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Hero 234 Black Is Awesome

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Hello folks.. I haven't been posting here for a while and after I tried the Hero 234 ink, I HAVE to share my thought on this one.


I went back to China few months ago and picked up a bottle of Shanghai Hero 234 Black Fountain pen ink for ~¥4 (0.79 CAD or 0.64 USD) in a stationary store. Due to busy schedule I haven't looked back on it when I returned in Canada. My Parker bottle is running dry and I do not like my Montblanc Permanent Black ink, so I decided to check it out.


This ink is truly outstanding for its price tag, I used it with an Fine/XFine Pilot Elite for a couple days and I have a writing sample below with a water spilling test.


  • Awesome flow, wet ink
  • Color becomes grayish after drying, a little bit of shading.
  • That.awesome.price


However from I can see from eBay it costs more than what I paid for since we're overseas... but remember the next time you make a trip to China/HongKong, do yourself a favor and bring a couple bottle of this marvel, you won't regret it!






Careful when buying a bird.. you'll end up with a flock before you know it.

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Hello. The Hero 234 ink that I have is the carbon black one. To me, it dries very, very black. I really enjoy it, but can only use it for a day or two before my pen is clogged. For a lot of writing in one sitting it is wonderful.

"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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Hello. The Hero 234 ink that I have is the carbon black one. To me, it dries very, very black. I really enjoy it, but can only use it for a day or two before my pen is clogged. For a lot of writing in one sitting it is wonderful.


That is interesting, I put the ink in 2 pens, a Pilot Elite EF and a Reform 1745, I filled the later and let it sit for over a week, it isn't clogged, started writing the moment the nib touches the paper.


I have a bottle of it but I've never used it in a pen. As you said it's very cheap in China. It's a nice black, but I hear that it's prone to clog. And it really stinks...


I'd say it has a weird smell, a combination of chinese drawing ink and shoe polish. I don't really pay attention to that... since I never smell my inks hahahahah


As for the clogging issue, I won't put it in my more expensive pens that's for sure. But for its amazing qualities and price, using this ink with cheaper pens I carry around is great.




Also another thing I have noticed that is the ink doesn't feather much on cheaper quality printer/notebook papers.

Careful when buying a bird.. you'll end up with a flock before you know it.

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Thanks for the review.

Fountain pens are my preferred COLOR DELIVERY SYSTEM (in part because crayons melt in Las Vegas).

Want to get a special letter / gift from me, then create a Ghostly Avatar

Ink comparisons: The Great PPS Comparison 366 Inks in 2016

Check out inks sorted by color: Blue Purple Brown Red Green Dark Green Orange Black Pinks Yellows Blue-Blacks Grey/Gray UVInks Turquoise/Teal MURKY

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  • 2 years later...

I find the Hero 233 Black ink a great ink, second only, perhaps, to Aurora black ink (this is exceptional by any standard). I use it at home and in the office, and find it quite blacker than Sheaffer, Parker, Pelikan 4001 or Cross black inks (all of these widely available in Brazil). Contrary to what I thought this ink is quite black (though it does lighten up a little upon drying), and flows extremely well. I have experienced no clogging, no drying out, no false starts. And even its smell I like... I also own a bottle of Hero 254 Advanced Accounting Ink, which is not as dark and not permanent -- so I do not use it. Another positive thing about Hero is that small town stationary stores in Brazil usually carry it, and for a low price (only 3 to four dollars a bottle of the excellent and beautiful Hero 233 blue or the Hero black 234 inks). The only other inks so widely available are Japanese imports, Pilot Blue and Pilot Black. Pilot blue is by far the most stunning blue I own - a beautiful, pure, bright blue without equal -- but Pilot black is just so-so. And the 30 ml Pilot ink bottles cost about 3 times as much as the larger Hero ink bottles. So here's my conclusion: Hero 233 blue is a beautiful royal blue, not purplish. Hero 233 black is wonderful. And Pilot blue from Japan is the best blue ever.

Edited by Brutusbiker
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  • 8 months later...
Dip n Scratch

I got some of the ink. If need be I would stick to using it with a dip pen.

I would not want to ink a fountain pen of any significant value with this stuff and then only with enough ink for the task at hand. Then i'd clean the pen out immediately.

