Swabbing 10 Year Old Ink

My ink drawer, two ink drawers actually, are overflowing and it was time to clear out some ink. What better place to start than with my oldest ink bottles to see if they’re still good. That would be Private Reserve and Noodler’s inks. Much of my stock of these inks dates back to 2003 and 2004. I actually dated some of the bottles and I made a note of when I got the bottle if I knew the date. Some of the Private Reserve ink is recent enough to be in the newer bottles, namely the two Fast Dry inks and Cadillac Green.
I ended up doing a swab of each ink on a Maruman Mnemosyne Word Card and then doing a writing sample on both Doane Writing Pad paper and Rhodia Dotpad paper. I used my Esterbrook Dip-Less #7550 Firm Extra Fine nib for the writing sample. It was a great excuse to use the pen.
I tried to be consistent with the swabs. A cotton swab was used and the top line on the card was a single pass with the new dipped swab. The larger ink area is just the ink painted onto the card with the swab. The writing on the card is with a glass dip pen.
Most of the ink held up well over the years. There wasn’t any mold. A couple of the colors definitely changed for the worse. Private Reserve Copper Burst and Orange Crush now share a similar washed out yellowish brown color. Fiesta Red seems to have a little little more pink than I remember and when compared to swabs I find online. The rest of the inks seems to have held up well. The inks were stored in a dark drawer at room temperature which didn’t always include air conditioning in the summer.
Private Reserve was my first bottled ink brand after Waterman and I liked the choice of colors and I really haven’t had any interest in the brand for years. So, since most of the ink is still good I now need to figure out what I want to do with it.

7 thoughts on “Swabbing 10 Year Old Ink

  1. Pingback: WINKS #19 – Weekly Pen, Paper & Ink Links #PPILWINKS - Pen Paper Ink Letter

    • Hi Julie,
      Not a bad idea. I’m going to offer some locally and want to check other inks I’ve been ignoring. Then I’ll probably offer something on the blog. But don’t hold your breath, I don’t work so fast in these things.
      Thanks for reading.

  2. Really cool experiment! I just hope my inks won’t evaporate in 10 years, and maybe I’ll try something similar. Of course, by then probably most (if not all) of them will have been discontinued.

    • I’m not sure it rises to being called an experiment, more like neglect. Evaporation wasn’t an issue as far as I could tell. All the ink was used and some of it used a lot back in those days so I didn’t expect any full bottles. The levels were about where I expected based on how much I liked the ink, but hard to say none did.

    • Hi Bill,
      Private Reserve changed their bottles sometime in the last couple of years (not sure exactly when). The old bottles, and all my old ink, is in oval bottles. The newer bottles are round. So if it’s an oval bottle it would be old(er).
      On my monitor, and live, my swab looks muddy brown, hints of orange where it’s thin. It should be like what I see in Goulet’s swab shop or their swab for the ink. You can see a sample at http://www.gouletpens.com/Private_Reserve_Orange_Crush_Ink_p/pr06oc.htm.
      It can sometimes be tough doing comparisons due to differences in monitors, but if it looks like my swab and not the Goulet’s, and you could call it brown then it would seem to be old or spoiled.
      Thanks for reading,

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