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Why Are There So Few Permanent Inks?


s5s
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Here is my own lightfastness scan of 57 inks, posted here at FPN.

 

Conclusion: the inks that did best with little or no fading were the acrylic inks (Magic Color and Rotring ArtistColor, both of which are acid-free) and the following Noodler's bulletproof inks: Kung Te-Chung, Heart of Darkness, Bad Green Gator and Socrates. Other honorable mentions were Winsor & Newton Sepia, Levenger Raven Black & Higgins Fountain Pen India. So if your quest is absolute permanence (lightfast with total or some water resistance), I think you can have full confidence in these inks.

 

eta: Calli had 3 colors that did very well, too, but I find them a little fussier to use in fountain pens.

Edited by fiberdrunk

Find my homemade ink recipes on my Flickr page here.

 

"I don't wait for inspiration; inspiration waits for me." --Akiane Kramarik

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This is very helpful:

 

http://u-fr.blogspot.com/2011/03/ink-archival-standards.html

 

http://dart.fine-art.com/aqd-asp-im_99740-buy-m.htm

 

EDIT:

So after reviewing the information online and here I think I've come up with a verdict (based on my conception of how things stand as of now). If you want something permanent, waterproof and fade resistant (an archival ink) FPs are not where you should be looking at. You'll be best off with a ballpoint or a gel/liquid ink such as Uni-Pin, Pilot, Staedler, Stabilo, Pentel etc. There is a standard (ISO 12757-2) for waterproof and fade-resistant characteristics of ballpoint inks. It's best to pick a pen that accepts the standard Parker G2 refill cartridge. Companies such as Schneider have produced various ink formulations that conform to ISO 12757-2 but are also easier to write with. In general if I had to pick an ink I'd go to a shop pick up a range of disposables and test them for waterproofing and pick the one that I like best.

 

I've tried Lamy Blue-Black which has some iron gall content and while it's more resistant than say Parker Quink it's still not completely waterproof. Also from what I see it handles sunlight poorly. Sure it will last a lot longer than a washable ink and you won't find your writing has disappeared but I just don't like it that much: (a) it's not as nice to write with as some of the water-based inks; ( B) it's not as saturated as I like my ink (but then I only write in black and saturated red); ( c) you're tied to a single colour; ( d) it's somewhere in the middle (a compromise) between using an FP instead of a ballpoint/rollerball/disposable gel pen and having a more permanent ink so depends whether you want to be in the middle of the two worlds getting some benefits (but not all) from both.

 

Also I'd avoid fineliners. Maybe I just picked the wrong brand and model (Uni-Pin 03-101) but diffusion of the ink in the paper seems to be ongoing long after you've finished writing and after a couple of months it shows on the other side of the paper (bleed through) and the edges smear a bit (hardly noticeable).

Edited by s5s
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Hello s5s !

 

Why don't you go with Noodler's Prime of the Commons? Its exclusive to the UK, and its a very well behaved ink, fully bulletproof ... You can find a range of other Noodler's inks here, which is where I got it from too - some of them are indeed bulletproof. I am very happy with their service.

Also, a huge +1 for ESS Registrar's Ink. Archivist's Quality, will outlast us all!

 

Aris

Edited by Korybas
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The permanently permanent inks (archival, i.e. known to last more than several centuries) are those that end up with particles of pigment in the paper. Those are the iron-gall inks (current versions made by Diamine (Registrar's Ink), Lamy (Blue-Black), Mont Blanc (Blue-Black, now called Midnight Blue) and a couple by Rohrer and Klingner) and the Carbon inks (current versions made by Pelikan (Fount India), Sailor (Kiwaguro), Pilot). These inks all result with a Black line after drying.

 

We know that Carbon Pigment inks will last a long time because they have been used by the Chinese and Egyptians over 2000 years ago. We know that the iron-gall inks will last a long time because they were used by Western European monks for over 1500 years.

 

 

There are other pigmented inks made by Sailor (Seiboku Blue-Black) and Pilot (Blue).

