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bob_hayden
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Never mind, they discontinued them....

 

Have you tried the XFountain-Pens ink?
I got their black ink when I bought pens from them, and it is very decent.

I think someone said it is rebranded sheaffer ink

Edited by titrisol
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Never mind, they discontinued them....

 

Have you tried the XFountain-Pens ink?

I got their black ink when I bought pens from them, and it is very decent.

I think someone said it is rebranded sheaffer ink

 

Yeah, I think they used to sell bottled ink under the Chesterfield brand, but I heard it was made by Diamine. Was it available in cartridges? I also heard that they expected to release a new house brand but I was not able to find such on their site.

 

On a related topic, I recently checked the pile of pens filled with ink cartridges from majus. Those had been sitting for two months. Generally they were not too hard to get started, and very few had had the ink dry out to the point where the cartridge was empty. That seemed to be very good performance so I would rate this as the cheapest trouble free ink I have tried.

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Yes, I got the black cartridges when I bought pens from them and the ink was excellent.

I missed the part they were closing out, otherwise I would have stocked up on them

But at the end of the day I have plenty of ink

 

 

 

Yeah, I think they used to sell bottled ink under the Chesterfield brand, but I heard it was made by Diamine. Was it available in cartridges? I also heard that they expected to release a new house brand but I was not able to find such on their site.

 

On a related topic, I recently checked the pile of pens filled with ink cartridges from majus. Those had been sitting for two months. Generally they were not too hard to get started, and very few had had the ink dry out to the point where the cartridge was empty. That seemed to be very good performance so I would rate this as the cheapest trouble free ink I have tried.

Edited by titrisol
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  • 1 month later...

Thanks, Bill.

 

Here in NH we have finally reached the point where the long range weather forecast says we will have an entire week when it does not drop below freezing! I took advantage and ordered some ink from USA Outlet Store. I wanted to see how it compared to the other inexpensive inks I tested and to the inks I purchased from the same source several years ago.

But first a side note on those inks from the past. I have a sheet of paper with samples of nine colors of ink. It is labeled "USA Outlet Store" but I have no inks in those colors labeled "USA Outlet Store". I DO have a small parts cabinet with nine drawers, each filled with short international ink cartridges. Alas, the cabinet and the cartridges have no labels as to color or source. The cartridges are a mix of milk jug translucent and colored to match the ink inside, as are the cartridges listed online by USAOS. However, they do not match up as to which is which. So I have long wondered if the inks in the drawers really were from USAOS, and if not, if the ink samples on paper were not really from USAOS either. Knowing what I know now I think they ARE from USAOS, but do take any comparisons with the old cartridges with a grain of salt.

Assuming the old cartridges were indeed from USAOS, I was reluctant to order more of colors I did not like the first time around. So I contacted USAOS to see if they would send me an assortment of colors. They did not respond. Just looking at their eBay ads, USAOS and "majus" seem like very similar operations. I noted some differences in an earlier post in this thread, but the new one is that "majus" provides prompt and very helpful answers to email while USAOS does not. OTOH USAOS does have a 100% feedback on eBay so I expect they will respond if you are a customer with a problem even if they do not talk to strangers.

I ordered inks in black, brown, green, and burgundy. The eBay listings say

 

12 COLORS AVAILABLE: Blue, Black, Blue-Black, Orange, Red, Green, Royal Blue, Pink, Brown, Burgandy[sic], Purple, Turquoise

 

but only about half of these actually seem to be available at this time. The cartridges arrived promply and were in a protective USPS flat rate box. Inside they were in plastic bags with a little bubble wrap thrown in -- probably adequate but not impressive. The plastic bags were non-recloseable and taped shut so you will probably need to supply your own containers (or spend a lot of time on your hands and knees in pursuit of loose cartridges). I transferred the contents to recloseable bags.

I noticed that though the eBay listings showed the brown and green cartridges to be the color of the ink inside, the ones I received were of milk bottle type with just the flat end of the cartridge colored to match the ink. This led me to believe that I should not be concerned about the mismatch between the listing and the cartridges in my storage cabinet. I also received three "free gifts" which consisted of a cellophane sleeve with assorted cartridges inside. The picture in the listing showed six cartridges in the sleeve, mostly not appearing to be the same cartridges you could actually buy. The listing matched my recollection of the free gift I got with my first order years ago. What I received this time was sleeves of 12 cartridges that seemed to be almost exactly the ink colors USAOS claims to sell. I saw no reason to suspect any intent to deceive over all these discrepancies between listing and reality. My guess is that the product changes over time but the listing is not updated to reflect that. The overall impression is "honest but not meticulous." Here are some verbal descriptions of my experience.

