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Thornton Ink

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92 replies to this topic

#21 amberleadavis

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Posted 04 April 2016 - 20:25

I bought their red ink in a bottle, assorted color cartridges in international and Lamy form, and red in international cartridges.  These came from pens_and_more on eBay.  There's lots more still available. Their prices are low but shipping for individual bottles is $2.95.  They do have some very low prices on cartridges if you buy enough that there is no charge for shipping.  Likewise if you want many bottles of the same color, especially if it is black or blue, but, alas, no assortment of colors in bottle.  My main impression is that the ink is inconsistent.  There are lots of reviews on Amazon that seem to bear this out.

http://www.amazon.co...d/dp/B00WF91V5W

The assorted cartridges are opaque and the color of the ink, while the cartridges in a single color are transucent.  The swatches on eBay look very dark with black overtones, somewhat like Noodler's Black Swan in Australian Roses.  In no case did the ink match the swatches in this regard.

For red, the ink in the translucent cartridges is deep and rich, like Waterman but more so.  The ink in the bottle is a very generic medium red. Flow is erraric but generally the reds were hard to start and restart.  I liked the red in the tanslucent cartidges and ordered more, but expect to have to be careful what pen I use it in.

Orange is a pleasant color but a bit light to read.  Green is also a bit pale, and with a bluish tinge like many European greens.  Turquoise and purple similarly look a bit pale and European.  These two are a bit darker in the short, opaque international cartridges than in the Lamy cartridges.  The purple is on the blue side.  Blue is a bit murky.  Black is dark grey, with the opaque short international cartidge paler than the Lamy. The brown is quite reddish, almost burgundy. Pink is quite legible for a pink ink and I would choose this over most other pinks were I keen on writing in pink.  The yellow is totally illegible for handwriting.  Was it meant for highlighting?

About half my Parker pens will take Lamy cartidges, so I gave that a try.  The usual problem is that the Lamys are a bit too fat to slide into the section.  That was true here, but I had the additional problem that very few of the Parker pens could punch a hole in these cartridges.  Not having any Lamy pens on hand to use them in, I noticed that the other end of these cartridges looked suspiciously like the end of an international cartidge, so I tried some upside down in pens that take international cartidges.  About half the time the cartidge was too long to allow the pen to fit back together,but when it was not, these Lamy cartridges worked OK as very long international cartridges.  I seem to recall that Levenger's long cartridges once functioned like this.

Many of the test pens using the opaque cartridges seemed to be out of ink within days and all I wrote with most of them was a few lines of test text.  I could not tell if there was not much ink in there to begin with, or whether the ink had dried out or clogged.

All in all, only the red (in cartridges), pink, and brown were unusual enough to keep.  The rest had the advantage of being cheap at the expense of being erratic in performance (see also  Amazon).  Someone wondered if these were the same inks currently sold under the Sheaffer brand.  I have never had any trouble with that ink, and wonder if Thornton ink is from batches that did not pass Sheaffer's quality control standards.

Thank you for that thoughtful and informative review.  I didn't try the single color ones so that was interesting to find out. I also have not opened my bottles.


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#22 bob_hayden

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Posted 04 April 2016 - 20:51

I found a lot of variability -- between different cartridges and bottles, compared to your samples posted here, and compared to verbal descriptions both here and on Amazon.  So I was not entirely joking about Sheaffer rejectsl-)

 

Speaking of Amazon, it looks like the link I posted does not work.  I just did copy/paste so it can't be my typing.  I don't see an option to edit my post.  No big deal as a Google search for "Thornton ink review" brings up multiple pages on Amazon (all consistent about the ink's inconsistency;-) as well as this thread.



#23 amberleadavis

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Posted 04 April 2016 - 20:55

If you still have it inked up, I'd love to see a letter.  If you leave half of it blank, I'll write you back and we can have a CRV.


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#24 bob_hayden

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Posted 04 April 2016 - 21:57

Oh, I'm not into TLAs;-)



#25 amberleadavis

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Posted 04 April 2016 - 22:22

Oh, I'm not into TLAs;-)

 

Theatre of Living Arts?


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#26 bob_hayden

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Posted 05 April 2016 - 00:04

Three Letter Abbreviatons;-)  I have no idea what a CRV is other than a Honda.



#27 amberleadavis

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Posted 05 April 2016 - 19:19

Co-Razy-Views

Co-Razy-Views , Group Reviews and Analysis of Inks - Two or More People, One or More Inks. 
Moderators: amberleadavis, dcroe05


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#28 Cyber6

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Posted 05 April 2016 - 19:29

Three Letter Abbreviatons;-)  I have no idea what a CRV is other than a Honda.

 

 

ROFLOL!!!...  Thanks for the laugh.. I need to use that next time.   :lol:  :lol:

 

 

 

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#29 amberleadavis

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Posted 05 April 2016 - 19:36

It's what you get when you write a letter a letter.  If you leave half of it blank, I'll write you back and we can have a CRV.