 

Dye inks are generally NOT archival (i.e. known to last at least 200 years). We don't know of any dye inks that have lasted 200 years because the dye ink technology is only 150 years old.

 

Most Fountain Pen inks and almost all ball-point and roller-ball inks are not known to be archival. If you really want a known archival ink, use India ink with a dip pen.

 

Testing inks for waterproofness is easy. However, a permanent ink should also be proof against all the common organic solvents as well (alcohol, benzene, ether, xylene, etc) and should be known to survive accelerated ageing well. This last testing is quite expensive, which is why so few makers subject their products to it, and that is why there are so few inks certified as archival. As far as I know, only a few HP Inkjet inks and a few ball point inks have been tested and certified.

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“Them as can do has to do for them as can’t.


And someone has to speak up for them as has no voices.”


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There is a ISO12757-2 fountain pen ink. It costs $35/35ml (+ tax). I didn't bring it up because it's so expensive and not in s5s' list of manufacturers. Also, the ink certification only says water-resistant, whatever that means, but s5s seems to want absolute waterproofness.

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The permanently permanent inks (archival, i.e. known to last more than several centuries) are those that end up with particles of pigment in the paper. Those are the iron-gall inks (current versions made by Diamine (Registrar's Ink), Lamy (Blue-Black), Mont Blanc (Blue-Black, now called Midnight Blue) and a couple by Rohrer and Klingner)[...]

You could add ESS registrar's -SITE-. I use this ink and it is well made.

Messmer

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There is a ISO12757-2 fountain pen ink. It costs $35/35ml (+ tax). I didn't bring it up because it's so expensive and not in s5s' list of manufacturers. Also, the ink certification only says water-resistant, whatever that means, but s5s seems to want absolute waterproofness.

 

 

Ooh, what is this ink?

Find my homemade ink recipes on my Flickr page here.

 

"I don't wait for inspiration; inspiration waits for me." --Akiane Kramarik

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There is a ISO12757-2 fountain pen ink. It costs $35/35ml (+ tax). I didn't bring it up because it's so expensive and not in s5s' list of manufacturers. Also, the ink certification only says water-resistant, whatever that means, but s5s seems to want absolute waterproofness.

 

 

Ooh, what is this ink?

 

DE ATRAMENTIS Document ink WS 8 - ISO 12757-2

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There is a ISO12757-2 fountain pen ink. It costs $35/35ml (+ tax). I didn't bring it up because it's so expensive and not in s5s' list of manufacturers. Also, the ink certification only says water-resistant, whatever that means, but s5s seems to want absolute waterproofness.

 

 

Ooh, what is this ink?

 

DE ATRAMENTIS Document ink WS 8 - ISO 12757-2

 

Fascinating! The Artbrown website sells it for $40 plus shipping. In the description, it said only the phrase "document ink" could be applied to those inks with the ISO 12757-2 rating. I did find another fountain pen document ink on eBay by Koh-i-Noor, from the Czech Republic for $8.40 (but $9.10 shipping, so still not exactly cheap with the shipping). If you enlarge the photo on the listing, it does list an ISO number on the box, but it is 14145-2.

 

eta: typo

Edited by fiberdrunk

Find my homemade ink recipes on my Flickr page here.

 

"I don't wait for inspiration; inspiration waits for me." --Akiane Kramarik

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Here is another place that sells Koh-I-Noor Document Ink called Czech Art Supplies. The ink is $7.90, but I don't know what they charge for shipping. It ships from the Czech Republic, though, so it's probably a lot. Maybe this is the same eBay seller, with an online store front too.

Find my homemade ink recipes on my Flickr page here.

 

"I don't wait for inspiration; inspiration waits for me." --Akiane Kramarik

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Here is another place that sells Koh-I-Noor Document Ink called Czech Art Supplies. The ink is $7.90, but I don't know what they charge for shipping. It ships from the Czech Republic, though, so it's probably a lot. Maybe this is the same eBay seller, with an online store front too.

