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Pen Refills Information

We offer a range of branded and some compatible pen refills to choose from to refill your pen, and below we have tried to explain the relative merits of the different types.

Writing Ink

Fluids used for writing and printing. Ancient inks often used lampblack (carbon black), a finely ground pigment dispersed in oil and stabilized with the addition of a vegetable gum. Most modern writing inks for fountain pens use water soluble dyes and a combination of chemicals to give the desired viscosity, intensity or colour, wetting, flow characteristics and drying.

Ink Cartridges

Usually a disposable plastic tube containing ink that is inserted onto the feed of a nib unit and into the barrel of the fountain pen. A tube in the nib section punctures the cartridge and allows ink via capillarity onto the feed and then the nib. Ink cartridges are available for many modern makes of fountain pen, with most manufacturers using international ink cartridges which are a standard size.


A writing instrument that utilizes a ball bearing as the writing tip that transfers an oil based ink from the pen to the writing surface. The first patent for a ballpoint was granted in 1888 in America to John J. Loud, which was followed by a series of patents and ideas which kept appearing in one guise or another. From the 1930s Lazlo Jozsef Biro, a Hungarian, was granted a series of patents that refined the concept of a ball pen and ultimately lead to the demise of the fountain pen and rise in popularity of the ballpoint pen in the 1950s. Some are available in 0.5mm fine, 0.7mm medium and 1mm broad.


A writing instrument that uses a ball bearing similar to a standard ballpoint pen, but is designed to use a water based ink. Rollerball refills are usually larger than ballpoint refills but tend to have a shorter write out than the gelatinous oil based ballpoint inks. Some are plastic and others metal bodied. Rollerball refills generally lay down a more intense line of ink.

Fibre Tip

Pens that use fibrous material for the writing point and are also referred to as fineliners. Fibre tip refills function on the basis of an absorbent reservoir sytem, with the space in the barrel being filled with an absorbent material in which ink is located. Attached is a connecting wick through which the ink is conveyed via capillarity to the pen writing tip, ensuring that the ink flow is not interrupted, even when the fibre tip pen is used rapidly on absorbent paper. Most marker pens are fibre tipped.


A removable mechanical reservoir used in many modern pens to enable the use of bottled inks as an alternative to ink cartridges. The converter (alternative spelling is convertor) can be fitted for use with bottled ink or removed to allow the use of disposable ink cartridges.

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