Thursday, 16 February 2017

In praise of button fillers

I'm just resacking some vintage pens. Some lovely Watermans, a Valentine, a Parker, and a couple of neat Italian celluloids.

One of the things I hate is when you get a sac that's gone gooey or just plain hard, so that instead of getting it to fall out either in one neat piece of ossified rubber, or in tiny dust granules, you end up having to scrape the nastiness out of the barrel.

It's nastiest in a lever filler, particularly one fitted with an integral lever bar. You can't see what you're doing.

In a button filler, you can pop out the filling button, and hey presto! there's light coming through, so you can see what's going on and most importantly, easily see if the barrel is clear.

That's not the only advantage of button fillers. I far prefer filling with them as you are pushing perpendicularly, whereas with a lever filler, you're pushing to the side of the pen and it always seems to result in the pen wobbling in the inkpot. Maybe I'm just a bit clumsy but I don't really love the lever (which makes my love of early Watermans rather problematic).

No mechanical bits to go wrong. Piston fillers are a dream, until the piston shaft breaks or corrodes or the piston housing won't fit back into the barrel properly.
No cork seals to mess around with. I still love my piston fillers, and nothing will ever replace the delight of seeing the ink slowly fill the barrel with a translucent Pelikan or a demo pisto filler, but button fillers are much easier to repair.

And... 90% of celluloid Parkers are button fillers. (Only the cheap Parkette range used levers, as far as I know, which shows you Parker management must have shared my feelings about lever fillers.)

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