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Old Quink Ink With A Crystal, And Still Beautiful!


RedRinger
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Hello everyone!

I posted to the Parker forum about the 10000 Word Pen, but I thought those interested in ink would like my experiements with Parker's Quink.

 

Here's my post on the 10000 word experiment:

https://www.fountainpennetwork.com/forum/topic/342182-can-the-10000-word-pen-really-write-that-much-merry-christmas/

 

I recently bought a bottle that had a lovely crystal inside -- who knows how many decades of undisturbed rest that took to form. I preserved it before diluting some of the ink to use (I only diluted a small portion for use with distilled water - the color looks as true as the undiluted remainder in the bottle). My guess is that it is just crystallized pigment, but perhaps it's the mysterious "Solv-X?" Does anyone know what exactly Solv-X actually is?

 

Whatever the case, this ink is incredible. It really doesn't dry in the pen, writes beautifully, and dries very quickly on paper, in my now-10,000-word experience!

 

Cheers!

Matt

 

 

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Modern day red Quink crystallizes too.

 

So interesting... any idea of the timeframe? Does it simply dissolve back up with the addition of some water?

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Wow. That's really cool. I've never seen anything like that. Most of the vintage ink I've gotten hold of is either full, partly full, or (likely) refilled or diluted with water. If a bottle is mostly or completely empty, it's just got dust in the bottom -- and I don't buy it....

From the look of the bottle, I'd say yours is from the 1940s or 50s (it's the same shape as the bottles of Microfilm Black I have. I have one partially full bottle of what I thought might be Quink Red from the swabs (there wasn't a box and the bottle didn't have a label) but which turned out to seem to be brown (although there's a lot of sediment in the bottle, there's nothing AFAIK as cool as what you've got there.

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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Wow. That's really cool. I've never seen anything like that. Most of the vintage ink I've gotten hold of is either full, partly full, or (likely) refilled or diluted with water. If a bottle is mostly or completely empty, it's just got dust in the bottom -- and I don't buy it....

From the look of the bottle, I'd say yours is from the 1940s or 50s (it's the same shape as the bottles of Microfilm Black I have. I have one partially full bottle of what I thought might be Quink Red from the swabs (there wasn't a box and the bottle didn't have a label) but which turned out to seem to be brown (although there's a lot of sediment in the bottle, there's nothing AFAIK as cool as what you've got there.

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth

 

Wow, thanks so much for weighing in, Ruth -- I was hoping you would!

 

Yeah, the bottle was pretty cheap on the 'bay, and I figured I wanted red ink for my 10000 Word Christmas project -- what better than red Quink? When I opened the bottle, it seemed about half full, and I noticed a lump in the bottom -- my first instinct was add water and shake, but then the chemist part of my brain got the tweezers and went fishing.

 

The lower-light-for-atmosphere photos of my 10000 word project don't show the red of the ink on paper so well, but you can see it's really quite vibrant in one of my dilution trays. It just blows my mind that the compounds, packaging, etc. were so stable to allow me to enjoy it some 60-70 years later.

 

I'm late with the Christmas cards this year... maybe I've got a nice Christmas ink after all for the Sheaffer's Holly Pen or some such!

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Interesting. Your crystal appears to be triclinic, and displays polysynthetic twinning. This could easily pass for a feldspar :lol:

 

I have a bottle of permanent red older than yours (I think) that came with a lot of old Quink. I just pulled it out to see if I have any nice crystals in mine. Alas, no. It appears to never have been opened, so too well sealed to evaporate enough to allow one to form. It does, however, have a mild amount of fine sediment as well as a nice mucillagenous biocolony the size and shape of a wasabi pea. Apparently they didn't use a perfect biocide :D

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Interesting. Your crystal appears to be triclinic, and displays polysynthetic twinning. This could easily pass for a feldspar :lol:

 

I have a bottle of permanent red older than yours (I think) that came with a lot of old Quink. I just pulled it out to see if I have any nice crystals in mine. Alas, no. It appears to never have been opened, so too well sealed to evaporate enough to allow one to form. It does, however, have a mild amount of fine sediment as well as a nice mucillagenous biocolony the size and shape of a wasabi pea. Apparently they didn't use a perfect biocide :D

 

This is awesome -- even more nerdy than I am! I can see the twinning now that I look at some examples online as well -- so fantastic! Polysynthetic *and* perhaps "Carlsbad" twinning? https://www.britannica.com/science/albite-twin

 

It is really fascinating to think of the just exactly right conditions that must have existed for so many years to allow that crystal to form. And I can still write with the remainder -- priceless!

