Vintage Pens & Inks

I've been piddling with fountain pens for a while. I'm carrying three now: my ~20 year old Parker Vector (blue); a Parker 21 (dad's old one from school, I'm guessing); and a Parker Vaccumatic from late 30s-early40s with matching pencil, albeit smaller. Currently, I'm filling two of those three with Quink. I also have miscellaneous others at home that need filling. As I'm nearing the bottom of the bottle, a few questions arise.

Since most of my manual fillers are old, is there a better ink than what I'm using? I've read about Noodlers, and it's special bonding to paper, but I don't know if I need that.

I've also seen an Italian company that makes a portable ink bottle (Visconti), but can't find it stateside. Suggestions?

Lastly, how I use the pens. Note taking. More - journaling. I do some writing with them, but not much. It may be due to the ink. The Vaccumatic would periodically have ink pool on the nib and drop to the page. Since my history is more with carts than manuals, I'm not sure how normal this is. Would a different ink help that? And as for being permanent, Noodler's would seemingly help there.


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I adore inks so I have a lot. Note that only some Noodler's are "bulletproof," not all. Visconti inks are available online from several stores, including my favorite:


(No affiliation, just a happy customer.)

There are others, too,, (note that Swisher has a Noodler's exclusive called Swishmix that IS waterproof, but not "bulletproof"), and more. Google for them if you'd like.

What colors do you like? Two brands that have deep saturated colors are Noodler's and Private Reserve (note that PR's inks are not waterproof; actually most inks aren't, though some have a bit of water resistence). Other, more common inks, are Waterman, Pelikan, J. Herbin, plus others. Some inks have great bottles: Mont Blanc has a shoe-shaped bottle that is great for filling pens. (They also have a conical bottle that's not so fun, so be sure you're getting what you want.) Visconti has a great urn-shaped bottle that's fun just to look at, even if you don't like the ink. :)

There's a lot of discussion over on Fountain Pen Networks about various inks as well as vintage pens. Someone over there might be able to help you with your too-inky pen.

Caution about deeply saturated inks and vintage pens...

I've seen various warnings over the years from people on about using highly saturated inks in vintage pens, especially those that have see-through barrels, like the Vacumatic and many vintage pens. Some of those inks could stain those parts nearly permanently. That scared me, because I happen to like vintage pens too, so I use Waterman ink in mine. It's considered fairly safe against staining. Parker Quink and Sheaffer inks are probably OK too. Some of the Noodlers and Private Reserve might be too saturated, although I have those because they have such great colors. I also heard that almost any red or purple ink might stain the barrel.

On the other hand, my Waterman ink would run if it got wet. So, I would use the waterproof inks in pens that had ink sacs and are easily flushed, or modern pens using cartridges or converters.

Just something to be aware of. :-)


Remember, no matter where you go, there you are.
B. Banzai


Thanks to Studio717 and Walter. Those are the answers I was looking for. Quink is fine, but doesn't stand to moisture well. I was thinking about some of the 'bulletproof' Noodlers, but not sure. As for color, I'm pretty much basic black or blue.

So far, Quink's been fine, but I was looking for others. I'll definitely stay away from the more saturated inks - not what I'm looking for now anyway.


-- Coffee and Books, the pleasures of life