Ink Notes: Namiki Blue

Namiki Blue Bottle

First off, I have to give a big thanks to David, who suggested the ink back in January. I’m not a fan of blue inks, despite that, I really like Namiki Blue. My only regret is I had the bottle 4 months before cracking it open.

The whole Pilot/Namiki branding thing is confusing, My ink was in a box labeled “Namiki” and the word “Pilot” doesn’t appear on the box or the bottle. But it does seem that the ink is the same as the Pilot ink sold elsewhere. Only the bottle (and price) is different.

The ink goes down on the paper as a bright blue but it fades a bit as it dries. It doesn’t appear washed out, just a bit lighter. Since I’m not a fan of blue there’s not much I can compare with Namiki Blue, but I like the color (for blue). There’s no real shading or line variation, especially with my thin nibs. There’s no noticeable feathering either.

Namiki Blue is one of the fastest drying inks I’ve used on Doane Paper. Drying was nearly instant with my thin nibs on Doane Paper. I does take longer on Rhodia Paper, putting it more in line with other inks. This is the first ink I’ve encountered where drying time was dramatically quicker on one type of paper than most others. It’s not quit as fast on cheap copier paper but I still have a second or two to smudge it. On Doane there’s no time at all to smudge it.

My only complaint is with the bottle. It’s curved, wide and shallow. There is an insert in the bottle to collect the ink around the nib. I still had issues filling my TWSBI Vac 700 and other longer nibs. The ink level in the insert would drop while filling and air would be let in. About the best I could do with my Vac 700 was about a 50% fill. Part of the problem was probably my reluctance to just let the nib press against the bottom of the bottle as I pushed the plunger down.

Cleaning was quick and easy. A couple flushes with the bulb syringe and a couple wrist flicks (like an old mercury thermometer)) and all traces of the ink were gone from the nib, It was also easily flushed from my pens, including my clear Vac 700. Some inks leave a few hard to get drops above the plunger which can be hard to flush out. Not so with the Namiki Blue. The water test showed a high level of water resistance.

I’ve seen others comment about staining. I didn’t have any issues with staining but the ink hasn’t been in my pens very long. I didn’t have any staining on the parts of the pen that were in the ink.

Pens Used

The TWSBI Vac 700 with nib extra fine to 1.1 mm stub was used. There wasn’t any extended writing, just testing. There wasn’t any skipping and the flow was consistent.

My Edison Collier, with an extra fine nib, has had Namiki Blue for a couple weeks of occasional use. I’m not a fan of blue so I have to force myself for any extended writing. I like the color and since most of my use is on Doane paper I love the fast drying. There weren’t any problems such as skipping or hard starts, even after sitting for a few days.

Additional Reading

Inkophile Review

Ink Nouveau Review (Goulet Pens)

Peaceable Writer compares Namiki Blue to other blue inks

Vintage Notes: Parker Duofold Senior (c.1928)

Oarker Duofold c1928 uncapped

For me the Parker Duofold “Big Red” has always been the classic fountain pen. That was even before I knew what a Parker Duofold was and I still considered it orange. In 2011 I added a Bexley Poseidon in “Duofold Red” and figured that was the closest I’d get.

This year I discovered vintage pens and expanded my horizons. I just added a 1928 Parker Duofold Senior with an eBay purchase, The dual bands and flat tops date it around 1928 or 1929. Another pen considerably older than me so clearly vintage.

It doesn’t make much sense to do a formal review of a vintage pen. Both because each one would be different and because I just starting my vintage education.

I filled the pen with Pelikan Brilliant Black and have been using it since. It holds a lot of ink which it drinks in using a button filler. Thanks to all that ink I’m still on the first fill.

The pen is in good shape, especially considering its age. I hope I’m in such good shape when I get to be its age. But it’s not perfect. I’ve found ink inside the cap.There’s also ink along the wings of the nib and along the slit. It doesn’t seem to be an outright leak, but it also seems to be too much for simple nib creep, especially since I haven’t experienced any nib creep with Brilliant Black in other pens. There hasn’t been so much ink that it’s leaked onto the paper or my fingers. I have trusted the pen enough to use it at work, but not to bring it into meetings or carry it in my pocket.

The pen is very comfortable to write with. Being made of plastic hard rubber (I’ve no idea where I got plastic from, fixed now), it’s light despite its size. Even posted its light and well balanced. I’d have not trouble using it posted if I wanted to. The nib is stiff which is a quality I like since flex is wasted with me. The pen fits comfortably in my hand. Flow is consistent without skipping or hard starts. It’s a fairly wet writer for a thin nib. The nib is about as thick and wet as I would want in a daily writer. I’d actually prefer it to be a little drier but I can probably handle that with a different ink.

The nib is 14kt. gold and labelled “Parker Duofold Pen”. I don’t know it’s official designation but it writes like a fine which is my nib of choice. As mentioned, it’s also a stiff nib.

The pen is still on its first fill. Well, first fill for me. The Pelikan Brillant Black does evaporate off this nib fairly quickly. Pauses over a minute can cause skipping on the first letter after the pause. But just placing the cap on the pen, without bothering to tighten it, solved this problem.

I love this pen. I want to avoid saying “favorite pen” every time I write about a pen. And I have to acknowledge the thrill of having this his classic pen hasn’t worn off. But I’m going to say it – this is destined to remain one of my favorite pens. I can clearly see myself getting additional Parker Duofolds, even a similar model. I’ve crossed over from accumulating to collecting, at least for vintage Parkers. Although, if I think about it, maybe I’m just a more focused accumulator.

Parker Duofold c1928

Addtional Information

There’s a lot of information about Vintage Parkers out there. Jim Mamoulides’ website is one great source of information including a nice article about the Parker Duofold  Flattops of the 1920’s. (aka also has a lot of good info.

