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Thornton Ink

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#41 bob_hayden

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Posted 30 August 2016 - 00:03

Thanks, Amberlea.  I think you said you bought some of the bottled Thornton inks.  Have you had a chance to try those?  I am betting they are not the same as these cartridges.

 

I have been trying to pin down the Lamy cartidges whie they are still for sale for cheap on eBay.  In my experience, it would be rash to apply the below to the short international cartidges or the bottled ink. Here is the latest for the Lamys, by color.  I will mainly address flow, as these inks often do not.

 

Black

 

Really impossible flow in a Wing Sung 500 so I tried another 500.  Worked fine at first but not for long.  In a Waterman 1900 (also a fine nib) it usually started but skipped in such a way that it looked like I was writing in dotted lines.  (Yes, these work upside down in some Watermans -- though NOT the first generation Phileas.) Worked fine in a Safari and a Reflex.  I write a lot of book reviews for the Mathematical Association of America and there I try to indeify what audience the book might best fit (which is often not the intended audience, and sometimes does not exist).  Here I could only suggest this to someone who wants charcoal grey ink and has a very free-flowing pen to use it in.  For me the question is whether this is usable enough to justify buying the assorted color packs to get the red cartridges, figuring I might be able to also use up the black in some low priority context.  But then right now the reds are still at a good price even if you throw away the other colors.

 

Red

 

I like it but the color is not that diferent from Waterman or some Parker reds.  It is much richer than the sample of bottled ink Amberlea posted.  However, it is really cheap if you can use the other colors in the assortment as well.  This was somewhat balky in a Wing Sung 500 but OK in a Wing Sung 840 and a Parker Frontier.  As noted earlier, it was hopeless in a Reflex.

 

Blue

 

Worked great in a very fine-nibbed Hero 50 and in Parker Frontier, Beta and Reflex pens.  No trouble with it and it is generally a rich dark blue though not entirely consistent.  You can buy just the blue at about $11/100 cartidges which is a steal.  Highly recommended!

 

Purple

 

So-so in Jinhao 699, good in an old A&W Sizzle Stix.  Very dry in one Parker Frontier, OK in another,  and balky in a Beta.  Always useable.  A dark blue-purple.  Good enough to use if I buy more assortments to get the red.

 

Turquoise

 

Fine in A&W Marquis, two Wing Sung 500s, and a Parker Reflex; balky in a Frontier.  The color is all over the place from a blue-green similar to European green inks to a very dark turquoise.  Not bright except when it is at it lightest color.  It usually does not look like any other turquoise from a pen manufacturer, though I am sure that among Diamine, Noodlers, and Private Reserve you could probably match anything;-)  Works well and so is a posssible utility ink to use up when you don't care what the color is -- or would like to be surprised by the color!

 

Summary

 

Blue is a keeper and red worth fussing with.  Purple and turquoise are useable.  Black is hard to get along with and does not offer much in return.  I would say it's the grey sheep of the family;-)  All are ridiculously cheap in quantity.



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#42 amberleadavis

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Posted 30 August 2016 - 20:59

@Bob, I only loaded up the cartridges.  I didn't have time to fill from the bottles.  After the 366+ inks I will get around to trying the bottles. Thank you for sharing your experiences.


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#43 bob_hayden

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Posted 17 September 2016 - 00:07

I have done some more long term tests on the Thornton Lamy-style cartridges with special attention to flow as that seems to be an issue here.  I put black and red in 6-10 pens each and tried them at intervals over a week or so.  The black had major flow problems.  Some pens would never write wtih it at all.  Some would write initially but then be hard to start after a day or three.  Only one pen, a Lamy Safari, made it past that mark, and after a week or so it too was hard to start and skipped.  So, I tossed all the black I had.

 

Only one pen had trouble with the red ink and that pen is known to be cranky.  The actual colors are darker and more varied than the scan but on average it's a fairly dark red.

 

The remaining colors had been in pens for more than two weeks, and those pens generally saw little use.  So we would expect they might take more effort to start than the red.  I would say the turquoise performs adequately.  Color is rather variable but tending to be darker and greener than many turquoise inks.  It might even be called teal.  I can imagine some people making this their favorite turquoise. 

 

The blue performed well and is fairly intense for a non-gourmet ink.  I have ordered more. Purple is more intense, blue, and saturated than the scan suggests.  In fact, the blue tends toward purple and the purple toward blue so the colors I got overlaped with the blue more purple in one pen than the purple is in another.

 

Except for the black, these seem to be useable ink that is more saturated than many non-gourmet inks, and currently are incredibly cheap.

 

Now I will return to the international cartridges which are likely to be of more interest, and await word from Amberlea on the bottled inks. 