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#30 amberleadavis

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Posted 05 April 2016 - 20:01

I see Cyber6 and I were typing at the same time.


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#31 sodul

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Posted 12 April 2016 - 03:25

I just received 2 Thornton's  bottles today: Black and Blue. I tried it with JinHao 250 Medium nib and after using both inks on a few lines I like it better than the JinHao cartridges I was using so far.

 

It does feel 'drier' than the JinHao ink and there is more color variation in the ink which I actually like. I'm no expert at this, I just started using a fountain pen a few days ago but grew up with them as a kid.

 

Black n' Red Notebook with 90gsm Optik Paper, last line is 'reversed' nib:

FullSizeRender.jpg

 

Average quality paper:

IMG_1909.JPG

 

Low end paper ... bleeds and feathers a lot:

IMG_1910.JPG

 

When the text says JinHao Blue, this mean the JinHao Blue cartridge which is the only thing I had until today.

 



#32 amberleadavis

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Posted 12 April 2016 - 19:56

Thank you for sharing.  The Jinhao blue cartridge appears quite nice.


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#33 bob_hayden

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Posted 29 April 2016 - 23:01

The Jinhao blue is nice and the cartridges are cheap but I find them even more temperamental than the Thorntons.  They are made of very stiff plastic and you can't squeeze them much to get ink flowing which is unfortunate because this is often needed with these!-(  I am talking about the ones half way between the usual international shorts and longs. 

 

Getting back to the Thorntons, here are some follow-up thoughts.  The eBay vendor (with whom my only connection is as a customer) has these up for very low prices in quantity so I thought more info might be welcome.  If you want black or blue you can get a dozen bozes of a dozen international shorts for $9 or 75 cents per  dozen cartidges.  For the big Lamy cartridges it's $10 for ten packs of ten, or $1 each ten-pack.  These prices include shipping. 

 

As to the inks, the big news since my original review is that the blue, turquoise, and green seem to change color with time!  The blue has gone from a very standard watery medium blue to a darker almost blue-black.  The turquoise has gone from fairly bright but watery to a dark turquoise.  The green from a watery blue-green to a very dark green-black.   In every case I think the colors have improved. This has been pretty consistent across the opaque short international cartridges and the Lamy cartridges, both purchased in assortments.  I did wonder if my test pens had been dirty or still wet from cleaning so I tried additional cartridges in multiple pens with the same results.  I have been making color test sheets for years and never encountered anything like this before.

 

In playing around I noticed that some of the ink seemed to have very high surface tension.  The most surpising behavior is that a drop fell on a Bounty paper towel and instead of being absorbed instantly it just sat as a blob on top of the towel, much as a drop of mercury might.  I also noted a tendency for this ink to get stuck in the wrong end of the cartridge and strongly resist going to the other end.  That might have accounted for the issues I had with the ink starting or restarting.  It could also be that some of the opaque cartridges I thought were empty too soon were really just hiding their ink.  In any event I did find the opaque cartidges to be the most temperamental.

 

The "Lamy" cartidges fit some Parker pens.  In particular, I found them too fat for my Vectors or plastic Parkers from India.  They fit in my Reflexes but the Reflexes really struggle to punch a hole in the cartridge.  I suggest trying a 1/8" drill but you may need to experiment.  (If the hole is too big you will get leakage or the cartidge may fall out.) These cartridges worked best in my Parker Frontiers (or, as noted earlier, upside-down in a long pen that takes international cartridges).

 

Since my initial experiments I have ordered about 500 more Thornton cartridges, partly because I really like the red, and partly because many are so ridiculously cheap in quantity.  They should be fine for daily use or color coding.  And it's kinda fun to see what color the inks are today;-)



#34 amberleadavis

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Posted 30 April 2016 - 00:01

Did the ink change color once on the paper, or did it evaporate a little in the cartridge?


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#35 bob_hayden

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Posted 04 May 2016 - 15:17

I don't think it changed on the paper.  I wrote a bit as an initial test.  Later I noted the color seemed darker than I remembered.  So I went back to my test page and wrote "Later" next to the original test and it was indeed darker.  Whether it is drying out or reacting to the air I do not know.  I have a variety of very old cartridges (e.g., Made in USA Sheaffer)  that are now half or one-third full but those write only slightly darker if at all.  I have never seen such a dramatic change in such a short time.  Somebody could get a good science fair project out of stuying these inks -- maybe even a master's thesis!-)

 

How are people showing writing samples?  Do you scan them or take a  picture with a camera?



#36 amberleadavis

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Posted 09 May 2016 - 20:15

Thank you for the update.

 

I usually scan mine, but I take pictures as well.


