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How Permanent Is Parker Quink Permanent Blue?

quink permanent fading washable blue vintage

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11 replies to this topic

#1 pigeonfarm

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Posted 26 June 2019 - 17:58

I have recently ventured into the world of vintage pens and have purchased two English Parker 51s for use as EDC/workhorse pens.  I also picked up a few bottles of vintage Quink Permanent Blue with Solv-X that were made in England as I figured the ink should most definitely be safe to use in a Parker 51.  I'm a blue ink girl at heart for my everyday inks, and tend to avoid black inks.  Blue-blacks are hit or miss for me. 

 

I used to use Quink Washable blue back in my college days and discovered from unpleasant personal experience that it fades very badly.  Sadly, I documented a significant portion of my flight time in my logbooks during my undergraduate flight training hours in Quink Washable Blue  -_- and those entries are now barely legible.  Fortunately, enough of my logbook is in other inks, mostly ballpoint, that it's still usable as documentation of my flight time.  I no longer fly professionally, so I am not concerned about the longevity of the entries as much anymore, but I would like to prevent similar ink fade in my current logbooks for flight and scuba diving, as well as in journals, record keeping, and correspondence.  

 

Just how permanent is the Quink Permanent Blue with Solv-X?  Will I need to worry about significant fading, or is it pretty hardy?

 

I have also purchased some Rohrer & Klingner Scabiosa and Salix inks, but wasn't sure they would be good choices in the P51 pens due to them being harder to completely dismantle and clean should the collector clog with the IG inks.  I intended to use them in other more easily cleaned pens. Are my instincts correct to avoid IG ink in a P51? 

 

I've attached photos of the box and bottle here so you can see the ink. There's no date on the box or bottles, so I am uncertain just how old the ink is, but my guess is not terribly old.  The bottles are 2 fl. oz., or 57 cc.   

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#2 inkstainedruth

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Posted 26 June 2019 - 18:49

Sorry, can't tell you about that era of ink production.  I have a bottle of the Washable Blue that I picked up awhile back, but haven't tried it yet.

OTOH, if you ever run across a bottle of Quink Microfilm Black (the stuff from the 1940s), and it's not too expensive, I'd tell you to buy it!  I don't know how UV resistant it is, but it's definitely pretty waterproof, and gets used in a lot of my Vacumatics.  

I don't know if the bottle I'm currently using has been reconstituted or not -- it's got a blue undertone to the color that I really like (makes me think of a blue black that doesn't lean teal the way so many blue-blacks do.

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth


"It's very nice, but frankly, when I signed that list for a P-51, what I had in mind was a fountain pen."

#3 Olya

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Posted 26 June 2019 - 19:20

The permanent stuff is nowhere near as bad as the washable stuff, you shouldn't worry about using it.

 

However, permanence in this case isn't pigment- or Noodler's-level, it just means it might not wash out of clothes as well as the washable stuff (it still will wash out of clothes though!).

 

Permanence as term is fairly relative, but if it's fading in closed notebooks you're worried about and not UV-resistance or waterproofness, then this ink should suit your needs just fine!


Edited by Olya, 26 June 2019 - 19:21.


#4 pigeonfarm

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Posted 26 June 2019 - 19:25

I suspect the ink was manufactured in February 2010, if it helps.  On the front label, in the bottom left corner below the "Q" there are some embossed numbers that read "02/10".  It's a bit difficult to make out in the photo, but you can sort of see it.  I can't seem to get a better photo of it.  

 

I was guessing from the styling of the boxes, and the general look/feel of them, that it was probably within the last 10-15 years.  So if this is a date code, that would make the ink not quite 9 1/2 years old. I do not know enough about Parker inks to know if my assumption is correct. 

 

I'm hoping someone will know if it's indeed truly permanent.  I'm hoping it's got some waterproof qualities as well because I was planning on using it in both my flight and scuba logbooks if it is indeed truly a permanent, non-fading ink.  

 

It definitely has the phenol smell to it, so there's no doubt to me that what's in the bottles is what the boxes say it is.  



#5 pigeonfarm

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Posted 26 June 2019 - 19:29

The permanent stuff is nowhere near as bad as the washable stuff, you shouldn't worry about using it.

 

However, permanence in this case isn't pigment- or Noodler's-level, it just means it might not wash out of clothes as well as the washable stuff (it still will wash out of clothes though!).

 

Permanence as term is fairly relative, but if it's fading in closed notebooks you're worried about and not UV-resistance or waterproofness, then this ink should suit your needs just fine!

