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Questions Re: Ink Windows

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12 replies to this topic

#1 goodpens

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 19:51

I really like pens with ink windows, though I don't have many. 2 questions related to them:

 

1.) Is there a safe (and hopefully easy) way to restore vintage pens' ink windows back to their original color? I have a Sheaffer Lifetime Balance that writes really well. The ink window seems dark and I imagine that this material has changed color since it was first manufactured, though I'm not sure if this is accurate. If in fact there is discoloration that has happened, is there anything I can do to get that lightened up, making it easier to see the ink inside the pen?

 

2.) What current production (not custom) pens have ink windows? Those that come to mind are:

Lamy Safari and Vista

Lamy 2000

Many Pelikans

 

Thanks.



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#2 ele

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 20:34

1. If the ink window has ambered, a natural result of celluloid degradation, then there is no way to restore it. If there is simply a residue in the ink chamber (dried ink), then there is hope. 

 

 

2. There are a few more that I can think of. In order of increasing price:

Serwex ?? (very cheap Indian pens sold by Fountain Pen Revolution)

Noodler's Konrad

TWSBI Classic

Bexley Corona

Cleo Scribent Classic

Aurora Optima

Aurora 88

Montblanc 146 & 149


Edited by ele, 19 May 2017 - 20:36.


#3 TennesseeTrash

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 22:38

Conids and Sailor Realos also have ink windows.

#4 Vintagepens

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 22:47

To elaborate a bit about vintage pens with darkened ink windows:

Celluloid is permeable, so the darkening will usually have penetrated some distance into the material. In most cases, however, much of the transparency loss is due to stubborn ink residue. Removing the nib and feed and giving the inside of the section a good scrubbing can help a great deal, but be sure to note the original position of the nib and feed for reassembly -- heat setting nibs is trickier with sections of celluloid rather than hard rubber.



#5 OMASsimo

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 22:47

Darkening of the ink window is an issue often found with vintage pens and it can have various reasons. One is aging of the clear material itself as ele pointed out. In that case nothing can be done. Another reason can be surface staining by the use of iron gall ink. In this case there is a chance to cure the problem by polishing off the inner wall of the barrel. But this is difficult and I wouldn't call it "safe". If you're lucky it's just dried ink and can be washed out.

 

Ink windows were very popular in the old days when fountain pens were used for work rather than just signatures. But many popular filling mechanisms made it difficult to show the ink level. You'll find ink windows mostly with piston fillers which were very popular in Germany in particular.



#6 Vintagepens

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Posted 20 May 2017 - 00:36

One can be much more aggressive in polishing the interior walls of a section than those of a piston-filler's barrel. The latter must retain an even diameter throughout its length, whereas the interior dimensions of a section ink window are not critical.



#7 Sandy1

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Posted 20 May 2017 - 03:53

Hi,

 

I do not want to appear to be slack, but the aging of an ink window is one of my least concerns.

 

If the pen is a wonderful writer, why tinker with it?

 

I have a Sheaffer Balance with a translucent vac barrel restored by the renowned Richard Binder. I din't dip it in Rapid-o-Eze  to improve the clarity of the barrel. A stain is cosmetic, so is a scar of work, not a flaw.

 

Gnarly pens and three-eared cats are OK with me...

 

Bye,

S1


Edited by Sandy1, 20 May 2017 - 04:05.

The only time you have too much fuel is when you're on fire.


#8 goodpens

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Posted 20 May 2017 - 04:03

Thanks, everyone, for the feedback.

 

Yes, I think that this window has ambered (though I didn't know that term). It is probably also a little bit ink stained, so I'll see if I can work on that.

 

Sandy1: I agree on the "Why fiddle with a wonderful writer?" sentiment. I just like the particular functionality of an ink window and seeing the amount of ink left. My question is with the goal of optimizing that element of the pen's function. 



#9 Chrissy

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Posted 20 May 2017 - 05:31

For me the idea of having a pen with an ink window is so that you can see ink inside the pen. I have a Montblanc 146 that has turned dark blue, presumably from an ink that the previous owner used, and it's slightly annoying that I can't see the ink level, but at least everything else about the pen is fine.

