Blue ink sounds like the dullest thing ever. However, I have seen flamewars and cyber fist-fights break out over blue ink! What makes people so passionate about your granny’s favorite color of ink? Read on and find out…
First, in this modern world, you have to know that blue ink is any color you want, practically. If it can be made, it has been. From the almost black to a pale watery flit-azure, from dark greenish to a high keyed purpled periwinkle; blue is all over the highway.
There is a huge variation in the lightness/darkness of blue ink and it’s saturation. There is also a big variation in it’s lightfastness and waterproof qualities.
By far the most “safe” of blues in terms of being washable, non staining, presentable in every situation is Waterman’s Florida Blue or Sheaffer Blue. They are as middle of the road and un-attention grabbing as it is possible to be for a blue. Not intense, not leaning to the green or the purple side of the scale, there is nothing to set this class of blue apart from its surroundings, and it is meant to be mild like that.
On the other end of the spectrum, the most controversial blue out there has to be Noodler’s Baystate Blue (BSB as it’s known in ink circles). THE most vivid shade of ultramarine, it leaps off the page and contrasts brightly with every color around it. Add to this it’s almost divine staining power and slight purple tint and you have a rousing hue that only the most extroverted soul would dare use.
Bay State Blue has managed to whip up some astonishing passions among fountain pen afficianados. There are those who insist that it has permanently colored their pens, stained stainless steel sinks, and insinuated itself into every form of fiber/cuticle/housepet/ and possession you can think of. There are people who are deathly afraid of it and everyone councils you to devote one and only one pen to it if you must try it. Anyone among the initiated knows that Bay State Blue is treated like your mistress: kept under strict control, not allowed in “polite” places, and shown off discretely.
Of course, there are those who assert this is poppycock. Bay State Blue is simple a super saturated solution of ink which is indeed difficult to get out of fibers, but just takes a bit of body English to remove from hard surfaces. In any case, it is a wild bit of blue zazzle on a piece of white stationary. Not what you would use for a sympathy card but certainly for any cause for elation.
And there is every other ink maker’s take on blue. Private Reserve has a very bright D.C. Supershow Blue, Noodler’s American Eel Blue is very bright indeed and made to be lubricating to pens (tends to the green side of blue though), newly introduced ink maker De Atramentis has some very wild and very mild blues out there and a lot of them are scented! Diamine Majestic Blue is indeed fit for a queen, and J. Herbin Bleu Myosotis is THE most watery pretty periwinkle around.
Your taste will dictate what kind of blue ink you use, and I do think that which blue you use says more about your personality than just about any color! What do I use? Noodler’s Bay State Blue, I am an extrovert. On occasion I use Noodler’s American Eel Blue to lube my pens which are dry writers. But find out which one you are drawn to and then ponder what that all means in the ultimate scheme of things.
Pens and inks are a wonderful hobby, a great form of self expression. There is nothing quite so personal as a fountain pen and the ability to change inks quickly and across the entire spectrum is amazing fun.
This is one of the February Possets blogs on pens, inks, and sealing wax. Just in time for Valentine’s Day love notes. If you have a mind, come and take a look at Possets Perfume, too. It’s Bottled Happiness!