Attached Images

  • Thornton1.jpg
  • Thornton2.jpg


#44 bob_hayden

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Posted 08 November 2016 - 00:47

Here is the promised update on my experiences with the very cheap Thornton short international cartridges.  (If you buy 144 cartridges on eBay, "cheap" works out to about 6 cents US each compared to $1=100cents per cartridge and up for established name brands.)  Generally these proved less variable than the Lamy-type cartridges I tried.  I had no trouble puncturing them with any of the many pens I tried. None of the colors were as trouble prone as the "Lamy" black, and the reds have also had fewer flow problems.  The cartridges did sometimes run out or dry out sooner than most, but many were fine for months.  In general, the inks often seemed reluctant to start after being left for days, though many much more expensive inks are no better in that regard.  As before, several of the inks grew darker with time after puncturing the cartridge.  One new finding is that a couple of the cartridges split out when I squeezed them to get the ink flowing. If these cost 10% less than normal I would probably not consider them, but at one-sixteenth normal prices they are tempting as utility inks, especially in a wet-writing pen that will not be left unused for very long.

 

Here are some comments on the individual colors which are shown in a scan at the end.  Wherever you see the word "Later" written in the scan it was written with the same pen and ink days later.

 

Red

 

The reds were generally fine.  My only concern was that they tended to get too dark after being in the pen for a while.   That does not show well in the scan.  The "Later"s should often be burgundy or brick red and duller.

 

Purple

 

Darker and bluer on paper than on my screen, this ink has been pretty trouble-free in both these cartridges and the Lamy-shaped ones.

 

Brown

 

Pretty neutral in color and trouble-free.

 

Green

 

Looks much darker and greener on paper than on my screen.  On screen it looks pale and bluish which is what most of the cartridges I tried earlier in the year looked like.  But a couple gave the rich forest green I saw in this test, so I tried another cartridge in another pen just now and got that rich green immediately -- so it could not be the result of the ink being in the pen for a while.  I guess I will ahve to add this to the turquoise as the color-du-jour ink.

 

Blue

 

Medium to dark and trouble-free in both the opaque cartridge from the assortment and the translucent ones from the all-blue packages (and in the Lamy cartridges for that matter).

 

Orange

 

Here the color it looked in the Wing Sung is consistent with my earlier tests, i.e., probably too light to be readable.  I suspect the Indiano was contaminated by previous inks in that pen, which tends to be used with brick reds.

 

Turquoise

 

All of its various colors look fine to me but this is certainly the most inconsistent in color. Note that this sample spills over onto the Pink line.

 

Pink

 

No news here compared to early tests.  It's just dark enough to be legible, which most pinks are not to my eyes.

 

Black

 

No news on the color, which is rather pale, but these were usable while the black in Lamy cartridges was not.

 

Note that the options available at such low prices are blue, black, red, and an assortment of all the colors above, along with a yellow I did not test because I cannot see it.  There are myriad other prices available for smaller quantities and other colors.  Some of those prices are quite high so do a search on eBay and look at all the results.



#45 amberleadavis

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Posted 13 November 2016 - 05:23

Thank you for that work.


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#46 bob_hayden

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Posted 19 November 2016 - 01:38

You are welcome, Amberlea. 

 

After I did the above I realized that I had some of the black ink in all-one-color boxes, so I did some long term tests on that, as well as more tests on the blue, which seems to be the best of the lot for my purposes.

 

After six days, of the five pens with black ink, three started immediately.  Of the two that did not, one pen was found to have a loose cap, and the other started but skipped, as it had done after only one day.  I think this was a pen problem and some nib tweaking got it writing better.  The pen with the loose cap was then used for other purposes and started blobbing -- something I have not seen before with any Thornton ink.

 

Of the four pens with blue ink, three started immediately, but one later took to blobbing.  The fourth took some coaxing but wrote well once it started, with no skipping or blobbing.

 

Many pens and inks would need some coaxing after sitting for six days so I considered the above satisfactory performance.  The blobbing was a surprise, but I had never had that problem before in all the many Thornton cartridges I have tested. 

 

In any case, I think the blue, red and black all-one-color international cartridges are OK and a terrific buy.  You can get twelve twelve-packs for less than the cost of two six-packs of pen maker's ink.  For the "Lamy" cartridges blue seems fine, red a bit cranky, and black almost unusable.  I have purchased only the red in bottles and not tested that extensively.  While the bottles are relatively inexpensive, they are nowhere near the bargain the cartridges are, and the best prices come from ordering many bottles and I doubt I would ever finish even one, so I do not plan to go there. 



#47 amberleadavis

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Posted 20 November 2016 - 01:28

Thanks again.


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#48 virgilio

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Posted 20 November 2016 - 02:10

This ink sounds like it doesn't have enough detergent to me. I assume everyone knows by now how to add a tiny drop or two of Ivory Dish Detergent to a bottle of ink to help cure dry or skip-prone inks.

