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Why Are There So Few Permanent Inks?


s5s
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In the UK/EU you have the following choices for inks which you can find mostly in specialised shops:

 

Parker

Waterman

Pelikan

Mont Blanc

Diamine

Sheaffer

Caran d'Ache

Lamy

 

Why is it that most of these manufacturers make no waterproof inks or if they make one it's almost like a myth because nobody has managed to get a hold of a bottle? Isn't it natural that people would want to preserve what they write? I thought that's one of the basic aspects of putting your thoughts to paper. What's the point of me writing something if it's going to disappear from the paper in 1 year's time due to the properties of the ink?

 

Sure, Diamine makes registrar's ink but it has less saturation that the clouds over Great Britain. Lamy has Blue-Black which is more permanent but officially it's not waterproof and from what I understand it's been discontinued.

 

While I agree that often what you write will be thrown out within a week of the writing (e.g. practice work be it in maths, physics, chemistry, finance or whatever you're doing) but equally often you would want to write something which will be permanent. Not to mention the Moleskine addicts (which overpay for a product which is toxic BTW and is made in China). I doubt anyone would want to write something in their Moleskine and open it in 1+ years and find that there is now a smudge of ink where the writing was.

 

EDIT/PS:

 

I buy my ink from The Pen Shop which I really dislike. I would go in there and I would ask for a permanent ink and they would tell me that most of the inks are permanent. I think they don't really know what they are talking about. As far as I know Pelikan inks (with the exception of India ink) or Mont Blank inks are not permanent, aren't they? Furthermore, they haven't even heard of Diamine (and don't sell it) which I find irritating as it's a British (I think the only British) ink manufacturer and as a brand of ink is not bad at all.

Edited by s5s
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I don't know if this is the answer, but it is a fact...

Some of the "more modern" inks like those we used in school in the 50s were brought out as "washable". Many inks of the past were by no means washable (so that they could last for centuries, and/or the chemical industry had not yet developed so many water-soluble dyes). Then emphasis was then laid on the fact that school ink could indeed be washed out of your cloths (or carpets). Hence Florida Blue, or Parker's "washable blue". I think that many inks have remained so, or at least halfways so, since about 90% (?) of all inks today are still not meant for lawyers etc alone.

 

Mike

Life is too short to drink bad wine (Goethe)

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Hero, Platinum, and Sailor all make pigmented fountain pen inks that are permanent.

 

ESS Registrar's ink seems to be good and it turns darker than other iron gall inks I've tried. http://www.registrar...strars_ink.html

 

Private Reserve has a permanent black ink.

 

Noodler's has a number of permanent inks, but I don't know whether or not they're currently available in the UK/EU.

 

It's evidently difficult to make a truly permanent ink that is safe for fountain pens, behaves well, and has bright, saturated colors. So I don't know whether you'll be able to find what you want or not.

 

Someone here at FPN has posted about using the Magic Color Liquid Acrylic inks in fountain pens, IIRC. Maybe they would work for you? A search of FPN should turn up more info.

Edited by stuartk
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The trouble is this: most inks are dye based inks, which are not water fast for the most part. Pigmented inks would be more permanent, but it's hard to make a suspension that is easy to maintain without clogging till recently. However, you should definitively check out R+K's Salix ink or any of the other commercial iron gall inks, as those are permanent till the paper is destroyed. Pilot's blue black is pretty resistant to water too.

The heart has its reasons which reason knows nothing of.

Blaise Pascal

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Tell me about any of your new pens and help with fountain pen quality control research!

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First of all, most fountain pen inks will last more than 1 year, a lot more. Washable inks are very short lived but these inks are clearly labeled.

 

Diamine registrar's in is dry so it needs a wet pen, it looks great out of mine and I sometimes wonder why I bother with anything else. Lamy's current Blue Black has some Iron-Gall chemistry but it is not a true IG ink, it should leave a visible dark line when the rest of the ink washes off. There's a MontBlanc ink that's similar.

Parker should be ashamed of their website. Permanant Black and Permanant Blue are options.

