Noodler’s 54th Massachusetts blue-black ink has become one of my favorites. It is conservative enough to be useful in any situation – business or personal – but is still a lovely diversion from a standard blue or black. It flows easily – it is wet, smooth, and easy to write with. It dries in a reasonable amount of time, and I find the color pleasant and easy to read. It also appears to have a touch of chartreuse to it that blue and black inks don’t typically possess.
Diamine Ancient Copper Diamine Ancient Copper is one of an elite group of inks that seems to be universally respected. It is artistically interesting – in broad nibs it shades dramatically. It is easy to read, providing sufficient contrast on white and cream colored paper without being hard on the eyes. It is also a very lovely color that one does not often see in ink formulated for fountain pens. Acrylics, oils, metallic markers, yes - but not fountain pen ink.
Noodler’s Berning Red It’s an immutable karmic law that, when an ink producer creates a new color specifically to mock a presidential candidate, one then must use said ink to write the candidate’s campaign slogan, regardless of how one actually feels about said candidate. In this case, Nathan Tardiff, the man behind the curtain of Noodler’s Ink, created Berning Red in honor of Bernie Sanders, the democratic socialist senator from Vermont, and one of the two remaining candidates for the Democratic nomination.
Kaweco Palm Green ink As I mentioned in my review of Diamine Meadow, I am not a connoisseur of green ink. I had a grand total of three specimens (J. Herbin Vert Empire, J. Herbin Vert Olive, and Iroshizuku Shinryoku) sitting on my self until I picked up Meadow. Vert Empire and Shinryoku were too dour to be of interest to me, and Vert Olive is so vibrant as to be all but unusable.
I’m a big fan of red ink. Red is my favorite color - I’m drawn to its vibrancy and dynamism. If the color red has a drawback, though, it is the quality that makes it so interesting: the high degree of contrast that makes it stand out from the crowd. In nature, red is an attention getting color, sending one of a number of messages depending on the organism in question: I am poisonous, I am ripe, I am dangerous, I am delicious.
I began my review of the eight Kaweco ink colors with Pearl Black, though Royal Blue was the first bottle I actually opened. Any manufacturer’s version of “ballpoint pen blue” is usually a safe bet - it’s like trying the crème brûlée at a new restaurant, or the pale ale at a new brewery. It’s a known quantity with minimal variables that provides an easy avenue for comparison. In my collection, Kaweco Royal Blue is most similar to Lamy Blue, but with a more intense color.
In the years since I began my fountain pen obsession, I’ve amassed a fair quantity of ink from a wide variety of manufacturers, but I’ve never been in the position to review the full range of one manufacturer’s offerings. Thanks to the fine people at Kaweco, though, I have all eight colors that they offer, so I can compare and contrast within the line as well as without. When I first received the big box of ink, ink cartridges, and pens that Kaweco sent my way, I was at a bit of a loss.
The USS Lexington is the oldest surviving aircraft carrier in the world. Commissioned in 1943, it saw extensive service as part of the Pacific fleet during WWII, where it developed a reputation for being impossible to sink - so much so that Japanese navy began referring to it as a “ghost” ship. This reputation, coupled with it’s blue camouflage scheme, earned the ship the moniker “The Blue Ghost.” Since then, the Lexington has had a long career, acting first as an attack carrier, then as an anti-submarine carrier, and finally as a training carrier.
Blaze orange is well known to Americans as the color of construction barrels, traffic cones, and hunting caps. It’s a color designed to provide significant contrast to the environment – critical when dodging traffic during rush hour on a busy highway or when creeping through the woods with dozens of other hunters, all of whom have high-powered rifles in hand. In those contexts, the color is aggressively monotone, obnoxious, and prosaic, but when embodied in ink form by Diamine, it becomes delightfully dynamic, engaging, and lyrical.
I’m not a connoisseur of green ink. I’ve reviewed J. Herbin’s Vert Olive and Vert Empire, and I have Iroshizuku Shinryoku sitting on my shelf, but none of them have spent much time in my pens. Over the years, I’ve reviewed plenty of red and blue ink, and I love a good purple, but green isn’t a color that captured my imagination – until I tried Diamine Meadow. There’s no mystery in the inspiration behind the name of the ink – no foreign (to English speakers) language to parse or obscure tidbit to research – only the verdant, vibrant, green of an English meadow.