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Are Most Blue-Black Inks Iron Gall


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I have been told that Hero's blue-black ink is an iron-gall ink. Now I read somewhere on this site that Pelikan's blue-black is also an iron-gall. I have three questions please;

 

1) Are the above inks iron-gall?

 

2) Are most (all?) blue-blacks made this way?

 

3) Any problem using iron-gall in a nice German pen?

 

Thanks for your help. Inquiring minds want to know.

"It's funny; in this era of email and voice mail and all those things that I did not even grow up with, a plain old paper letter takes on amazing intimacy."  Elizabeth Kostova

 

 

 

 

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As far as I know, both of those are iron-gall. I just tried the Pelikan - very nice, but hard to get in the USA now, as some part of it was deemed toxic - and have not tried the Hero.

 

Not all blue-blacks are iron gall, but many are. The old MB Blue-Black was, as was the Lamy B-B, I think. I don't think either of those are now. Pilot Blue-Black (a nice color, and a well-behaved ink) is not.

 

The easiest way to be sure is to look for the characteristic color change as the ink sets into the paper. It'll go down one color and then shift a little to another. Sometimes quite quickly, and some over several days.

 

Someone told me the name blue-black came from how the ink went down blue, then faded to a greyish black. It was really both blue and black, ending with black.

--

Lou Erickson - Handwritten Blog Posts

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Most blue blacks used to be iron gall. The blue pigment allowed you to see what you were writing, and the iron gall component darkened to an almost black color.

 

Don't know about Hero, but Pelikan 4001 Blue-Black is no longer iron gall (the stuff I buy here in Germany isn't, anyway). Neither are the other former iron gall blue blacks (Lamy, Montblanc, etc...)

 

Platinum Blue Black is listed as still being Iron-Gall (although I don't see the color change when I use it). Rohrer and Klingner Salix, Diamine Registrar's Ink, and Akkerman Ijzer Galnoten are iron-gall blue-blacks.

 

You can use those inks safely in pens, but you should flush/clean more frequently. Note that they will usually write much "drier" than other inks, so you might want the nib adjusted to be more wet.

 

---edit---

 

Lou beat me to it... ;)

Edited by dneal
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The trend is to eliminate iron-gall from ink formulae. My understanding is that Lamy and MB are no longer iron-gall. Platinum is still iron-gall. Rohrer and Klingner Salix and Scabiosa have iron-gall. I do't know about Hero ink.

 

Modern western iron-gall inks should be safe in any modern pen.

 

Most blue-blacks are not iron-gall.

 

My favorite was the old Mont Blanc Blue Black. I stocked up on it before they changed the formula.

"One can not waste time worrying about small minds . . . If we were normal, we'd still be using free ball point pens." —Bo Bo Olson "I already own more ink than a rational person can use in a lifetime." —Waski_the_Squirrel

I'm still trying to figure out how to list all my pens down here.

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Big thanks for your replies. I appreciate your knowledge

"It's funny; in this era of email and voice mail and all those things that I did not even grow up with, a plain old paper letter takes on amazing intimacy."  Elizabeth Kostova

 

 

 

 

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Huh, I just got a batch of the Pelikan B-B, and it has the color change of iron gall. Is there another way to tell?

I suppose that you could check the pH -- I think that most IG inks are on the acidic side.

Now I'm really wishing I was able to take a class I was considering today at an SCA ink -- it was on making IG inks!

I had a prior commitment for that time slot, but I stuck my nose in the class just long enough to try and get a handout from the instructor. She was out, but had me give her my name and email address. Which I wrote with KWZI IG Mandarin. And then told the class that there was more to iron gall inks than blue-black!

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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I really dislike the idea of an ink being an iron gall ink and it is not noted on the bottle

I'm aware of the pros and cons of the beast but personally would think twice and then thrice again before putting it in one of my pens

Why are the manufacturers exempt from posting such information somewhere on their product?

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I just heard about DeAtrementis Document Inks. They come in various colors. Anyone know if all (or some) of the colors are Iron Gall.

