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How long does ink last in the bottle?


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#1 oldnavy1988

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Posted 27 April 2009 - 15:00

FPN,

My oldest ink in only about a year or so old. All inks are kept in original boxes out of the light etc... How long can one expect a bottle of ink to last on the shelf? Thanks in advance for your input.

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#2 someonesdad

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Posted 27 April 2009 - 15:33

The general consensus seems to be "indefinitely". Unless the ink is contaminated with something and SITB (stuff in the bottle) grows or exposure to light causes chemical changes in the dyes, then the ink should remain usable. I have a bottle of some Montblanc ink I bought 20+ years ago and it is as poor today as when it was new. rolleyes.gif Other folks report using 50+ year old ink happily.

The symptoms that may indicate bad ink are sediments, cloudiness, stuff floating, or a bad smell.

#3 Bearcat

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Posted 27 April 2009 - 15:42



Decades.
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#4 eilu

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Posted 27 April 2009 - 23:02

I have bottles that are 12 years old from the time I bought them, and they're still fine. As long as there's nothing growing in it should be fine.
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#5 Journal John

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Posted 22 April 2011 - 13:48

50-80 years depeding on various factors. Storage, usuage, light, and temperature.

#6 Cynomys

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Posted 22 April 2011 - 15:29

And here I was interested in ink sticks in part because I thought they might be more long-lived than bottled ink.
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#7 welch

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Posted 22 April 2011 - 15:37

I am using early '60s Sheaffer Royal Blue...still a pleasing color. (I bought it to get the four-ounce unmatchable Sheaffer Topwell / Skripwell bottle, but there was so much good ink that I couldn't dump it.)
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#8 Roger W.

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Posted 22 April 2011 - 17:27

Once it has been bottled it receives no further benefit from aging (nor does it harm it any either). :roflmho:

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#9 stefanv

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Posted 22 April 2011 - 17:50

And here I was interested in ink sticks in part because I thought they might be more long-lived than bottled ink.


I assume by "ink sticks", you mean cartridges?

I think you'll find that if you keep a cartridge more than a few years, there'll be nothing left in it.
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#10 Phormula

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Posted 22 April 2011 - 19:23

I think you'll find that if you keep a cartridge more than a few years, there'll be nothing left in it.


You need decades, for permeation to empty a cartridge. I am currently using cartridges bought from a shop that gave up selling FPs and ink, that are more than 10 years old (the Pelikan print on the box is the old blue and white one, guess they are from the early '90s) and, yes, they have lost a little content and the ink is more saturated, but that's it. They are still usable. Actually I asked about the inks, but they were glass bottles left on a shelf in direct ambient light for decades, and the color had degradated.
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#11 Cynomys

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Posted 22 April 2011 - 19:37


And here I was interested in ink sticks in part because I thought they might be more long-lived than bottled ink.


I assume by "ink sticks", you mean cartridges?

I think you'll find that if you keep a cartridge more than a few years, there'll be nothing left in it.


No, I meant Sumi ink sticks. Solid bars of inky goodness which you rub on an "ink stone" with some water to produce the ink. But it is also nice to know about the longevity of ink in cartridges.
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#12 SamCapote

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Posted 22 April 2011 - 22:43

Here is a review I just did of Carter's Tulip Purple made in 1943.
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#13 jgrasty

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Posted 22 April 2011 - 22:46

Though some inks may last decades, I have a one year old bottle of Private Reserve Copper Burst that has completely lost its original coppery color and is now a dull, boring, grayish brown. The bottle was stored properly in its box in a closed cabinet protected from heat and light. Very disappointing to say the least.
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#14 Roger W.

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Posted 23 April 2011 - 00:07


I think you'll find that if you keep a cartridge more than a few years, there'll be nothing left in it.


You need decades, for permeation to empty a cartridge. I am currently using cartridges bought from a shop that gave up selling FPs and ink, that are more than 10 years old (the Pelikan print on the box is the old blue and white one, guess they are from the early '90s) and, yes, they have lost a little content and the ink is more saturated, but that's it. They are still usable. Actually I asked about the inks, but they were glass bottles left on a shelf in direct ambient light for decades, and the color had degradated.


I've seen Sheaffer cartridges be dry in just a few years.

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#15 Messmer

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Posted 23 April 2011 - 00:26



I think you'll find that if you keep a cartridge more than a few years, there'll be nothing left in it.


