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…
- 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.