Should I use a different cleansing agent than dish detergent as I do for dye-based inks?

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  • 1 month later...

I have a bottle that looks like the one in the photo and has the same "234" in the red diamond but it is more like grey than black. It certainly does not look like carbon ink, and I am doubly suspicious because some eBay sellers list a "carbon blue" in the same line of inks. I have never met a carbon that was blue. It does not look "waterproof" in the scans either. I am wondering if what we really have is an ordinary cheap dye-based ink with poor quality control. You CAN find it for under $5 for a bottle that holds about twice as much as the other cheap inks out there, so cheap is IS!-)

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I love the 233 carbon blue (it's well behaved and not prone to clog), but if I want a carbon black ink, I'm going to stick with platinum carbon black.


Bob, the carbon blue 233 is a pigmented ink, I can confirm. It also has dye, which is what washes away, but it is relatively good in terms of legibility following a soak, about as good as sailor's pigmented blues.

Edited by Honeybadgers

Selling a boatload of restored, fairly rare, vintage Japanese gold nib pens, click here to see (more added as I finish restoring them)

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  • 5 weeks later...

I have the 233 (blue), 232 (blue-black), and 234 (carbon black). I've been using them for a few years now.


I got brave and started using the 234 carbon black in my TWSBI 580AL (with F nib) almost a month ago. Sometimes the pen goes a couple of days without use. Other times, more typically, I'll write 3 or 4 pages of A5 with it.


This stuff works beautifully. In fact, this might become my go-to ink for anything that needs to be durable. It's a great pleasure to write with, and since it dries to more of a carbon black tan a deep/dark black, it's a bit easier on the eyes than some of the popular black options. My only misivings are thus:

  • In a demonstrator, like my TWSBI 580AL, it sticks to the sides and you can't really see the ink level. I'm a bit nervous about whether or not this will wash out, and have no idea how much ink I have left.
  • It puts off some gases when you first ink your pen up. This can be noticeable when you're writing with it. But this seems temporary. My 580AL has been inked up for at least a couple of weeks and I no longer notice a smell when I write with it.

If this hasn't ruined my TWSBI 580AL, then I plan to dedicate my inkwell to its use.


The blue and blue-black are also nice. I will probably never run out of the blue since I have too many blue inks already. But if I did, I'd probably not replace it; Pilot Blue in a large bottle would have to be my go-to for cheap blue ink.

The Hero Blue-Black is nice and I do get some use out of it. I don't use it for my archival stuff because I believe this is an iron gall ink, and I believe that it's acidic and thus not archival (you can't wash it out of the page, but sooner or later the ink may eat through the paper itself). I could be wrong on both of these points.


I do not have and have not tried the Hero Red ink. But I have no use for or interest in red inks.

Magnus | Raleigh, NC [uSA] | @Magnus919 | TerraMagnus

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I have hero 234 in my preppy eye-dropper for the past few months (stopped counting), pen never clogged even when left unused for weeks ...

I find it equal to platinum carbon black (except for the price :D ) .

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Writing from Dracula. Nice touch.

Physician- signing your scripts with Skrips!

I'm so tough I vacation in Detroit.

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  • 2 months later...

As to the Hero 234 Advanced Carbon Black ink, I like it immensely. I keep three bottles, and I go through them quickly (one at home, one in the office and one in stock, for quick replacement). I use this ink constantly, in three pens: a Platinum classic black with a fine nib, a Pilot Metropolitan also with a fine nib, and a Compactor Buschle Makrolon pen with a very juicy #6 medium nib. The biggest advantage of this ink, besides its permanence (it is a pigmented ink with nanoparticles), is that will not feather or bleed through on any kind of paper -- even for crossword puzzles on newspaper pulp paper or on ordinary copy paper or Moleskine notebooks. I never need a ballpoint or gel pen anymore. As to clogging, it simply does not happen. Even if you don't use this pen for days, and the ink dries in the feed or nib, simply dip the nib briefly in a small container with tap water to get the ink running again. Anyway, I recommend flushing the pen between fills, which sould be done with any ink that has been in the pen for more than a few days.

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AFAIK, Hero only ever produce Carbon ink in Black, and so do all other ink Mfr in China who offer Carbon ink. So I am not sure how the Carbon Blue come to be ...

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