 

I'm going to do all my Christmas cards (late) with it, I think, and probably with a different pen -- the 10000 Word pen is still smoking from my project.

 

Thankfully no colonies, mucilaginous or otherwise, in my ink!

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Just a geological engineering student. We get a classic geology education, with extra math and physics. :D There is a place nearby me that is famous for Carlsbad twinned orthoclase feldspar. Unfortunately, your crystal isn't that. They intergrow flipped about the long axis. There are smaller crystals on yours, and they seem to be growing along a crystallographic axis, but I don't think that would be considered twinning, at least by any twinning law I know of. :lol:

 

I looked in materials literature to find information on how dyes crystallize, hoping that might shed a clue on what this is, but to no avail. I did some research this summer that involved powdering samples and running an XRD analysis on them that would shed some light on what this is, but that would be unfortunate! Too uncommon a thing to destroy :lol:

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Just a geological engineering student. We get a classic geology education, with extra math and physics. :D There is a place nearby me that is famous for Carlsbad twinned orthoclase feldspar. Unfortunately, your crystal isn't that. They intergrow flipped about the long axis. There are smaller crystals on yours, and they seem to be growing along a crystallographic axis, but I don't think that would be considered twinning, at least by any twinning law I know of. :lol:

 

I looked in materials literature to find information on how dyes crystallize, hoping that might shed a clue on what this is, but to no avail. I did some research this summer that involved powdering samples and running an XRD analysis on them that would shed some light on what this is, but that would be unfortunate! Too uncommon a thing to destroy :lol:

 

There are other tinier crystals still swimming in the ink.... .... :D

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If you have access to a vacuum filtration apparatus, you could filter them out while minimizing ink loss. And then send them to me for analysis :lol:

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I suspect it is a single borax crystal as borax has been sometimes used as an ingredient in ink.

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I suspect it is a single borax crystal as borax has been sometimes used as an ingredient in ink.

Borax crystallizes in the moniclinic system, which OP's doesn't appear to be. If there is borax in the ink, only some analysis with fancy equipment will tell :D

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You are correct. I did some more research and the structure and color is wrong for borax.I hope it isn't cinnabar. It looks like it though. If so, it is highly toxic.

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You are correct. I did some more research and the structure and color is wrong for borax.I hope it isn't cinnabar. It looks like it though. If so, it is highly toxic.

No worries there! Luckily color is the last indicator geologists use when identifying a mineral. Though this is the same color as cinnabar, it is highly unlikely there's enough mercury in any ink to form a cinnabar crystal. Surprisingly, cinnabar is actually quite stable and safe to handle at standard temperature and pressure :D

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This discussion has vastly exceeded my nerdiest expectations. Thank you all for your replies!

I'll look to see if I can fish out another crystal from the pot, suitable for analysis. An alternative would be cleaving a small piece from a less-attractive side of the existing crystal, if there is such a thing...

 

M

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No worries there! Luckily color is the last indicator geologists use when identifying a mineral. Though this is the same color as cinnabar, it is highly unlikely there's enough mercury in any ink to form a cinnabar crystal. Surprisingly, cinnabar is actually quite stable and safe to handle at standard temperature and pressure :D

 

This is correct. Unless you were to inject the ink containing cinnabar to make a tattoo, which might cause an allergic reaction, you are not likely to encounter any problems.

Rationalizing pen and ink purchases since 1967.

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This is correct. Unless you were to inject the ink containing cinnabar to make a tattoo, which might cause an allergic reaction, you are not likely to encounter any problems.

 

 

Well there goes that idea... :D

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