Over 100 Variations of Fountain Pen Filling Systems

For lack of a better term, this is the “Greenberger Classification” of fountain pen filling systems. The fountain pen filling system families are broken down as I see them. I agree that some might be too similar to be split, and there is more than one way to group them together.

CAUTION! Extreme hair splitting ahead!

Fountain Pen Filling System Families

(click on any Family to go directly to that section, or Ctrl-F to search)

Detailed Family, Genus, and Species


  1. Standard dropper filled – removable section
  2. Middle joint
  3. Rear end joint – full internal removable reservoir – Eagle correspondent, (there is a Wirt variation as well)
  4. Jointless
    • Hicks
    • Parker (not in my collection – feel free to contribute pics!)
    • Rider (not in my collection – feel free to contribute pics!)
    • Paul Wirt jointless – probably not a production pen
  5. Plug feed
  6. Retractable nib dropper filled
    1. Rotating knob
      1. Internal helical grooves with straight rod
      2. Internal straight grooves with helical rod
      3. Moore Twist Out – details to follow
    2. Push to extend nib
      1. Push rod retractable nib – Moore style
      2. Wirt retractable nib
        1. Wirt retractable nib type 1
        2. Wirt retractable nib type 2
  7. Pelikan Level Series – In a class of its own? Or a novel dropper filler?

BUT WHICH DROPPER FILLED SYSTEM REIGNS SUPREME? Click to participate in the dropper filling system showdown!


  1. Eagle glass vial, 1890s
  2. John Hancock copper cartridge, c1922
  3. Waterman glass cartridge, c1936-1955
  4. Modern plastic cartridge

DIRECT FINGER PRESSURE APPLIED TO SAC (or bar on sac) aka Thumb Filler Fountain Pens

Direct sac squeeze, sac reservoir. Press on a pressure bar except where noted.

  1. Eagle “self-filler” – No frills, just squeeze a naked sac
  2. Redipoint squeeze filler – bar is a backstop, your finger presses directly on sac
  3. Diamond Point Self Filler – hinged bar that squeezes sac against a half sleeve
  4. Extra long cap acts as cover for thumb filler opening
  5. External rotating cover for thumb filler opening
  6. External sliding cover (Waterman and Eureka) for thumb filler opening
  7. Internal rotating cover for thumb filler opening
    1. End knob connected – Eagle Snap Shot
    2. Section connected – Lakeside (also seen on Century pens)
  8. Barrel slides open to reveal thumb filler opening – Here is a page of some relevant patents until I can better update pages with individual variations on this theme.
    1. End of barrel not attached – like a big friction fit blind cap
    2. End of barrel stays attached – Laughlin, Le Boeuf
    3. Entire barrel slides – Le Boeuf
  9. Squeeze bars under blind cap – Macniven and Cameron
  10. Barrel removed, proprietary sac with embedded bars – Standard Pen Co, Bolles
  11. Barrel removed to expose filler – Parker aerometric squeeze converters, Parker 51 and similar

Direct squeeze, barrel reservoir

  1. Bulb filler –  Postal, etc
  2. Swan Bulb Filler – Utilizes a diaphragm to direct air flow
  3. Concealed bulb fillers – with and without check valves


Matchstick (some patents even picture a pencil point being used)

  1. Eagle lightning
  2. Wiedlich (stick on top of cap)
  3. SnapFil (hinged hidden stick)
  4. Clip Fill (this one is admittedly a lie – standard matchstick filler, but tells you to use the clip)
  5. Matchstick hole covered with collar
  6. Matchstick stored in end of barrel, screws into pressure bar – Houston Fountain Pen Co
  7. “Staple filler”


  1. Standard
    1. Pin (Sheaffer)
    2. Lever box (Waterman)
    3. C ring (everyone)
    4. Pressure bar, side arms (Eagle)
    5. External C ring
  2. Locking lever – two versions of Lotz patent by Monogram
  3. Lever to end of barrel – Crocker hatchet
  4. Reverse – Eisenstadt
  5. Compound lever – Whitney Richards
  6. Split lever – Swan
  7. Lateral or Swing lever – BB stylo and Held