Thanks again for your help,

Dave

"It's funny; in this era of email and voice mail and all those things that I did not even grow up with, a plain old paper letter takes on amazing intimacy."  Elizabeth Kostova

 

 

 

 

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There are three inks I'm very sure of, and a fourth that I believe is, iron gall blue black. Ecclesiastical Stationery Supplies Registrar's Ink, Diamine Registrar's Ink, and Rohrer and Klinger Salix are absolutely all IG blue-blacks. Chesterfield Archival Vault ink certainly behaves like a classic iron gall blue-black, and there's reason to believe it's relabeled Diamine Registrar's Ink. Unfortunately, it has failed to come out of two pens so far, without being scrubbed out. I'm ready to try some dilute vinegar.

 

R&K Scabiosa is also iron gall, albeit sort of purple. Two boutique ink makers here on the forums, Pharmacist and KWZI, sell IG inks from time to time.

 

I have never heard that De Atramentis Document inks are IG. The supposition is that they are cellulose-reactive, like Noodler's bulletproof inks.

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I suppose that you could check the pH -- I think that most IG inks are on the acidic side.

Now I'm really wishing I was able to take a class I was considering today at an SCA ink -- it was on making IG inks!

I had a prior commitment for that time slot, but I stuck my nose in the class just long enough to try and get a handout from the instructor. She was out, but had me give her my name and email address. Which I wrote with KWZI IG Mandarin. And then told the class that there was more to iron gall inks than blue-black!

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth

 

Modern Iron-Gall inks are more nearly neutral pH. There are many non-iron-gall inks that are acidic. The best way to tell, that I am aware of, is the color change as the iron oxidizes.

"One can not waste time worrying about small minds . . . If we were normal, we'd still be using free ball point pens." —Bo Bo Olson "I already own more ink than a rational person can use in a lifetime." —Waski_the_Squirrel

I'm still trying to figure out how to list all my pens down here.

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I just heard about DeAtrementis Document Inks. They come in various colors. Anyone know if all (or some) of the colors are Iron Gall.

Thanks again for your help,

Dave

Goulet Pens website lists the characteristics of each ink in a "Technical Specs" tab. According to that information, the De Atramentis Document ink (Dark Blue) is permanent but NOT iron gall or pigmented.

 

http://www.gouletpens.com/DA1083/p/DA1083

 

My current favorite blue-black is Super5 Atlantic which is also waterproof, not iron gall but pigmented.

http://www.gouletpens.com/super5-atlantic-blue-waterproof-fountain-pen-ink/p/S5-16552

 

Hope this helps.

 

Doug

 

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Huh, I just got a batch of the Pelikan B-B, and it has the color change of iron gall. Is there another way to tell?

 

I'd just count yourself lucky. It's like finding the iron gall MB midnight blue.

 

Pelikan's packaging changed recently. The latest is a silver/gray box with white text (and black script listing the color). In the top left is an "ink cloud" (like a drop of ink falling in a glass of water). That stuff (in Germany) isn't iron-gall. The previous packaging is a dark blue box with silver/gray text and a light blue circle in the lower left. It may or may not be iron gall, depending on age.

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I still think that if 4001 Blue-Black isn't iron gall, it sure as hell behaves like it!

The Good Captain

"Meddler's 'Salamander' - almost as good as the real thing!"

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It's funny you say that. I pulled out a 4001 BB cartridge after my last post and... It's still as boring as ever. It doesn't darken in the least. Just that chalky, faded, vaguely dark blue ink. It's not even very water resistant.

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In answering your three questions, I think you have the answer to the first one covered.

 

The answer to your second question can be deduced from the above discussion. Very few inks (blue-black or otherwise) have iron gall content. You can buy dozens of blue-blacks from Waterman, Sheaffer, Parker, Diamine, Iroshizuku, Platinum, and so many more and never find iron gall content. I've found the opposite to be true! I've carefully searched to find a few inks with iron gall content. And these IG inks are growing on me and finding a place in my daily pen carries! IG ink works well on the cheapest and worst paper, and the dry ink rarely feathers and never bleeds through the paper. It's a great ink for the office environment.

 

In my short experience with IG inks, I've haven't had any problems. I treat these inks as high-maintenance inks and give them a very thorough flush and dry cycle when I rotate the pen and ink out of use. I'm leaning toward a small group of pens that will carry IG inks to see how they act over time. I haven't found anything different from my experience with highly-saturated inks.

