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Eyedroppers & Ink

eyedropper ink

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15 replies to this topic

#1 bc.hiker

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Posted 03 June 2014 - 14:23

Just want you to know I'm new at this, so your understanding and patience is appreciated with my question.  Over the weekend I found a very old Waterman #22 eyedropper pen that I was successful in restoring to good use again.  It's a lovely pen.  I just thought it would take regular fountain pen ink, so I filled it and proceeded to write with it.  When you first begin to write with it the ink flows out far too fast.  The more you write, the ink 'settles down' and doesn't gush out so much as it does when you first begin.  I thought about this quite a bit and now would like to know from the experts, what their thoughts might be.  Logic tells me that back in the day, before the advent of the fountain pen, there were only dip pens.  Then along came the eyedroppers, right behind the dip pens.  Until fountain pens were invented there was only dip pen ink.   Dip pen ink would've been used {I think?} exclusively in the early eyedropper pens.  Dip pen ink is not of the same consistency as fountain pen ink, which is thinner.  I've read that dip pen ink will clog a fountain pen and that dip pen ink should NEVER be used in a fountain pen.   So then, dip pen ink must be thicker or have a different consistency than fountain pen ink.  

 

I was wondering, since this Waterman #22 is an early eyedropper, shouldn't dip pen ink be used in it?   If so, I believe it would resolve the problem of the fountain pen ink blobbing out of the pen.  If the ink was thicker, it seems this would no longer happen.  But....before I put dip pen ink in the old pen I definitely wanted to consult the forum to get advice from those of you who have much experience in this realm.  I may have posed this question in the wrong place, if so, accept my apologies and I'll move the question to the right place on this forum. 

 

Thanks so much for your help, ideas & suggestions.  :)



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#2 Algester

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Posted 03 June 2014 - 14:50

else use a more viscous ink like... hmmm is Kiwaguro viscous?... I'm not sure how Noodler's X-feather will react to your pen...



#3 amberleadavis

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Posted 03 June 2014 - 16:50

Just say no to dip pen ink!

 

Do a quick search. You want a "dry" ink.  Check out the reviews.

 

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#4 dcwaites

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Posted 03 June 2014 - 22:26

Also make sure the ink reservoir is nearly full. Otherwise the heat in your hand warms the air in the reservoir, it expands and pushes ink out until it reaches equilibrium.

 

As Amber says, use a drier ink. I would start with something like Sheaffer Skrip Blue or Black.

 

Calligraphy dip pen inks are unsuitable for FPs, as they usually have a bonding agent like gum arabic, which will clog any fountain pen.

 

Clerical dip pen inks, however, as you say, were thinner (and drier) and would have worked nicely, however, it is not possible to get them any more (unless you are lucky enough to have found some 60+ year old powdered ink).


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#5 bc.hiker

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Posted 03 June 2014 - 23:42

@ DavidW ~ I didn't get the reservoir nearly full.  Was afraid of overfilling it, as it's the first time I've ever even seen an eyedropper pen - let alone inking one or writing with one!  I can add more ink, that might help.  Will definitely take a look at the ink reviews and will look for a 'dry' ink like Sheaffer Skrip Blue or Black.  I really think the pen is fine, it's just that I might obviously not have the right kind of ink in it. 

 

Are eyedroppers considered to be fountain pens?  Since they have no internal mechanism, only a reservoir for ink, a feed & nib, I wasn't sure if they're really classified as fountain pens.  I'm sure once I find the right ink for it, it'll be my favorite pen - the nib on it is really nice.  It was actually a pen that belonged to DH's grandfather that I found in an old wooden writing box along with many nibs.  At first I didn't even know it was a pen b/c the feed/nib section was totally stuck into the cap and held there by old, dried ink.  Gently worked on it and it came apart.  Cleaned it up, got all of the old ink out of it and now it's as good as new - except for the ink flow problem. 

 

I'll leave the dip pen ink to the the dip pens and won't use it with this Waterman eyedropper. 

 

Thanks to all for your input - I really needed it!!  :)



#6 AAAndrew

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Posted 03 June 2014 - 23:58

They are most definitely fountain pens, some of the very earliest of the kind. Fountain just refers to the fact that they write and write because they carry their own ink rather than having to dip them to get ink to the "pen". (What we now call the nib they used to call the pen)

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#7 Algester

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Posted 04 June 2014 - 03:28

I also find out that chinese calligraphy ink its not a good dip pen ink its too thin but that's sumi ink... I dunno I haven't seen people use sumi ink in their fountain pens my repair Q and A didnt get vindicative results... but I do know sumi ink (like the chalk form) stains like hell



#8 bc.hiker

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Posted 05 June 2014 - 00:14

@ AAAndrew ~ Thanks for answering my question as to whether eyedroppers are classified as fountain pens.  I just wasn't sure and appreciate your input.

 

@ Algester ~ Appreciate the info about Chinese calligraphy ink too.   My knowledge about it is nil. 

