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INK REVIEW: BIRMINGHAM PEN COMPANY NEW FORMULATION TWILIGHT


DrDebG
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Ink Review: 

Birmingham Pen Company Twilight

1280519424_Bottle1RS.jpg.60b8d60758f841361d0331ebbc73e7e7.jpg

Background: 

              Birmingham Pen Company (BPC) started as the brainchild of two brothers – Nick and Josh.  Initially, Nick and Josh worked with third party ink producers in England and Germany to produce their inks.  BPC started making their own inks over a year ago.  While some changes have been made, their new formulations include “Crisp” inks designed for everyday use on all papers, “Swift” inks that are a bit wetter, starts up quickly and works well on premium papers, “Rich” inks which have high sheen and saturation, “Everlasting” inks that have high water resistance, “Twinkle” inks with shimmer and “Wishy-Washy” inks that are designed for performance but a washable from fabrics and surfaces. 

              The glass bottles with tight-fitting plastic lids bottles are very nice and functional.  My largest pen fits nicely into the bottle for a full fill.  BPC offers three sizes: 30ml, 60ml and 120ml for all inks except the Twinkle inks which are only available in 60ml.  The 120ml bottles have an eye-dropper lid instead of the regular lid. 

Review in Brief:

              Saturation: moderate saturation

              Sheen: some nice green sheen

              Shading: medium shading from fine to wider nibs

              Haloing: low

              Lubrication: medium lubrication

              Wetness: moderately wet

              Water Resistance: Moderately water resistant

              Feathering:  minimal feathering on lower quality papers

              Bleedthrough: minimal only on lower quality papers and with high ink application

              Showthrough: medium showthrough on 52gsm TR paper, minimal on Rhodia and Apica

              Price: reasonable for 30mls, very good for 60ml and exceptional for 120ml  which is the best value. 

             

              While some inks retained the same name (or an abbreviated version), they may be slightly different.  Ana at the Well Appointed Desk discussed this very well in her January 2021 blog (https://www.wellappointeddesk.com/2021/01/ink-brand-overview-the-new-birmingham-pen-company-inks/

              The older version of this ink, known as Allegheny River Twilight,  was review by craptacular in 2018.  You will note that there is a difference between the older version and the new “Swift” formula.

 

Pens: a Pilot Vanishing Point with a fine nib, and a Conklin Duragraph with a 1.1 stub nib. 

Papers shown:  Rhodia, Tomoe River, Cosmo Air Light; Not shown: Apica CD Premium, Advantage 24 lb copy paper; Cambridge Premium Notebook paper.

 

584384469_RhodiaReviewRS.thumb.jpg.716f471a8fb9eb69776a6320d3fae609.jpg

 

Rhodia Dot Grid Paper

 

The ink is nicely saturated with some green sheen when pooled.  The ink flows wonderfully in both pens.  The Pilot VP has a very dry nib and is very particular about the ink it uses.  This pen glides effortlessly with this ink.  The Conklin Duragraph, on the other hand, is a very wet pen.  The Twilight ink is almost too wet to use in this pen.  The ink does dry fairly quickly on all papers tested but is slower on Tomoe River and Cosmo Air Light (20-25 seconds). 

 

         he ink is surprisingly quite water resistant although it is not known as an “Everlasting” formulation.   

 

 

1896755062_DunkRS.jpg.4964bf51886cc90ba949e6f5b695e0c2.jpg

 

Feathering and bleeding are not seen on Rhodia, Tomoe River, Cosmo Air Light.  There is some feathering on the 24 lb. copy paper, and minimal feathering on the Apica CD and premium notebook paper, and the three papers showed small amounts bleedthrough in heavy applications of the ink.  Because this is a fairly saturated ink, there is showthrough on Tomoe River, Rhodia and Apica as well as the copy and notebook papers, especially with the 1.1 stub nib. 

 

1071971946_TRrs.thumb.jpg.48a6be7957899310e4858b4074af79c8.jpg

Tomoe River Ivory Paper

 

99923033_TRCLOSEUPrs.jpg.e4a8f67562bfe84049bfacefd46ea973.jpg

Tomoe River Ivory Paper

92556219_CALrs.thumb.jpg.38315dc9fa487233f6539a50205af2fb.jpg

Cosmo Air LIght Paper

 

Apica.thumb.jpg.932d52ca8825ffc3232b1f8b1bb88da7.jpg

 

Apica CD Premium Notebook Paper

1969483129_Copypaper2mp.thumb.jpg.b371f5efd2c3017291c0472951183851.jpg

 

The chromatography was simply done with a coffee filter.  It shows how the ink color breaks down in to a complex variety of yellow, blue and red.

