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Does Ink Go Bad?


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#1 AndWhoDisguisedAs

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Posted 08 October 2012 - 16:15

Bottled Inks.jpg I'm new to the site and this forum. I've tried to read all the Inky caveats and think what I'm about to ask is within the stated bounds.

Questions:

1. Does bottled fountain pen ink go bad?
2. If so, how can you tell? Are there any signs or warnings?
3. If so, are there any tricks to reviving the bottled ink?

Specifically, I found three bottles of ink I thought long lost. They were packed in box, stuffed in a moving box, forgotten for at least 5 years, and accidentally discovered. In truth, the bottled ink is most likely even older, say a decade (or gulp longer) since they were originally purchase.

The inks are (see attached picture):

1. Mont Blanc Tinte Ink Encre Tinta

2. J. Herbin Encre Bleu Myosotis, and

3. Inchiostro Stilografico Turchese Campo Marzio-Roma (which is the coolest looking bottle with a wood cork).

I am NOT looking for any comments about the quality of the ink (I think that covers the caveat), but more information about bottled ink generally and if possible, these bottled inks specifically.

I've looked for sentiment (and didn't see any). I've shaken each bottle. The ink looks fine, possibly the Turchese is a little watery, but as you can tell from the post, it's been quite a while since I've used any of these so I just don't remember if the ink was always like this.

One last thing: at one point I've owned and used higher-end fountain pens like the Mont Blanc and vintage pens like the Parker Vacumatic. These inks were used in those pens. Today (and I know this might drive some fountain pen collectors and afficandos nuts), but I prefer the larger sized, less expensive, everyday fountain pens like my venerable $30 Lamy. So I'll be using these inks with a converter. Not sure it makes any difference, but that's currently what I'm working with.

Any help, ideas, tips and tricks would be terrific. Thank you.

Finally as long as we're here, I'm looking for a modern fountain pen similar to my Lamy in size and relative price (say under $60). I love the look of the Kawesco Classic Sport Fountain Pen but that particular pen is very tiny. Ideas? Suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Edited by AndWhoDisguisedAs, 08 October 2012 - 16:16.


#2 Sasha Royale

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Posted 08 October 2012 - 19:53

If the ink sits long enough, there can be some settling of "stuff".
Don't suck any into your fountain pen.

Stored in a place, where it can get warm, there can be "slime".
I don't know whether the "slime" is mold, algae, or seeding of
life forms from an UFO. I don't know whether the slime will harm
a pen. Be safe.

The good news is wisdom, coming from a profound, senior member of FPN.
"Ink is cheap."

#3 AndWhoDisguisedAs

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Posted 09 October 2012 - 12:39

If the ink sits long enough, there can be some settling of "stuff".
Don't suck any into your fountain pen.

Stored in a place, where it can get warm, there can be "slime".
I don't know whether the "slime" is mold, algae, or seeding of
life forms from an UFO. I don't know whether the slime will harm
a pen. Be safe.

The good news is wisdom, coming from a profound, senior member of FPN.
"Ink is cheap."


Thanks for the response. It doesn't appear that the ink has any of these added alien elements, yet.
Does anyone have an experience with any of these inks? I'm especially curious about the Turchese.

#4 Paddler

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Posted 09 October 2012 - 14:24

I have used vintage inks for years without problems. Try dipping a new wooden toothpick or skewer into the ink and stir for a second. If you can withdraw the toothpick and nothing is obviously hanging from it and the ink has nothing floating and nothing settling, you are good to go.

I have never seen Turchese ink, so I can't comment. That is a great looking bottle! The other two inks should last for many decades, as long as you keep them out of strong light and heat.
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#5 ThirdeYe

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Posted 09 October 2012 - 14:40

I've used ink that was around 65-70 years old without issue. Just make sure that it's not all sludgy, and you should be fine.

Regarding a pen that's large like the Lamy, and less than $60, there's the TWSBI 540 or the Sheaffer 300.

P.S., welcome to FPN! :W2FPN:
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#6 KCat

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Posted 09 October 2012 - 16:45

Sentiment is often attached to many inks but totally invisible. For example, many of us still lament the discontinuation of Parker Penman Sapphire and Penman Emerald.

Sediment can also be seen in many inks and be equally inoffensive. Just don't suck it up in the pen when you fill the pen.

Sediment and slime are two different things. Slime holds together in a blob. Sediment is a fine silt. It won't cling to the above suggested toothpick so it won't cling to your pen but if slurped up into your feed it might interrupt flow.

I suspect you are perfectly safe with your inks by the sound of it and, as others have pointed out, vintage inks are still in use by many.

That is a cool looking bottle.
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#7 AndWhoDisguisedAs

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 16:09

I have used vintage inks for years without problems. Try dipping a new wooden toothpick or skewer into the ink and stir for a second. If you can withdraw the toothpick and nothing is obviously hanging from it and the ink has nothing floating and nothing settling, you are good to go.

I have never seen Turchese ink, so I can't comment. That is a great looking bottle! The other two inks should last for many decades, as long as you keep them out of strong light and heat.


Great tip! It appears I'm "good to go!"

#8 AndWhoDisguisedAs

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 16:15

I've used ink that was around 65-70 years old without issue. Just make sure that it's not all sludgy, and you should be fine.

Regarding a pen that's large like the Lamy, and less than $60, there's the TWSBI 540 or the Sheaffer 300.

P.S., welcome to FPN! :W2FPN:


I don't know whether to thank you or curse you! I read your reply at 1 am and then spent the next few hours reading fountain pen reviews on these pens instead of sleeping (hence the "curse you"). Both pens seem like they would be perfect for my wants (and now the "thank you"). As soon as I sell the Parker Vacumatic I have listed elsewhere, there's a TWSBI 540 in my writing future. Very excited about the forthcoming new pen purchase (which should give someone amble motivation to make me an offer on 1946-ish Vacumatic). Again, thank you!