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Tuesday, February 05, 2008
It was only a matter of time before we added refill and ink products by Parker to the on-line pens and writing instruments shop. So, now available are Parker ballpen refills in black, blue and red, Parker rollerball refills and Parker Gel pen refills. We have also added Parker / Quink writing ink to the site.

It was of interest for us to note that the Parker ballpoint pen refills and the Parker Gel pen refills are both of an identical size and shape, which apparently fits over 90% of all ball point pens and are therefore interchangeable - you can convert your ballpen to a gel pen - or the other way around!

Moreover, we noted that, being the standard international size means that they can replace many seemingly identical - but much more expensive - pen refills supplied by other manufacturers such as Faber-Castell, Porsche Design and Pelikan. In some cases the Parker refills are less than half the price of the other makes even though Parker claim their ballpoint refills can write for 3500m and their gel pen refills 600m.

A Google search for Schneider topball refills will, incredibly, show up only something like only 8 suppliers in the whole of the USA. If you know your exact pen model and make your search even more specific (e.g. search for Schneider Topball 850 rollerball Refill), it only shows 2 different USA suppliers! Add in quotes around that search phrase (so as to force the search engine to search for sites containing exactly that phrase) and, at time of writing, only one site pops up in the results. Quite incredible. It seems to have a very nice pen refills niche!

Bear in mind that Schneider is one of Europe's most popular brands and you really have to ask yourself how come they're so sparsely represented on the web. The answer lies in the fact that, while big in the rest of Europe (and certainly growing nicely in the US), they have only been represented in the UK in very recent years and, it seems, writing instrument retailers are a little slow to catch on.

Let's try another make on Google, this time for a Pelikan fountain pen refill: type in "Level L5 refill" and, again, who are the ONLY result in the whole of the UK. And a search for (incl. quotes) "Porsche Design Ballpen refill" turns up the same result. Did I mention the phrase, "nice niche"?

So, what other difficult (and easy) to find pen refills do they sell? Just about any Caran d'Ache refills, Faber-Castell and Graf von Faber-Castell refills, Pelikan refills, Porsche Design, Schneider and Tombow writing instrument refills. So, if you're having trouble locating that illusive refill for your favourite writing instrument, you know where to look first.