 

448199382_CHROMOrs.thumb.jpg.731a8ae0d4eaa2b71746747943d2f6fe.jpg

 

 

Here are some color comparisons. 

 

 

490556113_Comparisoncolorsrs.jpg.92df380c28dd242e259ae800d6f7640b.jpg

 

Overall this is a very nice ink that behaves very well.   I highly recommend giving this ink a try.

 

Disclaimer:  I purchased this ink directly from Birmingham Pen Company.  Any photos, opinions and thoughts regarding the ink are my own and are not sponsored by Birmingham Pen Company and do not necessarily reflect their opinions. 

 

 

"Today will be gone in less than 24 hours. When it is gone, it is gone. Be wise, but enjoy! - anonymous today

 

 

 

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Posted Images

Thanks!  That was a great review. :)  In some of the photos, it looks quite purple, while others and the swatch show a definite red.  Does the paper cause that, or is it just because digital images do funky things with color?

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Thank you for a comprehensive review of an interesting ink. I wasn't expecting an ink named Twilight to be this color.

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2 hours ago, LizEF said:

Thanks!  That was a great review. :)  In some of the photos, it looks quite purple, while others and the swatch show a definite red.  Does the paper cause that, or is it just because digital images do funky things with color?

 

Thank you for your compliment and for your comments. 

 

The colors shown on the scans and photos above are fairly accurate.  The ink on Tomoe River and Apica CD Premium seems to show more of a redder tone than Cosmo Air Light and Rhodia. This could be because the TR and Apica are ivory colored papers, where CAL and Rhodia are white.  The Advantage copy paper seems more purple than any of the others. But I did notice that the shading, even on Tomoe River, can vary between a redder burgundy to a plum color, especially with the Pilot VP with fine nib.  The shading is one of the things I really enjoy with the ink. 

 

Also the Rhodia sample, the Dunk Test and the chromotography are scans, whereas the others are photos.   While all the photos, except the ink swabs, were taken under the same light and handled the same way for consistency, the color will always be different than a scanned image.  

"Today will be gone in less than 24 hours. When it is gone, it is gone. Be wise, but enjoy! - anonymous today

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Dione said:

Thank you for a comprehensive review of an interesting ink. I wasn't expecting an ink named Twilight to be this color.

Thank you so much for your comment.  I imagine that naming ink must be a daunting task when you have a lot of different colors.  

"Today will be gone in less than 24 hours. When it is gone, it is gone. Be wise, but enjoy! - anonymous today

 

 

 

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Truly enjoyed this review, Dr. D, plus your elegant handwriting. :thumbup:

I especially liked the first line on TR paper, (Benedick) and the contrast with he rest of the text.

Looking forward to more review :)

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Excellent review all around.  Their ink range is remarkable for a small company, and I find their Everlasting inks especially enjoyable for their lubrication and ease of cleanup.  Well done and thanks Deb.

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Wow! That's a great color. I always lean towards purple / green that can pass in a somewhat professional setting. Reminds me of Diamine Damson.

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7 hours ago, DrDebG said:

 

Thank you for your compliment and for your comments. 

 

The colors shown on the scans and photos above are fairly accurate.  The ink on Tomoe River and Apica CD Premium seems to show more of a redder tone than Cosmo Air Light and Rhodia. This could be because the TR and Apica are ivory colored papers, where CAL and Rhodia are white.  The Advantage copy paper seems more purple than any of the others. But I did notice that the shading, even on Tomoe River, can vary between a redder burgundy to a plum color, especially with the Pilot VP with fine nib.  The shading is one of the things I really enjoy with the ink. 

 

Also the Rhodia sample, the Dunk Test and the chromotography are scans, whereas the others are photos.   While all the photos, except the ink swabs, were taken under the same light and handled the same way for consistency, the color will always be different than a scanned image.  

:) Thanks for the explanation.  So many variables in our hobby - keeps it interesting. :D

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5 hours ago, mizgeorge said:

Fab review - thank you :)

Thank you very much! 

"Today will be gone in less than 24 hours. When it is gone, it is gone. Be wise, but enjoy! - anonymous today

 

 

 

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5 hours ago, yazeh said:

Truly enjoyed this review, Dr. D, plus your elegant handwriting. :thumbup:

I especially liked the first line on TR paper, (Benedick) and the contrast with he rest of the text.

