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© A Smug Dill

Two types of containers I use for ink sample giveaways

A Smug Dill

These are the two types of containers, of which I've bought hundreds, for ink sample giveaways.


On the left, nominally 1.8ml sample vials, which can in fact hold in excess of 2.1ml of ink, with removable and replaceable threaded caps in different colours. Under each cap is an O-ring, which is just about the right size to fit around the section threads on a Preppy,


On the right is 1.5ml centrifuge tube. The hinged lid can be re-closed several times, after which I expect the thin strip of plastic may tear or break along the crease. For sending the equivalent of one or two ink cartridges' volume of an ink to test, these would be perfect… but for the fact that, in my experience and from my observation, about a tenth of these are defective and don't seal liquids well enough to make it across the oceans without leakage.


Both of these will fit inside a cardboard mailer for the closed package to fit inside the maximum thickness of 20mm for a large letter. (That's how staff at my neighbourhood Australia Post office tells me to send the contents, even internationally; such a thin package does not count as, and would not be treated as, a parcel even if I paid Parcel Post postage.)


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Searching on here to find examples of what people use for ink sample vials and came across this - thank you for sharing it, very helpful just as I needed it!

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@E.H. Tersono I think a lot of people prefer to use larger-capacity versions of the sample vials with the threaded caps; or, at least, certainly to receive ink samples in larger vials (and presumably larger volumes than 2ml).


Whatever you choose should be fit for your purpose and use cases. If you want to be able to stick the business end of a pen into a sample vial, and submerge the nib and feed in the ink it contains, sufficiently and for long enough to refill a pen from it, then these small sample vials won't do. On the other hand, if all you want is containers in which to hold the unconsumed ink in partially depleted cartridges or converters, or send a small amount of ink (or silicone grease, PhotoFlo or some such), or even give a spare Pelikan M20x nib all-round protection while minimising the thickness of the package or parcel you send, these are good. I sent a collection of 72 ink samples using the green-capped vials, from Australia to @LizEF in the US, in a tightly packed <500g parcel, and only two of them exhibited minor leakage (which could possibly have been avoided altogether, had I been more careful) in transit across the ocean and skies.


If you're indeed looking to send ink samples to others, then — if you so choose — you could possibly include a disposable 1ml syringe with a (metal or plastic) blunt-tip ‘needle’/nozzle attachment, which would make it easier to refill converters or empty ink cartridges from these vials. It also works in the case where the recipient's pen is a piston-filler with a threaded and removable nib unit (e.g. Pelikan Souverän or Aurora Optima).

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