Graphite vs Ink 7

I was just getting rid of some old documents from my office when I came across three sheets of paper I had written on in 2010 – one with pencil, one with rollerball and one with fountain pen.

All three documents were not exposed to direct sunlight.

The squared paper in the middle shows the rollerball. I am not sure which rollerball this was, but seven years later the text is hardly legible. The once red rollerball is now just a light shade of yellow.

On the right you see the writing from the fountain pen. I am not sure which ink was used, but the writing is much lighter than any ink I would have used at the time. I assume this must be either because of the ink’s properties or the paper or both. The fading can’t just be down to age. I have school notebooks from the early 1980s (ink: Pelikan Royal Blue) that still look great.

On the left you see text written with a pencil. Still as good as on the first day. OK, graphite isn’t darker than black ink, but look how light the ink has gotten in seven years. Maybe in another seven it will be hardly legible while the graphite will still stay dark.


Diamine’s Enchanted Ocean 1

An ink sample I got from Scribble.

Not any blue, but an Enchanted Blue

..but not any Enchanted Blue, this is the Enchanted Ocean.

It combines the seriousness of a blue-black ink and the joyfulness of Hello Kitty merchandising, which means that you will be embarrassed to take it out at work as well as feeling awkward taking it out at a children’s party, too.
Diamine Enchanted Ocean
Photographed against the light to make the sparkles more obvious.

Diamine Enchanted Ocean

Pelikan Wanderlust 15

Wanderlust Box

The Wanderlust box arrived, still sealed

You might have noticed that I’m trying hard not to have too many fountain pen related blog posts here on Bleistift. One of the reasons why the pencil theme and the name of the blog (the German word for pencil) were chosen was because it feels as if there are orders of magnitude more blogs and resources about fountain pens on the web than there are about the humble pencil. This time, however, I can’t resist focussing on inks and fountain pens …because I have received Pelikan’s Wanderlust ink.

Wanderlust ink in Preston

The Wanderlust ink bottle in Preston

For the Wanderlust project an ink bottle1 is travelling around the world I was lucky enough to keep it for a few days while it was on it’s way from from Asia, through Europe, to South America. Before arriving in England it travelled from Malaysia to Singapore toIndonesia to the Philippines to Australia to Israel to the Azores to Spain to Belgium to Luxembourg to the Netherlands.

Wanderlust Route

The Wanderlust route so far

Looking at the twelve letters written by previous participants, I was admiring the different writing styles, as well as the different kinds of paper that were being used. I was surprised to see that many participants share common attributes and could identify with many of them. Other participants were roughly my age and work-wise from many were from a similar background: there were many participants in academia or with an engineering background. Also: half of the participants don’t live in the country they were born in.

The twelve Wanderlust letters so far

The twelve Wanderlust letters so far

When I first heard about the Wanderlust project I thought the ink in this box would be an ink created especially for this project. It turned out that the ink in the box was a standard ink from Pelikan’s Edelstein range. My box did contain their Topaz ink, but earlier participants on my route had a different ink in their box.

The Wanderlust ink bottle

The Wanderlust ink bottle

My Wanderlust letter

My Wanderlust letter

I did plan to use my favourite fountain pen, a white tortoiseshell M4002, but when I read the letters from the previous participants, which included nice postcards from Granada and an olive branch from Israel I thought I should also theme my letter according to my country. I wrote on British paper (Imperial Parchment, White Wove, made in Scotland and recently bought on offer in Tafford Centre’s Pen Shop) and used a Pelikan 100N fountain pen, which as far as I can tell has been produced for the British market in the 1930s or 1940s. It features a G.W. (Günther Wagner, the plant manager who took over Pelikan in the 1870s) stamped nib3.

Granada Drawing

Details on some of the envelopes

Granada Drawing

Click to admire fine details


One of the reasons why I love Pelikan fountain pens is their performance. They always start (unlike all my Cross fountain pens), they don’t skip, I never got my hand dirty because of ink in the cap (unlike my Noodlers and TWSBI fountain pens) and even if they even been unused for many months they don’t dry out or have problems starting (unlike my Cross, Noodlers, Hero  fountain pens – some of them don’t even survive a few days of non-use without drying out too much to start easily). The only other fountain pen brand I know that performs well in all these areas is Lamy.

The GW nib used to write my letter

The GW nib used to write my letter

The only shame is that Pelikan doesn’t make flexible nibs any more4. If you want one you need to get an old and flexible nib or get a nib custom ground one. Pelikan started a nib grinding service recently, but unfortunately they don’t do flex nibs.

The Wanderlust box will now make its way to South America. I hope the next participants enjoy it as much as I did.

New sticker: Preston's coat of arms

New sticker: Preston’s coat of arms

New sticker: Lancashire and Loriot

New sticker: Lancashire and Loriot

  1. Actually, there are three ink bottles, travelling at the same time but on different routes. []
  2. Recently fixed free of charge by Pelikan after the piston came out, like all previous issues I had with other pens over the years. Their service is really excellent. []
  3. which is so rare that it wasn’t even featured on Ruettinger-web where you can normally find information about all things Pelikan. I’m quite proud that a photo of my nib is now featured on Ruettinger-web. []
  4. Some of their recent nibs are however slightly flexible, as shown in this blog post from nearly exactly one year ago. []

Pelikan Edelstein Ink Collection 4

If you like fountain pens you are probably also interested in ink. Pelikan has released a new series of luxury inks, the Edelstein Ink Collection1. The price for a 50ml glass bottle is €12.90 (~$16.75) in Germany and £11.95 (~$18.50) in the UK. The Edelstein inks are available in seven colours. According to Niche Pens they will be available for purchase towards the end of September.

More information about the Edelstein inks from Pelikan.

More information about the Edelstein inks from Niche Pens.

  1. Edelstein is the German word for gemstone or jewel []