glenn's Pens

de Atramentis

de Atramentis Ink

 

Finally I have had the opportunity to write with deAtramentis Ink. I have been waiting for some time to be able to try this company's ink and after trying a number of bottles I must say they produce a very good ink.

Dr. Franz-Josef, of Hachenburg, Germany creates these hand-man inks. Dr. Franz-Josef operates a gallery in Hardert, Germany. The inks are part of his passion for calligraphy. The company has been producing inks for about 25 years so there is a proven track record here.

The inks are hand made, that is the entire production process is done manually in their manufacturing center. They use high quality dyes from well established European companies that include BASF and Bayer. In communicating with Franz-Josef Jansen he notes the quality of the dyes used to create the inks. The inks meet high European standards. The inks due not use dyes or additives from other countries.

The De Atramentis brand includes what could be considered traditional fountain pen inks and a broad selection of special and scented inks. the inks are made from recipes from different eras.

The ink comes in an attractive 35 ml glass bottle. He has a line of inks, known as the blacks, which come in black glass bottles, a means of protecting the ink from light.

The inks are found in pen stores world-wide with inks being available over the Internet or in retail stores. They have over 400 different inks in 709 different colours with more than 100 scents. Quite the selection.

THE BOTTLE

The inks come in a very attractive glass bottle. The vertical height of the bottle makes is easy to get a large fountain pen nib totally in the ink, so you get a good solid fill. Brands of inks that use horizontal style bottles can have difficulty. Attractive labels, the bottle of ink will look good when it is sitting on your desk. The boxes are very attractive, a dark brown good quality cardboard, however, no label in terms of the colour of ink. The bottle holds 35 ml of ink.

LINES OF INK

  • Standard Inks include an archival ink as well as a range of colours, about 60 different versions were on their web site.
  • Black Edition - are standard inks in a black glass bottle, with the black glass to protect the ink for light, as light breaks down the dyes used in inks.
  • People is a line of inks named, with labels for famous people. Based on some of the bottles that I have, I believe some of the colours are the same as what is found in the standard section.
  • A variety of groupings such as Scented School Ink, Magic Boarding School, Myth and Tales, Zodiac, 125 Years of Automobile, Flowers, Fruits, Plants, Wines - ink with a scent of wine as well as other categories.

Diamine

Diamine Ink

The history of the company dates back into the 1800's. It was in 1864 that the company was founded in London when the company was founded as T. Webster and Co. In 1925 the company moved to Liverpool. In was in 1964 that the company changed its name to Diamine. In addition to their own lines, they have been making ink for other company such as Yard-o-Led. It was in 2003 the company introduced the Diamine line under their own name in the US market.

Diamine inks are produced in the United Kingdom and company offers drawing, calligraphy and writing inks.

The bottle itself is very attractive. It looks good sitting on your desk. It is deep enough to handle the big nibs of the M1000 or OMAS Paragon pen. So you have a ink that can be used.

The only improvement would be the ability to tilt the bottle with more stability when the level of ink drops.

In 2010 Diamine changed the brand naming and packaging of its ink. Gone are the Old English and New Century designations. Now it is simply Diamine Fountain Pen Ink and the bottles and boxes have a gray/black colour scheme.

In terms of drying time and flow, this is a good ink. There have been some variations but the drying time of ink is dependent on a number of factors that include: humidity, paper, nib (amount of ink on the paper). Some of the colours, like Majestic Blue, a new colour released in 2009 and one of my Inks of Note tends to take just a bit longer to dry on the paper. Again, think in terms of nibs and paper, as generally I use broad or stub nibs.

There is a very large colour selection. Just about any preference in terms of colour could be found in the Diamine collection. With most of the colours I have found no issues except Havasu Turquoise. Havasu Turquoise is a strong colour and it stained one of my celluloid pens after very limited use, so use it in the a pen with material that would not be subject to staining.