Looking forward to more review :)

Thank you so much! Obviously, the pen had been sitting for a couple of days when I started writing, hence it was very dark, and the ink almost gushed out of the nib.  

"Today will be gone in less than 24 hours. When it is gone, it is gone. Be wise, but enjoy! - anonymous today

 

 

 

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3 hours ago, Carrau said:

Excellent review all around.  Their ink range is remarkable for a small company, and I find their Everlasting inks especially enjoyable for their lubrication and ease of cleanup.  Well done and thanks Deb.

 

Thank you for your compliment.  Yes, their ink range is impressive. 

"Today will be gone in less than 24 hours. When it is gone, it is gone. Be wise, but enjoy! - anonymous today

 

 

 

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3 hours ago, dashreeve said:

Wow! That's a great color. I always lean towards purple / green that can pass in a somewhat professional setting. Reminds me of Diamine Damson.

 

Thank you.  I would have no problem using this ink in a professional setting.  I would likely use it in a moderately wet fine nib that would allow for a darker line.  

"Today will be gone in less than 24 hours. When it is gone, it is gone. Be wise, but enjoy! - anonymous today

 

 

 

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I'm a huge fan of Birmingham inks in general, but I was very disappointed in this one. Your ink looks great, but in my bottle (which is also the new formula) the ink is much more brown... and I've had the same trouble with several of their reddish and purpleish inks. So, I've given up on them, now, and only buy their blues and greens, which are amazing 🙂

 

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1 hour ago, Matthew TWP said:

I'm a huge fan of Birmingham inks in general, but I was very disappointed in this one. Your ink looks great, but in my bottle (which is also the new formula) the ink is much more brown... and I've had the same trouble with several of their reddish and purpleish inks. So, I've given up on them, now, and only buy their blues and greens, which are amazing 🙂

 

Thank you for your great comments.  I imagine it can be difficult to build consistency into a product.  I too thought that this might be a bit more "purple" when I originally purchased it.  But one thing I have noticed, which LizEF mentioned, is that the ink looks different on different papers.  

 

I have owned several small businesses over the years.  One thing I have learned about small companies - they are always learning new things.  And input from their customers is absolutely crucial.  If you have concerns about their red/purple inks, you should let them know.  

"Today will be gone in less than 24 hours. When it is gone, it is gone. Be wise, but enjoy! - anonymous today

 

 

 

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Thanks for the review.  I keep forgetting to look at their website to see what inks they have in stock (I had gotten spoiled when they had the B&M store a few years ago).

Of course I also am completely bummed that I never got a full bottle of their old Smithfield Street Bridge Truss Blue, from back when all the inks were named after Pittsburgh places or people.

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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Thanks for the review! Overall have had very good results with Birmingham inks until Sour Apple which has been really terrible. Had to enhance the photo to make it visible. Nick at Birmingham is swapping it out as this appears to be an off batch. They are a good outfit!20210901_111027.thumb.jpg.2a9ba64320e148d8752355cb48777c96.jpg

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On 9/1/2021 at 3:41 PM, inkstainedruth said:

Thanks for the review.  I keep forgetting to look at their website to see what inks they have in stock (I had gotten spoiled when they had the B&M store a few years ago).

Of course I also am completely bummed that I never got a full bottle of their old Smithfield Street Bridge Truss Blue, from back when all the inks were named after Pittsburgh places or people.

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth

 

Thank you for the kind comment.  Regarding Truss Blue, perhaps you should contact Nick at BPC and ask him when, if he will be making it again.  Nick seems very accomodating.  

"Today will be gone in less than 24 hours. When it is gone, it is gone. Be wise, but enjoy! - anonymous today

 

 

 

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15 hours ago, DiveDr said:

Thanks for the review! Overall have had very good results with Birmingham inks until Sour Apple which has been really terrible. Had to enhance the photo to make it visible. Nick at Birmingham is swapping it out as this appears to be an off batch. They are a good outfit!20210901_111027.thumb.jpg.2a9ba64320e148d8752355cb48777c96.jpg

Wow!  Thanks for sharing!  I too have found Nick to be very helpful!  I would agree that they are a great outfit.  

"Today will be gone in less than 24 hours. When it is gone, it is gone. Be wise, but enjoy! - anonymous today

 

 

 

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