BLACK

Pretty dark in a wet pen, greyer in a drier, finer pen. Smooth, free-flowing.

BROWN Chocolate, fairly dark, no trace of yellow, red, grey, etc. Smooth, initially free-flowing. GREEN The green in the A&W is very close to my two top favorite greens of long ago which I liked for their purity, though they were not highly saturated. My first choice was Sheaffer USA Emerald Green and my second was ink sold under the Eversharp brand decades after the Eversharp company disappeared. (I have no idea who really made that ink.) The USAOS ink has a tiny hint of blue, but less than many European green inks. This green was not as smooth or free flowing as the above. It could be the pen, though I have found the A&Ws to be extremely consistent within models with ample flow in all. In any case, this ink was initially welcome, as the Sheaffer and Eversharp greens are long gone.

 

 

fpn_1491650682__usasos1.jpg

 

 

COLOR CHANGES AND FLOW ISSUES

 

Some of the inexpensive inks I tested earlier changed color just sitting in the pen. Others had flow problems. I did a not very challenging test of these issues by writing with the pens again after they had sat unused for two days. Only the green ink showed color changes but those seemed to be more from pen to pen, with a slight darkening with time. In other pens the "green" ink looked darker and bluer.

 

The "free gift" included two brown cartridges but one less shade of blue than expected. Both of these and the cartridge from the bulk bag were reluctant to resume writing after two days. No other viable inks had starting issues after two days.

 

FREE GIFT

 

Except for the highly variable green and the brown already mentioned, none of the free cartridges in viable colors had issues starting after two days. If you are wondering which colors are "viable" the answer is: all but orange. The orange ink looked milky and was a brilliant fluorescent orange. In a wet pen, that's what it looks like on the page. In a dry pen it will be flashy but hard to read. After two days flow is very erratic to the point of being unviable. I would be very concerned that this ink could clog or damage a pen. In fact, I rather doubt that it is really fountain pen ink. I was glad I put it in a pen whose days are numbered anyway. But if you would like to write in fluorescent orange, and also have a disposable wet writing pen, this could be just the ticket.

 

Note that the purple ink is more like magenta. I would not call it "purple" but it may be a color you like.

 

USAOS INKS FROM 2014

 

fpn_1491650801__usaos2.jpg

 

 

I compared the new inks to my records from past purchases (which may or may not be mislabeled). In general the two years' inks were more alike than, say USA and Slovenian Sheaffer inks. Blue and blue-black look slightly darker. The old green was purer and more saturated with no hint of blue. The old orange was a typical orange ink -- too light to be useful except perhaps for highlighting. (All versions of the pink seem marginal for readability.)

 

"BURGANDY"

 

Additional evidence that USAOS does not update their eBay listings is that "burgundy" is still misspelled after three years. It's treated separately here because it was purchased separately in past years and this year's purchase, though made at the same time as the other colors, was shipped separately and had not arrived yet when the other inks were tested. The old ink (tested in a Haolilai pen) was sort of a dirty pink, but not too far from burgundies from Mont Blanc and Monteverde (though not like Sheaffer burgundy). The 2017 version is quite dark and I suspect that at least as many would identify it as brown as would burgundy. As with the purple, buy this by the color shown in samples, not by the name.

 

SUMMARY

 

I would avoid the orange. The brown is a very nice dark chocolate color with no off colors, but tends to dry out in a pen. The green is good when at its best, but there are many less variable greens available. For all the other colors, these would seem to be viable ink at a very reasonable price. Thornton cartridges are still available and still the cheapest option, but the low prices are for a limited choice of colors. Ink from majus is generally priced between Thornton and USAOS. The latter can be recommended if you want fast or predictable shipping. Colors are generally quite similar though I prefer the blue and green from majus and the black and brown from USAOS Both provide good ink cartridges at a very low price.

Edited by amberleadavis
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amberleadavis

Wow, Bob, you have included a lot of information. Thank you.

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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Thanks, Amberlea. It was an epic struggle because FPN was fighting my images all the way. I had to post and re-edit many times. I would like more space between image and text but I don't dare mess with it.

