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Birmingham – Billy Eckstine Blues For Sale


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*OK, so I’m really dumb and used the wrong pens for the title and the blocky print in the doodle. Those two are written with the wrong color, so ignore them. Everything below is done correctly.


The Birmingham Pen Co.’s line of inks (30 colors when I bought the sample pack, but I think they’re at 40+ and counting) feature various colors based on or inspired by notable locations or people associated with its home city of Pittsburgh, PA. I bought their sampler pack, and plan on slowly going through the whole line of inks, though I expect it will take me quite a while. For those interested, I posted some color swatches in a different topic (https://www.fountainpennetwork.com/forum/topic/328952-birmingham-pen-co-ink-swatches/) where you can get a quick idea of what the whole line looks like together.


Despite the fact that the ink is named “Blues for Sale,” I wouldn't categorize this as a blue ink. Instead, I would call it a dark slate grey with definite blue undertones. Birmingham has a number of near-grey and near-black inks, some of which only differ subtly from each other. Blues for Sale is one of those inks, its distinguishing feature being its blue tint. I would compare the color to Callifolio Gris de Payne, which is a lighter grey but shares a similar blue undertone. In writing, Blues for Sale laid a consistent, wet, dark grey line with my SF nib, and a nicely shaded line with the broad nib. In heavily pooled ink, there was a slight sheen, but not enough to show up in regular use. The fine line was a little boring; I couldn't really tell that there was any blue in the line, so the ink lost some of its character. On the other hand, I liked the broad line quite a bit with all that shading. Personally, I think greys are interesting, but I don’t normally get much use out of them. So while this ink isn’t really for me, I think it has something to offer for fans of greys.


Flow/Lubrication: Moderate

Shading: Moderate-high

Sheen: Tiny bit (but basically none)

Water Resistance: Moderate-low



The following sample was done with a Pilot Falcon (SF) and a Nemosine Singularity (Broad) on Tomoe River (68gsm, white, loose-leaf). Doodle was done with a Kuretake Menso brush (Small) and a size 0 liner. Forgot to test with dip nib, oops!


Inaccurate Image(s) Disclaimer: This one scanned quite nicely. Pretty much everything is accurate on my screen. The only slight inaccuracy is the lighter washes in the doodle, which are a touch too blue in the scan compared to life, but it’s pretty close.






Comparison inks from left to right (big smear is the featured ink):

Kyo no Oto Nurebairo, KWZ Warsaw Dreaming, Noodler’s Black, L’Artisan Pastellier Callifolio Gris de Payne, Pilot Iroshizuku Fuyu-Syogun


Writing Samples (scans; some color correction; papers of increasing absorbency), from Anton Chekov’s “A Boring Story from an Old Man’s Notes”


Maruman Mnemosyne:



Midori MD:





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