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Aerometric "51" - Is There Any Ink That Won't Stain The Pli-Glass Sac?


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Hi all,

I was lucky enough to be able to buy my ‘Grail’ pen - an aerometric "51" - on an auction site a couple of years ago.

As it was my ‘Grail’, I decided to spend some extra money to get its (worn-out) nib replaced and to get a NOS pli-glass sac put in it too. I like being able to see how much/little ink I have left.


Once I got it back from the restorer I was very happy with it. I wanted to keep the pen as ‘minty’ as possible for as long as possible, so I read-up about staining issues here, and have therefore never put any red ink, or brown ink, or purple ink into it.


For about a year, I ran it solely on a diet of R&K "Salix" blue-black, without any problems at all.

But then I thought "what the heck, I'll try some other inks in this thing".

Not wishing to take any ‘rash’ decisions, or ‘extreme’ risks, the first other ink I put in my "51" was the famously benign - the easy-to-clean-out, and ‘washable’ - Waterman ‘Serenity Blue’.


The ink performed absolutely beautifully in the pen, but when I cleaned it out, to my utter amazement, I noticed that my very first fill of it had slightly stained the pen's pli-glass sac :huh:


I tried cleaning my "51" out with lots of flushes of tap water. Then I tried soaking & flushing with dish-soap, and finally I tried ammonia solution.

None of these worked. The sac retained a slight stain of blue dye :(

I was astonished that, of all ink, WSB had stained the sac of my pen.

[i don't think that it was a problem with my particular bottle of WSB, because the ink hasn't stained any of the converters that I've put it through, or the clear body of the Pelikan M205 that I have also used it in.]


I sighed, and I resolved to go back to using only "Salix" in it, which at least wouldn't stain the sac any further. To my delight, the next fill of "Salix" actually cleaned the dye out of the pli-glass sac. It was back to being totally clear, and free from stains :)


The point of my regaling you with this story is not to calumniate WSB (which has never given me any problems in any other pen). Nor, indeed, is it to sing the praises of "Salix".

I've posted this in order to ask those of you who have more experience than me for your recommendations for ink that I can ‘safely’ use in my "51".

i.e. ink that you have used in your aerometric "51"s without it staining the pli-glass sac.


Of course, if there is a consensus that the ‘price’ of having a sac that will stay pliant and functional for at least the rest of my life is that almost ALL inks will stain it, and that I should therefore quit worrying about keeping it completely clear and just get on with using the pen with whatever ink I have a hankerin' for, that's fine too :)


My thanks to you in advance,


Foul in clear conditions, but handsome in the fog.


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Whenever I have gotten a pen restored at a show, the restorer almost always fills it with Waterman's blue/black (Mysterious Blue) ink. It is often the ink of choice for dealers to have customers dip test pens with too. None of my 51 Aeros have completely clear sacs though since they were all acquired preowned from the wild. Some look almost black, but if they are still pliable I see no reason to have them replaced.

Parker: Sonnet Flighter, Rialto Red Metallic Laque, IM Chiseled Gunmetal, Latitude Stainless, 45 Black, Duovac Blue Pearl Striped, 51 Standard Black, Vac Jr. Black, 51 Aero Black, 51 Vac Blue Cedar, Duofold Jr. Lapis, 51 Aero Demi Black, 51 Aero Demi Teal, 51 Aero Navy Gray, Duofold Pastel Moire Violet, Vac Major Golden Brown, Vac Deb. Emerald, 51 Vac Dove Gray, Vac Major Azure, Vac Jr. Silver Pearl, 51 Vac Black GF Cap, 51 Forest Green GF cap, Vac Jr. Silver Pearl, Duovac Senior Green & Gold, Duovac Deb. Black, Challenger Black, 51 Aero Midnight, Vac. Emerald Jr., Challenger Gray Pearl, 51 Vac Black, Duofold Int. Black, Duofold Jr. Red.

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I'd say don't worry about it. My first 51 came described more or less as "pristine except for a stained sac". It was stained blue, but I was putting a shade of blue in anyway. When I changed over, the blue stain flushed out. I've since run Antietam, Borealis Black, Poussiere de Lune, & Nightshade through 51s without lasting color staining, but I wouldn't break a sweat if the ink flows satisfactorily in a particular pen.

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I think you've answered your own question right at the end of your post. If you use your pen, the sac will eventually discolour. Unless you have a demonstrator, you can't see the sac in any case, and you only need a little clarity to check the ink level.

Mario Mirabile
Melbourne, Australia


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Don't over think it.


It is going to stain.


Don't worry about checking ink levels through the sac.


A 51 will write for quite some time with no visible ink level in the sac.


Bruce in Ocala, Fl

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I have a number of those clear 51s, even the kind without a sac...

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Run one fill of either vintage Skrip ink or the current version of Noodler's Rattler Red. I promise you, they remove stains.

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Oh, geez, c'mon, with all the potential problems with vintage pens, and you're worried about sac staining??? Realize that, discolorization aside, a 51 sac is the next thing close to immortal in the fountain pen world. The problem with 51 Aeros is not the sac, but the silver breather tube. Assorted other minor problems, but for most such pens, in fifty to sixty years, the sacs are still going strong. In fact, I would like to initiate a thread to document 51 Aero sacs that have failed. I don't think there would be many hits, compared to the number of pens extant. PVC uber alles!!! :lol:

Nihonto Chicken

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