Back to Basics – Pen and Ink That Is


Sometimes a writer just has to write and the last few weeks that’s exactly what I’ve been doing. In fact I’ve nearly filled an entire 100 page Staples Eco-Friendly notebook, the one with bagasse paper, and I’ve gone through nearly 20ml of ink. That’s a whole lot of ink but vintage flex nibs lay down a thick line in no time.

Yes, vintage pens. If I could get a vintage Waterman’s nib on a modern pen, I’d be thrilled because my retro kick is all about the nibs, flex nibs to be exact.

1930s Watermans Canadian 301 Fountain Pen

1930's Watermans Canadian '301' Fountain Pen

When vintage pens beckon, with rare exception I get out my bottle of Waterman Blue Black ink. My collection of blue blacks is not small. There are at least a dozen including samples and WBBk doesn’t have the best color of the lot, in fact not even close. But what it does have is good to excellent shading and it is relatively easy to clean from a lever-filler. It has never harmed one of my pens some of which are a hundred years old and deserving of careful preservation. WBBk is about as safe as an ink can get.

What makes using these vintage lever-fillers possible for me is sticking to the same ink fill after fill. That way if cleaning leaves a little behind, the residue does not adulterate the next fill or damage the pen. I do take care to use the pens often enough to prevent ink drying in the nib which isn’t all that hard when I can mess around like this with it.

Waterman 301 with Waterman Blue Black Ink

1930's Waterman Canadian '301' with Waterman Blue Black Ink

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  1. Wow, nice handwriting! 😉


    • Thank you. Leigh’s blog inspired me to give flex another try. If nothing else my doodles have improved enormously. 😉


  2. Your WBBk looks very much like my P4T (Pelikan 4001 Turquoise)…


    • That’s surprising. Even so the characteristics of the two inks are probably different. WBBk shades better than most inks and doesn’t stain pens as often as more saturated brands. It’s my first choice for vintage pens since it is so well-behaved. P4T is a true turquoise and one day I will get a sample for comparison. For now I’m thoroughly enjoying Diamine Mediterranean Blue as my aqua/turquoise ink so no ink orders on the horizon, well, not today at least. 😉


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