A lot of the Iroshizuku inks are water resistant but they are expensive.

Private reserve make Invincible Black

Rohrer & Klingner have Salix and Scabiosa which are true IG inks

Sailor Kiwa-Guro and Sei-Boku are pigmented inks for FP's and are water proof and archival.

 

Those are just what I see quickly on The Writing Desk's website. Keep an eye out for Platinum's Pigmented inks too. Also, check out the reviews on this site for other inks that may work for you.

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Pilot Blue is the reason Pilot BlueBlack is pretty resistant....Pilot Blue is VERY resistant to water,

 

Some of the non-waterproof inks contain a strong water-resistant component. For example, the red component of PR Chocolat and the blue component of Waterman Black. The discontinued MB Racing Green was quite resistant, too.

"Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination."

Oscar Wilde

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The trouble is this: most inks are dye based inks, which are not water fast for the most part. Pigmented inks would be more permanent, but it's hard to make a suspension that is easy to maintain without clogging till recently. However, you should definitively check out R+K's Salix ink or any of the other commercial iron gall inks, as those are permanent till the paper is destroyed. Pilot's blue black is pretty resistant to water too.

 

So how do they do it with disposable rollerballs? For example Pilot Hi-Tecpoint or Uni-Ball Eye? Their ink is rock solid and is free-flowing. The feed is similar to a FP feed. R&K I can only get online but I might give it a go.

 

I don't know why people are so worried about the ink destroying their pen.

 

1) The acidic damage process takes significant time. Precious metals are extremely resistant and a lot of steel nibs have a coating so this damage is really almost non-existant.

2) You're most likely used (or are using) an acidic water based ink already.

3) You can get a descent and cheap pen for use with such inks (e.g. Lamy Safari, Pelikano, Preppy).

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s5s

you seem to imply that inks that can harm a pen do so due to their acidic nature, and that is true regarding corrosion of steel nibs, as you mention, but the presence of organic solvents that can dissolve some of the plastic parts of the pens can be more problematic

I'm a user, baby.

 

We love what we do not possess. Plato, probably about pens.

 

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s5s

you seem to imply that inks that can harm a pen do so due to their acidic nature, and that is true regarding corrosion of steel nibs, as you mention, but the presence of organic solvents that can dissolve some of the plastic parts of the pens can be more problematic

 

What I'm wondering is why aren't they making the ink that's in liquid ink pens (such as Pilot, Uni-Ball, Rotring) available for fountain pens. I've been thinking of cutting and opening a disposable pen and transferring the ink to my FP.

 

Also what about printer ink? In general it's super-duper saturation and the dye based ink I tried in my fountain pen had great flow. I'm thinking of trying a pigment printer ink in a FP because the dye one I have is water based.

 

EDIT:

So I've just put some dye based printer ink in a parker jotter FP medium nib and the only problem I have is that it flows too much. If you put the nib on paper the ink will just from the nib to the paper saturating the paper with ink. The ink's viscosity needs to be increased.

Edited by s5s
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I don't think there is a huge problem of ink becoming illegible after one year. Certainly I refer back to things that I wrote years ago, and I can still read them. There are millions of books with very old margin notes. Historical documents, etc. The absence of waterproofing does not mean an ink won't last for years.

 

Of course, if you are looking for an ink that will survive a flood, waterproof is good. Assuming your paper survives the flood. But if just want something you can read in 20, or 50, years, most writing produced by pencil and most water-based inks should be fine under reasonable storage conditions. Check your library's books and files, or your parents' attic, and you will see plenty of old writings that are perfectly legible.

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UNLESS they were written with cheap bic sticks and their like...

I don't think there is a huge problem of ink becoming illegible after one year. Certainly I refer back to things that I wrote years ago, and I can still read them. There are millions of books with very old margin notes. Historical documents, etc. The absence of waterproofing does not mean an ink won't last for years.

 

Of course, if you are looking for an ink that will survive a flood, waterproof is good. Assuming your paper survives the flood. But if just want something you can read in 20, or 50, years, most writing produced by pencil and most water-based inks should be fine under reasonable storage conditions. Check your library's books and files, or your parents' attic, and you will see plenty of old writings that are perfectly legible.

