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Thread: The Conid's "Bulkfiller" - Why?

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    Senior Member FredRydr's Avatar
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    Default The Conid's "Bulkfiller" - Why?

    If you've ever wondered about the purpose behind the filling system named The Bulkfiller, go to Sia's interview of Francis Goossens and scroll down to: What inspired the design of the Bulkfiller and what are itís key design features? I was pleasantly surprised to learn his goal was more than just increased ink capacity, but rather eliminating shortcomings of existing filling systems. He wanted:

    A- High ink intake
    B- Allow the integration of an ink shut-off valve
    C- Easy and efficient flushing in one or two actuation strokes.
    D- Filling in one filling movement.
    E- Postive displacement filling system
    (Courtesy of vintagemontblancpens.com)

    He also resolved to eliminate what he calls "stick-slip," a problem suffered by piston-fillers.

    To the Conid users: Do you believe Francis has succeeded or failed in all or any of his goals? Have you found drawbacks in the Bulkfiller (other than price)?


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    Default Re: The Conid's "Bulkfiller" - Why?

    I had read somewhere that the design is not new or innovative, and is in fact a revamp from fountain pen history. As such I would be interested to know about the fate of the original design and designers.


    Something about pens with sacs in them always troubled me. Why not have a screw-in section and dispense with buttons and levers and hanging bars and so on? Just unscrew, dip into ink, squeeze with fingers and reassemble. Takes seconds, doesn't require any fancy devices, and the barrels can remain unblemished. To ponder.

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    Default Re: The Conid's "Bulkfiller" - Why?

    Quote Originally Posted by Empty_of_Clouds View Post
    I had read somewhere that the design is not new or innovative, and is in fact a revamp from fountain pen history. As such I would be interested to know about the fate of the original design and designers.
    See the end of the article:
    Quote Originally Posted by Francis in interview
    we learned during the patent process a basically similar system was already patented in 1898! This system was however never produced...

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    Senior Member FredRydr's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Conid's "Bulkfiller" - Why?

    Quote Originally Posted by Empty_of_Clouds View Post
    I had read somewhere that the design is not new or innovative, and is in fact a revamp from fountain pen history. As such I would be interested to know about the fate of the original design and designers....
    Based on your post, you didn't first read (or understand) the interview, since Francis specifically mentions the 1898 patent that never made it into production. I guess it's a quick put-down of Francis without any facts.

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    Default Re: The Conid's "Bulkfiller" - Why?

    It is the latch system that is original in Francis's design, not the bulkfiller itself. I've read else where that there ere bulkfillers produced in the early days, but that article offered no direct proof, so they could ahve been referring back to the original patent. I do get the impression that the Conid mechanism was independently designed without knowing about the previous versions, and I I started off with, the way the Conid latch works is original and is a core part of the design.
    London UK Fountain Pen Club meats at the Bierschenke near Liverpool St Station on the first Saturday of every month aside October (for the London Writing Equipment Show) 12:00-15:00 - London, UK Fountain Pen Club

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    Senior Member Robert's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Conid's "Bulkfiller" - Why?

    I've owned a Bulkfiller (Regular size/flattop/demonstrator) for about 18 months now, and I think Conid has largely succeeded in its goals. Flushing may take more than one or two actuation strokes, depending on the ink/time since last cleaning, but a couple or three extra strokes is no biggy for me. As for filling, the pen will take up a lot of ink in one "filling movement" - but only to about 80% or so (again, that's enough for me). If one wanted to go to the trouble, one could coax a higher fill - but I don't bother with it.

    For me, the elegant fit and finish of the pen are things of beauty. As for service after the sale - superb! Conid offered to set up a Skype session for me if necessary (I can be a real klutz with mechanical things), but the detailed emails provided were all that I needed to solve my little problem.

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    Senior Member Empty_of_Clouds's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Conid's "Bulkfiller" - Why?

    Quote Originally Posted by FredRydr View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Empty_of_Clouds View Post
    I had read somewhere that the design is not new or innovative, and is in fact a revamp from fountain pen history. As such I would be interested to know about the fate of the original design and designers....
    Based on your post, you didn't first read (or understand) the interview, since Francis specifically mentions the 1898 patent that never made it into production. I guess it's a quick put-down of Francis without any facts.

    I was simply reporting what I vaguely remember reading. My interest here was in why the system was not produced at the time. Why it had to wait for so long for someone else to run with it. This is a perfectly legitimate point for discussion.

