Posts Tagged ‘esterbrook’


Sunday Reads: Lotsa Pens And Some Crazy Laws


In addition to fountain pens and pencils, felt tips work very well for me. So I was delighted to learn of a model that uses fountain pen ink. Pen Chalet carries them should you have an interest.


Inkophile’s Got The Links From Doctor Who To Nutella


Doctor Who has vanquished the Daleks 34 times and still they comeback for more. I love a great villain!

And a quote from Socrates: “When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the loser.”


J. Herbin 1670, Edition Anniversaire


For an American it may be hard to imagine a company that opened its doors more than a hundred years before our Declaration of Independence was signed. That’s a long time to invest in perfecting a product and for that effort, J. Herbin has some of the best ink on the market.

To celebrate its 340th anniversary, J. Herbin has released a new ink in a new bottle with new packaging.  The name of the ink is 1670 for the year the company was founded but the color is called Rouge Hematite. If you like red ink, this one is for you.

J. Herbin 1670 Rouge Hematite with Rhodia Grid Notebook

J. Herbin 1670 Rouge Hematite with Rhodia Grid Notebook

Initial observations…

  • Love the packaging and taller bottle. The wax seal is a good representation of the ink’s color.
  • Color is an earthy red that leans orange-red depending on lighting conditions as well as nib width and flow. I like the chameleon aspect.
  • Richest color achieved with wettest nibs especially those with flex.
  • The color is very saturated compared to most inks in the line. This one is neither shy nor pale. Bottle may need a shake or swirl before filling a pen to get best results.
  • Excellent coverage and flow. No feathering. All nibs tested performed beautifully.
  • 1670 is thicker than other Herbin fountain pens inks as well as slower to dry. On Rhodia it took more than 10 seconds with a Lamy EF.
  • No bleed-through or show-through on Rhodia or Apica 6A10. Faintly visible through the back of Triomphe stationery.
J. Herbin 1670 - Rouge Hematite

J. Herbin 1670 - Rouge Hematite

Does 1670 represent a new direction for J. Herbin? Maybe so. The larger 50 ml bottle will please some folks while others will be happy that the additional height makes it easier to fill large nibs. So much to the good.

1670 - The bar shows the range of reds in the written sample.

J. Herbin 1670 - The bar shows the range of reds in the written sample.

Color and performance are what make this new ink work for me. From a flexible nib, 1670 has a beautiful, rich color that invites lots of swirls and loops and other interesting shapes. With an extra-fine nib, 1670 offers smooth performance and excellent coverage. Saturated inks may not be my preference but J. Herbin 1670 looks like a good fit for my collection regardless.

J. Herbin 1670 Ink Swatch

J. Herbin 1670 Ink Swatch

Note that in the swatch, “fundamental” was written with a Lamy AL-Star EF while the other writing was done with an Esterbrook 9128 extra-fine flexible nib. The Lamy produced a lighter red that has less of the orange seen in the more saturated samples.

At least on my monitor, the scanned images make the ink look less orange than it should be. I hope it’s just happening for me and not you. 1670 really is an earthy red rather than a true red which is part of what distinguishes it from most other inks on the market.

More at Biffybeans and Pen and Co and Rhodia Drive and Okami-Whatever and lady dandelion and Drawing with a Squirrel and my ink comparison to R&K Morinda.


These Are a Few of My Favorite Greens


The Sound of Music’s My Favorite Things floated my way when I thought about comparing the green inks in my current rotation. J. Herbin Vert Empire, Private Reserve Avacado (sp.), and Montblanc Racing Green are delightfully well-matched to their pens but might not be as wonderful in other models. It took a long time to discover two of these pairings and the third was entirely by luck. Oh, if you like flex, Vert Empire shades beautifully in an Esterbrook ‘J’ with a 9128 extra-fine flex nib. So there is that, too.

Dark Green Fountain Pen Ink

Dark Green Fountain Pen Ink

My complete list would also include Sailor Uranari Green, J. Herbin Vert Olive, Diamine Emerald, and Iroshizuku shin-ryoku. These inks work well for me in lots of pens so they are worth mentioning as well.

Probably the most versatile of the bunch are Diamine Emerald and MB Racing Green. PR Avacado dries a little slower than the other two but can be easier to find in the U.S.

There is one caveat when it comes to green ink. I’ve found nearly all of them change, whether lighter or darker, softer or bolder, depending on the pen and especially in a scan. If ever there was a color to which YMMV applies, green is it.

Any one of these inks could be a good addition to your collection but if you like green as much as I do, one just won’t be enough.


Esterbrook 9128 Nib Comparison


If you are not familiar with Esterbrook fountain pens, check out

Bottom line is Esterbrook fountain pens were made during the middle years of the 20th century and have held up very well. They come in a variety of colors, several sizes, and have easily swapped nibs. Since the nibs unscrew, Esties are extremely easy to clean even though they are lever-fillers. Pop out the nib and rinse. It’s as simple as that.