The heart has its reasons which reason knows nothing of.

Blaise Pascal

fpn_1336709688__pen_01.jpg

Tell me about any of your new pens and help with fountain pen quality control research!

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I recently had to review some paperwork, including my handwritten annotations on the matter from 20 years ago, when I didn't know that there was anything other than Quink Black. It's still clear and unfaded. In fact paperwork from the 60s relating to the same series has hand written notes in black and brown which have not faded, and some in a pale blue which may have faded or may have been pale from the beginning. In those days I suspect it would have been Quink washable blue. I remember that from primary school and I also remember that it didn't wash out of clothes well. Every boy had a shirt or pair of shorts with a pale blue pocket smudge. The girls, somehow, never did.

To err is human.

To ARRR is pirate!

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I don't know if this is the answer, but it is a fact...

Some of the "more modern" inks like those we used in school in the 50s were brought out as "washable". Many inks of the past were by no means washable (so that they could last for centuries, and/or the chemical industry had not yet developed so many water-soluble dyes). Then emphasis was then laid on the fact that school ink could indeed be washed out of your cloths (or carpets). Hence Florida Blue, or Parker's "washable blue". I think that many inks have remained so, or at least halfways so, since about 90% (?) of all inks today are still not meant for lawyers etc alone.

 

Mike

Exactly. There isn't as high a demand, except for us nut-bags who still use FP's. The biro has replaced the need, which is unfortunate.

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Why is it that most of these manufacturers make no waterproof inks or if they make one it's almost like a myth because nobody has managed to get a hold of a bottle?

Just ask: why make GOOD quality goods when people will pay the same price for junk that cost less to make? Even pay more on the long run because of the short life span of the product!

 

Also, most people does not have an idea of conserving thing. For example, several form use a NCR paper. It is junk for archival purpose. Same with Bic pens use by office registrars. It won't last long as a good quality ink. Sadly, we don't have proper law in Canada to force the use of quality ink and archival paper. By law you are forced to keep a receipt 6 or 7 years if use for Tax benefit. But thermal paper use everywhere does not last 6 month...

Edited by Messmer

Messmer

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Well the only reason I use an FP is because I find the pen that I am using (Lamy Safari) incredibly comfortable. I must say though that modern liquid ink pens are very comfortable too and require little pressure to write.

 

For fading see here (ink is Parker Blue permanent):

 

https://www.fountainpennetwork.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=46702

 

The other thing is that humidity is never 0%. Even oil based ballpoint pen ink changes within 1 year and acquires a diluted look. Not to mention that sometimes you might be reading your notes and spill something on them. Although people take care, notes are to be used, not stored in a glass box and things like this happen. Or you might have them in a bag and be caught off guard by rain. Endless possibilities and I think a waterproof ink is a good idea. Very few non-FP pens out there have water soluble inks. TBH I've never seen one.

 

EDIT:

Ballpoints have oil based ink so are very stable and permanent. I've got very old notes and they look as though they've been written yesterday. Sometimes (it's not clear to me why, maybe humidity) the look will change a bit. Nothing too major but it looks different. Readability is not affected though.

Edited by s5s
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So how do they do it with disposable rollerballs? For example Pilot Hi-Tecpoint or Uni-Ball Eye? Their ink is rock solid and is free-flowing. The feed is similar to a FP feed. R&K I can only get online but I might give it a go.

 

I don't know why people are so worried about the ink destroying their pen.

 

1) The acidic damage process takes significant time. Precious metals are extremely resistant and a lot of steel nibs have a coating so this damage is really almost non-existant.

2) You're most likely used (or are using) an acidic water based ink already.

3) You can get a descent and cheap pen for use with such inks (e.g. Lamy Safari, Pelikano, Preppy).

 

Most pen inks are NOT water based. Most likely oil based. That's why they're water-resistant. They're "free-flowing" due to the ball, not because they're actually free flowing.

 

Damage is damage, regardless of timespan. I use preppies and lamys. I use registrars ink. But I'd still be upset (and out $$$) when they break.