    Personally I think the system (both original and current) is overly complicated, and bears costs in production that are not reflected by worthwhile gains to the user.


    You misinterpreted my post, which I thought was abundantly clear from this part - "As such I would be interested to know about the fate of the original design and designers".


    So, you guessed wrong.

    Again.

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    Senior Member FredRydr's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Conid's "Bulkfiller" - Why?

    Well, I really appreciate the shut-off mechanism the isolates the reservoir from the outside world, the ample flushing of the feed (like piston and plunger-fillers), and the ease in disassembly for cleaning. I suppose Conid's tight fabrication tolerances help quite a bit in furthering the intent of Francis's design. The issue of stick-slip and his cam action never occurred to me, though in retrospect, I know what he means. I am about due to refill my pen, and I will watch carefully for the axial cam movement when "un-latching the parked piston" to see its impact.

    My only gripe is, and it's my own fault, one must be precise when engaging and disengaging the piston before attempting to press the rod back into the barrel. The strength of the pen has prevented me from doing any damage before I realized my error.
    Last edited by FredRydr; May 13th, 2019 at 04:51 PM.

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    Default Re: The Conid's "Bulkfiller" - Why?

    In terms of filling ease, volume to actuation, and yes let's face it, cost: compare Conid to Pilot's Custom 823. Different filling systems but attempting to (obviously) achieve the same end. Is it fair to say that at heart both are still vacuum fillers? I think so. The designation of being (for Conid) a hybrid of both piston and vacuum doesn't work for me. The "piston" part seems to be nothing more than a space saving device rather than a pumping one (if you see what I mean).

    Assuming that there is a reason why the original patent never led to production, nor why nobody else (the major tooled up manufacturers for example) picked up the patent, is rather interesting. I suspect, as noted earlier, that the cost to engineer and produce would have pushed up the selling price beyond a reasonable level for a company wanting to make a profit from a broad user base (as opposed to the narrower, luxury oriented one).


    Just because I am not a fan boy of Conid does not mean that I am automatically a foe. I am neutral, and find what they've done is interesting.
    Last edited by Empty_of_Clouds; May 13th, 2019 at 05:13 PM.

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    Default Re: The Conid's "Bulkfiller" - Why?

    Quote Originally Posted by Empty_of_Clouds View Post
    compare Conid to Pilot's Custom 823
    For one, the Conid barrels aren't prone to cracking...

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    Default Re: The Conid's "Bulkfiller" - Why?

    Neither are the 823s, but nothing is perfect. User error counts large in the anecdotal tales of cracked 823s. I reserve opinion on cracked Conid barrels until the time that they have sold similar volumes to the 823s and have been used for a similar time period. Statistically that would be more robust.

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    Default Re: The Conid's "Bulkfiller" - Why?

    Quote Originally Posted by Empty_of_Clouds View Post
    Something about pens with sacs in them always troubled me. Why not have a screw-in section and dispense with buttons and levers and hanging bars and so on? Just unscrew, dip into ink, squeeze with fingers and reassemble. Takes seconds, doesn't require any fancy devices, and the barrels can remain unblemished. To ponder.

    Now that I think on it this is pretty much how any "aerometric" pen is filled, and yet the addition of a hoop or other metal containment thing for the sac seems unnecessary to its function. Parker, for example, could have cut costs and not bothered with the sac housing. It would not have affected the filling of the pen.

    While there is, I'm sure, some satisfaction in solving a particular engineering puzzle, not all such solutions are actually required or needed in real world application. That's kind of how I see the Conid filling system. A neat engineering trick, but somewhat redundant in real terms.
    Last edited by Empty_of_Clouds; May 13th, 2019 at 05:36 PM.

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    Default Re: The Conid's "Bulkfiller" - Why?

    Quote Originally Posted by Empty_of_Clouds View Post
    Neither are the 823s, but nothing is perfect. User error counts large in the anecdotal tales of cracked 823s.
    Uh, a simple search will pull up a pretty comprehensive list of complaints about cracked barrels. I take your point about the difference in numbers in use, but I can't see Conid barrels cracking. And I also don't think it is reasonable to blame users for what is clearly a design flaw. If a tool can't handle being used (and yes, people have had barrels crack without disassembling them), then it is not fit for purpose.

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    Default Re: The Conid's "Bulkfiller" - Why?

    Quote Originally Posted by Empty_of_Clouds View Post
    yet the addition of a hoop or other metal containment thing for the sac seems unnecessary to its function. Parker, for example, could have cut costs and not bothered with the sac housing. It would not have affected the filling of the pen.

