Waterproof Fountain Pen Ink

Handwriting with a good fountain pen is my favorite form of written communication. At its best, this type of communication is both tactile and intellectual. It is more involved and personal than typing my thoughts into a computer.

Moleskine Paper & Fountain Pen Ink

A large Moleskine notebook is always at hand and so too is a Lamy 2000 fountain pen, either an extra-fine nib or the stout, reliable, medium nib. Current Moleskine notebooks are renown for paper that dislikes some fountain pen inks and the horrid recycled paper in office pads defies description. For over a decade, I relied on the silky smooth Aurora ink as it makes very fine nibs glide across the page and it doesn’t bleed through or feather on this paper. Unfortunately, the slightest dampness and Aurora ink becomes an unreadable mess.

Sailor Ink

I next discovered Sailor Jentle ink. The yellow is wonderful, but hard to read; the red-brown is a superb colour; and the black is a rich, true black. Alas, these inks are not much better than Aurora when confronted with a small drop of moisture from the bottom of a cold beer glass.

Lamy & Mont Blanc Blue-black Iron Gall Ink

Then I discovered Lamy’s blue-black iron-gall ink. It makes the extra-fine nib scratchy and unpleasant to write with, but in the medium nib it works wonderfully. It goes onto the paper as a very pale blue and darkens on contact with the air. Its colour is not uniform, slow writing is darker as there is more ink on the page. Best of all, it is waterproof. This type of ink is sometimes called registrar’s ink. It also comes in two very convenient bottles from Lamy and Mont Blanc. I think I found an ink to use for the next decade or more.

5 thoughts on “Waterproof Fountain Pen Ink

  1. Richard,

    Interesting post on fountain pens. I have collection of 1930s & 1940s fountain pens. My favorite is a Parker 51 vacumatic and an English Wyvern. My favorite ink right now is the Sailor Red Brown. I will have to try the iron gall.

    I love writing notes to people with fountain pen and note cards. That is seldom done today.

    Bill Lowrance
    Lowrance Law LLC
    McLean, VA

  2. I thought you would be interested in my personal recent experience.
    As a practising artist, drawing materials are very important to me. I now use Moleskines exclusively as I don’t drive and need to travel ‘light’.
    For ‘line and wash’ work I have at long last found a solution to the fountain pen problem, and I am the proud possessor of a ‘Sailor’ fountain pen which uses waterproof ink cartridges! Interestingly these are made in Japan – the maker having been inspired by a sailor friend to make fountain pens.
    Pelikan do produce a specific ink which is suitable for refillable fountain pens, but they do not seem to do fountain pens for these cartridges. Their drawing pens take cartridges, but these are a long slim shape and therefore do not clip into my breast pocket – an essential requirement!

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