 

The only reason I'm not getting Noodler's is because it comes to about 17.50 GBP for 90ml (3oz) bottle. koh-i-noor Document is a lot more expensive because for 30ml (1oz) bottle you pay 10GBP.

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Noodler's is the better deal. They tend to be cheaper than everyone else, at least here in the U.S. It's unfortunate the most permanent inks seem to be the most inaccessible (either by distance and/or cost). Sigh... :bonk:

 

eta: you may have to do what I do, and just learn how to make your own homemade iron gall or black walnut inks, which are very permanent and waterproof. I've blogged my recipes here and here. I'm not able to use the black walnut in a fountain pen, but I can use 2 of my iron gall recipes (the pomegranate and aleppo iron galls) in the following fountain pens: Pilot Parallel, Parker Vector, Pilot 78G and Osmiroid India Ink Calligraphy Fountain Pen. They don't flow well through others I've tested, like the Platinum Preppy Fountain Pen.

Edited by fiberdrunk

Find my homemade ink recipes on my Flickr page here.

 

"I don't wait for inspiration; inspiration waits for me." --Akiane Kramarik

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There is a ISO12757-2 fountain pen ink. It costs $35/35ml (+ tax). I didn't bring it up because it's so expensive and not in s5s' list of manufacturers. Also, the ink certification only says water-resistant, whatever that means, but s5s seems to want absolute waterproofness.

 

 

Ooh, what is this ink?

 

DE ATRAMENTIS Document ink WS 8 - ISO 12757-2

 

Fascinating! The Artbrown website sells it for $40 plus shipping. In the description, it said only the phrase "document ink" could be applied to those inks with the ISO 12757-2 rating. I did find another fountain pen document ink on eBay by Koh-i-Noor, from the Czech Republic for $8.40 (but $9.10 shipping, so still not exactly cheap with the shipping). If you enlarge the photo on the listing, it does list an ISO number on the box, but it is 14145-2.

 

eta: typo

 

 

From Wikipedia:

 

"ISO 12757-2 1998: Ball point pens and refills – Part 2: Documentary use (DOC)"

 

 

"ISO 14145-2 1998: Roller ball pens and refills – Part 2: Documentary use (DOC)"

 

 

Schmidt, Schneider, Parker, and Pelikan all claim that their G2 (Parker-style) ballpoint refills have archival ink and meet ISO 12757-2

 

IIRC, there is another ISO standard for archival ink (fountain pen and dip pen), and ink that meets this standard is for instance, what museums use for handwritten labels. I don't remember the number of this standard though.

 

BTW, I've bought other Koh-i-noor products from that same seller on Ebay, and he or she will gladly combine shipping charges if you buy multiple items. I've used a variety of Czech-made Koh-i-noor products, and they've all been very good quality. http://stores.ebay.com/Made-in-Czech-Republic

Edited by stuartk
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I find this really interesting: http://littleflowerpetals.blogspot.com/2011/04/fountain-pen-love-cautionary-rant.html

 

PS

I'm adding this because I tried using some Acrylic Ink as kindly suggested by fiberdrunk (thank you). In general it worked well. I used Lamy safari and it would write well. However, for me it was a tad too dry. I think it's because the ink is a little bit thicker (although it looks the same viscosity as dye based inks for FPs). For this reason I changed back to FP ink. Acrylic inks are indeed permanent and work as an ink. Because they are a bit drier you will also notice that your pen writes finer. I used a Lamy Safari F and it wrote thinner than my Lamy safari EF (which had waterman red in it). Because I didn't leave it for long I'm not sure whether it will clog a safari pen. I think I left it in there for about 1.5 days and it worked fine. The pen and converter have no staining as experienced by fiberdrunk. However, I did use FW acrylic ink (instead of magic color). I don't think there is any difference between the two. I probably didn't have it long enough for the ink to stain the converter.

