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Birmingham Pen Co. "pennsylvania Railroad Boiler Steam Blue/black" Ink Review


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This is a review of

Birmingham Pen Co.'s "Pennsylvania Railorad Boiler Steam Blue/Black" ink.


Another, earlier review of this ink:




Birmingham Pen Company is a store in Pennsylvania with its own line of budget-friendly, mysteriously complex dark shades of inks: https://www.birminghampens.com/pages/about-us


This particular ink is a classic "Blue-Black" that's more on the dirty grayed-navy side than teal--sure to please those who don't like their blue-blacks too green.


The ink is not without quirks, but now that I understand it, I believe it can be very well-behaved on paper, given the right tools:


Specifically, this ink has high flow, and if you use a juicy nib you might end up with a lot of ink on the page, taking a long time to dry or else quickly bleeding through cheap paper. HOWEVER, if you use a more conservative flow nib/feed or even something like a drier fine nib, the ink dries very quickly on any paper. You especially may want to use conservative amounts of this ink on cheap paper, as the inks absorbs readily and bleeds through if you put down too much. If your preferred instrument is a pen with an XF nib, you will probably be okay with cheap paper too.


That said, on nicer fountain-pen-friendly paper, this ink looks great! As long as paper absorbency is not high, you begin seeing beautiful shading, as while the hue is dark, saturation is not high. It is not the kind of shading that dramatically goes from light to dark and looks distracting. Rather it is a gentle transition, especially if you write in unbroken cursive. Particularly with broader nibs, the shading looks quite striking (with the caveat of long drying time for some spots, but that doesn't bother me).


There is no outlining to speak of nor noticeable sheen*. *The sheen is present, but only on very non-absorbent paper and only in very high concentration areas, where you might just about detect a hint of something metallic red. But just barely.


Water resistance is respectable: the color components wash off, and clear gray line remains.


Although this ink has a fairly conservative hue that's not out of place in any line of work, this ink's appearance is intriguing enough to use for personal correspondence as well.



Pale cream Fabriano Bioprima paper and Col-O-Ring cards (top left card is an abbreviation of Birmingham Pen Co. "Grandview Avenue Midnight Horizon" blue):




On "white" (rather creamy) Tomoe River and Col-O-Ring cards:






Some lower quality paper: absorbent, no shading to speak of, bleed-through is present:



Water resistance:


Edited by Intensity

“I admit it, I'm surprised that fountain pens are a hobby. ... it's a bit like stumbling into a fork convention - when you've used a fork all your life.” 

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  • Intensity


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  • kpfeifle


What a beautiful, beautiful review . . . :wub:

Thank you for making and taking the time to share this with us.

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Scriptorium Pens

I definitely need to get some of this! Thank you for a beautiful and thorough review!


Visit my site at


Handcrafted Fountain & Dip Pens

For Behind the Scenes pictures and comments, check out Instagram & Twitter.

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This is a wonderful comparison/review. Thank you!


You should also add these the blue/black thread (see link in signature below).

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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This is a wonderful review! It made me aware of Birmingham Pen Co. (so that my hard-earned dollars are going to them for this and others of their inks). Also, I appreciate some Lagrangian notes: Putting Marion's words into nice handwriting helps! Nothing will help Goldstein, though.

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