Inks and Refills

Inks come in several formulations and colors. No single ink is superior than the others, but there are differences that make each kind more suitable to a particular use.

Regular Ballpoint Ink - Ballpoint pens typically use an alcohol-based ink. It writes well on most papers and dries very quickly. The ballpoint mechanism requires pressure and movement for the ink to flow, so the refills rarely leak or dry out. This ink is very practical and unlikely to smudge. Most left-handed writers prefer a standard ballpoint. Ballpoints are ideal for multi-part-forms, such as carbonless recipts and duplicate checks.

Ballpoint ink, however, is not very dark, and it does not write as smoothly as other inks. If you prefer a darker ink that flows with a lighter touch, then look below.

Gel Ink - Gel Ink is currently very popular. The ink is water-based (rather than alcohol) and it flows more heavily than regular ballpoint ink. Therefore, it leaves a darker line with a lighter touch. Gel ink is thicker than liquid ink so it doesn't tend to leak or dry out as much. It does take a little longer to dry than alcohol-based ink so more care is needed to avoid smudging. Gel Ink is often marketed in "capless rollerball" pens.

Liquid Ink - Liquid Ink is used in the highest quality rollerball pens. It is water-based and has the greatest flow of any ball-pen ink. Therefore, liquid ink writes the smoothest with the darkest line. It can, however, leak in your pocket or dry out if left uncapped. Liquid ink also needs slightly more time to dry on the paper.

Fountain Pen Ink - Fountain Pen Ink comes in an exceptionally wide selection of brands and colors. Which one works best is a matter of personal preference (yours and your pen's). The formulation is similar to that of Liquid Ink above, but it is made to wick down a fountain pen nib, not across a ceramic ball. It has the same flow and drying properties (pro and con).

India Ink - India Ink is the blackest ink available. It is favored by graphic artists for its extremely high contrast. India ink is used in dip-pens and "technical" pens which have tips designed specifically for it. It is not, however, suitable for fountain pens. Never use India Ink in a fountain pen. It will clog the nib.

Refills are the cartridges that contain ink. All our pens accept widely available standard refills so you can be assured years of service.

Cross Style Refill - The Cross-Style refill is probably the most common refill available. It is used in most slim pens.

Cross Style Refill with Liquid Ink - This refill recently became available. It uses a special design that accomodates the liquid ink without the problems of leaking or drying out. It won't lay down quite as dark or smooth a line as a true rollerball, but it is the closest you can come in a ballpoint. It currenly is only available in black.

Parker Style Refill - The Parker-Style is the next most popular refill. It is commonly used in larger ballpoint pens and holds more ink that the Cross-style refill.

Parker Style Refill with Gel Ink - These refills write almost effortlessly and feature a clear tube so you can easily see how much ink remains. We stock these refills in black, blue, green, red, and yellow highlighter.

Mini Refill - Our miniature-size pens take a miniature-size refill. We are happy to provide refills in both black and red.

Schmidt Ceramic Rollerball Refill with plastic tube - The absolutely smoothest writing ball pen mechanism on the market is the Schmidt Ceramic Rollerball. This cartridge is used in most of the high-end pens sold. We carry the Schmidt 888 cartridge in black, blue, and red ink.

Schmidt Ceramic Rollerball Refill with metal tube- This is the same as the Ceramic Rollerball refill above, but with a metal tube (rather than plastic). The writing tip is the same, but the metal tube gives it a feel of greater quality. We stock the Schmidt 5888 metal rollerball cartridge in black, blue, and red ink.

Disposable Fountain Pen Cartridge - Our fountain pens are supplied with a disposable ink cartridge. When the cartridge runs out, simply replace it with a new one. This is the cleanest and most convenient way to refill a fountain pen. We also recommend disposable cartridges for travel. We carry replacement cartridges in blue and black ink.

Refillable Fountain Pen Cartridge - For those who want a wider variety of colors, or prefer a particular brand, or want to save money by buying ink in quantity, we offer a refillable fountain pen cartridge. You can fill it with the bottled ink of your choice whenever it runs low.

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