 

Yes, it's mostly going to be used in closed notebooks.  As I mentioned previously, flight and scuba logbooks, and possibly in personal records and journals.  Any UV exposure will probably be minimal.  I tend to fill out my flight logbooks indoors, and they're stored indoors, closed on a bookshelf.  My scuba logbooks I sometimes fill out on the beach or boat, but sometimes in the room at the resort/hotel as well.  Mixed bag there.  

 

I'm not necessarily looking for archival qualities, per se, just a good all around, safe ink that won't junk up my P51s, and which won't fade like the Quink Washable Blue.  Although, I would happily accept archival quality ink suggestions that will be safe in a P51!  



#6 PJohnP

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Posted 26 June 2019 - 20:48

Parker Permanent Blue is passable for resistance, but I'm unsure if I'd use the term permanence, with respect to water on a written and dry page.

 

As others have noted, the use of the term permanence for inks has shifted in the last ten or fifteen years.

 

All of that said, Parker inks are nice inks, and certainly highly useable for writing in notebooks.  I went through undergraduate and postgraduate studies writing with Parker inks in various colours, and the notes are still crisp and readable all these years later.  Add to that comment that I was most certainly not as careful with cleaning and flushing my fountain pens in that era, and I had little to no problem with the Parker inks in my pens.  You are very likely well protected with flight notebooks in using Parker permanent inks.

 

However, scuba logbooks that could be well immersed in salt water may be problematic.

 

I personally have used Noodler's (more permanent inks) in various pens, but if you're highly concerned about the older pens, I'd recommend Sailor Kiwa-guro black or Sei-Boku blue as pretty durable inks.  The latter is a reasonably pleasing blue colour and I've found it fast for notes taken in rather difficult environments with moisture, even sheeting rain.  As always for inks, the degree of resistance also very much depends on allowing the ink to dry.  Despite these being "pigment inks" which have had some questions overall in the pen world, these specific Sailor inks have been absolutely problem free for me in some years of use.  There is another Sailor "nano-particle" blue-black ink on the market, but I haven't tried that one as yet.

 

The discussions on archival inks will, as you might expect, get more complicated depending on the period you consider important.  If you search FPN on the topic, you'll see a fair bit of crossover on that topic and permanence.  In addition, there are some rather, ahem, rather strongly held opinions on the safety of these classes and brands of inks.  I haven't experienced these effects personally, but you will see some stark and harsh anecdotes recounted around these things.

 

I'd suggest finding someone local to you who has a stash of inks to run some tests, or ordering some samples from any of several online vendors, to see what hits your specific needs.  I'd offer to assist, but I'm located another state west from you, so I can't easily drop by to help.  Depending on where you are specifically located in the Republic, you might stop by a brick-and-mortar shop like Dromgoole's as well.

 

 

 

John P.


Edited by PJohnP, 26 June 2019 - 20:48.


#7 pigeonfarm

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Posted 26 June 2019 - 21:41

Parker Permanent Blue is passable for resistance, but I'm unsure if I'd use the term permanence, with respect to water on a written and dry page.

 

As others have noted, the use of the term permanence for inks has shifted in the last ten or fifteen years.

 

All of that said, Parker inks are nice inks, and certainly highly useable for writing in notebooks.  I went through undergraduate and postgraduate studies writing with Parker inks in various colours, and the notes are still crisp and readable all these years later.  Add to that comment that I was most certainly not as careful with cleaning and flushing my fountain pens in that era, and I had little to no problem with the Parker inks in my pens.  You are very likely well protected with flight notebooks in using Parker permanent inks.

 

However, scuba logbooks that could be well immersed in salt water may be problematic.

 

I personally have used Noodler's (more permanent inks) in various pens, but if you're highly concerned about the older pens, I'd recommend Sailor Kiwa-guro black or Sei-Boku blue as pretty durable inks.  The latter is a reasonably pleasing blue colour and I've found it fast for notes taken in rather difficult environments with moisture, even sheeting rain.  As always for inks, the degree of resistance also very much depends on allowing the ink to dry.  Despite these being "pigment inks" which have had some questions overall in the pen world, these specific Sailor inks have been absolutely problem free for me in some years of use.  There is another Sailor "nano-particle" blue-black ink on the market, but I haven't tried that one as yet.

 

The discussions on archival inks will, as you might expect, get more complicated depending on the period you consider important.  If you search FPN on the topic, you'll see a fair bit of crossover on that topic and permanence.  In addition, there are some rather, ahem, rather strongly held opinions on the safety of these classes and brands of inks.  I haven't experienced these effects personally, but you will see some stark and harsh anecdotes recounted around these things.