Barrel end mechanisms activate lateral pressure

  1. Barrel end activated pressure bars (pressure causing bending)
    1. Button fill – Parker, Wearever Pacemaker/Meteor
    2. Push knob – Stephens, blind cap stays attached
    3. Twist knob to activate pressure bar – Mabie Todd
      1. Knob under blind cap (Blackbird)
      2. End knob activated (Swan)
    4. Pilot toggle/switch fill
    5. Cam style rotation to compress pressure bar
      1. External knob – Turnstile and Astoria Dux
      2. Mechanism under removable barrel – Conway Stewart Speedy-Phil
      3. Cam ramps on button, transverse bar inside cap – Matador
    6. Curzon’s “Top-Lever” Pen – Help me find one and I will add page for this filling system! Is this the same as the Aurora Novum?
    7. Osmia with ball ended click fill under blind cap. Possibly same as #6, but I have never handled or disassembled either.
  2. Barrel end activated internal levers
    1. Eagle flash – pull to pivot compression arm
    2. Parker 51 “Red Band”– push to pivot compression arm
    3. Twist knob to pivot lever – Kritikson Security
    4. Eagle toggle
  3. Parallel bars
    1. Pull activated parallel bars – Macniven Cameron
    2. Toggle activated parallel bars – Autopoint

Hump fillers

  1. Rotating Locking rings
    1. External
      1. Conklin crescent
      2. Welty/Evans
      3. Jaxon
      4. Unnamed external cam lock
    2. Internal
      1. Grieshaber
    3. Barrel joint acts as lock
      1. Welty
  2. Stowable humps
    1. Coin
    2. Holland hatchet
  3. Pressure bar integrated lock
    1. Parker click fill
  4. Sliding locks
    1. Boston
    2. Wirt
    3. Betzler hump filler

Pull activated lateral sac compression (rather than typical push)

  1. Saddle filler – John Holland style pull filler
  2. Servo U bar (can be seen as reverse lever, but pulling results in back side sac pressure)

Slide activated lateral compression

  1. Schnell, Bankers master special
  2. Whitney collar mechanism


  1. Waterman Ink Vue with segmented lever
  2. Eagle prestige toggle/spoon activated
  3. Button activated bulb – diamond medal


Linear compression sac fill

  1. Accordion filler with extendable push rod–
    1. Betzler type 1 (flip out extension)
    2. Betzler type 2 (slide out extension)
  2. Accordion with ink viewable button– Stylomine 303
  3. Pseudo accordion – Swan visofil V

Linear compression barrel fill

  1. Extendable rod linear compressed sac – Visofil VT
  2. Direct linear sac compression – Topfiller
  3. Partially inverted sac – Parker Vacumatic (lockdown, speedline, plastic)

Linear compression sacless? (see reciprocating pump fillers)


  1. Blow filler
  2. Seth Crocker
  3. Chilton
    1. Barrel slides
    2. Internal tube slides (Chiltonian)
  4. Sheaffer touchdown
  5. Sheaffer snorkel


Twist – sac reservoir

  1. Simple twist knob (unlimited rotation) – Ingersoll
  2. Threaded knob with stop/limitation – Ingersoll Bakelite and AA Waterman
  3. External locking mechanism on threaded knob – Nettuno twist fill
  4. Twist with ink-viewable knob – WASP
  5. Stick mounted into sac – Autofiller
  6. Naked sac – Colonial Pen company and Boston Pen Company
  7. Sac grabber – “other Ingersoll”
  8. Swan “leverless” sac entangle

Twist – barrel reservoir

  1. Twist bulb – Wahl Oxford twist
  2. Swan New York Visofil – a complicated mechanism


  1. Internally pivoting pressure bar – Wirt Simplicity
  2. Internally pivoting bent wire – Dr. Faber’s and Hartline Blotter Pen


  1. Simple syringe filler
  2. Piston filler with detachable rod
  3. Piston filler with detachable rod stored in cap clip
  4. Sliding collar syringe filler
  5. Macauley Sosimple
  6. Ford Patent Pen – reciprocating piston
  7. Sager downstroke filling piston
  8. Standard twist piston
  9. Extending rod spring pistonPen BBS 500
  10. Telescoping piston rod – Wallace Pen Co and an unusual Reform pen
  11. Folding piston rod by Paul Wirt, likely never produced
  12. Magnetic piston – Pen BBS 492
  13. Rod through piston head, engage to fill, disengage to store
    1. Conid Bulkfiller/Pen BBS 355
    2. Bayonet filler
    3. Wirt self filler 100 (like early Bulkfiller) 
  14. Is the Morrison patriot a variation because the syringe is under the barrel??


No subcategories here… But here is an explanation of the plunger filler with a great video of a Sheaffer plunger filler demonstrator in action.

RECIPROCATING PUMP – (pull brings in ink, push expels air)

  1. Air expelled from nib end (**these could also be a sacless version of linear compression fillers, but then the word “compression” does not apply)
    1. Dunn pump filler
    2. Noodler converter
  2. Air expelled from pump end
    1. Internal end knob pump – Waterman pump
    2. Posted cap as pump – Blair’s Nosak


  1. Parker 61 capillary filler
  2. La Plume D’Or Bibax