice because they are easy to use, easy to clean, and they hold larger volumes of ink than many alternative models. For an in-depth explanation of this topic, subscribe to the Truphae YouTube channel, and watch our video “It’s All About the Pistons.” 


Don’t have time right now? That’s alright! We’ve provided the most important information below, starting with information on how to fill a fountain pen. 

How to Fill a Piston Fountain Pen: 

  1. Turn the bottom end of your fountain pen until the plunger piston moves all the way down its body cavity and reaches the backside of your pen’s nib. 
  2. Dip the nib of your fountain pen into the ink bottle of your choice until you have submerged its breather hole in the liquid. If you’re not sure how far to dip your pen, you can cover a tiny bit of your grip section to be safe. Doing so will only mean you have more excess ink to wipe off after filling; it won’t damage your pen.
  3. Turn the bottom of your pen in the opposite direction to draw your ink up through the body of your pen, filling its cavity. 
  4. When you have filled your pen to the desired level, twist the piston again to release a few drops of ink. This step regulates the pressure in your pen’s ink cavity and ensures you won’t have any hard-starting when you write because the nib is already saturated with ink. 
  5. Gently wipe the excess ink from your pen using a lint free cloth. 

(See this step-by-step guide for more details.)

Fountain Pen Filling Hack

To make your fountain pen experience even cleaner and simpler, follow Tim’s video instructions on using a TWISBI bottle to fill your piston system with ink. HIs hack will save you time and spare you the hassle of any messy cleanup.  

The Best Piston Filling Fountain Pens

If you’re wanting to try your hand at using a piston filling fountain pen, we recommend you consider one of these: 

Are piston fountain pens too intimidating to you? We understand! In that case, you might want to check out our post “Cartridge Fountain Pens: Love Them or Hate Them?”  There are simpler ways to refill ink while still maintaining the edgy sophistication of using a fountain pen! Whatever your style is, we wish you happy writing! 

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1 comment

  • Donald Packham

    I wonder why Aurora fountain pens such as the Optima and 88 have not been mentioned as one of the recommended piston fillers as I am sure they are certainly equal to those mentioned.

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