 

I am currently using Lamy Blue Black. It seems to be permanent although if subjected to water it will turn paler than original. The ink is not bad (much darker than what I've seen in reviews, pretty much a very saturated, dark blue on my paper) but it doesn't provide enough lubrication in my experience so the pen runs not as smooth as say Parker Quink.

Edited by s5s
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I find this really interesting: http://littleflowerpetals.blogspot.com/2011/04/fountain-pen-love-cautionary-rant.html

 

PS

I'm adding this because I tried using some Acrylic Ink as kindly suggested by fiberdrunk (thank you). In general it worked well. I used Lamy safari and it would write well. However, for me it was a tad too dry.

 

 

Thanks for the link! I love stuff like this. I, too, have noticed some fading in entries in my journal which were written with non-permanent inks. In fact, I've noticed it with Montblanc Blue-Black as well, which is surprising considering iron gall inks are usually pretty permanent (my theory is that I may have been down to the dregs of the ink in the ink converter for that particular entry).

 

As for dryness with Magic Color, I don't experience this with the EF or 1.1 mm nib for Rotring ArtPen. I have seen a Magic Color Dilutant, though have never needed it and have no experience with it. I really believe the Rotring ArtPen was designed to accommodate acrylic inks, because they used to make Rotring ArtistColor, an acrylic ink (I've always suspected that ArtistColor and Magic Color are the same formula, because some of the colors are an exact match). I have used Magic Color in a Platinum Preppy fountain pen (eyedropper). The flow is a tad dryer in that pen, but amazingly it still flows even after setting it down for months at a time. Its barrel is permanently stained, so I just keep Magic Color Rust in that pen at all times. But I get best results from the ArtPen.

Find my homemade ink recipes on my Flickr page here.

 

"I don't wait for inspiration; inspiration waits for me." --Akiane Kramarik

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TBH I put it into Parker Jotter FP medium (it works as an eyedropper :P) and it flows wonderfully. I just don't like the Jotter. I might have to get an ArtPen. The problem is the only reason I'm using FP is because I find Lamy Safari very comfortable for my hand. I'll try and find an ArtPen to try in my hand but it's only available online. there is a Lamy Art Pen but I reckon it's probably going to be the same as the Safari inside so the flow will be the same. At the one of the local stores they sell Sheaffer Calligraphy. I might try that.

 

BTW does it work with your preppy well? I don't expect the preppy to be wetter than a Lamy Safari so if it works fine in your Preppy then maybe it's the ink.

Edited by s5s
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BTW does it work with your preppy well? I don't expect the preppy to be wetter than a Lamy Safari so if it works fine in your Preppy then maybe it's the ink.

 

Magic Color works pretty well in the Preppy, though I think the ArtPen is the best. I have Magic Color Rust in a Preppy... it's now a designated pen because it's pretty much stained the barrel permanently, I'm sure. The nib doesn't come apart for cleaning like the ArtPen, so far as I can see. I'm amazed that I get as good a flow as I do in the Preppy (I was never able to get my homemade iron gall inks to flow in a Preppy... Magic Color is pigmented, so you'd think it wouldn't flow at all). Maybe I just got lucky with that particular pen. I expect it to eventually clog, though so far it still works, even with only intermittent use.

Find my homemade ink recipes on my Flickr page here.

 

"I don't wait for inspiration; inspiration waits for me." --Akiane Kramarik

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Personally, I think it's been about five years since I wrote anything but 'VOID' on a cheque. Very soon, there will be no more personal cheques, anyway.

 

FWIW, I have things I wrote in school from 35 years ago, written with Sheaffer Washable Blue, that are still most legible. The writing is in better shape than the paper it's written on. I'm sure if I left them on a sunny windowledge they'd be faded in a month. But why would I do that? :hmm1:

 

Edit: http://www.koh-i-noor.cz/en/produkty/tuse-inkousty-a-kancelarske-potreby/715-inkoust-plnici-dokument-50

Edited by wastelanded
"I was cut off from the world. There was no one to confuse or torment me, and I was forced to become original." - Franz Joseph Haydn 1732 - 1809
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