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Vintage Ink?


Man O War

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Two questions here for an admirer/dabler in the vintage fountain pen world:

 

1) If one had three vintage fountain pens listed below, what ink would have most likely been used in them when they were originally made:

a. Parker Vacumatic (1942)

b. Parker 51 (1963)

c. Sheaffer Snorkel (1953)

 

2) What ink most closely resembles that today? (As an aside, I am particularly interested at what, in general, would have been used during WWII)

 

I think I will go watch "Midnight in Paris" for my nostalgia kick, yearning for bygone days, while I await answers.... :D

 

Cheers,

Ryan

 

P.S. I hope this is the correct location for this topic... Couldn't decide between vintage/historic and ink, though the question is more about ink I suppose.

Edited by roloughlin
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Probably (in order):

A) Quink Microfilm Black for V-Mail

B) again, Quink, but maybe Washable Blue or Royal Blue

C) Skrip Blue Black, or (just for fun) Skrip Peacock Blue

 

At least those are likely the ones I'd choose.

But you know, sometimes vintage inks are still available. Sometimes pretty inexpensively at that. Not sure where you're located, but I've found vintage Quink and Skrip in antiques stores sometimes here in Western Pennsylvania. Not always full bottles (and the one bottle of Microfilm Black I've tried seems really paler and almost more blue-black than I expected -- so it either was reconstituted or has just not aged well), but I've found Quink Royal Blue, Microfilm Black, and Brown, plus partial bottles of Skrip Blue Black and Quink Blue Black as cheap as $4 a bottle. I found a 2/3 full pint bottle of Skrip Peacock Blue in NW PA in an antiques mall last summer (and the color is just AMAZING).

I also got a full 8 oz. bottle of Quink Violet on Ebay a couple of years ago (couldn't use it till I got smaller bottles to decant the ink into -- I was afraid that if I got the rubber stopper and wick out of the bottle I'd never get it back in right). Plus someone sent me a bottle of Skrip Brown, but I haven't had a chance to try it yet.

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth

 

edited for typos

Sigh, that's supposed to be a B up there, not a smiley....

Edited by 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 said specific colors, by the way, because that's just me. My understanding is that people pretty much stayed with the brand that went with the pen brand they had, for the most part. They weren't changing colors all the time like a lot of us do now. OTOH, they apparently weren't as rabid about flushing and maintenance either.... There's an Agatha Christie murder mystery where the victim is out of ink for her pen so she uses someone's green ink (not bothering to worry about mixing colors, apparently). Someone remembers her doing it, so then they realize that the supposed suicide note she left is a fake -- it's NOT ink green ink!

Hey. Would you be interested in actually trying some vintage inks? If so, PM me with your address and I can put together a few small nalgene bottles with some different inks, including the Skrip Peacock Blue.

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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Agree on the Sheaffer Blue-Black or Black for the Sheaffer. My dad had a Snorkel from about 53-54. It was his business and personal use pen. He passed in 84 and when I was cleaning the house after my mother passed years later found two Sheaffer bottles, BB and B.

 

Can't say about the Parker's. I might ask in the Parker forum. I have a few Parker's now, a Vac, '51' Vac, and '51' and only use Waterman inks in them. I find the inks look nice, write well, well mannered and they are safe for the guts of the pens.

 

Also have a Snorkel or two and use only modern Sheaffer inks or Waterman in them. I don't have any vintage inks.

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Also have a Snorkel or two and use only modern Sheaffer inks or Waterman in them. I don't have any vintage inks.

Oddly enough, while Waterman Mysterious Blue is generally one of my go-to inks for testing vintage pens, it did NOT work well in a Snorkel with an EF nib. And the vintage Skrip Peacock was only marginally better (a shame, because the pen is, I think, Aqua Blue). But I picked up a bottle of (modern) Skrip Purple on a whim at a local store, and it worked great. Now thinking (after seeing a review) that I should go back to the same store and see if they have Skrip Blue-Black in stock.... Of course I should probably try the vintage Skrip (?) Brown someone gave me a few months ago (says "Sheaffer" on the label and the box, but not "Skrip" oddly enough). Or the partial bottle of Skrip Royal Blue that specifically is advertising Snorkel pens on the box flap!

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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Great information, Ruth and Sally. Thanks for your responses. Hopefully, we can get a few more folks to chime in as well. I'm going to start perusing eBay and will pay more attention to the antique stores where I live in Virginia. I'm normally not an "antiquer," but this might be my motivation to pop in on a few.

 

Cheers,

Ryan

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I have seen some vintage inks around here and online, and I am just curious: What is the difference between vintage inks and modern inks?

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In 1963 my mother was using Parker Quink Blue-Black with Solv-X in her Parker 51.

fpn_1412827311__pg_d_104def64.gif




“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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Correct me if I'm miss remembering but didn't they find later the Solv-X ate the inner tube of the Parker's?

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Correct me if I'm miss remembering but didn't they find later the Solv-X ate the inner tube of the Parker's?

I think you're thinking of the Parker Superchrome ink. Apparently nasty stuff.

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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Correct me if I'm miss remembering but didn't they find later the Solv-X ate the inner tube of the Parker's?

