If you think that ink is just some dull stuff which has been made the same way for centuries, you are wrong. There has been a gigantic revolution in the ink making world! Every color you can imagine (and some which are complete surpises), every property you could ever need (feel like writing your great novel in Antarctica? you can with a “Polar” ink, and in any color you like). Scented, natural, tamper-proof, the works.
One of the most controversial colors nowadays is black. Who makes the blackest black, that is the question. The answer is “it all depends”. Yes, the kind of pen, the broadness of it nib, the paper on which you write and your writing speed all have an effect on the darkness of the line. A slow writer on fairly non absorbent paper, with a broad nib wet pen would probably put down the darkest line of ink.
Montblanc makes a very expensive pen and some very nice ink to go with it. Their black is called “Mystery Black” and it is very dark and comes in an unusual and practical “shoe-like” bottle. It’s about $19.
On the other hand, a company called Noodler’s sells an astonishing array of ink and ELEVEN different fountain pen blacks! At least 11, maybe more. Some are totally waterproof (trust me, I have written on a piece of paper and submerged it and the writing is just as fresh as it was when it was new an hour later). That one is called “Noodler’s Black”. There is Polar Black (that writes in cold weather), X-Feather which can write on practically any paper and not feather, Heart of Darkness (which some people swear is the darkest black out there), Bad Black Moccasin (which cannot be washed off by forgers), quick dry Bernenke Black (named after the chair of the Fed), and more. 3 oz are $12.50.
Of course there is the venerable Parker Quink which can be found in your local office supply store for a small price. It is black and costs very little and it is legendarily non staining in pens and easy to flush out when you want to clean your pen.
Lots of people love Aurora Black and consider it the best of the best. AT $13.75 for 45 ml it is quite expensive. However, it is lubricating to pens so it’s great for those with scratchy nibs.
Private Reserve, Sheaffer, and Waterman are all good yeoman’s inks. Not too expensive and dark only Private Reserve is super saturated and might stain your pen (though it probably would not). They are all fairly inexpensive and have their vibrant fans.
Just about every pen company makes an ink and every ink comes in black. Which one you like depends on the taste you develop over the course of your career with fountain pens. I like Noodler’s for it’s utter blackness and waterproof properties. However, you might fall in love with Aurora, like so many people have, and refuse to use any other kind.
People get passionate about ink so be prepared to turn into an affectionado over this issue.
This is the series on pens, inks, and sealing wax from Possets Perfume. It is going to continue for the month of February and is about the art and pleasure of using Fountain Pens and their accouterments.