Inks! · 11:38pm
It's Friday, and like in every other week one of my fountain pens ran out of ink. What is slightly different today, however, is that I received a package today, containing nothing less than a new bottle of wonderful ink. Of course I was tempted to clean it and ink it up as fast as I could. But then I thought of it better. Since the digital revolution you see the most people only tipping on laptops or other electric devises, and if they go for paper, the most of them are using ballpens. That makes me kinda sad, because there are so many more aesthetic ways to write down the words in your head, some of which that come with an inspiring effect nevertheless. So, I hit up FiMFiction today, a beautiful place where many many people are lurking around, liking the general idea of writing and reading. And there inevitable the idea hit me, that I could show those people a little variation of the mechanics, going a bit away from the ever-the-same typing on the millions of keyboards out there. For this, I graped some inks, pens and a camera, using all of my non-existent skills to make some photos, not of the best quality, but maybe to catch one or two eyes to find back to the wonderful world of fountain pens. Here we go!
In the opening picture we see not only my keyboard and 6:19 monitor (and apparently a bottle of rum that sneaked in), but the inks and pens I used for this round, as well as a page showing some writing examples in comparison. From the left to the right the inks are:
1. Lamy - Black
2. Mountblanc - Midnight Blue
3. Pelikan - Edelstein "Amber'
4. Caran d'Ache - Amazon
5. J.Herbin - Poussiere de Lune
Let us start with the first one: Lamy - Black
Lamy Black is my work horse and probably the most boring ink of this round. It is obviously what its labeled: black ink from Lamy. Lamy is one of the leading pen manufacturers in Germany, known for its designs that are working "design follows function" through and through. The ink comes in one of the most functional 50 ml bottles ever. Some of you may noticed the white... thing coming out of it in the lower half. That's blotting paper, not for what you've written but to clean up your pen after you inked it. This is extremely useful if you have a piston filler that has to be held into the ink. The paper itself is hold in a plastic case that can be separated from the bottle. If you do that, the third little feature becomes visible: the bottle has no flat feet as most have, but an expansion in that the ink can collect, to get even the last drops without much trouble into your pen.
All this and a very beautiful, saturated black make that cheap bottle the most effective in price. But that's all you get. Like many black inks, this one takes quiet a time to dry (shown in the second picture). The fact that it was written by Lamy's own fountain pen (Lamy 2000, fine nib, shown in the picture), doesn't help, as it is known to have a rather good ink flow. But still, a great ink for everyday's use.
But of course there are more manufacturers in Germany than Lamy.
Mountblanc - Midnight Blue
Yes, I know what you may ask. But despite what the name's suggesting, Mountblanc was found in Hamburg, what makes it pretty German. But what it suggests right is what this bottled ink is in comparison: a little more expensive, less functional and 20% sexier. The new Mountblanc inks, like mine, come in 60 ml bottles, while older versions use 50 ml bottles also. The bottle doesn't come with any paper, however, there is a somehow separated chamber right under the cap, what makes it also easy to fill your pen on a low ink level.
Now, for the colour itself, Mount Blanc's Midnight Blue is considered one of the "most boring interesting inks". On the pictures the ink probably looks mostly black. And that's all fine, because that's how it looks once fully dried. The special thing about this ink is that it is as permanent as ink can be. it can't be washed out, erased or anything else. You would need to burn the paper to get the ink from it. I'm not fully aware about the mixture, but from several sources I heard it's similar to iron gall ink, a very old recipe that uses iron acid to let the ink react on the paper with oxygen, binding it chemically to the paper. And that's pretty much why I'm too scared to use it in fountain pens. Once it dries somewhere in the pen, getting it cleaned proves all but easy, especially if you don't have an ultrasonic bath. Instead, I prefer to use it with my quill that has an easily switchable nib. Both the metallic quill (real feather) and the nibs are rather cheap, and so very fun to write with. Especially when you begin to write in a beautiful, dark blue, that slowly turns into a saturated black. It also forms any shade between. Really beautiful.
3. Pelikan - Edelstein "Amber"
Once upon a time, the last German manufacturer that made it into this round came up with releasing a more luxurious collection of inks. What came off this idea was the Edelstein collection. Nine colours that are colour correspondents of gem stones. They all come in beautiful, thick 50 ml bottles, that lack any function that outruns containing ink or impressing Rarity. The bottle is only filled to, let's say 2/3 with ink, the remaining third is thick glass under and around the ink, letting it fly in the glass. But this beauty has its price, and hence it outplays both Lamy and Mont Blanc in price.