In 2009 Diamine started to produce 30 ml plastic bottles. I refer to these as sampler bottles as they are one way to sample a variety of colours without getting the full 80 ml bottle. The bottles are small, and a Pelikan M1000 pen just barely makes it into the bottle.

I found with large number of colours I would group group the inks into colour groupings: blues, blacks, greens, oranges etc. As I did that I was sometimes surprised that the colour of the ink did not match in my mind to the name.

Up to now, the inks came in two different lines: Old English and New Century. I am told that the New Century was to be the line for the newer colours but over time the distinctions have faded and in 2010 all the colours are being combined into a single line, Diamine Writing Inks. Good call as the separation into two groups did not make sense. My order of ink at the beginning of 2010 all arrived in their new packaging.

Overall Impression

I am very impressed with the Diamine inks. The colours have good saturation, have good flow and dry on the paper within a reasonable time frame. None of the inks that I have tested so far leave a sticky feeling on the paper or smudge once the ink is dry.

  • Havasu Turquoise stains celluloid pen bodies so use with appropriate pens.

With that exercise completed, I started to fill individual pens with particular inks, and take them "on the road" to the office and meetings and see how they perform in everyday experiences.

Everyday experiences means writing on both good and poor paper, writing at fast and more normal speeds, sitting at a desk holding the pen at a good angle to the paper, and standing in meetings writing on the back of binders etc.

The ink consistency came through with a high mark.

The Performance of Diamine Ink Performance on an ink generally falls into comments relating to:

  • feathering - does the ink feather or spread out in an uncontrolled fashion from the line of ink made by the nib?
  • viscosity or flow - does the ink freely flow from the feed and the nib, or is there a sense of resistance?
  • dry time - does the ink dry on the paper in a reasonable time, or does it remain "wet" and subject to smearing?
  • consistent colour - is the colour consistent on the paper, or is there a wide variance in terms of shading, specially with broad nibs?

Some of the experience in terms of the above comments relates to the nib or the paper and may not be attributed solely to the ink. Feathering can relate to the ink, but overall, it is a response of the ink to the paper. The flow of a pen, for example, is a direct result of the feed mechanism. Some inks flow quicker than others, but the two can not be 100 separated. Dry time is impacted by the amount of ink that is laid on the paper. Big nib, lots of ink. Heavy writer, then there is more ink left on the paper, especially at the end of the stroke when the nib pauses on the paper. No drying is an important characteristic of the ink. Some inks will remain sticky for a considerable amount of time on the paper. That creates a problem.

Overall I did not find a significant difference in the writing experience using the 70 some colours of Diamine ink. Some were a little wetter than others. Majestic Blue, for example, an ink that I just received in December 2009 has quickly ranked as one of my favorite inks. I am using it in a variety of pens and I have noticed that it flows a little quicker, leaving a little more ink on the paper and takes a bit longer to dry. But, within 5 seconds it is dry and not subject to smearing. Majestic Blue also, for some reason, does not perform well in Montegrappa pen ink feed systems. On that point, this is not an experience that only I have had, others I know have also reported this issue.

Dupont

Good looking but poor design

Dupont

Colours: Blue, Black, Night Blue, Turquoise, Sienna

Although the square bottles were smart good looking ink bottle but the bottles were next to useless in terms of fill up a pen. There is style and there is function. The best is when the two meet.

Dupont Ink Bottle

 

Last year when I was in Paris I walked by a ST Dupont boutique and saw the new bottle. Shaped in an oval with a distinctive point. It hold 50 ml of ink. Is heavy and looks as impressive as hell on the desk. From a design and function perspective, it will has an error in that it is broader rather than deeper.

 

  • Blue - The blue, available in bottles, is somewhat similar in colour to Waterman Florida Blue, but with less saturated tone. I found it a tad light in tone for my liking. Because I was having difficulty filling my pen from the shallow bottle my time with this ink was limited.
  • Black - I have not used this colour, however, the black is described as a "wonderful black ink, with no problem clogging pens, good with even broad-nib pens". (Thanks: M Ferrier)

 

Dupont Blue