September 22, 2011 § Leave a comment
The art of fountain pen ink manufacture probably hasn’t really changed in the last 100 years or so. It was already a ‘green’ product before the term (and even possibly the colour) was widely used. If proof were needed of the retrospective aspect of ink production, on the Diamine inks website they acknowledge 1864 as their date of establishment and a subsequent move to a ‘state of the art’ manufacturing facility in Liverpool in 1925 but there is no suggestion of a later move from this site although they have moved production since.
On the positive side, Diamine produce a fabulous range of high quality inks which, with planned additions in the next 12 months, will extend to more than 100 different colours. As part of this expansion, 5 new colours have been added this summer which are: Wild Strawberry, Macassar (dark brown/black), Denim (dark blue), Meadow (rich pale green) and Eclipse (black/brown). In keeping with our track record, we have now added these to our offering at PenFountain.com and can be viewed on our Diamine colour chart or in our Cranleigh shop
September 19, 2011 § Leave a comment
The victims were delivered, not in the usual body bags, but in a Jiffy bag. They were pulled onto the bench for examination. It was not a pretty sight. Not 1 but 2 victims, Hemisphere front-end assemblies dismembered in places that there should not even be any joints. The witness claimed that he had not seen any violence towards these sad examples of fountain pen-dom. But close examination suggested otherwise. The SOCO identified similar patterns of damage but, using conventional wisdom, the only explanation could be demise by aggression.
The team looked for further evidence and fortunately, the witness could produce the complete pen from where the cadaverous nibs had come with a pristine nib still in situ. Further perplexed, as a precaution before elevating the evidence to the specialist forensic laboratory, the SOCO checked for evidence of fluids in the pen. Yes, there was fluid in the converter – ink, but not as we know it. The converter was removed and flushed but, he noticed a gnarling on its normally clean, round mouth.
Forensic experience was required here and the evidence was bagged and despatched to the secretive clean rooms found only in the Waterman complex located just to the west of Nantes, in the West of France. Time passed and a brief phone call requested further information about any inks and cleaning materials used. The witness was questioned further and, under interrogation, he revealed that he had used an unnamed registrars’ ink and proudly announced that the pen had not seen any solvents, in fact it had never been cleaned-out!
The final piece of the jigsaw was in place. The acidity of the registrars’ ink having lain in place for some 18 months without disturbance had attacked the nib assembly and converter mouth from within. The structure of the resins used in the components had failed resulting in fracturing during assembly and use.
This is not a victimless crime but a lesson in the importance of taking precautions when using iron gall registrars’ ink, one of the oldest inks known to man. Wash it or lose it.
The Diamine Registrars’ ink that we offer, whilst formulated for fountain pens, needs to be treated with respect in terms of its use in pens. Damage on the scale reviewed here is very unusual and the result of unfamiliarity with the product. At PenFountain.com we advise customers of the requirement for cleanliness, both on the web page and on the ink’s outer packaging. However, whilst acidic, Registrars’ Ink does not represent a threat to health and is of a strength similar to that of vinegar or a cola drink.
September 1, 2011 § Leave a comment
We have been advised today that Lamy are discontinuing their Extra Fine nibs in all but their high-end pens. In effect, the superb stainless steel nib range is being reduced to fine, medium, broad, and left-handed, in the core products with 1.1, 1.5, and 1.9mm in the calligraphy type nibs. The steel nibs are renowned for their ease of changing.
The 14ct gold inlaid nib in extra fine will continue to be available for the foreseeable future.
At PenFountain.com we are disappointed to learn of this change because it was a popular nib for the finer characters used in many Asian scripts. We will maintain stocks of the steel nibs for as long as possible.