Ink & Pen Notes: Esterbrook Dip-Less with Montblanc Corn Poppy Red

Esterbrook Inkwell and Displess Pen. Dusty, stained and ready to be cleaned.

I poured a full bottle of Montblanc Corn Poppy Red into the Esterbrook #407 Inkwell back on Feb. 28th of this year. It went dry this past Sunday, after 10 months of use and evaporation. The pen used was exclusively a bright red Esterbrook Dip-less with an #7550 firm extra fine nib. Both the pen and nib are gorgeous. I never get bored with the inkwell and pen on my desk.

I primarily used the pen to mark up documents, a task which suits the nib and ink perfectly. Occasionally I’d use it for short notes. The nib does hold a lot of ink with each dip, living up to its name. I rarely used the pen to write so much that multiple dips were needed. I may not write much at one time, but it does get used nearly every day since it’s so convenient and quick to use.

On the downside, it is a project to clean the pen and inkwell, although I can’t complain since I only need to do it once, maybe twice, a year. I do have to give the nib and pen receptor a quick cleaning every six weeks or so to remove the dried ink. This is more aesthetically annoying rather than something that causes a problems using the pen, although having the pen sticking in the receptor can be a little disconcerting.

The photos below show a nib that hasn’t been cleaned in over 6 weeks while the inkwell was nearing empty. It looks corroded and bad.

But that’s a cruel illusion. A quick pass through running water gets most of the Montblanc Corn Poppy Red out.

Getting all traces of the ink out was a different story. No quick flush here. Although staining wasn’t a problem the ink had plenty of time to work its way into every nook and cranny.

The inkwell soaked for hours and yet traces of red kept appearing. Now the reality is that I could have stopped and everything would have been fine. There wasn’t any staining and any ink left wouldn’t have affected the next ink I picked.

I don’t like pulling the nib out of this pen since I’m paranoid that I’ll break the lever. The last time I was immediately refilling with the same color ink so I just held the pen in the ultrasonic cleaner for short time to remove as much ink as possible. This time I plan to store the pen for a month or so and then refill the inkwell with a different ink color. I wanted a thorough cleaning. So after some time soaking and a pass in the ultrasonic cleaner I figured the dried ink wouldn’t be a problem so I took the pen apart. There was still ink in the feed and more than a couple drops in the pen cavity above the feed.

So now the pen and inkwell sparkle. I’ll let them air-dry a couple days and then store them away. In a month or so the Esterbrook Dip-Less with the #7550 nib will return with a blue-black ink or similar ink. Something suitable for letters or business.