Old Ink – Naughty or Nice?12/13/2009
Someday you may run across an opportunity to acquire a discontinued ink. Most often old inks will turn up on eBay but a few times I have seen them offered on a message board.
Being a big fan of the long discontinued Parker Penman Ruby, I snapped up a single bottle offered on a board in August. I already had an open bottle so I set the latest one aside after I checked for signs of mold. Last week I loaded an Esterbrook with ink from the August bottle and put it to use for a paragraph or two. It was late so I left the pen on my desk with big plans for some flexy fun the following day.
First thing the next morning, I went right to work with that dark gray Estie and my ruby ink. They are a beautiful duo and perfect for the light gray paper I wanted to use. Well, in addition to the ink, a trail of gross, gelatinous, sludge oozed out of the nib. It is sometimes referred to as SITB. ITB = In The Bottle. You can use a lot of words for the “S”. Colorful language comes to mind first.
There is still no mold in the ink but it is worthless. The pen seems to be none the worse for the experience though I am keeping a close eye on it. All things considered, I was lucky.
Just in case you are wondering how often such things happen, my experience has been that old inks are bad 15-20% of the time. New bottles of ink are bad less than 1% of the time. With those odds guess where my ink money is going next time…