 

I'd suggest finding someone local to you who has a stash of inks to run some tests, or ordering some samples from any of several online vendors, to see what hits your specific needs.  I'd offer to assist, but I'm located another state west from you, so I can't easily drop by to help.  Depending on where you are specifically located in the Republic, you might stop by a brick-and-mortar shop like Dromgoole's as well.

 

 

 

John P.

 

Thank you so much PJohnP!  Your response was very helpful, indeed.  I think I will try to locate a bottle of the Sei-Boku as alternative ink to the Quink Permanent Blue.  I'm not averse to purchasing multiple bottles and/or samples in my search, and I like Sailor inks so it will not go to waste.  

 

I do happen to be located in the Houston metro area, so Dromgoogle's is handy-ish to me.  I believe it'd be about a 30 minute trip from where I live, so visiting in person is definitely doable.  I haven't ventured into the brick and mortar side of the equation here in Houston yet.  I'm not a lifelong resident, but have lived here for about 4 years now.  I'm just now getting to the point where I consider myself reasonably familiar with the metro area as a whole.  Thank you for your suggestions!  



#8 XYZZY

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Posted 26 June 2019 - 21:58

I understand and respect your desire to use your favorite pens.  But, especially in the case of diving logs where both the logs and the pen may get salty...  how about a cheap beater pen, and then use the most potent ink that you want?

 

I envy that you're close to Dromgoole's.  I'm a displaced Dallas native and make a couple of trips "home" each year, but Dromgoole's in and of itself isn't worth the trip to Houston (even with the added benefit of stopping in to say howdy to cousins in Houston).  And yet Dromgoole's keeps beckoning to me to find a way to rationalize the trip.



#9 pigeonfarm

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Posted 26 June 2019 - 22:35

I understand and respect your desire to use your favorite pens.  But, especially in the case of diving logs where both the logs and the pen may get salty...  how about a cheap beater pen, and then use the most potent ink that you want?

 

I envy that you're close to Dromgoole's.  I'm a displaced Dallas native and make a couple of trips "home" each year, but Dromgoole's in and of itself isn't worth the trip to Houston (even with the added benefit of stopping in to say howdy to cousins in Houston).  And yet Dromgoole's keeps beckoning to me to find a way to rationalize the trip.

 

As a transplanted Midwesterner from Indianapolis, I am still getting used to living in such a large city where nearly everything under the sun is available to me.  I keep meaning to make a trip to Dromgoogle's, but keep forgetting it's even there.  I'm just accustomed to online buying having never been spoilt for choice before, so I rarely think brick & mortar.  Haha.  

 

re: using the pens in a saltwater environment, it's highly unlikely I would be bringing the pen itself on the boat unless it were in a liveaboard type situation where I would have a private cruise ship style cabin on the ship and the entire trip is onboard the yacht type dive boat itself.  I apologize for the lack of clarity in my previous post.  I usually will bring along two waterproof pouches that contain my dive logbook in one, along with a few sheets of Rite in the Rain paper, and a ballpoint pen like a Fisher Space Pen, and a grease pencil for underwater use in the other.  I use the scrap paper to log the basic details of the dive, and then fill in the log itself on dry land with my permanent logbook entry.  Any fountain pens I'd be bringing would be left in the resort room, and I would not be taking them on the boat. I carry the log onboard the boat itself solely for the crew to validate my experience level, if required.   

 

I got the P51s so I could have a reliable pen to use as an EDC and to travel with, so I wouldn't have to bring my Pelikans, Sailors, and nicer Pilot pens along.  Even though I intend to travel with them, I would never bring them on the actual boat unless it were a liveaboard boat, and then they would be left safely in my cabin and not brought to the diving area.  If I were to go ahead and fill out the log on a smaller dive boat itself, I would just use the ballpoint in my waterproof pouch.  But, you've raised a valid point & given me an excuse to explore the world of super cheap pens & potent inks which I have yet to have done.  Any excuse to buy more pens and inks is a welcome one.  I may have an issue, but I suspect I am among good company here.   :D

 

*edited for spelling*


Edited by pigeonfarm, 26 June 2019 - 22:37.


#10 txomsy

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Posted 27 June 2019 - 07:44

I understand your need for permanence. You should balance against seller's need for marketing. See, e.g.

