Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Noodlers Whaleman's Sepia Ink

Whaleman’s Sepia or Manjirō Nakahama is quite a special ink that I have mentioned before. This is an ink with a historical inspiration that Noodlers Ink is great at producing. This ink has some caveats but also has some interesting properties based off of Manjirō Nakahama’s significance as well.

As Sepia inks go, this one is tough to beat, in my opinion. This ink, after it dries, looks like a true sepia and embodies exactly what I think of when I think of a sepia toned image. Per Nathan Tardif of Noodlers Ink, it is a bear to make and so small batches are made here and there and The Goulet Pen Company is one of the few places I have found it for sale. It is a tad finnicky in certain nibs due to the consistency on the ink. Generally, if you can see through the tines, this ink will flow through the nib. I currently have this ink in a Lamy Studio and it works beautifully.

The story of Manjirō Nakahama (aka John Mung) can be found here. To summarize, he is the first Japanese man to visit the US after shipwrecking with 4 others and being rescued by a US whaling vessel. Japan at the time was locked from any visitors so going home was not an option. Manjirō worked on whaling ships and participated in the gold rush where he made $600 and bought a ship, picked up his 4 friends in Hawaii and ventured to Japan. He made it back in and was an integral part on Japan to US relations going forward, among many other things.

The ink is based from a whaleman’s logbook, specifically Nathan Tardif’s Great Uncle Reginald. Squid ink is one of the major components of this ink and the ink used back then as it was plentiful seeing as squid was a main food source of whales. Nathan Tardif used the ink in the logbook to re-formulate this sepia ink for a true sepia color in tribute to the whalemen of the age as well as the accomplishments of Manjirō.

In keeping with the theme, this ink has a couple of fun properties that tie all of this together. It is a security based ink meaning it reacts to bleach tampering. If bleach touches this sepia ink, it will turn red. This is representative of the Japanese red sun on their flag in honor of Manjirō. If a purer form of bleach is used, it will turn to a purple color indicative to the royalty of Japan who visited Fairhaven Massachusetts in honor of the relationship between countries due to Manjirō Nakahama.

Pretty cool, right? I love this type of stuff. Ink is fun and fascinating as it is but when you can manufacture a high-quality ink with this intricate of historical influence is exceptional. 

This is solely based off of my experience and opinion. I do not represent Noodlers nor am I being compensated in any way

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Parker Vacumatic Vintage Fountain Pen Review

1939 was a very historic year, from a world perspective. From a pen perspective, it was the year that this Parker Vacumatic was created and sold. This is my first Parker pen and this is the pen I purchased from Bradford Ink which I featured in my previous post.

I love this finish. I want to say it is celluloid but I am not 100% on that. What I do know is that it is brown and pearl and looks stunning in direct light. There is a small amount of translucency into the filling mechanism under certain light which is useful, especially when trying to clean it. This finish is reflected in the more modern pen offering by Visconti in the Wall Street model.

This pen is very well balanced and for the age of this pen, has held up wonderfully. There is some wear on the cap band but otherwise is almost new looking. The classic Parker clip is present and has been cleaned and according to the gentleman I purchased it from, it has been fitted with a new sack so it was ready to fill and go.

The nib is a 14K gold nib and needed some tuning. It was a typical fine tip as was common to the time and had quite a bit of feedback. I generally prefer a smoother writing experience with a hint of feedback and after some tuning love, it is now butter smooth and a pure joy to write with. The nib has the Parker arrow etched into the nib with the arrow body pointing to the page when writing.

The vacuum filling mechanism works well and has a nice amount of resistance and holds a bit of ink but not a copious amount by any means. The flow is moderate and not a gusher which is fine but the flow is adequate for standard writing and fast writing sessions.

I love the pen, I am very happy with the purchase and once again, I will definitely purchase from Bradford Ink again.

This review is based off of my experience and opinion and I am not representing Parker nor am I being compensated in any way for this review.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Bradford Ink is a Great Little Oklahoma City Secret

I had some traveling done last week and over the weekend and our travels took us to Tulsa, OK. Being the pen enthusiast that I am, I looked to see if any pen stores could be found in the Tulsa area but alas, none. My wife then found a place in Oklahoma City that specializes in vintage fountain pens called Bradford Ink. We decided to make the side trip to OKC, as it was only 90 more minutes away and wow, what a pen collection.

Bradford Ink is a small shop owned and run by a husband and wife team. This shop is much more of an overall antique shop but features over 1000 vintage fountain pens. Robert Bradford was working and is an extremely friendly fella that loves fountain pens and we had a great time talking all about the world of pens.

He has a website for the business where you can view the inventory of his pen stock but he does not play in the online sales arena and has little desire to do so. As a vintage pen dealer, this makes a ton of sense as making sure the pen works is a huge part of the buying experience. 

I found Montblanc, Parker, Sheaffer, Waterman, Pelikan and so many more with even a rare find mixed into the stock. I walked away with a Parker Vacumatic from 1939 and a bottle of ink and I will definitely stop there again anytime I find myself in the Oklahoma City area.

If any of you find yourself in the same area of the US, please stop into Bradford Ink and check it out for yourself. I love my “new” Parker, BTW.

2838 Wilshire Blvd
Oklahoma City, OK 73116

This post is based off of my opinion and experience and I do not represent Bradford Ink nor am I being compensated in any way.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Fountain Pen Day 2016

It is Fountain Pen Day! 

This is a day for all fountain pen enthusiasts to celebrate their passion and it is a great time to help enlighten others to the joys of fountain pens. To celebrate, there is not a special activity that is required other than enjoy writing. That is it.

I was sitting and thinking about some ideas for celebrating this day and here are a few:

  1. Put the computer away, get some paper and your favorite fountain pen and write a letter. It could be to a parent, family member, dear friend, anyone.
  2. November is NANoWriMo so if you are an aspiring writer, grab a pen and start that novel.
  3. Gift a pen and ink combo to a friend that would appreciate the gesture and would like to try a fountain pen but may not know where to start.
  4. Draw. There is no reason you cannot use a fountain pen for the expression of self through art.
  5. Try to take notes with a pen and paper rather than a laptop or tablet

The theme here is write, it is that simple. 

There are also many wonderful giveaways or discounts from fountain pen vendors all over the world. This could be your lucky day!

Fountain Pen Day happens once a year on the first Friday of November. It is a great time to promote fountain pen use and a great excuse to go a tad silly with your love of pens. 

Happy Fountain Pen Day!