What's up at Ravens March.

Vintage pens-Handmade books-Silly statements

I Remember You!

Posted by Dirck on 1 October, 2012

You may recall this.

Thanks to the ceaseless activities of my oft-mentioned friend of the startling garage sale powers, I may be a step nearer to identifying the ink used on the top line of last Wednesday’s entry, and which I repost here to save wear on the scrolling mechanism in your monitor (there’s only so much stress those little strings and pulleys can take, after all).

Friend and I were in the same place for a short while on Sunday, and she presented me with another of her finds.  While she enquires after pens on my behalf on her frequent forays, the enquiry frequently draws out pen-proximate items which she occasionally rates as sufficiently interesting and inexpensive to bear making away with.  This most recent deliver of her largesse was a very nearly full and rather well-sealed bottle of ink.

Actually… I’m mis-speaking.  It was a very nearly full and rather well-sealed bottle of writing fluid.  It was, in fact, Sheaffer’s Skrip, the self-proclaimed successor to ink (and there’s either a Roman emperor or a Richard III joke there I can’t quite get to set up properly).  The bottle in question, which mentions Textron but hasn’t gone to modernistic type-faces in an eye-watering baby blue over yellow scheme that appears to coincide with its being lashed to Eaton papers, comes from somewhere between 1966 and 1976.  The colour is… interesting.  Let me show it to you, rather than forcing a link click:

Ah, yes, I remember it well….

Now, the first response to that is, rightly, “That’s nothing like anything over in the earlier picture!”  True, but there is the odd greenness of undertone, and unlike some undeniably vintage blue-black inks, it’s dye-based rather than a ferrotannic reactive solution.  Now, while I’m not sufficiently learned in the history of inks (yet) to be able to say for certain that Skrip had by 1939 gotten away from the latter sort of formulation, I know that the whole “writing fluid” wheeze was predicated on being an entirely different breed of thing from the previous sorts of ink and thus I suspect that dye-based was where Skrip stood on the eve of WWII.

There is also this; while I do not have any clear memories of my grandfather’s regular-use pen (nor, I have to say, of the man himself, although over the weekend I saw my five-year-old self mentioned in his obituary), I have extremely clear recollections of a rather older me rummaging in a desk in the grand parental house with some regularity, and with the same regularity pushing aside a mostly empty bottle of Skrip while looking for a red pencil, or tape, or that cool magnetic paper-clip dispenser.  I connect this clear memory with what I said last Wednesday about the apparent similarity in line and colour from 1939 and 1963 documents… and I start to wonder what that ink sample I just wrote will look like when my son is entertaining notions of retirement.

Ain’t aimless speculation grand?  The terrible thing is, if I could put my hand on some of my school-work from about 1974 I might have a clear example of that ink as it has aged, as it was one of the three colours that alternated in my early fountain pennery, along with Peacock Blue and just plain blue.  Sadly, I can’t remember where I’ve put any of that stuff….

Today’s pen: Sheaffer Javelin
Today’s ink:  the self-same Skrip blue-black.

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