 

http://www.fountainp...rnal-pigmented/

 

I used quite a lot of Parker and Watermans permanent inks in my student days because I wanted permanence. Most wouldn't be waterproof, in the sense they would still smear with water, yet remain legible (which is what "pemanent" meant ink marketroid talk). This led me, in due time to select a few sources I could really trust, at the time, it was mostly MontBlanc permanent inks, which were the ones that behaved as I expected. I do still keep two MB horseshoes from the early 90s.

 

Today you have many more options. R&K, Noodler's, Koh-inoor, Diamine, De Atramentis... and many more. Not to forget the well beloved by many ESSR blue-black.

 

As for maintenance... unless you are going to leave the ink in the pen unused for months, I wouldn't worry much. Some of these inks are what is usually referred as "high maintenance", meaning that while normal inks will require a pen flush with water to clean every few months or when changing colors, some of these will require more frequent flushes.

 

Personally, I do flush clean them with water every time they run empty of ink, but that's an habit I developed decades ago and that I do notwithstanding the kind of ink I use (I do not make a difference between low and high maintenance, I just flush every pen clean after ending an ink load, just in case next time I want to use a different colour.

 

Flushing the pen clean for me means loading and ejecting water until it runs out clean from the pen. For c/c or cartridge pens, I may place the section/nib under running water. Very seldomly, when I want a good cleaning, or if I suspect flow issues, I put them in a flask, glass or recipient with water and leave them overnight or until the water is no longer stained.



#11 Bibliophage

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Posted 27 June 2019 - 13:36

I'm also in Houston, but I don't tend to go down to Dromgoole's because of the fact that it's in Rice Village.  Mind you, parking in front of his store tends to be no problem at all.  He has his own dedicated parking, and is far enough away from the "main" rows of stores that people don't tend to park there for 'just one minute to get something next door'.  

 

Just make sure to go there between 10 AM and 2 PM, and you shouldn't have too much problem getting in or out.    Or you can hit me up for some random ink or pens to play with.  



#12 PJohnP

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Posted 28 June 2019 - 18:46

 

Thank you so much PJohnP!  Your response was very helpful, indeed.  I think I will try to locate a bottle of the Sei-Boku as alternative ink to the Quink Permanent Blue.  I'm not averse to purchasing multiple bottles and/or samples in my search, and I like Sailor inks so it will not go to waste.  

 

I do happen to be located in the Houston metro area, so Dromgoogle's is handy-ish to me.  I believe it'd be about a 30 minute trip from where I live, so visiting in person is definitely doable.  I haven't ventured into the brick and mortar side of the equation here in Houston yet.  I'm not a lifelong resident, but have lived here for about 4 years now.  I'm just now getting to the point where I consider myself reasonably familiar with the metro area as a whole.  Thank you for your suggestions!  

 

Well, Houston driving in terms of getting expeditiously from one area of the city to another is (almost) akin to crossing several states in other places in the country !

 

I get to Houston regularly on business, but I'm usually north of the city (The Woodlands) or south of the city (Pearland), and driving to Dromgoole's is a bit of an unusual thing for me (also in that I'm usually working very long days).  Still, brick-and-mortar allows one to look at something held in one's hands, not an internet image or review, and that counts for a lot with inks and pens.

 

For me, the tough point is that inks tend to accumulate, even with most of my non-email writing being done with fountain pen.  I used to treat myself to a new bottle (or three) of ink after I had completed a longer assignment on-the-road, but I had to stop that when the ink took over two drawers, one a large file drawer, in my office desk, as well as two boxes in my home study.  Since then, I've been making a concerted effort to use the inks I have, rotating inks and pens more consciously.  I know that there are people here in FPN who have large cabinets or closets full of paper and ink, but that's simply not sustainable for me.

 

The other piece to this is the concept of "The perfect is the enemy of the good" in terms of the functionality of inks.  I've found myself with several core use inks in my pens this last few years after I'd tested out a significant number of inks.  I usually have red, blue, black, and green inks in the travel pens that I use in work, and aside from making a shift over to KWZ IG Red a few years back, the other inks have been constant for a long time.  I would note that all of the inks I travel with are highly water-resistant, even vaguely speaking "permanent".

 

You were given an excellent comment by Txomsy about "permanence" in the older sense of the term used by ink companies.  I did have some Quink lab notes get water drenched when I was doing my postgraduate studies, and the ink ran heavily, but was still legible.  Today's very well-designed inks have only light running when soaked or water drenched, with the main writing quite well established on the paper.  My lab notes from years back that were "washed" are surely still readable, but certainly look far the worse for wear !

 

Have some fun as you move back into pens and ink - I saw your flock of Pelikans elsewhere here in FPN, very very nice - and post some images of what you're writing...

 

 

 

John P.







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