Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Swan Rapi-Dry ink resurrection

Another addition to Palimpsest's list of ink resurrections: Swan Rapi-Dry Permanent Blue ink. I have been looking for this bottle since I sold one in the shop some time ago because I have been smitten by the beautiful Swan trademark embossed on the dodecahedron cap. 

The makers of Swan ink were Mabie Todd (est. in New York in 1860 and in London in 1884) and they had apparently put some effort into their trademark. Their swan has an elegant neck, great feather definition and it makes water ripples when it swims. They faithfully tried to keep the bird this way in everything they did. Check out the bottom of this Victorian Mabie Todd ink bottle, for instance:

... and the detail on clip of the Swan pocket protector

And the swan continues its decorative swim in Swan Last Drop Ink too - both in the lid and the label.

Back to the Rapi-Dry ink resurrection. The remnants of dried ink at the bottom of the bottle offered some promise of a second life but alas what was supposed to be a blue ink turned out a watery greenish and full of bits too. 

Dried ink remains inside Swan Rapi-Dry Permanent blue ink bottle

On the label: Swan Rapi Dry Writing Fluid Made by the Swan Pen People 2 1/2 Fl. Oz.
I didn't have much better luck with the previous Swan Rapi-Dry I've sold in Inklinks two years ago. Though that bottle was almost full and no resurrection was needed, the ink was pretty faded and thin. See below:

Oh, never mind. Better luck next time. I leave you with another view of this beautiful trademark.

Friday, 21 March 2014

Wolff's Royal Sovereign pencil samples in a tin

Palimpsest had another moment of "Look what I found on @ebay!" This time is a Wolff's Royal Sovereign tin box full of different Royal Sovereign pencils - everything from the weird to the wonderful is here. I cannot possibly date these pencils but all come from an era when Britain insisted on being called Great and was proud of making things: most of the pencils are marked "Made in Gt. Britain".

Beautiful dark markings are produced by the BBB Wolff's carbon drawing pencil; the Royal Sovereign "Chinagraph" impresses with its very weird tip and produces great shading; the "Crayonette" is a blue hexagonal crayon marked "Royal Sovereign No. 02 and "Tough" inscribed within a decorative frame. The yellow round-barrelled "Pendant" pencil is a smooth writer which you can hang from a chain around your neck. The "Black Prince", a round monster pencil of a whopping 9mm diameter, is true to its name and writes very dark. And then there is a pencil for the gardener in you: the Garden pencil to be used presumably for plant label marking. There's a tiny red "Royal Sovereign" which feels like an HB grade; a "Washpruf" for marking linen and a "Tailor's pencil" because at that time not only Britain was Great but it also had lots of tailors who needed their special pencils to mark hems. 

A little piece of pencil archaeology in a tin.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

And the Winner is...

The winner of the Palimpsest draw is

write to me often


Please contact Palimpsest on with your details.

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Fabriano Cioccolato ink review and Giveaway

One might have expected a more flamboyant name to match Cioccolato's steep price, but Fabriano's ink is true to its name: the colour is a delectable chocolate. Which is just as well because stacked in a corner of London's new dazzling Fabriano boutique, Fabriano ink looks like an afterthought. It is like the makers of the exquisite paper and designers of fine stationery had ran out of steam and decided to package the good ink as fast as possible and ran off to the pub for a well-deserved pint. But what it lacks in packaging style, Cioccolato ink gains in substance.

Fabriano Cioccolato ink on Rhodia paper with dip pen

The Cioccolato flows well and demonstrates excellent shading. As expected, its chocolate tones show even better when writing with a flexible dip pen. It is not a very wet ink, but flows just right and the Lamy I used had no complaints with Cioccolato and started writing straight away. There was no feathering or show through on Rhodia paper and only some feathering on standard printer paper. No significant show through though as I was able to write on the other side of the printer paper without major issues. It dried in 10 seconds, which is good. 

Fabriano Cioccolato ink with dip pen and Lamy

Fabriano Cioccolato ink on standard printer paper - show through
Drying times

How many millilitres of Fabriano ink do you get for £9.80? The bottle does not inform us but it must be 30ml. The writing fluid is bottled in a clear glass cube capped with a standard plastic lid and bears a simple white label which looks like it is hand-cut. It is placed in a flimsy black matte card box with the Fabriano logo embossed on the top. Disappointing design compared with J. Herbin's beautiful ink bottles, for instance. However, this is a great everyday ink whose performance does not disappoint - you may even get away with using in an official setting.

Cioccolato ink was purchased by Palimpsest for the purposes of this review. 


FABRIANO have given Palimpsest a calligraphy pen-and-ink set as a Thank You for a previous review on this blog. If you would like to receive this set, please leave a comment below to participate in the draw. Results of the draw on Wednesday 19 March. This is the set:

* Good luck!

Friday, 7 March 2014

Waterman Green Ink of old

One more bottle of Waterman's ink comes to join Palimpsest's small collection of vintage inks. It has been issued in the early years of the 20th century by L. G. Sloan, purveyor of rubber bands, Congress playing cards and Waterman pens, and owner of Pen Corner at 41 Kingsway London WC2. The iconic hexagonal bottle is full of green ink. 

The bottle's label is somewhat faded and tired at the edges and the metal lid has seen better days but the ink within looks young despite the passage of time. It writes dark green and dries a shade lighter. Excellent flow, shading and saturation. The swab is surprising bright and dries petrol green, a colour that I find it impossible to photograph. If you would like a sample, contact me at blogpalimpsest at gmail dot com and I will list it in the shop.

More Waterman inks:
Washable Blue