 

I ordered some Noodlers Bernanke ink, which is supposed to be dry according to what I read in the ink reviews section here.  Hopefully it'll slow down the ink flow out of the pen and resolve the problem. 

 

Thanks again to all who offered their advice!! 



#9 amberleadavis

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Posted 05 June 2014 - 01:01

 

 

Clerical dip pen inks, however, as you say, were thinner (and drier) and would have worked nicely, however, it is not possible to get them any more (unless you are lucky enough to have found some 60+ year old powdered ink).

 

 

:)  Thank you for that.

 

You can find some remade stuff here, while I would use it in a dip pen, I wouldn't try it in my favorite hard to clean fountain pen.


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#10 inkstainedruth

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Posted 05 June 2014 - 01:32

I ordered some Noodlers Bernanke ink, which is supposed to be dry according to what I read in the ink reviews section here.  Hopefully it'll slow down the ink flow out of the pen and resolve the problem. 

I think you've mistaken "fast-drying" for "dry" here.  The former refers to how fast the ink dries on the page (in the case of the Bernanke inks, they're designed for lefties, so as not to smudge what they've just written; I haven't tried any of them so I don't know if they classify as wet or dry inks or somewhere in between).  The latter has to do with flow and viscosity, which is your issue here; iron gall inks are often considered to be dry -- Diamine Registrar's Blue Black in particular -- but do have the issue of needing a tad more maintenance, especially if you are switching between them and standard inks.  Hope this helps clarify stuff (the amount of jargon involved in this hobby never ceases to amaze me).

I just got a pen which is supposed to be a very wet writer (a prototype pen that I'm testing) and I've been trying to decide what to put in it -- leaning towards an iron gall myself....

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#11 bc.hiker

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Posted 17 June 2014 - 13:14

Finally got the Noodlers Bernanke Blue and tried it in the Waterman eyedropper after thoroughly cleaning it and allowing it to dry.  It was a very BIG improvement!!  No more ink blobs flowing from the nib.  Far more consistent ink flow and nice shading from the nib. 

 

@inkstainedruth ~ Yes, I'm sure you're right.  Being so new to pens & inks I didn't know whether I needed something that was fast drying or a 'dry' ink.  I'm sure a dry ink would be friendly to this eyedropper too.  I do have some Diamine Ancient Copper but don't have any Registrar's Blue Black.  Maybe when the Noodlers Bernanke Blue runs out I'll use the Diamine just to see what happens.  Am not sure if the Diamine Ancient Copper is considered a dry ink or not. 

 

Just wanted to report back here to say that changing ink DID make a big difference.  It wasn't the pen, it was the ink that was the problem.  Really love this old eyedropper and wanted to be able to use it much more ~ now we're in business. 

 

Thanks again to everyone who shared their knowledge and ideas on this question.  It helped so much.  :)



#12 Randal6393

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Posted 17 June 2014 - 17:12

Glad to hear you are working out your problems with your eyedropper. Just a few thoughts of mine.

 

First, I use Noodler's Bernanake Black. Not what I would call a dry ink by any account. So I am glad that it is working out for you. Keeping the reservoir filled is critical, as you have found out.

 

Second, it is not true that eyedroppers are not used today. India still uses eyedroppers. Of course, with the average temperature mostly being hotter than human body temp, eyedroppers work out better.

 

And finally, keeping the nib up when not writing is a habit that most users of eyedroppers develop rapidly.

 

Best of luck to you,


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#13 Biber

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Posted 17 June 2014 - 18:21

Water down your ink a bit. That often helps to stem the flow of a wet ink. And improves shading too!


Edited by Biber, 17 June 2014 - 18:21.

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#14 inkstainedruth

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Posted 17 June 2014 - 18:43

And finally, keeping the nib up when not writing is a habit that most users of eyedroppers develop rapidly.

Not just eyedropper users.  When I got my first (semi-)decent pen, a Parker Urban (one of those sets you get at Office Max that has some cartridges, a converter, and a bottle of Quink Black), it said in the instruction book to keep the pen capped and nib up when not in use.

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#15 mhosea

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Posted 17 June 2014 - 22:38

Water down your ink a bit. That often helps to stem the flow of a wet ink. And improves shading too!


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#16 Sandy1

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Posted 18 June 2014 - 13:07

Hi,

 

One more tip: Ye olde tyme pens have an ebonite feed, which has different surface properties (wet ability) than plastic.

 

I found that pens with an ebonite feed perform significantly better, or at least more consistently, after the feed was in contact with the ink for a day or so.

 

For my eyedroppers with an ebonite feed, I just fill a wee bottle with the ink I'll be using, then immerse the section in the ink for a day or so (patience!). That approach lowers the risk of ink drying-out on the nib+feed, especially as the caps on those pens typically don't form a tight seal. Of course, that technique may not apply to all pens, as it depends on the materials / construction of the section.

 

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