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Thinky About Inky

Posted by Dirck on 1 September, 2021

Last week I put two Pelikans into the current roster, which is (apart from the week around a Pelikan Hub) contrary to policy. As I said on Friday, I set the rules, so breaking them isn’t a big thing… and I had a reason.

A few years back, Pelikan 4001 blue-black became encaustum non gratum in the US for some extremely silly bureaucratic reasons*, and since Canada is in the same shipping lane as far as ink is concerned, it vanished from stores here as well. This got somewhat up my nose, because Pelikan blue-black was a favourite ink– I liked the somewhat protean colour, I liked the permanence, I liked the lack of cost, I liked the way it played with most paper.

At the time, I thought that I could probably fill the gap by ordering from a source in Europe. About twenty minutes after I’d had that thought, I dropped it– the ink wasn’t expensive, but the shipping was.

A few years later, though– a sale at a UK stationer who ships everywhere, the relatives costs of shipping and ink changing, and the ongoing disintegration of the British Pound from the bumbleshart that Brexit in the hands of an enormous floppy pink Johnson has become got together and convinced me that I could probably have a go at importing a couple of bottles. Given my current hoard of ink, 125ml will last me through as much future as I can foresee.

So, here I am, bootleg illicit ink in hand, happy as a… um.. about that. Buddha teaches us that desire is the seat of all suffering, right? The reality of the desired item never lives up to the imagined glory. Thus, I should not have been surprised to find that my reaction to finally, at long last being able to put Pelikan blue-black into my Pelikan M600 was “That doesn’t seem right…”

It’s too blue! It’s hardly grey at all! Have they amended the formula? Here, have a look at it next to a sample I wrote back in the pre-prohibition days.

More ink samples
The paper is the rather good stock which tax refund cheques are printed on– fool that I am, we’re now on direct deposit.

You’d hardly know they were related, right? Oh, the bitter disappointment!

But because mannenhitsu-do is a contemplative path, I retreat from the initial impression and give it a bit of a think. Thinking about the means by which the ink gains its permanence through a touch of ferro-gallic chemistry… which leads me to wonder if dissatisfaction with new laid next to old is not unlike castigating a seed for not being a tree. Let’s have a look at a preserved sample of the old, when it was fresh.

Picture of some words

Well… perhaps I lament prematurely. I remark in my profile of the ink that it has a different character in just about every pen, and I hadn’t seen it in this one yet, had I? Thus do I transform my dismay into anticipation of future wonder (and if you point out that this is very like misery-breeding desire, I’ll ask you to mind your own business). The old sample is still grey-er but it’s still more blue than the aged sample. I can’t remember what pen I used to write that aged sample, but I imagine it’s a dryer pen than the M600. There’s hope that I can look forward to stuff I’m currently writing getting all vintage-looking.

There’s a bonus possibility in hand as well. It turns out that TWSBI blue-black looks a lot more like its Pelikan counterpart than I had thought. I hasten to point out that they are certainly not the same ink, because the TWSBI is more given to feathering and the Pelikan doesn’t smell all flowery.

Rather less-good quotidien paper from the Regular Job’s photocopier

…which means it might also one day be cool and vintage-appearing. Yay!

Today’s pen: Parker Senior Duofold
Today’s ink: Diamine Honey Burst

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