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Ink Colour Changing In The Pen?


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I have recently had two pens, piston fillers, both celluiloid, filled with different Akkerman inks where over time the ink colour has changed remarkably.


I have a good number of pens, many of them piston fill or self fillers because that's my wont and because most of them are older or vintage. I have never seen such a striking change of ink colour as I've just experienced though and wanted to ask if others have seen the same.


The first case could be put down to time in the pen with the ink losing water and becoming more saturated: This is a Geha pen from the 60's filled with Akkerman SBRE Brown ink in mid December that I suddenly thought might be MB toffee brown after filling another pen with SBRE Brown recently. I had not noticed the change as I was not very familiar with the ink and it had been a gradual change.


The second case has me a little concerned though: Akkerman Ceruleum Blauw Van Vermeer (what a mouthful) was filled into one of my NOS Tibaldis on 16th of this month and by today, 18th it has lost almost all colour and is unrecognisable. It looks like washed out Pelikan 4001 blue black.Looking back at my diary and notebook, this effect has been gradual over the last 48 hours but most noticeable since last night.

Again, I have the same ink in another pen, a lever filler in that case which has been filled since beginning of February and in that pen the ink colour is absolutely true.


Can celluloid nitrate affect ink colour like this? Do I have a case of the Tibaldi killing the ink?


I am tempted to flush it out and refill but don't know if the ink is not compatible or the pen is going to be a problem with all inks.

Obviously I'm hoping it's not the latter, I can't cope with pens that I can't use.


Going to try a photo to illustrate but I've always struggles to photograph writing samples well - apologies in advance.








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Hmm, this is a bit of a stretch, but is it possible that the Akkerman Ceruleum Blauw has some iron gall content? (IIRC there is only one Akkerman ink that is IG, and that is the #10 IJzer-Galnoten Blauw-Zwart, but I could be wrong...)


I've experienced this sort of fading with old bottles and cartridges of Pelikan 4001 Blue Black, which does contain a bit of iron gall. It happens when the ink has been exposed to oxygen for a prolonged period of time, resulting in premature oxidation of the iron gall content, which makes the ink "gray out". Perhaps the ink somehow oxidized in your pen, or it somehow oxidized just prior to filling that pen (e.g. by sitting for a while in an uncapped vial, or a syringe/pippete/etc.)


Apart from that, I haven't seen anything else like this before.

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Hmm, this is a bit of a stretch, but is it possible that the Akkerman Ceruleum Blauw has some iron gall content?



That's not something I had considered. I've not found any mention of IG content in that ink online but my first thought was one of the pH of the ink being changed by the pen, not the other way round.


This pen had allegedly never been used (sacrilege!), I flushed it with water before filling but I did wonder about the possibility that the celluloid had started to produce acids as they apparently do when they break down. Once in use, there was a strong camphor smell about the inner cap that wasn't noticeable before. Pure speculation.


I've dumped the grey ink and flushed thoroughly, now refilled with R&K Alt Goldgrün which so far is behaving itself. Will watch carefully for a couple more days.

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Well, It's happened to the Rohrer and Klingner ink too. The Alt Goldgrün has lost all the green tone in about the same timeframe: 48 hours in the pen.


I have started another thread in the Repair Q & A here as,though this is an interesting effect, it is not really and ink issue.

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Wow. That is equal parts intriguing and disturbing. Definitely not something I've experienced or heard of before. And Alt-Goldgrün is definitely not an IG ink, so it certainly can't be that.


I await the answer to your conundrum with interest.

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The darkening of SBRE brown is an easy answer. Over time, its evaporated and concentrated in your pen. Ive had this happen quite a bit with iroshzuku ku-jakui. Its my youngest kiddos very favorite ink, and there have been a few times Ive neglected to clean out his pen (since its always filled with the same thing). However, a few times its not gotten used quickly enough and kin-peki turns into a color that looks a lot like Robert Oster river of fire: much darker, super saturated and kind of sheeny. Takes forever to dry and smears easily, though, so its not something we do on purpose.

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Yes, I agree with you on the SBRE Brown. I think it was the amount it has darkened that surprised me. The Geha it's in holds a huge amount of ink and I don't take that pen to work so it's been slow to get used. As it's still at least 25% filled I hadn't expected all the yellow tones to have gone - or rather, I'd forgotten the ink was so much lighter until filling another pen with it.


There is something going on with the Tibaldi pen though, it has done weird things to two normally consistent inks in only a couple of days in the pen. I'll post a picture tomorrow of the Alt Goldgrün change over time on the other thread linked above; I'm quite concerned about it.

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  • 1 year later...

I have the same thing happen to ink in one of my MB 149s.

I think that it is either the cap not sealing correctly or air somehow getting into the pen body while writing.

I usually happens when the ink level get down to half full. Which is usually day 3 of a fill.

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Almost every purple ends up as black if you leave it in a pen long enough.

Less is More - Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

Less is a Bore - Robert Venturi

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I had this problem with Sailor Tokiwa-matsu. After a long time in the pen, it would turn almost black.

It's hard work to tell which is Old Harry when everybody's got boots on.

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