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  1. Two bottles of P.W. Akkerman ink arrived by post this afternoon. One bottle is called “Shocking Blue;” the other, “Het Zwarte Pad,” or The Black Path. P.W. Akkerman is a boutique pen store located in Den Haag, the Netherlands. The ink and bottle is exclusive to them. I have wanted at least one Akkerman ink bottle to add to my collection of encre for years now, but I was put off by the high cost, especially for shipping. Each 150ml bottle runs 13.64 euro or about $18 each with an additional $30 to transport both bottles to the United States. What changed my mind? Well, look at the design of the bottle, to begin with. It’s beautiful; a marvel of industrial design. The rounded base is actually made up of eight beveled sides. You see that blue marble-like ball in the bottle neck? That ball keeps the ink inside the neck when it is made to stand straight. The ball effectively creates a small reservoir in the neck ready for dipping. Look at the cap on the center bottle. It has a tiny air-pistol built into the cap which acts as a sort of ventilator. That little needle nose helps decrease any internal air pressure that invariably occurs every time you turn the cap closed. It also prevents the ink from spouting like a geyser when reopened. The label, calligraphy, and artwork on the bottle itself as well as on the box it comes in is just old world charming. It is these details that distinguish this brand of fountain pen ink and make it easier for me to justify the high cost of shipping. What made me feel better about spending the $65 for two bottles, including shipping, was knowing that the design is unique to P.W. Akkerman. To the best of my knowledge, you cannot find these bottles made by any other pen company. And while $65 may seem like a lot of money, the bottles are big, 150ml or 5 fluid oz. Even so, 30 bucks is still a lot of money, but cheaper than swimming the Atlantic for it, I guess. In the end, pride in my Dutch heritage was the tipping point. There is so much pleasure in writing with a fountain pen, and for the past few years I have begun to collect fountain pen inks in the same way that wine connoisseurs collect bottles of vin. The P.W. Akkerman fountain pen ink bottle is really a smart set up as far as ink bottles go. The only other bottle design that comes close to being as much fun to use and to look at are the 4.5 oz Noodler’s bottles with the eyedropper tops. I’m impressed with how the folks at P.W. Akkerman packed the bottles. They actually opened each box before hand, wrapped the bottle in a tiny plastic bag and then added Styrofoam peanuts to the box before putting it inside the larger cardboard box meant for shipping. It was thoughtful and actually quite a brilliant idea to pack this way because if they hadn’t taken this extra step, the bottle would certainly have bounced around during its flight to New York City and could have broken as a result. Attention to detail is the mark of excellence in my book. Thought I’d share this fountain pen ink moment with you in the hope that you take as much delight in the art of writing as I do.

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