The colour itself, Amber, is, well, amber. You could call it a dark, saturated orange with hints of bright yellow and reddish gold. Pelikan claims Amber to be the ink of the year 2013, while the pinkish Tourmaline has been the ink of the year 2012. Amber is an ink that scores with fast drying and a beautiful shading. Above you may can see how everything between a bright yellow and nearly reddish orange comes from it. The downside is that it tends to not only write on one page, but also on the page below. On a picture of the last ink you'll see some amberish ink that shouldn't be there. Came from making those boxes I guess. This example, mainly showing random music lyrics in German, English and French, is written with a Harmel fountain pen, what is a cartridge pen and is equipped with a medium nib. Harmel is no mayor manufacturer, but apparently a German manufacturer going for medium prices. I have to say, for 30 Euro and a full iridium nib it's something. It feels a bit smoother than Lamy's low budget Safari, classy, and gave me no technical problems so far. I recommend to experiment with those smaller companies as well, you can get pretty nice products there as well.
4. Caran d'Ache - Amazon
Made in Switzerland! What you'd expect from Mountblanc and what Pelikan has shown us, Caran d'Ache brings to an entirely new level. A bottle, I'd say able to hold up to 50 ml if properly used, reduced to not more than 30 ml. It's a similar design to Pelikan's, just with really thick glass. barely half of the bottle is used to hold ink. And than the reservoir is flat-grounded never the less! That's like... being unhandy on purpose. And that has its price. Twenty ml less than Lamy's Black, yet they make you pay more than twice as much.
But we don't want to set them over Mountblanc, do we? At least I haven't seen a Caran d'Ache fountain pen for 10.000 euros. Mountblanc has them in every shop. And of course, Amazon is a special collection of this manufacturer. Colours of The Earth is this collection called, containing Saffron, Grand Canyon, Sunset, Storm, Blue Night, Blue Sky, Caribbean Sea, Carbon and of course Amazon, what is basically green. But not just some industrial or neon green. It is really a natural, dark green with a beautiful shading that adds some even darker spots to the writing. It dries fast, but, alas, as soon as the written word gets hit with water, the ink gets as liquid as the amazon. Perhaps that's how the name has been chosen.
Anyways, in the writing example above I had some fun with my rotring ArtPen that's inked with this beautiful colour. rotring, again being German, is, or was, a manufacturer known for its technical pens. If you're an architect or such a thing you probably have heard about this company. I say was, because the in Hamburg founded company was taken over by the U.S. American manufacturer Sanford in 1998. Since then it seems to get a bit tricky to find rotring pens, especially ArtPens, at some places. Sanford seems to decrease their numbers, what is really sad. The ArtPen is an excellent fountain pen that runs cartridges, but can run bottled ink with rotring's converter as well, not having a round nib like most fountain pens do, but a italic nib. Those are flat at the front, making horizontal lines much thinner than verticals. The nibs are easily interchangeable, going from 0.6 to 2.9. It has a steel nib, corpus made of hard plastic and doesn't leak. If you are searching for a fountain pen that makes calligraphy possible this one is worth a look for sure.
5. J.Herbin - Poussiere de Lune
M'eeera Luna. No, wait. That's wrong.... Poussiere de Lune. We're going to Paris, where the company J.Herbin is famous for producing very good and beautiful inks, some of them even perfumed. No, this one isn't. And it hasn't need to. Because this one is the ink I got today, and let me tell you: I'm in love! This ink is so beautiful!
For those who don't speak French, Poussiere de Lune translates into lunar dust, or moondust, which French people apparently believe to be violet. At least that's what this colour is. A dark, saturated violet. Fast drying, and beautiful in every aspect. If you get a dark shading down it really hits contrasts to white paper comparable to black inks, without leaving the colourful world of... Luna! Being themed after the moon alone makes this colour so awesome.
It comes in a 30 ml bottle, and as it isn't any special collection or something, it's a bit more functional than Caran d'Ache's or Pelikan's Edelstein. In front of the cap a small pen holding service is worked in, which is effectively too small to hold thicker pens. It is most likely designed to hold J.Herbin's own small Venetian glass pens. But as you can see it manages to hold the big version just as well. With that pen I went through every shading possible, and the page filled itself, like literally. I wanted do do an writing example and ended up with an essay about Luna's nightly guard filled with endless love. I also tried to copy the moon that's on the label, but my drawing skills...(quick, look at the amberish ink at the bottom!). Well!
This ink is 100% Luna approved.
I think that's it so far. I hope I could drag one or another's attention back to the wonderful world of handwriting. I see you guys around, happy writing!