You need decades, for permeation to empty a cartridge. I am currently using cartridges bought from a shop that gave up selling FPs and ink, that are more than 10 years old (the Pelikan print on the box is the old blue and white one, guess they are from the early '90s) and, yes, they have lost a little content and the ink is more saturated, but that's it. They are still usable. Actually I asked about the inks, but they were glass bottles left on a shelf in direct ambient light for decades, and the color had degradated.


I've seen Sheaffer cartridges be dry in just a few years.

Roger W.

I got the same problem with Montblanc cartridge. I don't know when they were made but it was before the fall of the Berlin wall. So 22 year ago minimum... they where mostly dry... But ink in bottle from the same time was still good. The thing is I don't remember where I put this bottle.
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#16 SamCapote

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Posted 23 April 2011 - 00:51

One tip I have tried is sealing my older cartridges in food saver bags. Less likely to evaporate in a vacuum.
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#17 Phormula

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Posted 25 April 2011 - 18:27

I think that with cartridges it depends on the ink and the manufacturer of the cartridge. I still have the box my Paper Mate FP came in the erarly '80s, nearly 30 years ago. I checked out of curiosity and the original cartrige was still inside (I used that pen with a converter since day one) and it was about 70%. Coming to more modern times, Lamy cartridges seem to evaporate faster than Waterman ones. Some time ago I bought cheap cartridges and they started to show sign of permeation after 5 years.

I guess it has to do with the ink composition, the polymer grade used, the cartridge wall thichknes and the crystallinity level of the polymer higher the crystallinity and strain induced crystallinity, the lower the permaeation.
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#18 stuartk

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Posted 25 April 2011 - 18:42

One tip I have tried is sealing my older cartridges in food saver bags. Less likely to evaporate in a vacuum.


I would think they'd be more likely to evaporate in a vacuum, at least until the evaporation reaches a level where the vacuum no longer exists. :)

#19 SamCapote

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Posted 25 April 2011 - 22:08


One tip I have tried is sealing my older cartridges in food saver bags. Less likely to evaporate in a vacuum.


I would think they'd be more likely to evaporate in a vacuum, at least until the evaporation reaches a level where the vacuum no longer exists. :)


I did this with 1 of about 50 boxes of Parker Penman Emerald cartridges, before I checked the actual physical science of my (bad) idea. I now realize I should have read first and sealed second. Luckily, I only did this a few weeks ago, so not much has happened after opening them up. Probably the best thing is to just extract all the ink with an 18 or 20 gauge needle syringe, and transfer it to a better sealing glass bottle. Thanks for your post.
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#20 Phormula

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Posted 26 April 2011 - 06:05

From a scientific point of view, the best way to store cartridges is to keep them in a glass container with some water inside. The presence of water will prevent permeation of moisture from the cartridge. However, this creates other issues, such as bacterial growth.
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#21 UltraMagnus

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Posted 27 April 2011 - 10:04

As others have said, most inks will last for decades. One thing that concerns me is noodlers reactive inks though, since I have read cellulose reactive dyes will slowly loose their reactivity over time. It wouldn't harm pens, but would no longer be a waterproof ink.
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#22 PaperDarts

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Posted 27 April 2011 - 14:48

The general consensus seems to be "indefinitely". Unless the ink is contaminated with something and SITB (stuff in the bottle) grows or exposure to light causes chemical changes in the dyes, then the ink should remain usable. I have a bottle of some Montblanc ink I bought 20+ years ago and it is as poor today as when it was new. <img src="http://www.fountainp...>/rolleyes.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":rolleyes:" border="0" alt="rolleyes.gif" /> Other folks report using 50+ year old ink happily.

The symptoms that may indicate bad ink are sediments, cloudiness, stuff floating, or a bad smell.


Me too re the MB ink; I bought 4 of the large bottles 20+ years ago when an art supply store was going out of business. I'm on the 3rd bottle now, they've all been just fine. I keep them in a drawer out of the light, just in case.
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#23 SJH

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Posted 26 August 2011 - 02:39

Greetings All,
I recently bought a bottle of Mont Blanc from Zoli and the box had a use by date on it for Feb 2013! But I'm sure it would actually be usable far longer than this.

Best regards,
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#24 gioflowers

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Posted 30 May 2013 - 23:49

Has anyone ever experienced stringy or gummy ink?



#25 Waski_the_Squirrel

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Posted 31 May 2013 - 03:49

The first ink I used was several decades old: Parker Quink that my father had in his desk drawer. Sadly, although he had 2 Parker 51s there, he never bought any Superchrome ink!


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