While I’ve managed to accumulate a large number of Sheaffer pens, I’ve never really used Sheaffer ink beyond the occasional cartridge received with a new fountain pen. Somewhere along the line I picked up two bottle of Sheaffer Red and a bottle of Blue-Black. That all changed recently. While browsing eBay for all things Sheaffer I came across some old Sheaffer ink for sale. It was ink in the burgundy boxes and and inkwells in the bottle. The ink ships from an old Sheaffer factory in Wisconsin (according to the listing). The ink is offered by eBay user abolt among other Sheaffer items. (There’s still some ink available, although shipping prices has gone up on the 12 ml bottles.) This seems to be from the last ink Sheaffer made in Wisconsin. I had to buy a few bottles. For reference, here’s a FPN post that shows six different bottle types from Sheaffer history. Even though turquoise isn’t among the colors I like I had to give Peacock Blue a try since it’s a legendary Sheaffer fan favorite. Supposedly the modern turquoise was an attempt to match the Peacock Blue with a modern formulation. I see a slight difference when they’re side by side, but viewed apart I can’t tell the difference. For the older inks there were two bottle sizes. There’s a full size 2 oz. (60 ml) bottle which is what the Peacock Blue and Grey inks came in. This bottle has a built in inkwell. The other ink was in smaller 12 ml. bottles that came in two-bottle blister packs marked “For Calligraphers.” The modern inks come in 50 ml. cone shaped bottles.
Gallery with Swabs and Writing Samples
Swabs labelled “12 ml” are the small calligraphy ink bottles. The swab labelled “burgundy label” are the old 2 oz bottle. The rest are the modern inks.
My favorite pen & ink combo this past week was the Pelikan M101N “Lizard” with Montblanc Permanent Grey, mainly because it was the only pen that got significant use. I haven’t done much writing since Wednesday (although a lot on Wednesday and before) so even though there’s some life left in it there’s no ink visible in the window. Anderson Pens tweeted the news that A.T. Cross is buying Sheaffer.
The rumour is true. Bic sells Sheaffer to AT Cross. More details as they become available. — Anderson Pens (@AndersonPens) August 22, 2014
I had flushed it from my brain that the plastic disposable products (ballpoint pens, cigarette lights, razors. etc…) company owned my beloved Sheaffer. For some reason Waterman, Parker, Rotring and others being owned by the same conglomerate that owns Rubbermaid didn’t bother me as much.
Actually, Clarion Capital Partners is buying Sheaffer and adding it to A.T. Cross which they purchased last year. I guess it’s a good thing. While Sheaffer and Cross seem to compete at similar price levels both are well known brands so I doubt they would completely eliminate either one. Hopefully Sheaffer can keep their distinctive pens. Clarion seems to own a bunch of divergent stuff and only Cross is pen related. There’s been so much contraction and cost cutting by both companies that it’s likely the pens and ink are already made in the same factories. The one scary part is that no company buys another just to keep the status quo. So will it be growth through investment, or profits through contraction?
Graf von Faber-Castell Cobalt Blue is my fifth review of the new Graf von Faber-Castell (GvFC) ink line. Blue would be near the bottom of my list if I was to rank my color preferences. I decided to give it a chance anyway. I had the other five inks and I have a compulsion to complete sets, so I decided to give this one a try. Since I rarely use blue inks I don’t have much to compare with this ink. It’s color is what I consider a true blue. It is a dark blue ink, but I still consider it a vivid blue, not a blue-black. Based on the color on the box I expected some hints of violet, but there’s none that I can see. There’s a bit of sheen to the ink. When used in my wet Omas nib or in a broad nib there’s some shading. Drying times ranged from very good to very long. My extra fine nib dried fast enough to be smudge free on all the papers I used. The longest it took was four seconds on Rhodia paper. Other nibs took considerably longer on Rhodia paper (drying times are in the writing samples). On the other hand, all nibs, even the wide and wet ones, dried quickly on generic Staples copy paper. Although those quick dry times on the Staple paper came at the expense of bleed-through and feathering. This is a dark ink so some show through was expected, but it was a bit more than I expected, especially on the copy paper. There was heavy show-through and some minor bleed-through on the copy paper with the wetter nibs and the feathering was noticeable. The feathering wasn’t noticeable to me on the Doane or Rhodia paper unless I looked closely so I could call it light feathering. The Cobalt Blue definitely has more bleed-through and feathering than the other four GvFC inks I’ve used. I’d stop short of calling the ink waterproof, but it is very water-resistant. The ink color ran, but the writing was clearly visible after the water test. Graf von Faber-Castell does classify this ink as document proof and permanent. The ink cleaned easily from my pens, although it wasn’t in any of them for more than a week. It also cleaned easily from my hands after an unplanned inky fingers test. It washed off easily after being on my hand for about 30 minutes. Just soap, water, a washcloth and a small bit of scrubbing were all that was needed.
I used the ink in the Omas 360 Vintage LE which has a custom Mike Masuyama fine nib. It’s a very wet writing nib, certainly my wettest fine and among my wettest nibs of any grind. There weren’t any flow problems or skipping. This pen is finicky with some inks but the GvFC Cobalt Blue wrote great with the pen. I used it as my primary writer for a couple of problem free days. I also used the Vac 700 with an extra fine nib for a day. Again, no flow problems or skipping. I used the pen for note taking during a smug free day. The Retro 51 with a wet, medium nib and the TWSBI Vac 700 with the 1.1 mm nib were only used for the writing samples.
Graf von Faber-Castell Cobalt Blue is a nice blue ink. I don’t want a lot of blue inks and since the GvFC Cobalt Blue is a well-behaved ink and a pleasing blue it can fill the blue slot.
August is half over and there’s been some changes in the ink that’s in my fountain pens, although not to much changed in the pens themselves. Contrary to my typical practice I’ve kept a couple pens in the rotation but changed out the ink. The Esterbrooks were inked because the nibs are for upcoming reviews, one of which went up yesterday. Three of the pens are still inked with recently reviewed ink – the Ivanhoe, Pelikan and Franklin-Christoph. I like the ink so don’t want to flush any of it, but the pens never seem to get much use due to the competition. The Edison Menlo and Pilot Custom 823 both went dry late last week. I plan to re-ink them but I’m still debating what ink they get next. The writing samples are in the same order as the pens, except for the Esterbrook Dip-less which isn’t in the picture. Follow the link if you want to see pictures of it. As usual, links are to my reviews of the pen or ink if they exist.