My Fountain Pen Evolution

My fountain pen interests have taken a noticeable turn this year. It was subtle at first, but the Long Island Pen Show made the change much clearer. Until the end of 2012 I was strictly an accumulator. If a pen caught my eye and I had the budget for it at the time, I bought it. Even when my acquisitions slowed down it wasn’t because of any focus. There was a final burst of accumulation that coincided with the start of this website.

Towards the end of 2012 and into 2013 I became more selective, although not more focused. I was mainly curious about different filling systems but what really mattered was that the pen be truly different than what I already had. Almost as important, it had to be a pen I thought would be a regular in my rotation. Of course, I was the sole judge of what was different, so there was a lot of latitude.

Then there was the Long Island Pen Show where I “discovered” vintage pens. Esterbrooks  interested me because of all the nib choices. Added to that is the fact that they were “cheap” pens in their day but were built like tanks using materials and colors that have held up over the years. My first vintage pen was an Esterbrook. I was glad I waited to get my first vintage in person so I avoided any disappointment.

Esterbrook Dollar Bandless with 9555 nib
Esterbrook Dollar Bandless with 9555 nib – My First Vintage Fountain Pen

A Parker 51 was also on my show list. I found some but they just didn’t grab me. I think it was that hooded nib, I like to see the nibs. But what I did find was the Parker Vacumatic. I didn’t get one at the show, but my interest was piqued. The filling system interested me and the pens were beautiful.

I actually passed on this year’s Edison group buy and their recent stealth LE. Two pens that would have been certain buys 6 months ago. I was beginning to develop some focus, and those pens didn’t fit that focus.

I’m actually considering selling off some of the better pens that don’t make it into the rotation and have no other attraction for me. Something I wouldn’t have considered last year. Although, it’s still just being considered.

My recent acquisitions have been vintage. It’s not a narrow focus, but Parker interests me a lot, followed closely by Sheaffer and Esterbrook, early American pen companies. While I’m not ruling out a modern pen purchase, I’m looking forward to the Washington DC show in August as an opportunity see wee a wide variety of those pens among others. I’m saving my pen budget so I can go wild at the show.

Parker Duofold photo

Sunday Notes and Links

There wasn’t any “This Week’s Ink” post since there hasn’t been any new pens inked up since last week’s post. That’s mainly thanks to the large capacity of this pen, which is also great to use.

Parker Duofold photo

The Washington D.C. pens show is a “go” for me in August. The vacation time is set and the hotel reservations are made. Looking forward to it. Resisting pen purchases until then so I can go wild at the show.

Some links that caught my interest:

EdJelly has a review of the TWSBI Vac 700. He wasn’t as enamored with the pen as I was. Although he did have flow problems that I didn’t experience.

Pens Paper Inks…Whatever has pictures of her ink collection. Impressive.

Another impressive photo is JustDaveyB’s photo of his 85 pens.

FPGeeks wrote about the Visconti 25th Anniversary Steel Age Homo Sapien Maxi Gift Set. Cool looking pen. The lava material seems interesting. I’ve never owned a Visconti but their pens do have fans.

Inkdependence covered the Goulet’s May ink drop.

Gourmet Pens has a review of the Franklin-Christoph Black Magic ink. The F-C inks intrigue me because I like their pens and pen cases. I’m undecided on the Black Magic ink. The fast drying is great for me as is the water-resistance, but the bleed/show through and feathering is a killer.

The Pen Addict is having a giveaway that ends tomorrow.

Review: Edison Pearl 2012 LEE

This Edison Pearl was the first Edison Pen I ever ordered. It was a group buy back in early 2012 but since it was a group buy I had the Edison Collier in hand before it arrived so it was my second Edison Pen. Not that it matters. The Peal is part of Edison’s Signature Line. I got mine as part of the 2012 Group buy where the materials were chosen by vote which allowed the pen to be bought at a discount from the regular price.

I chose the ebonite version which was a beige/black ebonite. Mine is numbered 8 of 79. If I remember right the numbers were assigned randomly. The nib was one of the few choices not decided by a vote and I picked an extra fine steel nib.

Edison extra fine steel nib
Two-tone EF steel nib w/Montblanc Oyster Grey

The specs, according to the Edison Pens website are:

  • Weight:  w/cap 22g  w/o cap 16g
  • Diameter: Cap .610″  Body .610″
  • Length: Capped 5 3/8″  Uncapped 5″
Edison Pearl 2001 Ebonite

It’s a cartridge/converter pen that can be converted to an eyedropper fill. I’ve been using it with the converter and haven’t had any problems. I like to change up the inks and the converter empties faster and is easier to clean.

I love the classic cigar shape of the pen. The ends taper slightly to a point which is a nice change from the typical rounded ends. Ebonite gets bonus points from me no matter what the pen is like. I’d have preferred a silver clip but the simple gold clip goes well with the dark ebonite. I like the overall look of the pen. It’s not my favorite looking pen, a little too dark for my current tastes, but I like it.

This is one of the most comfortable fountain pens I’ve used. The ebonite is light. The shape and size of the pen is perfect for my writing grip and the ebonite feels good. There’s a sharper than typical drop between the barrel and section but it fits perfectly with my normal grip. Others may find it uncomfortable.

The extra fine nib is a smooth writer that never fails to write. I’m pretty sure Brian Gray tunes the nibs before sending them out, at least for the Signature Line pens, and it shows.

I use the pen as a daily writer with a wide range of inks. The comfortable pen is suitable for long writing session and I just don’t get tired when using it.

The pen is easy to flush and clean using the bulb syringe.

I’m really pleased with the Edison Pearl 2012 LEE and it’s a big factor in why I’m a fan of Edison Pens.