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amberleadavis

I think I fixed it. When in doubt, use the little switch icon to turn off extra features and work directly with the html.

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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Thanks. You did indeed fix it. Do you mean the button that says [More Reply Options]? I guess that was still on from when I was trying to attach the images.

 

I have a much longer standing issue that I don't know who to ask about. When I do a search a little window pops up with the results, but the bottom of that window is off screen, so I can't see all the results, and more important, I can't get at the numbers to click to move to the next page. (Yes, I scroll in the little window but it does not do it because the little window is partially off-screen.) I have tried to move the little window by clicking and dragging on its title bar but it is welded in place. (Part of the problem is that I set my monitor to give BIG type I can read which means not as much fits on the screen as web designers assume.)

 

How often do you change your icon? I can understand getting bored but I rely on the icons to spot posts from people who have established reputations with me. Are you on the lam?-)

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amberleadavis

Bob, I change my avatar frequently and often. I used to change them every day, but I haven't solicited any new ghosts lately. Check out the thread in my signature. Usually, I use the blue ghost since he was named Inky, but since it's Bunny time, I'm using Peeps.

 

Okay, as for the switch here is an image. (Use More reply options to add attachments and other cool stuff).

 

 

post-74729-0-13354800-1491690267.png

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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On my monitor I see only a small corner of the window, even when I click on the image. I have encountered this with other images lately. It's like they got seriously cropped en route. But I think I know which button you mean. Below the window where I am typing this is a black button marked Post. To it's right is a grey button which is my #1 suspect.

 

So are those peeps on the Supreme Court? I Googled "peeps supreme court" and found that and some other interesting judicial peeps.

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PS I should have commented on my scans. On my monitor they pretty much match my originals except that you can't tell the orange is fluorescent and B-R-I-G-H-T!

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amberleadavis

On my monitor I see only a small corner of the window, even when I click on the image. I have encountered this with other images lately. It's like they got seriously cropped en route. But I think I know which button you mean. Below the window where I am typing this is a black button marked Post. To it's right is a grey button which is my #1 suspect.

 

So are those peeps on the Supreme Court? I Googled "peeps supreme court" and found that and some other interesting judicial peeps.

 

 

That's all there is to the image, I cropped it to show you the button with the switch that I was talking about.

 

Yes, that's the SCOTUS peeps.

 

As for size, are you using a PC or a Mac? On the Mac, I can use the zoom function so that I can see everything. Which browser are you using?

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 months later...

I thought my job was done when I posted a review of the USA Outlet Store cartridges but I have an update and some new inks. The update is that the very low prices on some Thornton inks are still in effect. I had thought they might be clearance prices but if so it's a clearance that's lasted at least a year.

 

The new inks are nameless and priced at just under ten cents per short international cartridge, which is a good price, above the cheapest Thorntons and near ink in bulk from majus. I hate to give a probably very temporary link to eBay so I'll give the item description.

 

Fountain Pen ink 30PCS 5ml 2.7 mm interface Mixed color Ink Refill Cartridg

 

I paid $2.99 including shipping but you can find them for much higher prices if you look around. They took over a month to get here. Tracking information was not very helpful. It said they arrived in the US of A soon after purchase but after that they arrived to me about four weeks later and the tracking info never updated. The tracking info also included multiple misspelled words which seemed unprofessional. (I don't expect great spelling from eBay sellers but international shipping services should be able to get it right in their boilerplate.) On eBay it says the seller is in China but the package said it came from Samoa.

 

The eBay listing seems to show twelve possible colors. I got six zipper bags of five colors each -- the same five colors in every bag. Examining the cartridges inside I found them to be made of plastic more clear and more brittle than is usual for ink cartridges. When I tried one in a pen, the cartridge was pierced with a sharp POP. When I turned the section/cartridge assembly to screw it into the body of the pen, the cartridge fell out. I think the usual softer cartridges stretch to grip the part that pierced them, but not here. Many tries later, I confirmed that the cartridges generally fall out of most pens. The exceptions seem to be the minority of pens in which the cartridge slips into a tube tight enough to grip it. Interim report: not recommended unless you do not care what color ink you get and are willing to play around to find a pen these will not fall out of. (No hints from me because they could fall out of one pen and stay in another of the same make and model.)

 

At the end I will put a sample image. Here is a verbal summary, top to bottom. The cartridges have no color labels so the names are mine.

 

"Rose" is somewhere between red and magenta.

 

"Pink" is more pale and chalky than the scan shows on my monitor.

