As you may remember, in the month of August I have launched a very ambitious project. I set out to test inks for durability against UV exposure. Today I bring you a Month 1 update that should already shed some light on the lack of durability of certain dyes and inks.

I’m going to show a list of all tested inks and include photographs of samples that had to be terminated already. I’m also going to provide weekly notes to each ink and its behavior to the exposure. I am providing these notes for those of you who are interested in following the gradual process as well as those concerned with the lack of durability of fountain pen ink in general.

Note that when I refer to “color fading” I mean the shift in color hue or/and intensity. The ink in this case is still very much readable, but certain dye component sensitive to UV already disintegrated. When I say “tonal (or value) fading” I mean that the ink is affected not in color but lightness, so it generally fades, lightens.

The following notes were recorded weekly and summed up after total 4 weeks of exposure.

As always, if you’re enjoying this series and want to stay updated, please consider subscribing to my newsletter and supporting my efforts. Share this article if you found it interesting and if you have any questions or comments, leave them down bellow and I’ll be happy to get back to you asap.

-Daniel

Vintage

1946 Parker Quink Permanent Royal Blue

MONTH 1: Some fading occured in the writing, swatch almost intact.

~1940’s Parker Quink Permanent Blue-Black

MONTH 1: Some fading occurred in the writing. Rapid discoloration of the sample.

Pigment

De Atramentis Archive Ink Black

MONTH 1: Unaffected.

Sailor Nano Sei-Boku Blue Black Ink

MONTH 1: Unaffected.

Platinum Carbon Ink Black

MONTH 1: Unaffected.

Iron Gall

Pelikan 4001 Blue Black

MONTH 1: Turning gray, some fading occurring as well.

Rohrer & Klingner Salix Iron Gall

MONTH 1: Dramatic color fading – turning gray but still perfectly legible.

KWZ Ink Iron Gall Red #3 1402

MONTH 1: Unaffected.

KWZ Ink Iron Gall Blue Black 1106

MONTH 1: Unaffected.

Permanent Dye

Noodler’s Ink Black

MONTH 1: Unaffected.

Noodler’s Ink X-Feather

MONTH 1: Unaffected.

Noodler’s Ink The Heart of Darkness

MONTH 1: Unaffected.

Noodler’s Ink Lexington Gray

MONTH 1: Unaffected.

Permanent Dye – Partially or Fully

Noodler’s Ink Baystate Blue

TERMINATED on September 11, 2017. Critical fading after 3+ weeks.

The Great Fountain Pen Ink UV Test Project Month 1 Update
Noodler’s Ink Baystate Blue CONTROL samples
The Great Fountain Pen Ink UV Test Project Month 1 Update
Noodler’s Ink Baystate Blue TREATMENT samples

Rhodia Dotpad 80g

The Great Fountain Pen Ink UV Test Project Month 1 Update
Noodler’s Ink Baystate Blue TREATMENT sample on Rhodia

MONTH 1: Very rapid loss of color intensity, becoming illegible after week 2. Terminated on September 11, 2017.

HP Copy 80g

The Great Fountain Pen Ink UV Test Project Month 1 Update
Noodler’s Ink Baystate Blue TREATMENT sample on HP Copy

MONTH 1: Very rapid loss of color intensity, becoming illegible after week 2. More severe on this paper. Terminated on September 11, 2017.

Noodler’s Ink Black Swan in English Roses

MONTH 1: Unaffected.

Noodler’s Ink Bad Blue Heron (The Warden’s Ink)

MONTH 1: Unaffected.

Noodler’s Ink Bad Green Gator (The Warden’s Ink)

MONTH 1: Unaffected.

Noodler’s Ink Rome Burning

MONTH 1: Fading of color intensity, shifting color hue but not fading in tone.

Montblanc Meisterstück 90 Years Permanent Grey

MONTH 1: Unaffected.

Montblanc Permanent Blue

MONTH 1: Unaffected.

Dye – Red

Noodler’s Ink Apache Sunset

MONTH 1: Unaffected.

Lamy Red

MONTH 1: Loss of tone and color intensity. Rapidly fades as weeks progress, still legible though.

Cross Red

MONTH 1: After week 1 already heavy fading present, both tone and color. Very little remains, illegible now.

Sailor Jentle Grenade

MONTH 1: Visible fading occuring, color affected but the ink starts to disintegrate visibly. Only slight fading on HP Copy paper though.

Montblanc Corn Poppy Red

MONTH 1: Unaffected.

Dye – Violet

Lamy Special Edition Dark Lilac

MONTH 1: After week 1 heavy fading of color occurring, hue shifting towards red-violet, blue lost. Little additional fading as weeks pass but color turned completely brick red.

J. Herbin Violette Pensée

TERMINATED on September 6, 2017. Critical fading after 2+ weeks.

The Great Fountain Pen Ink UV Test Project Month 1 Update
J. Herbin Violette Pensée CONTROL samples
The Great Fountain Pen Ink UV Test Project Month 1 Update
J. Herbin Violette Pensée TREATMENT samples

Rhodia Dotpad 80g

The Great Fountain Pen Ink UV Test Project Month 1 Update
J. Herbin Violette Pensée TREATMENT sample on Rhodia

MONTH 1: Already almost gone, there are traces of the ink on the page but not much left already! Week 2: Utter disintegration of the ink from the page, some very slight traces left but legibility is out of question. Sample exposure terminated on September 6, 2017.

As you can see on the TREATMENT sample there are only very slight traces of the writing left, they’re difficult to see. I left the samples in the sun for a bit too long. The fading during a final few days was very rapid.

