As a British ex-pat’ living in Canada, as a dad with adult kids in other cities, and as a PhD student who attends conferences and so on, I do more than my fair share of travel and writing on the road. I was going to say something funny here about how writing on paper was easier, but frankly, when I read it, you were better off without it. Anyway, taking fountain pens on the road, up in the air, on the water… anywhere away from your desk really, can be a, er, challenge—if you’re unprepared. Especially if you’re going to need to refill your pens, and for ease of refill on the move, cartridges just cannot be beaten.
But for a lot of pens, especially some of the nice Japanese ones I like (e.g., Platinum and Sailor), they only take their own, proprietary ink cartridges. And this can be restrictive in terms of your choice of ink, and availability of the cartridges themselves. Well, Platinum at least, make this a little easier, by making a small adapter, which fits into the section of their pens and allows a standard European ink cartridge to be fitted. Very handy.
Each adapter comes with a European cartridge of Platinum ink, and retails for about $3.00 CAD ($2.00 U.S. from Pen Chalet). The adapters are simplicity itself to install, and come with a basic diagram on the back of the packet…
The take-home message of which consists of:
- Push the adapter into the bottom of the section
- Push a standard European cartridge into the adapter
And, well, that’s it really. You might also have to give the cartridge a bit of a squeeze, just to flood the feed and get the ink flowing, but that’s about all there is to it.
The adapters are fairly small, no more than a centimeter long (a little less than half an inch).
They fit snugly into the section of a Century 3776 (and, as I have recently tested, a Nakaya Makie Descending Dragon fountain pen—which most definitely wasn’t mine), with a small amount appearing just beyond the bottom of the threads. This is enough to grasp the adapter and remove it when you need to. But in this illustration, I fitted an adapter to the Platinum Plaisir, and with this pen, the adapter fits a little more snugly.
Possibly too much so. The clear, plastic section of the Plaisir, shows the adapter in place. And as you can see, it leaves very little to get hold of when it comes time to pull it out.
In practice, I’ve found that a pair of eyebrow tweezers are an essential part of your fountain pen toolkit, when it comes to removing these. Also, you should be careful when you grip the plastic edges of the adapter to remove it, the plastic is quite soft, and the tweezers can dig into it, and leave it misshapen, or torn. Just be gentle, and everything’ll work just as it should.
The cartridge will push home firmly into the adapter.
Once the cartridge is in place, I’ve found that I usually need to squeeze some ink into the section, in order to fill the feed and get the ink flowing through the nib.
Once the feed is full, and you’ve managed to scribble something onto a piece of paper, then you know that everything is working as it should.
Then it’s just a matter of fitting the barrel back on the section and you’re ready to write.
Cheap, convenient, really useful, if you have Platinum pens (or a Nakaya that costs almost as much as a family car), you should have a few of these adapters. I’ve found these little plastic sleeves to be absolutely invaluable. I have a lot of Platinum pens (but no Nakayas), and I’m a fan of J. Herbin’s inks, which have a great range in standard European cartridges. And their cartridges come in some neat, easy to store and pack, little containers—all great for travel, or just regular convenience. I’m a fan.
5 thoughts on “Platinum Cartridge Adapters”
I wonder if the adapter is hard to remove because people intend to stick with cartridges? (I.e., can the adapter just remain in the place when you replace cartridges in the future?)
I prefer bottled ink at my desk, but I have certain pens that are used primarily for travel. For those, I just stick to convenient cartridges.
I have no idea what anyone else does. I don’t know any other pen aficionados IRL.
Yes, that would definitely work. Once in, those adapters—especially in the Plaisir, not so much Balance or 3776—could certainly be left ad infinitum, though I imagine I’d want to remove it occasionally for cleaning. But even that might not be so important. I can’t imagine much ink being able to build-up in or around the adapter, unless you had a leak of some kind.
I know what you mean about the bottled ink, hence things like my TWSBIs don’t wander very far from the desk and the bottles; whilst my Sailor, Edison and Platinums are the travellers. And the only other fountain pen people I know, are possibly more committed than I… when I was at university in the UK, it was nothing to see one of my friends re-filling his pen/s in the student bar at lunchtime.
He has assured me that vodka with ice (never anything else), can make a great pen flush. But the idea of getting alcohol near all those resin pen barrels leaves me… a little nervous.
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I travel with my Pelikans (all piston fillers, not the cartridge type) fairly often. Not for long periods of time; usually just for a weekend or a few days. When I travel, I like to write a lot, so in case I run out of ink in a favorite pen, I carry extra ink in those little ink sample vials. I put my own labels on these if I don’t just happen to have one with the correct ink name on it. I keep those little vials of about a dozen of my favorite inks in a ziplock bag in my ink cabinet, ready to go when needed. Since I own lots of Pelikans and really enjoy them, I wouldn’t want to be without them when I do my travel journaling. I guess it all comes down to whatever the effort is worth to the writer.
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Aaaaaand, y’know, I have to admit that, since I wrote this post, I have kind of evolved into doing almost exactly the same as you Debi. Except that I do work on planes and trains quite a bit, and I have still not got brave enough to try and fill a fountain pen from a container of ink in the middle of transatlantic turbulence 😖🤣