    While there is, I'm sure, some satisfaction in solving a particular engineering puzzle, not all such solutions are actually required or needed in real world application. That's kind of how I see the Conid filling system. A neat engineering trick, but somewhat redundant in real terms.
    The Parker 51 was an engineering marvel, with a number of patents filed, that revolutionised the industry. To idly suppose that a key part of the pen, the filling system, contained a superfluity, based on what? suggests that you aren't really prone to critical thinking and that your musing on the Conid are similarly uninformed.

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    Default Re: The Conid's "Bulkfiller" - Why?

    http://www.fountainpennetwork.com/fo.../#entry1471939

    Covers most of the argument.

    I take your point about the difference in numbers in use, but I can't see Conid barrels cracking
    Because...?

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    Senior Member Empty_of_Clouds's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Conid's "Bulkfiller" - Why?

    Quote Originally Posted by silverlifter View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Empty_of_Clouds View Post
    yet the addition of a hoop or other metal containment thing for the sac seems unnecessary to its function. Parker, for example, could have cut costs and not bothered with the sac housing. It would not have affected the filling of the pen.

    While there is, I'm sure, some satisfaction in solving a particular engineering puzzle, not all such solutions are actually required or needed in real world application. That's kind of how I see the Conid filling system. A neat engineering trick, but somewhat redundant in real terms.
    The Parker 51 was an engineering marvel, with a number of patents filed, that revolutionised the industry. To idly suppose that a key part of the pen, the filling system, contained a superfluity, based on what? suggests that you aren't really prone to critical thinking and that your musing on the Conid are similarly uninformed.

    To idly suppose that I haven't consider this superfluity suggests that you aren't really prone to critical thinking either. You are dragging in arguments about patents that have nothing to do with what I stated. The sac housing, in a Parker 51, is superfluous. How do I know this? Because I have removed the housing from a 51 and achieved better filling without it.

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    Default Re: The Conid's "Bulkfiller" - Why?

    Quote Originally Posted by Empty_of_Clouds View Post
    The sac housing, in a Parker 51, is superfluous. How do I know this? Because I have removed the housing from a 51 and achieved better filling without it.
    And you know better that the engineers that designed a pen that was awarded patents and is still operable over half a century later? Lol. Yeah, those guys were clueless. Putting thast stupid hoop on only added cost and contributed nothing to the design of the pen. No-one in the team would have considered that...

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    Senior Member FredRydr's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Conid's "Bulkfiller" - Why?

    Quote Originally Posted by Empty_of_Clouds View Post
    ...you aren't really prone to critical thinking and that your musing on the Conid are similarly uninformed....
    What is the f***ing matter with you?

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    Default Re: The Conid's "Bulkfiller" - Why?

    I think you have missed the point. Especially between design and functionality. The hoop looks better, it doesn't work better. This is easily verified by you or anyone that has a 51 aero. Did they put the hoop in just for aesthetics? Perhaps they did. I am not saying they shouldn't have, only that it wasn't really needed from a functional perspective.

    Similar types of argument could be used regarding the Bulkfiller mechanism. Yes, it is a clever piece of engineering, but is it necessary. Unfortunately with Conid such a neat piece of engineering most likely requires more precision in the making of it. Thus driving production cost up, the consumer base numbers remain small. It is not, obviously, a pen for the masses.


    And please don't get me wrong. I do like it when people create interesting things just because they can.

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    Default Re: The Conid's "Bulkfiller" - Why?

    Quote Originally Posted by FredRydr View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Empty_of_Clouds View Post
    ...you aren't really prone to critical thinking and that your musing on the Conid are similarly uninformed....
    What is the f***ing matter with you?
    You're quoting someone else but using my name? Weird.


    What I am noting so far in this thread is people seeing what they want to see rather what was actually written. Lots of knee jerk stuff.


    Case in point: the assertion that Parker's engineers knew what they were doing, in adding the sac hoop to the 51 aero, is applicable to my question on why the original bulkfiller patent was not actualised until recently. It lends a little weight to the argument that there are significant drawbacks to either the bulkfilling system itself, or to the ways and means to bring it to market.


    Or are people going to argue that clever engineers between the original patent and now have simply missed the opportunity?


    The history of why and how these things get made (or not) is just as relevant as whether you like them (or not).
    Last edited by Empty_of_Clouds; May 13th, 2019 at 06:37 PM.

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