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Quink (Parker)

Quink is Parker’s own house brand.  Parker was apparently a little less worried about it being mistaken for old fashioned pen-dissolving ink than Sheaffer was, as they were at least willing to rhyme with the distressing substance; their advertising did speak of it as “writing fluid”, though.  Quink of earlier years made a point of bragging about being crammed with chemicals that would keep the passages of the pen clear, and also about being relatively fast drying (“quick ink”, eh?); the former point saw the words “with Solv-X” printed on bottles until very recently.

Like most of the house-brand inks, modern Quink aims to be merely innocuous and functional.

Examples (note– I’ve not calibrated my scanner, so these are mere approximations of the true colour):

Black: A lot of people feel that this ink is not very trustworthy; on his site, Richard Binder refers to it as “high maintenance” ink.  I’m not positive I agree with him, as I’ve never had any particular trouble with it.  However, it is a rather washy black, and I tend to not use it much.


This is after only 72 hours on rather good paper

Blue-black: One of the lamentable casualties of Parker’s purchase by Newell Rubbermaid.  This was until about 2009 a very nice dark blue, bucking the trend amongst inks claiming this colour to be a variety of grey.  However, there has been a reformulation (denied by Parker, but the data is hard to explain otherwise) which renders the ink extremely susceptible to bleaching when in contact with paper.  The result of this is ink which turns a sort of sea-green in a relatively short time, and I frankly don’t trust it to last for the reading pleasure of future generations.  I have found a sort of cure, the duration of which is also in question, through adding red ink to it.  It is brought back to almost what it used to be in the scan by the addition of 1 ml of Skrip red to a 30 ml bottle of the Quink, although just about any red should do.

Blue: For all I complain about blue-black, I have little to say against Quink blue.  A decent, moderate blue which is no more given to fading than any other company’s version of the colour.


Washable blue (vintage):  A fine example of what people mean when they say, “They don’t make it like that any more.”  Unlike the extremely pale modern incarnation of this colour, this medium blue seems to be relatively permanent if not actively cleaned away.  Having Solv-X in it, it is likely also rather more toxic than one might prefer.  My bottle is from the late 1940s or early ’50s; the cap is not threaded, but has a couple of bayonet-style lugs that engage the threads of the bottle.

Permanent Turquoise (vintage): I have not tried ruining a shirt with this to examine its permanence claim. This colour seems to persist well in the bottle (I’ve encountered some very anemic vintage blue-blacks), so if you find yourself offered some it and like turquoise, give it a try.


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