 

"Green" is a nice very light green. I expect the blotches are because although the cartridge was mechanically stuck in the pen, it was not an air tight seal. I tried it in another pen (last line) and had the opposite problem -- very poor flow.

 

"Yellow" is very pale. I think it would be marginal even for highlighting.

 

"Lilac is a nice ink in every way.

 

 

Except for the lilac all these inks had an odd feel that matched how they looked -- like they had been diluted considerably. There was no bleedthrough on cheap loose leaf filler paper.

 

Unless one of these inks matches the color of your dreams I cannot see any reason to buy them. Even then, you probably have less than a 50/50 chance of getting that color in your assortment. I see similar looking cartridges in different packaging on eBay but am not inclined to spend money investigating. The look is that they are extra length like Jinhao with big plugs in the end that match the ink color and appear to be a mechanical force fit. majus supplies reliable and trouble free cartridges at about the same price if you buy 200, and you can control the color, and you will get them sooner.

 

fpn_1497994567__samoaink.jpg

Edited by bob_hayden
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amberleadavis

Thank you for the warning and 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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I somrtimes see Manuscript cartridges here to buy at craftstores with cheap calligraphy pens. Are they safe to use? I have never dared to use them for anything but these calligraphy pens.

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Tanzanite, Manuscript cartridges were the first brand to be evaluated in this thread. I would think that anything in cartridges would be safe for fountain pens. The dangerous stuff is usually sold in bottles for dip pens. In an attempt to be clear about which Manuscript cartridges I tested, here are the reference numbers from the back of the packages.

 

Black MC0401CB

Five color assortment MC0401AS

Nine color assortment MC0402ASC

 

Generally I thought these were OK but there are cheaper options that are as good or better.

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Try searching for cartridges made by Inoxcrom, Wilson, and Maped. I am in China and Maped ( a French brand) makes cartridges here now. Inoxcrom and Wilson are Spanish and Italian companies that are hard to find in most countries, but they were readily available in the Middle East.

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  • 1 month later...

I can find Inoxcrom, Wilson, and Maped on eBay in the US of A. but only from international sellers who charge more for shipping than for the cartridges. So they are not bargains where I am, but thanks for mentioning these brands as others may be in places where they are available.

I do have a new option in my country, though. Poky (sometimes "Poker") Stationary is an eBay seller in Hong Kong They have about 2000 items in their eBay store and nearly all of them are tools to write with. Years ago I purchased some pens from them and received samples of their ink cartridges. Recently they started selling the cartridges alone, in quantity, and in a variety of colors. So I sampled 15 each of green, blue, and purple. In past years I had received blue, black and red cartridges. Prices are in the Manuscript to KaWeCo range. Black alone is available in quantities of 100 which gets the price below Manuscript. I received my order in FIVE DAYS! It included a free Pirre Paul's F828 flighter-style fountain pen that they normally sell for $6.29. (I'll review that elsewhere.)

The performance of the inks so far has been good. The colors are mostly fine but are of medium saturation, and hence similar to the inks from the various pen manufacturers. The short international cartridges themselves are not so nice, and share with some others from Asia a reluctance to be punctured. A Reform/A&W Classic Impressions refused to do it at all. The nib and section of a Jinhao 886 flew away under the pressure of my attempt but we eventually succeeded, as we did with a Wing Sung 9116 and a Lion King with open nib, on the first try. A Poky F 101 was too successful; there was a leak between cartridge and feed bad enough to make a mess and drain the cartridge in a couple of hours.

http://statland.org/PenPix/PokyInk.jpg


I cannot guarantee that my samples from long ago reflect current colors but I have blue from both dates and they are similar. The black of the past was OK but a bit pale by modern standards. The red was more of a saturated pink than an actual red. Whatever you call it, it could appeal to someone (other than me;-) The blue is quite middle of the road, neither pale like some classic blues, nor as saturated as is fashionable today. I liked this one.

The current green is on the light side over toward Levenger Always Greener, and like that ink it tends to feather and bleed through the page. On my monitor the scan shows considerable blue but I do not see that in real life. The purple looks a bit redder in real life and I like the color.

The old red and the new green are interesting colors and I can imagine someone liking them enough to put up with the temperamental cartridges. A large hardware store might have a drill bit just the right size to put holes in these. For the usual colors, though, majus and USA Outlet Store are one half to one third the price, and a lot less fuss.

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