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Vintage Italian Fountain Pen: Identify Cartridge/converter Type


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Hello everybody,

I recently found at an old stationery in the Genoa hinterland an Alba Duplex vintage fountain pen; it is cartridge/converter filled.

When I started maintenance actvities on it, I noticed the converter is different from any one I know.


The outlet's inner diameter is 4mm, the outer is 6mm; I am posting here an image where the cartridge outlet is compared to a standard international one:


Alba Converter di S.R.GE, su Flickr


Can anyone help me to find out if there is a contemporary converter type that can fit the old one?


Thanks a lot!



Edited by ser.rep

Fatti non foste a viver come bruti ma per seguire virtude e canoscenza

(Dante Alighieri - Divina Commedia, Inferno Canto XXVI)

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  • 3 weeks later...
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  • whych


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While waiting for answers or suggestions, I went on looking for information on the net, to solve the problem.


I understand that this cartridge format is the same of Auretta's cartridges of the seventies and now I am also sure there is no way to obtain new ones, because Aurora changed its format (that at present is Parker-like) and no one seems to produce such old cartridges.


At the end, If I would use the Alba Duplex pen, I was facing two choices:

  1. clean the old cartridges - the pen's case came with two of them whose ink inside has dried – and fill them with new ink using a syringe
  2. try to adapt a converter to fit the pen.

I was not confortable with the first solution, that would have made the pen a sort of eyedropper, so I went with the second choice.


I found out a couple of possible solutions, both based on reuse of old cartridges, and since in the meantime I bought another vintage Alba Duplex, I now have 4 old cartridges, so I tested both.


First solution


As preparatory step I had to found a converter that could slide into the Alba Duplex barrel, that is unexpectedly narrow inside and it does not allow those converters with the metal sleeve covering the piston worm a bit too large, to get inside.



I cut away the part of the cartridge that fits into pen's section:



And I finally fixed it on the converter, sliding the converter mouth into the small plastic cilinder:



To fix the two parts I tried three different glues: first an ordinary general purpose adhesive, that did not work; second a stronger glue, that appeared to adhere, but when I tried to ink the pen, I noticed copious ink leaks between the two joined parts of the converter; when I tried to remove it from the pen, the small plastic collar unstuck and remained inside pen's section.

At the end, I bought a poliethilene specific glue, that worked.

Second solution


The original cartridge is not an unique piece, but it is made of three parts: the body, a bottom stopper and a rather complicated manifold (hope the English term is correct), that couples the cartridge with the section:


The old cartridge manifold has two walls on the back part so that the body slips between the two.

I removed the internal one to allow a full run of the converter piston.

I grabbed another converter, with the same properties I indicated above and I removed the converter's manifold:


Then I fixed the converter inside cartridge manifold, using the polyethilene glue:


This second solution seems to work better that the first one, where original converter mouth may cover pen feeder inlet, not allowing a correct ink flow – infact the pen goes into starvation after a while, forcing me to act on the converter knob to push some ink into the feeder.


I am stil testing the second solution at work: at the moment I have not had problems in ink feeding.



Fatti non foste a viver come bruti ma per seguire virtude e canoscenza

(Dante Alighieri - Divina Commedia, Inferno Canto XXVI)

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Have you tried the thin end of a Lamy cartridge or a Cross one?


Hi whych,

good suggestion. I actually tried the Lamy one without success, but I did not think about Cross: it is worth a test; I will check the shape on the net.

Also Pilot, that has a large outlet, may fit ...


Thanks, Sergio

Fatti non foste a viver come bruti ma per seguire virtude e canoscenza

(Dante Alighieri - Divina Commedia, Inferno Canto XXVI)

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  • 1 year later...

Hello friends,


I'm looking to ink my "vintage" Aurora Auretta, but cannot identify cartridges or a converter that would fit. I came across this helpful post, but am at a disadvantage in that I have no empty cartridges from which to begin. Any other suggestions?




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    • A Smug Dill
      @Texas42 Thank you. I myself have recently had the experience of cleaning out a Wing Sung 699, in which the iron-gall ink has been sitting for six months. No damage to the metal piston rod (whereas, in a Wing Sung 3013 vacuum-filler, it would have been corroded, turned green, and contaminated the ink in mere weeks), but there was a ring of colour at the far end of the barrel that wouldn't budge, and I found it impossible to unscrew the filling mechanism to clean the interior wall of the ink rese
    • Texas42
      Dang. You are a great friend!   One comment as a relative newcomer would be within the cleaning section: issues/differences in cleaning vacuum filler, piston filler in addition to cartridge/converter. I just cleaned out my Pilot 823 and while it wasn't particularly difficult I was a little paranoid about the drops of water that I could not get out. Perhaps this is something you are already including.   Anyway, great project and very thoughtful of you. I know it's a project fo
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      Ah Ruaidhri ya wee heid banger, you do indeed have an Irishman’s way wid dose words now. I’ll be from outer Aberdeenshire up in the blizzard riven braes of the Grampians.  Amateur medicine and surgery is it? Well what noble aspirations you do possess, we need to encourage such noble experimentations.  I pondered on leaving my own battered shell to science, but, until I read your pearls of wisdom and lament, I had comedown on the side of leaving my body to Findus frozen foods.  However, your rema
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      Hi Smug Dill,   Nice project.  If it were me, I'd cover stuff like: - nib types available, i.e. styles, materials (SS vs gold), flex vs nails; - filling systems (I love the "thingie" comment) and how once can use them in practice (e.g. fill cartridges with a syringe); - pen body materials and their consequences (pen not balanced of too heavy and big for the hand); - and, whilst you've made it clear that you do not like vintage pens, a discussion of these beyond "I d
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      Thanks for your input! Yes, not putting wood in the list of body materials warranting a mention was an oversight. I love pens with wooden bodies, but my main concern, or chagrin, is that I have not come across a wooden-bodied pen with a wooden cap that seals well. Actually, there is one, but it isn't really wood per se: the Pilot Custom Kaede's maple body is resin impregnated. All other wooden pens I have can dry out while capped and undisturbed; that includes several Platinum #3776 models.
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