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*What got me started collecting inks!

What ink in what pen?
How do you match your ink to your pen?
from the fountain pen of Michael Richter

I thought it would be interesting to examine what happens exactly, when it is time to fill up, for the first time a pen you just bought, and more importantly what ink do we use ?

On other occasions we go by experience or some unwritten rules, kind of dictating our taste, like we prefer white wine with fish, chicken with curry and most persons would not order an orange car with a turquoise interior. Hasn't somebody told you sometimes in your life not to wear brown shoes with a black suit !? It is easy to decide what to fill your car with - either diesel or gas - but when it comes to choose ink for your pen, you're on your own, unless you're still in school where they require a certain color or your boss only likes your reports written in black.

I assume we have two main possibilities:

Firstly, if you are the type person who prefers one sort of ink and/or color, then it is no question about what to do. You fill your pen with your favorite and hope that it is gonna' work. If not you might start a more or less longer quest for the most similar ink or you'll try your second favorite.

The second case is more complicated. If you don't have one or two favorite inks or color you like the best, then like me, you have a little problem (let's better say a little problem regarding your pen affection, somebody else would not understand).

Let's resume how I make my decisions most of the time:

My first thought is always to take an ink, I'm pretty has been non-problematic most of the time, so I can enjoy my purchase. I'm always afraid to get disappointed by a new pen, like I have been a couple of times. So I use the ink first, which is recommended by the manufacturer (most likely to be their own brand) in an unproblematic color (unfortunately Royal-Blue in many cases, which I don't like the best). If the pen is a cartridge pen, I might use the cartridges which came with it.

Then we have two possible scenarios: The pen either works or it does not. If a common brand like Pelikan, Montblanc, Waterman, Parker Quink, some Omas colors (I've found Hong Kong red to write quite well) or Sheaffer, does not work in it's own brands pen, I have to consider sending it back!

I would not dare to start with my "favorite critical inks to use" (Parker Penman, Omas Grey and Sepia or Visconti Black).

If the pen writes at least acceptably, I will move on. Because this was a more reasonable choice and not an emotional one, I'll think about what ink I really want flowing in this particular piece of plastic, hardrubber, gold or others.

But what ink do I want and how do I find out? This seems far more difficult for someone who does not have a certain favorite ink.

I don't go for black inks so they won't be a choice of mine.

I'll keep a healthy distance from purple and pink inks (regardless of about 10 or so open bottles of purples and pinks!).

I don't have to think about the inks I only have in cartridges, when I have a piston or other "not cartridge" filler. If it is a cartridge filler I first will try to use some bottled ink in a converter first, because I have a lot of opened bottles I'm afraid of becoming bad and mouldy over the years.
So it's time to use some up.

But there are still lots of oranges, reds, greens, turquoises, browns, greys and blue-blacks left to choose from. Ordinary blue (I don't mean to offend somebody who likes a nice decent blue, it's just a matter of taste) is not my color, as I said before, except it goes with the pen, which brings me to my next chance to find an ink I want to use; do I want to match the pens color!

I've done so quite often, because this way I decrease the variety to think about a lot.

I'd put Waltraud Bethge Olive Green (which is pretty similar to Herbin Olive Green) into a lychee nut green Omas Tokyo. It matches perfectly an gives you a feeling like writing with a crayon.

I might put Montblanc Blue-Black (because it's the darkest Blue-Black I know) into the dark Blue-Black Omas 360. Parker Quink permanent Brown is a good match to Montblanc Hemingways cap and gripping section (yes, it is brown!)

But what is with the yellow Sheaffer Triumph Imperial? I used Sheaffer King's Gold and Omas Triratna Orange and it did match, but I didn't want to write with orange ink the whole day!

So matching your pens color is fun for a while, but does not pay of all the time, especially if the pen is light colored like the Aurora Talentum in light blue, or it is a metal pen either gold or silver or whatever.

There have to be other hidden thoughts or feelings which make us choose a certain ink.

I noticed a few times that I use contrasting colors. It seems that I prefer turquoise or green ink (Sheaffer, Montblanc, Waterman or Herbin) in silver metal pens. Strangely enough I have a lot of green pens (I like crazy colored pens but have more green pens than other colors) and most of the times I end up using red ink in them. My favorite ones are Omas Hong Kong or America Vespucci Red, Jansen Dark-Red (which is darker and more intense then Montblanc or Penman Bordeaux) or Waltraud Bethge Dusky Pink which is more a light lobster red color. In some pens I like cherry tones like Sheaffer Red or Pelikan Cherry-Red as well. The only pen I use with purple ink is the Coral-Red Waterman Carène; its color produces such a nice contrast to the deep Waterman Purple.

If this all does not help, I'll end up with a Blue-Black or sometimes I'll give my best mixing a true Green-Blue (which has not worked yet) or I'll pray the ink-flow is "wet" enough to allow the use of Omas Grey which I really like.

This might all sound like a lot of work, but for us fountain pen aficionados it is the complete opposite of a problem at all. It's fun and relaxing to worry about such unimportant and trivial things and not about the serious things, at least for a while, which make us worry.

...and maybe I do have some favorite ink but don't know it yet, or there are too many nice ones I like the same to call them favorite, which brings me to the conclusion, that I enjoy every single ink I have in some way.

Have fun finding yours.

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