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Iron Gall Water Resistance Comparison



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I recently did a comparison of water resistance among some popular iron gall inks on the market. I noticed that generally, Diamine Registrar's, performed best. KWZ IG Blue Black performed well on absorbent paper.  KWZ IG Blue #1, Pelikan 4001 Blue Black, and Platinum Sepia Black performed the worst. I give an honorable mention to Platinum Blue Black and TWSBI as they retain their bright blue color without oxidizing and presumably have little iron gall content, yet have excellent water resistance.  KWZ Blue Black performed very well on absorbent paper. 

 

My methodology is as follows: the inks were allowed to dry at least 24 hours on Rhodia, then soaked for one hour in cold water (I tried boiling water, but it washed away most of the inks). 

 

The inks tested were:

 

Platinum Sepia Black

Rohrer & Klinger Salix

Platinum Blue Black

Akkerman #10

TWSBI Blue Black

KWZ IG Blue #1

KWZ IG Blue Black

Diamine Registrar's

Pelikan 4001 Blue Black

 

 

Water Resist.jpg

Water Resist1.jpg

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Thanks Bokaba. I guess you didn't do a before scan, so we can compare. 

You didn't have Essri did you?

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I did not do a before scan, but will re-write to show the colors. Unfortunately, I do not have ESSRI. 

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Here is a scan of the inks in their original color prior to soaking. The Diamine Registrar's looks a little light because it ran dry. 

Water Resist1.jpg

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Thanks Bokaba. 

Historic iron gall inks didn't like humidity. In presence of high humidity they deteriorate quite fast....

Interesting the blue has washed away (as it should) and the black/grey has remained in most inks. I believe only two of these are true iron gall, Akkerman and Diamine Registrar's. 

Interesting how KWZ blue black is performing poorly, despite it being supposedly Iron gall heavy. Quite disappointing. 

Interesting enough, once I did a test with a non waterproof ink on absorbent paper and it was very water resistant. However, on Rhodia it washed away....

 

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You're probably right. I think the only "true" iron galls on the market are Diamine, ESSRI, and Akkerman. The old Midnight Blue and Pharmacist's as well, but those are pretty hard to find. I included another test I did with KWZ BB on Rhodia where I let the ink oxidize completely for several weeks before soaking and it performed very well. The line labeled "Diamine" is Registrar's just for comparison. The inks that retain their blue color must be using some other mechanism to stay on the page such as pigment or some form of the "bulletproof" technology used by Noodler's. 

 

The very light gray writing is KWZ Blue IG #1 that had dried for the same amount of time. 

 

 

Diamine.jpg

Diamine2.jpg

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You can add to your list of true IG, Gutenberg Urkunden - Tinte G 10. It's a bit tricky to find, and it's about the same price as Essri. 

I still find Diamine Registrar's more elegant in colour and in waterproofness. 
As for the blue inks. It can be that or not, I cannot say. ...

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On 1/17/2021 at 2:30 PM, bokaba said:

The inks that retain their blue color must be using some other mechanism to stay on the page such as pigment or some form of the "bulletproof" technology used by Noodler's. 

 

 

I'm not sure this is strictly true. Pharmicist had this to say regarding his own formulation:

 

Quote

 

 

In particular, "Unlike the MB and Lamy Blue-Black iron gall inks, the dye componend [sic] does not bleed from the writing, leaving a greyish ghost writing (iron gall pigment), but stays firmly fixed upon the iron gall pigment on the paper."

 

I believe he explains elsewhere -- I was unable to find it -- that depending on the formulation, the dyes may be more or less fixed into the paper as a part of the reaction. 

 

I also would expect that you would see better results across the board if you used a more absorbent paper. 

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In historical iron gall inks in the XiX century they added Indigo dye to the mixture, after which through oxidization the ink turned black and the blue dye disappeared. The blue was there to help with the legibility of writing only....  

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Hmm this is interesting, I think KWZ IG needs more time same for Sallix, I did a 10 day test in my ink review and it was great, there was hardly any colour loss let alone the content loss and my soak lasted 2+ hrs with tap run and towel brush......I feel in general IG need at least 48 to 72hrs before actually playing with them.

