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Is This Typical Noodler's Ellis Island Blue Black?

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Hello everybody!

I would like to ask for your opinion and request the help in particular of owners of Noodler's Ellis Island Blue Black in this, my first post.


Recently I purchased a bottle of NEIBB from Fountain Pen Hospital based on Ed Jelley's great review. I was looking for a very dark blue to match that of some thank-you cards I am looking to write; however, the color of the ink is too different from what I was expecting. My first thought was my bottle was mislabeled.


I got in touch with FPH and have been emailing back and forth with Adrienne, who has been very helpful. Apparently there was no mistake with the bottling or labeling, and according to the resident ink expert this is the right color. Also, I am not the first to contact them about the color of NEIBB, but this is just a "cool" black more than a blue black.


I am including a picture of a small sheet of Rhodia paper comparing swabs of Noodler's Old Manhattan black, Cross Black, and NEIBB; as well as a scan of some writing I did on bright white EPSON paper (96 gsm) after diluting the ink trying to find the elusive blue in this blue black ink.


I'm aware of the fact that colors may appear different depending on the display being used, as well as the nature and amount of lighting used to take a picture or scan a document. However, I can't help but think that there just isn't any blue in my bottle of NEIBB. Is it possible the formula has changed since last year?


Thank you very much!





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I'm really starting to wonder what Tardiff is putting in his bottles. That doesn't look correct for Ellis-Island Blue/Black, at least to me. NEIBB was an attempt to capture the "vintage" inks used at Ellis Island, or at least that's the "fluff" that went along with the ink. It's a very dark blue/black, but that still doesn't look right.

You should see what my bottle of "Olde Dutch Colony Sepia" looks like on the page ... It certainly isn't "Sepia." It's Noodler's Golden Brown.

Your bottle of OMBB doesn't shade. I am envious.

Just feels like quality control at Noodler's tanked.

Imagination and memory are but one thing which for diverse reasons hath diverse names. -- T. Hobbes - Leviathan

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Hello Mario,


I have never used the color myself; however, you're sample looks much more like black/gray than blue-black. The original color can be seen in this review from 2007:




I think Noodler's either has to hire some help, (which will never happen to hear Mr. Tardiff talk), or scale down their color line - it's way too much for any one man to handle.


Best regards,



Edited by LamyOne

- He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood abideth in me; and I in him. (JN 6:57)

- "A woman clothed in the sun," (REV 12.1); The Sun Danced at Fatima, Portugal; October 13, 1917.

- Thank you Blessed Mother and St. Jude for Graces and Blessings obtained from Our Lord.

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Noodler's formulas can change over time. Considering the Ed Jelley's review, your scans seem similar to me. But both of them are obviously different from the 2007 review. Some blue blacks are greyish-black, like Sheaffer (which is still lighter than this), maybe it can show some hints of teal if you use a drier nib, Ed review shows that this ink is too saturated and multiple swabs will make it as dark as black. That said, I agree this color sadly does not pass as a dark blue.

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A couple of Christmases ago I went to Fountain Pen Hospital and tried a bunch of inks (I was trying to match the blue-black that came out of an old Estie when I went to flush it for the first time, because I really liked the color). One of the ones was Ellis Island. Mind you, I was dip testing, so the colors wouldn't be quite as accurate as if the inks were actually going through the feed, but I remember it being really dark -- more black than blue. Not what I was looking for at the time. But there was definitely some blue in there.... Just really hard to see. Even less blue than in Diamine Eclipse, IIRC.

The scans here, OTOH, do make the ink look black. Not blue-black....

A bad batch, maybe? Dunno. There *is* apparently some variation between batches (not counting the major formulation changes with stuff like the "new" BSiAR and the "gone-back-to-the-original-formula-to-placate-the-masses" Army Green).

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."

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Here's a little comparison of inks I had on hand. I tried to keep the white balance accurate, but no promises.


Here's the original (WB set w/ Expodisc):




Here's the same with WB tweaked:




And the tweaked image with the saturation bumped:




And a close up on a large swab:




Ellis Island is certainly a very, very dark blue-black ink, but I find it to also be a fairly heavy shader. I keep one of my old Waterman 52s filled with it for work on HP and Rhodia papers. I really like it, but there are certainly better looking and better behaved dark blue-blacks.


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  • 9 months later...

I finally got my hands on a sample of Ellis Island. I had been hoping for a dark blue-black like in this 2007 review:




But, instead I got the grey/black that mario_ec and others here have found. I really don't see any blue in it except a small touch on the paper towel I used to clean the nib after filling. Even under an illuminated magnifier, it's still dark grey bordering on black. The Diamine 1864 Blue-Black I have is also very close to black, but at least it has a hint of blue.


That's too bad - I really liked the original.

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Well, there goes my desire for a bottle. A blue black that makes 54th look *blue* is way too black for me.

Physician- signing your scripts with Skrips!

I'm so tough I vacation in Detroit.

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