 

Nope. Quink with Solv-X is/was brilliant. I bought a Chinese Parker 51 clone (a Dragon 666) to go to High School with. For six years it was fed Quink Blue-Black with Solv-X, never cleaned out, just refilled every few days. I never had a second's problem with that pen.

fpn_1412827311__pg_d_104def64.gif




“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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I have seen some vintage inks around here and online, and I am just curious: What is the difference between vintage inks and modern inks?

From a chemistry standpoint, I cannot speak to differences between modern vs. vintage inks. I am curious though about feathering, bleed-through/show-through, etc. on letters from that period. When you look at modern ink reviews, these qualities almost always get reviewed. Were people of "the greatest generation" also concerned about that or was it not a big deal to them? Did the ink they used even cause these problems on what would have likely been not the finest quality paper issued during that period?

 

My original question got sparked by my looking at a Parker Vacumatic from 1942. The owner said it was gifted to his father from his mother before departing for the South Pacific in WWII. As a Navy officer for 15+ years and counting, it got me thinking... What would someone have used to write home to their parents/wife/loved ones when they were say, on a destroyer during Guadalcanal 1942, patrolling "The Slot?" A Parker Vacumatic fit the bill for the potential pen, as stated by the seller, but the next logical question was what ink?

 

The amateur historian in me kicked into high gear as I churned these thoughts over in my head.......

 

Ryan

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Thank you for the correction about SuperChrome.

 

Ryan I too have a Parker Vac from the early '40s. Mine is a '51'. Like you I wonder what the pen went through and used for ink. I have no history. Even though I have more rare pens this one is my favorite. Fantastic writer. This and one Snorkel I'd like to take to my next life.

 

I still might check with the Parker group to see if they can point you to some history including the inks of that period. There are some great pen experts there.

Let us know if you find something.

Best.

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From a chemistry standpoint, I cannot speak to differences between modern vs. vintage inks. I am curious though about feathering, bleed-through/show-through, etc. on letters from that period. When you look at modern ink reviews, these qualities almost always get reviewed. Were people of "the greatest generation" also concerned about that or was it not a big deal to them? Did the ink they used even cause these problems on what would have likely been not the finest quality paper issued during that period?

 

My original question got sparked by my looking at a Parker Vacumatic from 1942. The owner said it was gifted to his father from his mother before departing for the South Pacific in WWII. As a Navy officer for 15+ years and counting, it got me thinking... What would someone have used to write home to their parents/wife/loved ones when they were say, on a destroyer during Guadalcanal 1942, patrolling "The Slot?" A Parker Vacumatic fit the bill for the potential pen, as stated by the seller, but the next logical question was what ink?

 

The amateur historian in me kicked into high gear as I churned these thoughts over in my head.......

 

Ryan

 

First, the ink at that time was less saturated than many inks now. As a result it needed less wetting agent and flow control agent to help it get through the feed of the pen. Consequently the ink was less likely to feather and bleed than now.

 

Second, the paper generally was made to a higher quality than much paper now, because it had to cope with fountain and dip pen ink. It wasn't until the '70s that paper manufacturers started to reduce the quality of paper because it only had to cope with ball point ink.

fpn_1412827311__pg_d_104def64.gif




“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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Sheaffer inks are always fun to see for sale in their giant bottles. Also, the smaller ones are great for for re-filling too.

 

I tend to have a boring taste in inks so the vintage inks seem to come in variations of blue, black, and blue-black. Occasionally, teal, purple, or red.

Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow

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Second, the paper generally was made to a higher quality than much paper now, because it had to cope with fountain and dip pen ink. It wasn't until the '70s that paper manufacturers started to reduce the quality of paper because it only had to cope with ball point ink.

Good point on paper quality. I guess we're lucky that the Constitution, Declaration of Independence, etc. wasn't written in a Mead spiral-bound. :)

 

I guess my addiction will grow to include not only vintage pens and ink, but also vintage paper!? My wife will be thrilled....... LOL

 

Ryan

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My 92 year-old mother's father gave her a Parker 51 in the late 40s. To this day, she uses Sheaffer Peacock Blue in it.

 

Noodler's make some inks that are copies of old inks. Dark Matter is a copy of the ink used exclusively on the Manhattan Project. The V-mail series is similar. Here's a link:

 

http://noodlersink.com/whats-new/dark-matter/

 

I have purchased some old bottles of ink. Some of the inks have broken down over time and no longer work very well. Some have worked just fine. Be careful, some people just add water to dried out bottles of ink. The result may or may not work as desired.

"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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My 92 year-old mother's father gave her a Parker 51 in the late 40s. To this day, she uses Sheaffer Peacock Blue in it.

 

Noodler's make some inks that are copies of old inks. Dark Matter is a copy of the ink used exclusively on the Manhattan Project. The V-mail series is similar. Here's a link:

 

http://noodlersink.com/whats-new/dark-matter/

 

I have purchased some old bottles of ink. Some of the inks have broken down over time and no longer work very well. Some have worked just fine. Be careful, some people just add water to dried out bottles of ink. The result may or may not work as desired.

 

Thanks. I'm familiar with those Noodler's ink lines, though haven't tried any of them. I have no doubt Nathan Tardiff bent over backwards to get them right. I only wish there was a Noodler's V-mail black. He has many other colors, but not that one, at least Brian Goulet doesn't have it for sale. I'm thinking of buying some modern Parker Quink Permanent Black for my '63 Parker 51 and Sheaffer Scrip Black for my '52 Snorkel. Trying to keep thing authentic. :)

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