 

It came to me from a place that restores pens and this discolouration of the ink window was mentioned, so I assume if they couldn't do anything about it, then I can't, so there is no point in worrying about it.  -_-


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#10 Bo Bo Olson

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Posted 20 May 2017 - 10:59

Take a bit of pen flush to it.....what goes away, goes away. What stays is going to be mostly hidden by what every ink you have in it..........and it should still show you if it is filled or not.

I'd not go all AR on trying to make an old pen window look new pen clear..........had you wanted that 'really', you could have paid $$ NOS prices for a never inked pen............that might have ambered by sitting anyway.

 

Those 'dark' ink windows, will show you if you are inked or not easier than the stripped Pelikans (green or tortoise) that have to be held up to the light to see if it's time to refill.

 

Until this post, I'd not paid much attention to my old '52-54 only made Deluxe MB234 1/2 KOB semi-flex pen's somewhat ambered window. It's an old pen. The ink window is a tad ambered....so what! I can see clearly if I need ink or not...............I need ink..............or to clean it out and put it away.

 

Red ink is a no no for ink windows................sigh, Purple needs to be cleaned out after every load....in purple is not all that good for ink windows either. One can live with out red ink............that is harder to do with purple.  I could see doing a pen flush after every load of Purple ink....just to be safe.


Edited by Bo Bo Olson, 20 May 2017 - 11:01.

Wisdom of the Founders, and their check and balances system is more a wonder than I thought. 

 

Due to Mauricio's improved definition of Super-flex, I try not use the term Easy Full Flex, but fail...sigh.

 

Semi-flex is an “almost” flex; not a ‘flex’ nib. It is great for regular writing with a touch of flair. It can give you some fancy; but it is not made for real fancy writing. For bit more of that get a maxi-semi-flex. Both spread tines 3X.  Those are not "Flex" nibs. 

 

Wider than Normal does not exist. Wider than Japanese does. Every company has it's very own standard + slop/tolerance. Developed from the users of it's pens and inks only; not the users or inks of other companies pens. The size you grind a nib to, is your standard only. Paper and ink matter to nib width. Thank god for 1/2 sizes or it would be boring.


#11 Sandy1

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Posted 20 May 2017 - 18:34

Thanks, everyone, for the feedback.

 

Yes, I think that this window has ambered (though I didn't know that term). It is probably also a little bit ink stained, so I'll see if I can work on that.

 

Sandy1: I agree on the "Why fiddle with a wonderful writer?" sentiment. I just like the particular functionality of an ink window and seeing the amount of ink left. My question is with the goal of optimizing that element of the pen's function. 

 

 

Hi,

 

It's also a matter of how one goes about things. 

 

I like my pens to be full of fresh ink, so even when writing with a large capacity piston filler its topped-up before I retire - unless I'm writing till sunrise - then its topped-up while my hair is drying, the oatmeal is cooking and the eggs are clamouring to become omelettes. And someone needs to put the kettle on for java jolts.

 

Also I reckon there are fuzzy borders between routine maintenance, overhaul and restoration.  

 

As ever, I try to do the most with the least risk to a pen, so often opt for a round of 'cleansing ink', such as ye olde Parker Quink with SOLV-X.

 

See alsohttp://www.fountainp...ng-lubricating/

 

Bye,

S1


Edited by Sandy1, 20 May 2017 - 18:43.

The only time you have too much fuel is when you're on fire.


#12 Runnin_Ute

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Posted 21 May 2017 - 00:20

I don't worry to much about a ambered ink window. One of my M200's - a old style derby cap blue marbled has a gray ink window. So it is difficult in the best of times.


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#13 Arkanabar

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Posted 21 May 2017 - 23:25

The Hero 616 has an ink window in its clutch ring.

 

And I'll concur with Bo Bo that reading the ink level in a striped Pelikan Souveran is nigh impossible.







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