 

Also, your definition of "permanent" is different from traditional permanent. Traditionally (with regards to FP ink) it meant not-for-school, aka more difficult to wash out. Note, my marker says permanent, but is alcohol soluble, and fades easily. It's only within the past few years that permanent became associated with ultra-laser-proof-til-the-end-of-time.

 

EDIT:

So I've just put some dye based printer ink in a parker jotter FP medium nib and the only problem I have is that it flows too much. If you put the nib on paper the ink will just from the nib to the paper saturating the paper with ink. The ink's viscosity needs to be increased.

As you found out, it's not that easy. And there are threads about using printer refills as FP ink. Another in-joke is to use food coloring. Mmmm, tasty.

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Why is it that most of these manufacturers make no waterproof inks or if they make one it's almost like a myth because nobody has managed to get a hold of a bottle?

Just ask: why make GOOD quality goods when people will pay the same price for junk that cost less to make? Even pay more on the long run because of the short life span of the product!

 

Also, most people does not have an idea of conserving thing. For example, several form use a NCR paper. It is junk for archival purpose. Same with Bic pens use by office registrars. It won't last long as a good quality ink. Sadly, we don't have proper law in Canada to force the use of quality ink and archival paper. By law you are forced to keep a receipt 6 or 7 years if use for Tax benefit. But thermal paper use everywhere does not last 6 month...

 

You sound more knowledgeable on this topic than me. However, Bic is a big company and their ballpoints use ink which is not bad an ink at all. I've got notes that haven't changed one bit in the past 5+ years. You'd think I wrote them last night. I thought oil based ink is: 1) very permanent; 2) very stable; 3) very water resistant. The only flaw that it has and FP ink doesn't is that it requires more pressure to apply it. Uni-Ball eye claims their ink is unremovable:

 

"Virtually all of their normal writing pens feature waterproof and fade-resistant pigment ink - superior in performance to the dyestuff inks used in most pens, and highly resistant to tampering or accidental spillages."

 

Here are the products http://www.cultpens.com/acatalog/Uni-Ball.html (pricey). I've got a carton box full of Pilot, Uniball, Staedler etc. pens which probably costs as much as a Visconti HS but they really are unremovable and don't change. I've been soaking a page in water with no change to the ink. I think one gell ink went through the paper so it was visible on the other side but with liquid inks I've observed no change whatsoever.

 

EDIT

Uniball also has the superink range or whatever. That's what I'm talking about. For me the ink is the most important thing. Only after the ink is the pen. Much like guns and bullets - you design/pick the bullet and then you design the gun to fit the bullet, not the other way around.

Edited by s5s
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Why is it that most of these manufacturers make no waterproof inks or if they make one it's almost like a myth because nobody has managed to get a hold of a bottle?

 

My guess would be 1. Tradition. 2. Decades of people complaining that they couldn't get the stain out.

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Short answer is: it's hard. Just how do you dissolve stuff in water to make ink that doesn't redissolve in water a second time? Noodlers readily redissolves unless it's on cellulose. The permanence is a special case (just a very common case).

 

 

EDIT

Uniball also has the superink range or whatever. That's what I'm talking about. For me the ink is the most important thing.

That superink is only a few years old (I got a free one in the mail). As it says on the promotional pages, "prevent check fraud". Fewer and fewer checks are being written. And now it come out? A little late don't you think.

 

So why doesn't Uniball abandon all their inks and just use the superink everywhere? Ans: because people don't care for that level of indestructibility, especially at that price point.

 

Only after the ink is the pen. Much like guns and bullets - you design/pick the bullet and then you design the gun to fit the bullet, not the other way around.

I guess you found a new market: Fountain pens that use oil-based inks.

 

And as Joshua said, you'd probably change your tune if you had to do laundry everyday.

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TBH Uniball's ink washes out. I'm not sure whether it's the ink or the detergent but I write primarily in red and because I use needlepoints and often reach over to type on the computer I often get the pen under my shirt and i get ink on my sleeves. After a wash there is rarely anything left.

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