This is not my idea; it is as old as the hills. If on the other hand an ink is too wet for your taste and tends to feather, just add a little distilled water to the bottle, like 5 or 10 ml. But this is a much rarer problem that dry, scratchy or dkip-prone ink.

#49 virgilio

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Posted 20 November 2016 - 02:20

Looking hopefully on amazon, it seems that some of the cartridge packs are indeed a bargain, but since I refill my cartridges from a syringe, and don't use many cartridge pens anyway, that doesn't seem too attractive to me personally. If you prefer to buy new cartridges every time the old ones run dry, I guess that Thorntons might be your ticket, provided you stick to the inks that the good people here have recommended.

Their bottled ink is alas, overpriced. But maybe you might like some of their unusual colors.

#50 amberleadavis

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Posted 20 November 2016 - 02:42

I found it on ebay for a steal, but that was quite a while ago.


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#51 bob_hayden

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Posted 20 November 2016 - 12:47

On eBay the price per smallish 30 ml/1oz bottle ranges from less than $3US to more than 10.  You can even find single bottles for less than $2 but there is a $3 shipping charge.  The lowest price is for lots of 12 bottles for about $36 or $3 per bottle, postpaid.  Noodler's ink in 3oz bottles comes out to about $4 per ounce   Sheaffer ink is about $5 per ounce in 50 ml bottles.  Both those prices do not include shipping, which will vary depending on the vendor.  Some offer free shipping on orders over a certain amount.  Matters are further complicated by the question of whether you will really ever empty the bottle, to say nothi8ng of twelve bottles.  At my age, and given that I am constantly trying different inks, there is an advantage to small bottles.  Someone writing the great American novel longhand might want big bottles.  All in all, the Thornton ink in bottles is below the going rate for bottled ink, but above half-price.  In contrast the cartridges are near the cost of state sales tax on the purchase of better known brands.  One change in the price of the bottled ink is that I think there was a time when you could buy the bottles in assorted colors at a quantity price.  Now the closest thing to an assortment is half blue and half black. 

 

But I really did not want to get into a cartridges versus bottles fight;-)  I posted on the cartridges because I had experience with those.  There have been posts on FPN from people buying cartridges just for the plastic to refill.  For that purpose 144 Thornton cartridges for $9 will take care of you for life;-) 

 

Trying to add detergent or distilled water to an individual cartridge seems pretty tricky to me.  Even just looking at cartridges, the black ink in short international cartridges had very different flow properties than that in Lamy cartridges.  Also, the problem was not with flow while writing, which I think is the problem addressed by adding things to the ink.  The problem was that a pen using the ink was very hard to restart after a short period of disuse.  In any case, I would have to be agnostic on whether to so treat the ink in bottles.  For me the bottles are not priced low enough to justify fussing over them when I can just buy a well-known brand and know it will work.


Edited by bob_hayden, 20 November 2016 - 13:07.


#52 domzals1

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Posted 25 November 2016 - 02:30

I had forgotten that I had picked up a couple bottles of the blue on a whim right before heading out of town for the Thanksgiving holiday last week. Should be waiting for me when I return. At just under $6 for both bottles shipped, I figured it was worth a shot!

#53 bob_hayden

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Posted 25 November 2016 - 11:58

Let us know how you like it.  Except for red, I only tested cartridges.  The big difference in the black ink between the Lamy and the short international cartridges leads me to feel the bottled inks could be different as well.  And Amberlea posted scans of the colors of the bottled inks and those often diverged from the colors I found in cartridges.  So any information on what the bottled ink is really like would be welcome.



#54 mrqutory

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Posted 29 November 2016 - 03:33

I am using the blue. I like it.

 

 

 "You are no better than anyone else, but your are just as good as anyone else."- Ben J Lee-my father.



#55 bob_hayden

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Posted 30 November 2016 - 00:37

In a bottle?  Is your pen writing a pale blue when you fill it that grows darker with time?  That is what happened to me with the cartridges.  It was a very nice blue at about the middle of that process;-)



#56 domzals1

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Posted 01 December 2016 - 16:11

Let us know how you like it.  Except for red, I only tested cartridges.  The big difference in the black ink between the Lamy and the short international cartridges leads me to feel the bottled inks could be different as well.  And Amberlea posted scans of the colors of the bottled inks and those often diverged from the colors I found in cartridges.  So any information on what the bottled ink is really like would be welcome.

 

4753_001-1.png


Edited by domzals1, 01 December 2016 - 16:15.


