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2015 Ink Vs 1915 Ink. Viscosity Differences?



marshall11

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Hello, all,

I'm not sure if this the best place to ask this rather esoteric question, but here goes....

 

I have some limited experience with some of the more mainstream pens and inks, eg, Balances, Vacumatics, 51's, Conklins, etc, etc,. A variety of fillers and nibs, etc.

 

I typically have used the mainstream inks..Quink, Waterman, Pelikan, etc.

 

My real question stems from this situation: I recently acquired Parker eyedropper from approx 1920. I put in some Quink and away we go! It writes quite well and is a beautiful little pen. The down side is that every so often, or if I happen to 'shake' the pen a little, it drops a big drop of ink out of the nib feed. I had the pen checked out and all looks good, so I am a bit mystified. Not that the pen can't be the source of the problem, but could it be the inks of today vs the inks of that period??

 

I was discussing this with a friend and he theorized that maybe the inks of that time period were more viscous/thick and would have been less likely to have that issue.

 

Ok...so a little bourbon might have accompanied this conversation. Anyway, I would love to hear any input or thoughts on the subject. Or at least another point of view so I don't have to buy the next round......

 

Thanks!

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Lou Erickson

Hard for me to say.

 

I have some 1940's ink, which behaves as ink today does in my pens. It's pale and boring, but works properly. 1920's is a little earlier than I have. I do have a pen of that vintage, but I haven't inked it yet.

 

It would not surprise me if there were more thicker inks at the time - older iron gall inks can have sediment and may be thicker. We're advised not to put them in our fountain pens, as many used gum arabic as an thickener.

 

I suspect, though, that it's the pen. Older pens had simpler feeds - compare the Lucky Curve to the modern finned feed. The older feeds seem more likely to burp when shaken or when the air in the eyedropper warms up from your holding it. Modern pens don't depend as much on there being a single large feed channel, but on being able to pull out of all the little fins. Those fins act as a reserve and buffer to the main ink reserve, letting the pen flow without burping or running dry.

 

That's my understanding, anyway. I could easily be wrong.

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Lou Erickson - Handwritten Blog Posts

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Hi,

Well, I don't think right or wrong can really be determined, since most of us would likely not put 1920's ink into a pen today even if we had it. It does though, make good fodder for conversation, especially over a glass of your favorite bourbon that someone else had to buy!

You mention the same phenomenon that my friend did, about the warmth of the ink. Plus when I think back to my chemistry/ physics ....even if your hand warmed the ink in a pen with a sac..the increased pressure caused by the increased heat might just cause the sac to expand/ contract/deform..maybe. In a eyedropper, if the interior pressure increases due to increased warmth, it would push the air/ink out the feed.

(And my physics prof thought I would forget Boyle' s Law).

 

So when you say that it could be just the pen, would you say it is a function of design itself, and not my specific pen or its condition ? I am kind of thinking that it is what it is. This is not a daily user anyway, more a collection piece.

Thanks again for the comments; he and I will have some fun next time we get together!

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Lou Erickson

If I had 1920's ink, I'd have it in a pen, promise! :) That's why I have 1940's ink....

 

I think it's design of the pen and feed. Eyedroppers tend to squirt just that way, for that reason. In a pen with a sac, the sac can shift and help absorb either expansion or being bumped.

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Lou Erickson - Handwritten Blog Posts

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Eyedropper pens need to be at least 2/3rds full to work properly. The problem is that your hand warms up the pen barrel, which warms up the air at the top of the ink reservoir. This then expands, pushing ink down the channel.

 

As well, vintage inks were not so much more viscous, but drier. That means that they didn't flow as easily as current inks, which have a flow agent (i.e. very dilute detergent) to help the ink flow through the narrow channels in modern pens.

 

Drier inks like Parker Quink Black, Sheaffer Skrip Black and Blue, Diamine and ESS Registrar's ink may all work better in your pen. Parker Quink Blue and Blue-Black are wetter than the Black.

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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.”


Granny Aching

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