 

If you are looking for inks with similar characteristics, nano-pigment inks may fit the bill. Like IG inks, nano-pigments should not be allowed to dry out in the pen, should be carefully cleaned before using, and should not be mixed with other types of inks.

 

Buzz

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  • 3 months later...

I never understood the hesitation to use iron gall. Its just ink. it was the main ink during a fair part of the golden age of fountain pens even. With really bad habits, it can cause some issues, but so can other inks. Just dont let them dry in your pen, and as a rule they are fine. I dont think I have ever read a report on this forum or elsewhere, of a pen wearing out or being damaged by modern iron gall ink. I like the colour change given by them.

That said, you have a range of inks to choose from. Noodlers Blue Black, (as well as green black, and pretty much any other version of the trend) have zero iron gall content. But they wont show the colour change over days like real iron gall inks do.

Then you have the middle ground inks, like platinum and R&KI, which have some iron gall content, but are mostly dye based. You can see some colour change over time, but its not super strong. Platinum seems to depend on the paper more then anything, but its still a great ink.

The last are the iron gall inks, which have a strong iron gall component. ESSRI and Diamine registers come to mind there, as well as custom inks made by some of our members.

All three are used by people on a daily basis, and all three have followers and detractors. I personally, dont understand why someone would use a blue black that is not iron gall, but I use Platinum blue black as one of my more daily common inks, and have used ESSRI a lot in the past.

I dont think you will have any problems using any iron gall inks in a nice German pen, but bear in mind Hero is a pretty cheap brand. Quality control might bite you. Most german companies at some point put out a iron gall ink with there name on it, so obviously they trusted it in their pens.

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  • 2 years later...

The Pelikan 4001 Blue-Black does contain Iron Gall. Pelikan claims it on their website:https://www.pelikan.com/pulse/Pulsar/en_US.CMS.displayCMS.252912./document-proof-ink

 

and they confirmed it on the German-language pen forum penexchange in March 2018 after there was a misunderstanding https://www.penexchange.de/forum_neu/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=8142&hilit=eisengallus&start=1815#p215133.

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Most blue blacks used to be iron gall. The blue pigment allowed you to see what you were writing, and the iron gall component darkened to an almost black color.

 

Don't know about Hero, but Pelikan 4001 Blue-Black is no longer iron gall (the stuff I buy here in Germany isn't, anyway).

Although I don't see the color change of my Salix, my Pelikan BB is very water resistant, it barely budges from the page. The lid reports 2016 as year of production.

fpn_1502425191__letter-mini.png

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I'd just count yourself lucky. It's like finding the iron gall MB midnight blue.

 

Pelikan's packaging changed recently. The latest is a silver/gray box with white text (and black script listing the color). In the top left is an "ink cloud" (like a drop of ink falling in a glass of water). That stuff (in Germany) isn't iron-gall. The previous packaging is a dark blue box with silver/gray text and a light blue circle in the lower left. It may or may not be iron gall, depending on age.

 

 

https://www.pelikan.com/pulse/Pulsar/de_DE.CMS.displayCMS.205949./dokumentechte-tinten

 

Their web site still describes 4001 Blue/Black as an iron gall ink.

 

»4001 blau-schwarz

Die unkomplizierteste Tinte, die dennoch relativ lichtecht ist, ist die Tinte "4001 blau-schwarz", unsere Artikelnr. 301 028. Sie ist eine Eisengallustinte, was sie weitaus stabiler macht als z.B. 4001 königsblau oder brillant schwarz, aber durch spezielle Rohstoffe kann sie gleichzeitig unproblematisch in Kolben- oder Patronenfüllhaltern verwendet werden. Im zeitlichen Verlauf ändert sich der Farbton von Blau nach Grau, aber sie bleibt sichtbar. Sie ist jedoch nicht ganz so lichtecht wie die Fount India Tinte. Tintenfraß (d.h. das Zersetzen des Papieres durch die Tinte) ist bei dieser geringen Konzentration von Eisengallus keine Gefahr.«

It begins, roughly: «Pelikan 4001 blue-black is our most uncomplicated ink which still offers relatively good light resistance. It is an iron-gall ink, which makes it much more durable than 4001 royal blue or brilliant black, but it's specific formulation makes it unproblematic for piston and cartridge pens. …»

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