Here is what I discovered this week when I finally got my hands on another Estie and just happened to set up two 9128 flexible extra-fine nibs at the same time.

Esterbrook 9128 Written Samples

Esterbrook 9128 Written Samples

They truly are different. The nib used at the top has 9128 written across the nib while the second one has 9128 written down the length of it. No photos to show but the shape of the nibs is slightly different. The first one is slightly longer, more fine and has less flex catching occasionally on the upstroke. The second nib is closer to a fine with significantly more flex and somewhat smoother performance.

I thought I had a couple of oddball nibs but then I compared them to a third 9128 and discovered that the differences were consistent. The 9128 with the number across the nib is finer/stiffer and the 9128 with the number the length of the nib is thicker/more flexible. Laura (a/k/a Phthalo in the pen world) has found the same to be true with her Estie 9128 nibs.

So if you are looking for a really fine nib, the 9128 with the designation written across the nib is the one for you. If you want more flex and a slightly wider line, look for one with 9128 written down the length of the nib. Or you can do what I did. Get two Estie barrels and buy one of each style nib. It’s twice the fun. Promise!

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Switching to Summer Mode


Every year as summer approaches, my rotation needs an overhaul. It isn’t easy but the unwieldy “winter at my desk” lot needs taming to an easy “on the go” crew. Minimal upkeep is key but a satisfying splash of summer color for my correspondence and journal is essential, too.

My criteria for summer pens are simple: light in weight and easily replaced. No worries if one gets left behind or slips out of my bag. Three to five of them should be plenty. My pens that fit the bill best are

  • Lamy Vista with the transparent barrel so I can see the ink
  • Lamy Al-Star because the aluminum barrel and icy colors are cooling on a hot summer day
  • Esterbrook (J, SJ, or LJ) for nib variety

Inks that suit sultry summer nights and blistering summer days are those colors you’d find at the beach or in a garden. Some of my favorites along with the images they conjure are

  • Caran d’Ache Caribbean Sea – seaside holiday
  • Diamine China Blue – soft cotton linens
  • Diamine Kelly Green – freshly watered grass
  • Diamine Light Green – new plant growth
  • Diamine Maroon – deep pink roses
  • Diamine Royal Blue – clear skies
  • Diamine Sepia – flowers, pebbles and beaches
  • Iroshizuku Syo-Ro – ocean surface
  • Iroshizuku Yu-Yake – sunrise
  • J. Herbin Bleu Azur –  sun bleached pool
  • J. Herbin Bleu Pervenche – cotton cloth and seaside jewelry
  • J. Herbin Bouquet D’Antan – pale pink hydrangeas
  • J. Herbin Gris Nuage – rain clouds
  • J. Herbin Poussiere de Lune – lavender flowers
  • J. Herbin Rouille D’Ancre – daylily and Gerbera daisies
  • J. Herbin Vert Olive – pale green ornamental grass
  • Private Reserve Purple Haze – gauze clothing, lavender and shadows
  • Private Reserve Shell Pink – lipstick and flowers
  • Private Reserve Shoreline Gold – nasturtiums and marigolds
  • Rohrer and Klingner Morinda – Hawaiian shirts
  • Sailor Gray – sea squall, stormy ocean at the horizon

Same list of inks but by color


  • Caran d’Ache Caribbean Sea
  • Diamine China Blue
  • Diamine Royal Blue
  • Iroshizuku Syo-Ro
  • J. Herbin Bleu Azur
  • J. Herbin Bleu Pervenche


  • Diamine Maroon
  • J. Herbin Bouquet D’Antan
  • Private Reserve Shell Pink
  • Rohrer and Klingner Morinda


  • J. Herbin Gris Nuage
  • Sailor Gray


  • Diamine Sepia
  • Iroshizuku Yu-Yake
  • J. Herbin Rouille D’Ancre
  • Private Reserve Shoreline Gold


  • Diamine Kelly Green
  • Diamine Light Green
  • J. Herbin Vert Olive


  • J. Herbin Poussiere de Lune
  • Private Reserve Purple Haze

No, I don’t own all of those inks! But I have seen written samples or scored a small vial of each except Caribbean Sea. One of these days…

Do you pare things down for summer?  If so, what’s on your list?

Update: Summer Ink Palette No 1, Summer Ink Palette No 2, Summer Ink Palette No 3, Summer Ink Palette No 4

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J. Herbin Vert Empire Charms an Esterbrook


Almost a year ago I wrote a review of J. Herbin Vert Empire. But only a week ago did I find a terrific pen for it, an Esterbrook Deluxe with a 9128 nib.

The shading is made for flex nibs and there is even outlining on some brands of paper. The dark green color is really versatile and perfect in my daily journal. I hardly used anything else all week which is extremely rare for me.

This is just the beginning. Every flex nib in my collection will get a turn until the best of the best emerges. If that sounds like work, rest assured it isn’t. It will be a lot of fun. Hey, I’m an inkophile, remember?

J. Herbin Vert Empire in an Esterbrook Deluxe

J. Herbin Vert Empire in an Esterbrook Deluxe

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