 

These are only 2 IG I have and both actually perform extremely well with water once properly dried. I think rest will show better results as well, or should...cant say for them as I lack them.

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I will try a longer drying/curing time at some point in the future. I would like to try ESSRI but don’t want to buy a full bottle yet. 

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Just now, bokaba said:

I will try a longer drying/curing time at some point in the future. I would like to try ESSRI but don’t want to buy a full bottle yet. 

same issues with me, no interest in full bottles or else there would have been a full scoop of blue-black IG ageing tests by me🙃

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On 1/19/2021 at 9:27 AM, yazeh said:

In historical iron gall inks in the XiX century they added Indigo dye to the mixture, after which through oxidization the ink turned black and the blue dye disappeared. The blue was there to help with the legibility of writing only....  

 

I believe based on my readings that indigo was added earlier than that even, and there was some debate about the best dye to use that wouldn't negatively affect the permanency of the ink once aniline dyes came into widespread use. I believe one conservative voice spoke out against anything but indigo as resulting in too "fugitive" an ink. 

 

That doesn't change Pharmacist's claims though, particularly with regards to the permanence properties being different with modern inks that have only one of two classical IG components in them. 

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I think Krishna use some old dye in their Kot-massi permanent line of inks, they claim such at least (using traditional Indian methods, which I presume would include indigo), never tested the ink but worth looking into if someone wants to.

 

They are IG according to site info.

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1 hour ago, arcfide said:

 

I believe based on my readings that indigo was added earlier than that even, and there was some debate about the best dye to use that wouldn't negatively affect the permanency of the ink once aniline dyes came into widespread use. I believe one conservative voice spoke out against anything but indigo as resulting in too "fugitive" an ink. 

 

That doesn't change Pharmacist's claims though, particularly with regards to the permanence properties being different with modern inks that have only one of two classical IG components in them. 

My source is  Pen, Ink, & Evidence: A Study of Writing and Writing Materials for the Penman, Collector, and Document Detective. I believe he mentions Stephen's ink as the first having used it... I can check the precise date, if you're interested...

 

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4 minutes ago, yazeh said:

My source is  Pen, Ink, & Evidence: A Study of Writing and Writing Materials for the Penman, Collector, and Document Detective. I believe he mentions Stephen's ink as the first having used it... I can check the precise date, if you're interested...

 

 

Wait, what exactly is your claim? It's pretty common knowledge that IG inks were traditionally colored with a dye to aid in visibility when initially written, so that's not exactly a contested claim. I was taking your previous post to say that IG's never used dye-based colorants before the 19th century including indigo, but I'm pretty sure that's false. Modern IG inks have their historical lineage in the 18th century "writing fluid" boom, including our current formulations of IG inks, but you seem to be saying something else? 

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I had heard that Indigo dye was added around the middle of the 19th Century when steel nibs became popular as it made the ink less acidic. Most iron gall inks (dip pen medieval type recipes) I have seen are dark enough to see when the ink is put down on the paper (or vellum) and quickly darken to a black color. 

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16 minutes ago, arcfide said:

 

Wait, what exactly is your claim? It's pretty common knowledge that IG inks were traditionally colored with a dye to aid in visibility when initially written, so that's not exactly a contested claim. I was taking your previous post to say that IG's never used dye-based colorants before the 19th century including indigo, but I'm pretty sure that's false. Modern IG inks have their historical lineage in the 18th century "writing fluid" boom, including our current formulations of IG inks, but you seem to be saying something else? 

I have no claim. 

I was just conveying what I'd read. That indigo, as Bokaba mentioned, was added in Stephen's writing fluid, in 183? (Not sure of the date) to attenuate the corrosive nature of iron gall on the newly introduced steel nibs. You've seen the bottles, I assume, where it's mentioned that it'll write blue but will oxidizes to black.... 

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Indigo is a vegetal (Indigofera tinctoria)  with dye properties still used in India and other places or purpose like natural dye...Of course now do get artificial dye same color like indigo...

comprar-indigo (1).jpg

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