Eyedropper conversion for fountain pens is something that is talked about often in the pen community but can be hard to learn for new fountain pen users. The term might be confusing, and manufacturers often don’t advertise this capability on their pens, so it’s usually more experienced pen users that get to enjoy this pen capability. We wanted to make eyedropper fountain pens less mysterious and teach you how to do your own eyedropper conversions!
The ‘eyedropper’ term dates back over 100 years well before self filling pen mechanisms were invented. The first fountain pens were just an empty body that you filled with a medicine-style eyedropper. Now, modern pens usually have some other filling mechanism like a cartridge/converter or piston, but it can still be the primary filling method for some pens like the Opus 88 Koloro.
There are several benefits to converting your fountain pen into an eyedropper:
- Simple, uncomplicated
- Large ink capacity
- Translucent or demonstrator pens you can see the ink sloshing around, looks cool
- Cost effective
There are drawbacks as well. So consider these before eyedropper converting:
- More involved filling- you need some kind of eyedropper/accessory in order to fill your pen
- Can leak/burp more, especially when the ink level gets lower or when you’re changing altitudes
- Always treat it as if they could leak, especially when transporting it
- Move involved pen cleaning/harder to change inks
There’s a bunch of fountain pens that can be converted, but some of our favorites include:
- Platinum Preppy – Under $5 pen, let’s you avoid buying the converter that’s more than the pen!
- Noodler’s Ahab – Increased ink capacity (over 6ml!) helps keep the flex nib flowing
- Edison – Next level pen that makes higher ink capacity better for EDC
- Kaweco Sport – Doesn’t take a full size converter, eyedropper helps in practicality
- Opus 88 Demonstrator – Designed to be eyedropper
Looking for more options? Check out this faceted search on GouletPens.com for all of our current eyedropper offerings. If you’re wondering if one of your favorite pens can be converted, be sure there are no metal internal parts and has a solid body without holes. Metal components are usually not corrosion resistant (like stainless steel) so it can degrade when submerged with ink.
There’s a few things you need to begin eyedroppering your fountain pen. Check out these helpful steps:
- Have your pen cleaned out and ready along with a bottle of ink
- To convert, you’ll also need silicone grease at a minimum but also o-rings (ideally), and ink syringe and paper towel. Platinum Preppy O-rings works with most pens (10mm diameter by 1mm thick)
- Take the pen apart between the grip and body. Remove the cartridge or converter
- Dab a tiny amount of silicone grease on your finger, toothpick, or q-tip
- Spread silicone grease on the threads between the grip and body
- Fill the pen body with ink up to the threads, but not quite the top
- Screw grip back onto body
- Set the pen aside to allow the ink to work through the feed, or ‘shake it down’ through if needed to use now.
Now you’re ready to write! Eyedropper pens can be a lot of fun, but they’re not for everyone. They’re not hassle free so you’ll always want to handle them with care. Be aware of any leaking or burping issues!
The Goulet Pen Company Team