HP Copy 80g

The Great Fountain Pen Ink UV Test Project Month 1 Update
J. Herbin Violette Pensée TREATMENT sample on HP Copy

MONTH 1: Same as on Rhodia, although the fading is even worse. Sample exposure terminated on September 6, 2017.

As you can see on the TREATMENT sample there are only very slight traces of the writing left, they’re difficult to see. I left the samples in the sun for a bit too long. The fading during a final few days was very rapid.

Private Reserve Tanzanite

MONTH 1: Fading occurred only in color intensity so far, turned to dark grayish violet.

P. W. Akkerman #15 Voorhout Violet

MONTH 1: Unaffected.

Dye – Blue-Black

Pelikan Edelstein Tanzanite

MONTH 1: Took only 2 weeks to completely turn light brown. Blue component gone. Writing not as affected. Mostly color shift and light fading observed.

Caran d’Ache Chromatics Magnetic Blue

MONTH 1: Turned violet, blue component gone completely. Week later turned Venetian red. Increasing fading but still legible.

J. Herbin Bleu Nuit

MONTH 1: Slight hue shift already after 1 week. Heavy fading in second week, legibility threatened. Nearly gone after 4 weeks.

Lamy Blue Black

MONTH 1: Heavy fading of color as well as tone. Turned very light brown.

Dye – Blue

Waterman Serenity Blue

MONTH 1: Fading from week 1. Turned cool blue. Quite faded and becoming illegible after 4 weeks. Better on HP Copy paper though where fading started from week 2 but it too eventually turned cool blue. Eventually quite faded and becoming illegible after 4 weeks as well.

Parker Quink Blue

MONTH 1: Very slight fading, doing fairly well.

Pilot Blue

MONTH 1: Turned cool blue and after 4 weeks faded so much that it is hard to read the sample.

Diamine Majestic Blue

MONTH 1: Turned blue-black but otherwise no more fading.

Pilot Iroshizuku kon-peki

MONTH 1: Unaffected.

Visconti Turquoise

MONTH 1: Severe fading, very short lifespan.

Noodler’s Ink Turquoise American Eel

MONTH 1: Turned dark true blue but no actual fading other than that occurred.

Monteverde “ITF” Turquoise

MONTH 1: Almost illegible after 4 weeks and even worse on HP Copy than on Rhodia.

Diamine Marine

MONTH 1: Very faded, loosing legibility. On HP Copy better but not by much.

Dye – Green

Graf von Faber-Castell Deep Sea Green

MONTH 1: Unaffected.

Rohrer & Klingner Alt Goldgrün

MONTH 1: Green component fading but the ink remains without visible fading. Turned gold.

Noodler’s Ink Gruene Cactus American Eel

MONTH 1: Unaffected.

Diamine Salamander

MONTH 1: Unaffected.

Diamine 150th Anniversary Safari

MONTH 1: Unaffected.

Dye – Brown

Diamine Raw Sienna

MONTH 1: It is holding up though drastic fading occurred. Even worse on HP Copy than on Rhodia, 4 week exposure obliterated the writing quite a lot.

J. Herbin Cacao du Brésil

MONTH 1: Unaffected.

Pilot Iroshizuku yama-guri

MONTH 1: Yellow-green component gone but remains unaffected otherwise. Turned dark gray.

Sailor Jentle Doyou

MONTH 1: Unaffected.

De Atramentis William Shakespeare

MONTH 1: Unaffected.

Dye – Gray & Black

Pilot Iroshizuku kiri-same

MONTH 1: Relatively unaffected.

Parker Quink Black (~2000’s)

MONTH 1: Turned dark brown. Still all right and legible. Better on HP COpy than on Rhodia.

Aurora Black

MONTH 1: Turning brown. Very little to no change of tone.

J. Herbin Perle Noire

MONTH 1: Turned a rich brown. Very little to no change of tone.

 

4 Comments

  1. Arkanabar T'verrick Ilarsadin October 6, 2017 at 02:50

    I had a bottle of Waterman Havana Brown some 20+ years ago, and after a few months indoors, writing samples faded to teal. So I collect these tests, as lightfastness is important to me, and I’ve done one myself. Here’s the URL on imgur: http://imgur.com/gallery/0MzOR

    I already knew that Noodler’s Baystate Blue was a rapid fader, as well as J. Herbin Violet Pensee, but I didn’t realize that Violet Pensee was actually the worse of the two.

    Reply
    1. Daniel Novotny Daniel Novotny October 6, 2017 at 13:10

      Hi,

      I was unaware of your testing. Nice to see your results. How long had you exposed the inks to the UV light?

      Yes, Violette Pensée is very, very weak. J. Herbin used to state on their website that their inks were lightfast, and so this was a surprise to me too. The statement is no longer on their site I think, which is interesting. I still think it is the obligation of the manufacturer to execute at least internal testing of their ink lines and provide at least general guidelines as to their permanence.

      Thanks for the visit and the link. I’m sure others too will find your results interesting.

      -Daniel

      Reply
  2. Katherine October 4, 2017 at 19:01

    Kudos Atelier, very impressive study. I am still in study and obsorbing your article.
    Intensive and very articulate. I had to stop to let you know how much I am enjoying this review. I plan to pass it on to others.
    Thank you again.

    Reply
    1. Daniel Novotny Daniel Novotny October 4, 2017 at 20:53

      Hi Katherine,

      I’m very happy to hear my study is of interest to you. I think it is quite important for us artists to have an idea of the durability of our inks.

      -Daniel

      Reply

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