In the fountain pen world, Kaweco is probably best known for its Sport range of pens. Renowned for their small, portable size when capped, but fully functional when posted. True pocket pens. Not content with this achievement, Kaweco went a step further and introduced the Liliput – a pen with smaller vital statistics, but arguably even more charm.
I own three of these diminutive delights and I’ll talk more about them in another post. The purpose of this post is to introduce the first converter designed specifically for the Liliput. Up until now, one notable constraint of the Liliput has been the fact that its size means that it can’t accommodate a converter and has to run on short international cartridges.
Pricing and sources
The good news is that the converter for the Liliput is cheap – around £2.50 in the UK ($3 in the US). I got mine from Cult Pens, but Bureau Direct and Andy’s Pens in the UK also sell them. In the US, you can get one from Jet Pens or Pen Chalet.
I think it’s fair to say that the converter won’t be winning many design awards. It’s functional, but no great looker. The adaptor end is made of polypropylene or a similar plastic. I haven’t been able to figure out what the soft flexible material is that makes up the bulb, but it does what it is supposed to. The two elements are joined by a metal collar, engraved with the Kaweco name.
To some extent it reminds me of a stripped-down old school Parker bulb filler, minus its metal frame.
The key question is “does it work?” I’m pleased to say that the answer is – ‘Yes’. Mostly.
It’s not perfect in use, but let’s face it, the reason for buying this is to use bottled ink in a pen that was previously off-limits. As such I suspect most people will live with the shortcomings.
The small volume and softness of the bulb make it very difficult to fill completely by compressing the bulb. The photo above shows the best result I managed to achieve. I haven’t measured precisely how much ink I got into the pen, but with what’s in the feed I suspect it’s about what you would get from using a cartridge.
I don’t have a syringe/needle set-up, but if you do it may be an easier route to filling the converter.
For a first outing I inked my brass Liliput with some Diamine Twilight that I got as a Christmas present.
It’s hard to get too excited about an ink converter, but as someone who has used a Liliput for the last few years, it’s great to know that I can now use my favourite inks in this pen and no longer have to settle for the restrictions imposed by having to use cartridges.
Conclusion (Part 1)
This is the point where I’d be wrapping things up and recommending that, for the sum required to buy one of these, it’s a no-brainer to do so. If you want a full size pen with a big ink capacity, look elsewhere. If you’re a fan of the Liliput, it’s pretty much a must-have. Coupled with the news that Kaweco are issuing a clip for the Liliput, things are on the up for this pen.
This review then became a little more rose-tinted. Read on to find out more…
Conclusion (Part 2)
As I mentioned, for my first use of the new converter, I inked my Liliput with Diamine Twilight. It was the first time I had used this ink and I have to report I like the colour and the way it behaves in getting from pen to page.
As I was taking photos for this review of the Liliput converter, I discovered that this ink and converter seem to have a very special relationship. Around 24 hours after first inking the pen, I opened it up to find that the material that makes up the bulb had turned an interesting shade of pink!
I emptied the pen and flushed it thoroughly with water to find that the pink colour seems to be a permanent fixture. I contacted Cult Pens, (who I’d bought it from) and they haven’t had any other reports of this. They kindly sent me a free replacement,though, and have passed my photos on to Kaweco to see if they have any thoughts on the subject.
As this was the first time I had used Diamine’s Twilight, I didn’t have much to go on in terms of the ink’s properties. Some quick and dirty chromatography identified a dye in this ink that looks a pretty close match to the colour of the converter. It seems the two have ‘bonded’ in some way.
I’ve emailed Diamine to see if they’ll tell me what this dye is, but as yet, no response.
As far as I can tell, the bulb of the converter is as soft as it was before, so no obvious change in physical properties. I haven’t had a chance to try washing it with anything other than water, but will try to get hold of some alcohol or acetone to see if that shifts it.
I’ll try the replacement that I was sent with some other inks to see if I get any similar reactions. It would be nice to hear back from Diamine as to what the troublesome dye is, but I’m not holding my breath.
I have to say I’m enjoying the opportunity to turn detective, even if it is only in a small-time way. It’s certainly a curiosity that I’d like to get to the bottom of!
11 thoughts on “Kaweco Liliput Converter – A Review”
Great news, thank you!
It looks a lot like the old Kaweco Sport converter, which I like, and still use. One of mine (for the Sport) is stained the exact same way! Isn’t that funny. Whatever ink it was, wasn’t Diamine Twilight. That has happened with some of my Parker 51 sacs, too.
And I agree with you it’s hard to fill this type of converter the normal way — I found that also tends to flood the feed with ink. After some trial and error, this is how I fill the similar converters for the Sport: fill the converter with a syringe; attach converter to pen; and syringe a few drops of ink onto the feed, to wet the feed. It may sound cumbersome, but really takes more time to describe than to do. 🙂
LikeLiked by 1 person
Sounds like it’s not such an original issue!
Thanks for the tip re filling the converter.
Interesting problem. I hope Diamine reply to you. Kaweco pens are delightful. I use the mini piston converters for my Sports although the capacity is small.
LikeLiked by 1 person
I’m not holding my breath about hearing from Diamine, but we’ll see.
I like the mini piston converter but there’s no way to make it work in the Liliput.
Pingback: Baker’s Dozen | Slightly unnerved
It’s good to have a tiny little converter for the Liliput. I’ve also used the method of filling an empty cartridge with a syringe, and that works fine for a little while. But given the temporary nature of cartridges, I’ve found that the mouth of the cartridge becomes stretched and loose after a few refills. So it’s nice to have a converter that hopefully will not stretch out and will continue to fit snugly in the Liliput.
LikeLiked by 1 person
The converter seems pretty durable – I still think it’s a worthwhile purchase if you’re a regular Lilliput user.
I just recently had the same issue and was searching on the web to find some answers whether it has happened to anyone else and why – and I found your article here. In my case I was using Diamine Blue Black Petrol ink which is in no way even close to pink color, though to my surprise it did dye the Kaweco mini converter exactly to the same pink color as in your photos.
I would say that most likely this is because of the Diamine ink, yesterday I was filling my other fountain pen with Diamine Majestic Blue ink and spilled a drop of that ink on the kitchen sink. So I washed it down with water and what do you know, the color started changing from blue to purple and finally to pink. Probably has to do with how the ink is made and how it reacts to water – it was rather hot in the last weeks so it might be possible that the ink vaporised a bit and from that comes the pink color.
Anyway, the other day a friend of mine told me why do I even bother with the convertor when it has such small capacity, that I can simply re-use a cartridge by filling it with a syringe. Simple and smart solution… 🙂
LikeLiked by 1 person
I agree – there is an ingredient in some Diamine inks that causes the staining. It’s possible to separate this pink colour out with some simple chromatography, but I haven’t managed to find out what it actually is.
Your friend is right about re-using cartridges as an alternative and I do use them from time to time. They’re certainly a lot cheaper than buying a converter. The trouble is that I like to switch inks a lot and I find these converters are a bit easier to clean out than cartridges.
i got the pink staining with an herbin 1670 (Caroube de Chypre)
LikeLiked by 1 person
Sorry to hear that. I’m still curious to know what causes the staining, but it seems like it’s quite a common problem.