Signed-In Members Don't See This Ad

sorcerertd

Member
Joined
Sep 30, 2019
Messages
613
Location
North Carolina, USA
I searched around in the resources, but didn't find anything about ink. If I missed something there, please let me know below. If not, maybe we can put together something for the resources section? There are a few individual threads for specific refill types. I'm mostly interested in the rollerball options, and did have a thread about some of them a little while back, but wanted something more comprehensive, not just for me, but for everyone that is interested. If anyone has experience to share, it would be appreciated. I have not personally ventured into fountain pens yet, and I would imagine there are at least as many choices in inks as there are for the rollerballs. Feel free to chime in about them, too.

Let's face it, a beautiful and unique hand made pen is great, but if it doesn't write well then it's just a desk decoration. Customers (or gift recipients) should know what options they have so they can make informed decisions about refills and be satisfied with using their fine writing instruments. It would appear there are more choices than I would have thought. Here's an article detailing quite a few for the standard Parker and Rollerball options.
  • Cross: there are so many ways to make a slimline. The thick pasty ink is not my favorite to write with, but a good ballpoint cartridge will write well on a lot of surfaces, and a lot of people really like the Cross style twist pens. Since they dry fast, this is a good choice for lefties. So, Cross brand, Private Reserve, Monteverde, other?

  • Parker: the Schmidt Easyflow 9000 seems to be the popular choice, but the Uni-Ball Jetstream SXR-600 sounds like a great contender. I've used the Parker Quink, which flow smoothly, but don't seem to last long. The generic gel ones from PSI in the clear casing write well, but also don't last long.

  • Rollerball: soooo many choices here. The Pilot G2 is hugely popular, but looking around online, I see a lot of people seem to prefer the Pentel Energel. I'll have to test this, but it is said that the Energel dries faster, which would make it a better option for lefties than the G2. I know that the Pilot precise V5 and V7 fit, but the needle tips look awful in a Jr series pen (IMO). What about the Pelikan 338? I'm a stickler for the cone of the cartridge matching up with the nib, so even a mm difference can ruin the visual "flow" for me.
 
Signed-In Members Don't See This Ad

monophoto

Member
Joined
Mar 13, 2010
Messages
1,881
Location
Saratoga Springs, NY
Todd

If you are looking to create a taxonomy of inks, I think you need to back up a bit. Mixing specific manufacturers with generic types is a bit confusing.

Here's my suggestion:
1. Fountain pens - use liquid inks most notably sold in bottles. Bottled ink is available in many colors (hundreds if not thousands from which to choose) and with many characteristics (in recent years, ink that offers shimmer or sheen has become popular). Over the years, there have been many pen designs that mainly vary in how ink is loaded into the pen -lever fillers, aeromatic fillers, piston fillers, and pens filled with either eyedroppers or syringes. More recently (say, for the past 40 years, many pen manufacturers also offer designs that work with either sealed ink cartridges that appeal to users who are concerned that filling from bottles could be messy, or with replaceable cartridges (aka converters) that fill from bottles. In general, any brand of ink can be used in any brand of pen; however, cartridges and converters are proprietary to specific manufacturers although it is possible to buy 'standard international' cartridges and converters that are designed to be compatible across many brands of pens (except for those brands that use proprietary cartridge or converter designs,, eg, Montblanc, Parker and a few others). There are a few specialized forms of ink that need to be recognized individually; most inks are available in bottled form, but the selection of cartridges is more limited.
  • Standard inks are usually mixtures of water and various liquid dyes to provide color, and most often are not water resistant
  • A few manufacturers offer inks that are designed to be water-resistant, or with various abilities to withstand tampering
  • Iron-gall inks are a very old form of ink that dates back to the middle-ages. Known for being very acidic, but especially permanent, iron gall inks were originally used with either quill pens, or later steel dip pen, but there are versions available today that can safely be used in fountain pens. Iron gall inks are sometimes referred to as 'registrar's inks' because of their historical preference for ecclesiastic use in recording information such as marriage, birth and death records.
  • Pigment-based inks were originally intended mainly for drafting where the technologies available for reproduction required that the inked lines have high density. In recent years, pigment-based inks have found their way first into the field of calligraphy (with dip pens), and more recently a few manufacturers have suggested that pigment-based inks can be safely used in fountain pens.
2. Ball point - these inks are a solvent-based paste contained within a tube where one end holds a ball that applies ink to paper, and the other end is generally open to atmospheric pressure. The ball picks up some of the ink, and atmospheric pressure forces the paste to flow into the tube to backfill the void left behind. Ball point cartridges are available in a limited range of colors although the selection of available colors may be more limted today than it was in the past. Some pen manufacturers use a proprietary tube design and make their own refills; compatible refills are also available from specialty pen part makers such as Schmidt, and also from generic no-name manufacturers. There is an IEC standard that defines standard formats of ball-point cartridges. Cross, Parker and BIC are well known brands of proprietary ball points. The fact that ball point ink is solvent based means that it tends to be a bit more permanent that other inks.

3. Roller ball pens are similar to ball points at the writing end, but differ in other respect. Most significantly, the ink is a water-based liquid rather than a paste, so the cartridge must be sealed to prevent leakage. Roller ball refills are also available in a variety of colors from both proprietary and generic suppliers. There is at least one manufacturer who offers a roller-ball pen design intended for use with liquid fountain pen ink cartridges (J Herbin) although I'm not aware of any kit pens that use this system.

4. Gel pens are a cross between a ball-point and a roller ball - the ink is a water-based gel contained within a sealed cartridge. Gel pens are known for being available in many bright colors, but also for a limited ink capacity within each cartridges (eg, cartridges don't last as long as other pen designs).
 

EricRN

Member
Joined
May 16, 2019
Messages
482
Following this discussion.

Do you have any more details about the J. Herbin rollerball refills that take the fountain pen ink? I've been looking for something like that. All I can find online is a refillable rollerball pen, not just the refill. I know Schmidt makes a rollerball nose that is compatible with converters and fountain pen cartridges, but I'm not a huge fan of it. For one thing, you can't use it with regular kits.
 

monophoto

Member
Joined
Mar 13, 2010
Messages
1,881
Location
Saratoga Springs, NY
I think there is some misunderstanding about the J Herbin rollerball pen - it is a rollerball pen that uses standard international fountain pen cartridges. The pen is an inexpensive 'demonstrator' - that is, is has a clear plastic body so that you can see the nib, feed and cartridge. I don't know the price - I got mine as a giveaway, but it think they sell for less than $10.
 

Bats

Member
Joined
Oct 12, 2020
Messages
205
Location
W. Nowhere, CT
This may not be quite what you were looking for either, but I did stumble across this Cartridge Rollerball System on Exotic Blanks the other night that sounds like it can adapt - with some minor modification - a lot of the Jr. series fountain pen series to have a rollerball nib that can be fed with cartridges or converters :



-Bats
 
Top Bottom