#57 bob_hayden

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Posted 02 December 2016 - 16:59

Thanks for the scan.  That looks pretty much like the cartridges look when I first put them in the pen.  The color change I mentioned was not wet versus dry.  I did not notice that one way or another.  What I did observe was that if I put a cartridge in a pen and wrote a sample, and then wrote a second sample a week or so later right next to the first, the second sample looked darker -- darker still another week later.  One theory is that the ink reacts with air.  Another is that it dries out faster than most inks so what's left behind gets more concentrated.  Still another is that there is water left in my pens from flushing.  While that certainly could be, I only notice this effect with some Slovenian and Chinese inks, and there only with inks containing a blue dye.  I have not noticed it in more than 50 years of using the Sheaffer Made in USA inks, for example.

 

On another note I am starting a minor campaign to encourage folks to include a text header when posting a scan.  There are two reasons for this, and some history.  The history is a number of incidents when I recalled seeing something at FPN but could not find it by searching later.  One example was the writing samples for Thornton inks that Amberlea Davis posted.  Because the search mechanism cannot read handwriting, nothing in a scan is findable.  For the blue ink sample above, a text heading like "Writing Sample for Thornton Blue Bottled Ink" would enable others to find the post. 

 

The other reason is similar.  I follow many threads at FPN and get an email notification of new posts.  The email contains the text of the post.  If the post is a scan with no text, I get an empty message.   It took me a while to figure out why people were posting so many empty messages;-)  At first I just ignored them.   A text header would let me (and other FPN members) tell if the post was of interest to them.

 

So I have started adding a text header to all my image posts.


Edited by bob_hayden, 02 December 2016 - 16:59.


#58 sodul

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Posted 03 March 2017 - 20:47

I have quite a few of the Thornton's ink bottles: black, blue, purple, red, pink and green. The eBay seller was nice enough to let me do combined shipping a few months ago which made the ink cheaper by volume than Noodler's. I would love to get the yellow, turquoise, brown and orange, however the same seller will not do a combined deal this time which makes this ink much more expensive than Noodler's, or Diamine.

 

Her is a picture of various inks from a few months ago:

IMG_2504.jpg

 

But I decided to take my pens out and focus on the Thornton's ink bottles, I have put other inks side by side as well for blue and black, and sometimes used the same ink twice with two different pens to give a better idea. I also used both a Rhodia Dot Pad, a reference paper that many FP users will have, and Ampad Gold Fiber, which is much cheaper and more readily available.

 

On the Rhodia DotPad.

IMG_2502.jpg

 

IMG_2501.jpg

IMG_2503.jpg

 

Some notes about my experience with the inks. I mostly use the black and blue obviously and so far I'm pretty happy with them. The seem to perform well and have been easy to clean. They do not seem to have any water proofing though. I did notice a very small amount of hardened ink when I cleaned my black pen the other day, but I do not clean my pen very often since I rarely switch inks, once a quarter maybe?

 

The purple write well but when I cleaned my purple pen the feed had several of the fins full of dried up ink, same with the ink channels. It still wrote just fine though. I had to get my brass shims to clean it thoroughly. I currently have it inked in my Pilot MR but will only use it in sub $10 pens from now on.

 

The red darkens in the pen so if you have not written with your pen for a day or more it will initially be very dark red. It clears very quickly and once bonded to paper it does not darken as much. Something weird is that there is some dried nib creep with significant thickness sometimes. I used to wipe it but now if I see that I just add a small drop of water to the nib and that dried ink dissolves readily and the pen writes without any issue.

 

Pink is flowing nicely and has enough contrast to be nicely readable. My wife's preferred ink at the moment, but she is asking me to get turquoise.

 

Green is very nice and dark with some shading, pen always starts right away even after several days, weeks of non use.

 

 



#59 bob_hayden

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Posted 03 March 2017 - 23:45

Thanks for the scans.  It is good to have more data on the bottled inks.  I just checked eBay in the US of A and there seem to be fewer listings for the cartridges but more for bottles.  In addition, more colors are now available for lower prices -- $2-3 per bottle postpaid, which is a very good price, though for a smallish bottle and still not as much of a bargain as the cartridges. 

 

I too noticed gunk on the nib with some of the pens I used this ink in.  I am wondering if these inks tend to evaporate more readily than most.  That could account for the gunk, the darkening with time, the tendency of pens to not start well after sitting a few days with this ink, and to go empty after a few weeks of non-use.  I guess I was spoiled by Sheaffer USA inks which had NO annoying features;-)



#60 sodul

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Posted 04 March 2017 - 04:11

Unfortunately they do not sell mixed colors sets. Well a few like black and blue bottles together, but if they were to do a pack of all colors, I think they would be popular.

 

The 12 pack of bottles for $22 shipped is crazy cheap and comes at about 6 c/mL. The single bottles are at $5.66 or 19 c/mL.

 

The 144 pack of mixed shorts is $8.99 or 8 c/mL, assuming 0.75mL for a short (at least that's what I measured personally).

 

These prices change almost every day so waiting a few days could save you a few dollars when ordering.


Edited by sodul, 04 March 2017 - 05:44.






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