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One might be forgiven in assuming this to be a form related to the button filler, or perhaps even to the more developed species of bulb fillers, since the general appearance is much the same– a button under a blind cap which one works to take in ink.  The innards are rather different, though.

A Soviet example of the mechanism

In place of a familiar sac, the reservoir involves a rubber tube.  In some forms, this tube is nothing more than a sac from which both ends have been removed, while in others is it a specially molded item with the distinctive shape which gives this filler its name.  In either variant, the tube is fixed at one end to the back of the section, and at the other to the button which works the filler.  Pressing the button compresses the reservoir, and ink is drawn in on the release.  Most of these have a breather tube, allowing several presses for a complete fill.  In models with the simple thin-walled reservoir, the return action is driven by a spring of some sort, adding to the complication and excitement of the interior.

The main charm of this sort of filler is that, in the many cases where the button is transparent, one can get a sense of how much ink remains in the pen by turning it over and watching how the button fills.  This requires a little bit of dismantling, of course, and it’s not that much of an advantage.  The disadvantages mainly lie in the specialized guts of the things– replacement parts are hard to find and some models, like the Mabie-Todd Visofil, are ridiculously hard to get apart.  In terms of capacity they are no better or worse than any other sac-based system.

Loading an Accordion Filler Step by Step:

  1. Get a paper towel or other pen-wiper.
  2. Remove caps from ink bottle and pen, and blind cap from pen.
  3. Immerse point in ink.
  4. Press down on the button, release, and pause for about two seconds.
  5. Repeat step four as many times as you find are required for the pen to stop blowing bubbles when you press. This may be as few as five or as many as eight times.
  6. Remove pen from ink and wipe point and section (aren’t you glad you did step 1?).
  7. Replace various caps.

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