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Mid-twentieth century ink


MightyEighth
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A friend of mine who, like me, has had a hobby of collecting historical US military uniforms was wondering about the written names of service members he sees in uniforms from the WWII period.  These are hand written and not stenciled.  The ink has stood up well over time, sweat, and laundering.  What sort of indelible ink would have been around back then to have in a pen?  Thanks.

Ink 'em if you got 'em!

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Hi,
I am totally guessing, but might soldiers have written their names inside their personal uniforms using fabric dyes, instead of ‘just’ inks?

 

E.g. I’d guess that basic training camps must have housed many, many recruits, so I would not be at all surprised if either the on-camp laundries gave out dye for this purpose, or if it turned out that QMs issuing uniforms to new recruits had their own dyes to write soldiers’ names inside their uniforms.

 

After all, when an entire platoon’s gym kit/olive drabs are repeatedly going to the camp laundry (& then coming back from it) all at the same time, it’s not like there’d be any other way to tell the individual soldiers’ garments apart.

 

I hope that someone with actual knowledge chimes-in soon.

Foul in clear conditions, but handsome in the fog.

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There were laundry inks available since at least the 1880s. Most of the dip pen makers offered a "laundry pen." These were usually a nickel/copper/zinc alloy to stand up to what was supposed to be a rather harsh ink. These same pens were also used for "red ink" which was also used for laundry. 

 

By mid-century you could buy a small bottle of laundry ink and it came with a dip pen made for it, usually coated steel. 

 

“When the historians of education do equal and exact justice to all who have contributed toward educational progress, they will devote several pages to those revolutionists who invented steel pens and blackboards.” V.T. Thayer, 1928

Check out my Steel Pen Blog

"No one is exempt from talking nonsense; the mistake is to do it solemnly."

-Montaigne

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Thanks!

Ink 'em if you got 'em!

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Another way of marking laundry from 1944. Again, uses "laundry ink."  Advertised in Madison, Wisconsin, 20 Aug 1944. 

 

1944 - laundry ink stamp -

 

“When the historians of education do equal and exact justice to all who have contributed toward educational progress, they will devote several pages to those revolutionists who invented steel pens and blackboards.” V.T. Thayer, 1928

Check out my Steel Pen Blog

"No one is exempt from talking nonsense; the mistake is to do it solemnly."

-Montaigne

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Also, we have some Ink Tablets that were dye added to an eyedropper pen with water.

 

Somewhere around here is a wonderful story about a POW who kept a journal. He did not use dye.

Fountain pens are my preferred COLOR DELIVERY SYSTEM (in part because crayons melt in Las Vegas).

Create a Ghostly Avatar and I'll send you a letter. Check out some Ink comparisons: The Great PPS Comparison 

Don't know where to start?  Look at the Inky Topics O'day.  Then, see inks sorted by color: Blue Purple Brown Red Green Dark Green Orange Black Pinks Yellows Blue-Blacks Grey/Gray UVInks Turquoise/Teal MURKY

 

 

 

 

 

 

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23 hours ago, AAAndrew said:

Another way of marking laundry from 1944. Again, uses "laundry ink."  Advertised in Madison, Wisconsin, 20 Aug 1944. 

 

1944 - laundry ink stamp -

We had similar kits to these back in the 1960s. Later on (1970s), we used Biros to label our kit.

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I recall stores selling ball-point style laundry pens when I was a kid.  People would use them when going off to sleep away camp. Camp laundries were notorious for using bleach, and these pens wouldn't wash out even then.  I'm not sure what the ink was made of, however.

Festina lente

Optimism kills

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