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#37 bob_hayden

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Posted 20 May 2016 - 20:23

I'll try scanning some stuff this weekend which is predicted to be a good one to stay inside;-)

 

Early on someone commented that the Thornton ink colors matched those of the Slovenian Sheaffer inks.  That is true except I have not found a Thornton blue-black.  OTOH the Sheaffer colors are not exactly imaginative;-)    The absence of blue-black seems odd.  I think of that as the color of ink before ink came in colors;-)  Anyway, here are comparisons of the colors they do have in common.  I'll describe the Thornton inks (as compared to Sheaffer).  In my experience the Thornton inks are a moving target so this will be a bit vague.

 

Black is lighter.

Blue is less purple.

Turquoise is quite variable, sometimes paler, sometimes darker, never as bright.

Green is quite variable, sometimes paler, sometimes darker, always bluer.

Orange is similar to darker.

Red is similar to darker.

Purple is pretty much the same.

Brown is redder or lighter.

Pink is more intense.

Yellow is the same to lighter.

 

All in all I don't think they are rebadged Sheaffer inks though they may have more or less copied Sheaffer's color list.  They are similar in many cases, but they are similar to Parker or Waterman inks as well.



#38 amberleadavis

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Posted 20 May 2016 - 23:29

Bob, if you need it scanned, please send it to me and I'll scan it. Also, consider doing drops on paper towel and seeing the chromatography.


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#39 bob_hayden

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Posted 19 August 2016 - 00:31

Hello again!  Thanks, I have a scanner and a test sheet was on my desk when I got unexpected news that I needed to move to a new home.  I do not know where that test sheet is now, but I have done some long-term tests of the Thornton cartridges that fit Lamy (and some Parker) pens.

 

I am a nerd with a pocketful of pens including one FP with a standard business color ink suitable to wtiting checks and signing documents and one FP with red ink for mark-up..  During the move these were a pair of color-coded Parker Reflex FPs with Thornton ink in Lamy-shaped cartridges.  Starting with the good news, the blue in the Reflex looked like Aurora Blue, started immediately every time, and was a very wet writer -- a joy to use and look at.  So I ordered 100 more of these cartridges from eBay for $11 postpaid -- about the cost of eight Aurora cartridges.  During that same period I had two other pens with the same blue Thornton cartidges inked and sitting on the shelf.  These were not as spectacular but both gave a dark blue and started readily after the move was over -- a period of weeks because I did much of it myself.  I am inclined to recommend these highly -- with the caveat that my experiences with Thornton inks have been pretty inconsistent.

 

The bad news was that the red Reflex came to be known as my "Neverready" pen because it almost never started right up and in fact was really difficult to start -- even if unused for just a short period.  Because the blue Reflex had worked so well I wondered if the red one was defective.  When I had access to my ink collection again, I replaced the red Thornton cartridge wtih a Parker red cartridge and the Reflex wrote instantly and has done so ever since.  The Thornton red is similar to Waterman and some Parker red inks.  I like the color and the price but not the (lack of) flow.  So I am still considering this experimental and trying other pens.  So far a Wing Sung 500 with a very fine nib, and a Parker Frontier with a medioum nib, have been starting immediately after sitting for a day and giving the color I like.

 

The Thornton Black in Lamy cartridges has been hard to start in a Wing Sung 500 and seems to work well in a Parker Frontier.  In both the color os on the borderline between black and grey.  I do not plan to order more as this color is not worth fussing over for my tastes.  In unpacking I did find a Lamy Safari so I tried one of the black cartridges in that.  The big surprise was that the Lamy had just as much trouble puncturing the cartidge as did the Parkers.  I had assumed that the Parkers were having trouble because the cartidge was designed for a Lamy.  So again I recommend you give your pens a break (instead of breaking them) and use an awl or something to start a hole in all the Thornton/Lamy cartridges.  The black was blackest in the Lamy where it looked like a middle of the road black.

 

The Lamy-style cartidges come in blue, black, and assorted.  The latter appears to include two each of blue, black, red, purple, and a fifth color with a light blue tip.  I thought this must be turquoise, and so it looks in the cartridge, but in both a Parker Reflex and a Wing Sung 500 it is coming out green.  It is actually a rather nice green -- fairly dark with just a hint of blue.  I plan to experiment some more with this.

 

The purple I have not used much but have had no trouble with.  It is fairly dark and a bit on the blue side of purple.  The assortments are the only way to get the red.  I can use the blues in the assortment.  I will have to experiment more with the green and purple, and try to find a pen in which to use up the black;-)

 

There are still Thornton short international cartidges at very low prices on eBay but look at earlier reviews for comments on those -- they may or may not be the same ink as in the Lamy-style cartridges.  The bargain prices are limited to black, blue, red, and assorted now.



#40 amberleadavis

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Posted 19 August 2016 - 08:01

Thank you for this info. I hope you like your new home.

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