Several years ago I met Donn D. at the Chicago Pen Show. We got to talking outside of the main room afterhours, and he was the one who introduced me to Ink-Fast Tests. He had a binder of very organized ink swatches that showed what an ink looked like when protected from the light, what it looked like after it had been left in the sun for 3 months and after it had been left in the sun for 6 months.
As I was on a quest for the perfect replacement blue for my beloved Waterman Florida Blue, I began making ink tests for this site. I figured you would be as curious as I am about how ink holds up to UV light.
Donn and I got together at this year’s Washington DC Pen Show and resumed our inky discussions. I asked if he would be so kind as to share some of his tests on the blog, and he said, “Yes.”
Included in this post are 4 pages of his tests of Pilot ink, Diamine ink, Noodler’s ink, Waterman ink, Parker ink and Pelikan ink…among others.
Donn described his methodology as such: “I exposed fountain pen ink samples to ultraviolet light from the sun for 3 months and 6 months. The exposure method involved simply taping them to the inside of a patio door, which does not block UV very well. I exposed all samples in the same manner, but not at the same time, and have no record of the number of cloudy vs. sunny days for each test. The paper was standard office copy bond.
The inks in this test happen to be colors I like, rather than a general test of a manufacturer’s entire product line.
What surprised me most was how well green inks held up, and a chemist friend speculates a copper compound may be involved.
Thank you, Donn, for sharing so many of these ink tests. Everybody else, I hope these help you in your quest for the perfect inks.
Click on any of the images to see a larger, clearer representation of the inks tested. Please also note that these are not performance tests of the ink inside a fountain pen. Some of these inks are not as well suited to vintage pens as others. This is strictly to showcase how an ink will hold up to time and light. (For example, Noodler’s Ink often clogs the hell out of vintage pens. Beautiful inks but a pain to deal with unless you love spending hours cleaning pens.)