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Thread: Stephens Fixed Blue

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    Senior Member Deb's Avatar
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    Default Stephens Fixed Blue

    This is aimed at Chrissy and those others knowledgeable about inks, really. I remain woefully ignorant.

    My latest vintage ink arrived in a large bottle, half full. It's Stephens Fixed Blue, as the title states. Not knowing what it is, other than something likely to be indelible. I loaded a cartridge pen and wrote a line or two. I was surprised - even disappointed - to see that it was purple, rather than blue. I did something else and returned to the page after a few moments and it had become blue, and much more intense than it had at first appeared. Someone suggested that as it "develops" in this way it may be an iron gall ink. What do you think?
    Regards,
    Deb
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    Default Re: Stephens Fixed Blue

    Quote Originally Posted by Deb View Post
    This is aimed at Chrissy and those others knowledgeable about inks, really. I remain woefully ignorant.

    My latest vintage ink arrived in a large bottle, half full. It's Stephens Fixed Blue, as the title states. Not knowing what it is, other than something likely to be indelible. I loaded a cartridge pen and wrote a line or two. I was surprised - even disappointed - to see that it was purple, rather than blue. I did something else and returned to the page after a few moments and it had become blue, and much more intense than it had at first appeared. Someone suggested that as it "develops" in this way it may be an iron gall ink. What do you think?
    I will be interested in reading the answers on this question Deb, why do some inks change colour as they settle on the page. I have recently bought a green ink, in the bottle the ink looks royal blue, on the page it is dark green.

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    FPG Donor ♕ Chrissy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stephens Fixed Blue

    Sadly despite some searching I can't find out much. I found their timeline history and Stephens was mentioned as an exhibitor at The Great Exhibition.

    They produced a Blue-Black ink that wrote blue and turned jet black. They also produced other inks in different colours. However, I can't find any mention of Stephens Fixed Blue ink or of it's ingredients, or why it changed colour from purple to blue anywhere. They now make ESSRI as suspected.

    There is a museum called The Stephens Collection and it may be worth dropping them a note and asking the question.
    Last edited by Chrissy; June 3rd, 2020 at 12:27 AM.
    Regards, Chrissy | My Blog: inkyfountainpens

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    Senior Member migo984's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stephens Fixed Blue

    Not Fixed Blue however interesting information about Stephens in this thread about their famous Radiant Blue ink, that was commonly used by school children in the U.K. back in the day. I used it myself.

    http://www.fountainpennetwork.com/fo...-radiant-blue/

    It includes a post by Vic Stevenson who used to work for Stephens from 1962 - 72, and latterly for DRG (Dickinson Robinson Group), who bought out the Stephens company. Vic Stevenson took over the ESSRI business from Stephens/DRG when he left the company and continued to sell that ink.

    The thread contains a link link to the Stephens Museum. Stephens made all kinds of specialist inks, including one that was used to mark crustaceans in order to track their migration!

    http://www.london-northwest.com/sites/Stephens/

    Incidentally Mr Pen (Peter Ford) sells an ink, made for him by Diamine, that (supposedly) replicates the original Radiant Blue. Itís quite a nice blue. As Peter is retiring soon I think Iíll grab another bottle before he closes down.

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    Senior Member whych's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stephens Fixed Blue

    Quote Originally Posted by Deb View Post
    This is aimed at Chrissy and those others knowledgeable about inks, really. I remain woefully ignorant.

    My latest vintage ink arrived in a large bottle, half full. It's Stephens Fixed Blue, as the title states. Not knowing what it is, other than something likely to be indelible. I loaded a cartridge pen and wrote a line or two. I was surprised - even disappointed - to see that it was purple, rather than blue. I did something else and returned to the page after a few moments and it had become blue, and much more intense than it had at first appeared. Someone suggested that as it "develops" in this way it may be an iron gall ink. What do you think?
    If it's a vintage Stephens ink, then from memory when the choices were Parker, Sheaffer or Stephens inks, their blue was darker than the Parker or Sheaffer blues. Also whereas Parker and Sheaffer introduced their washable inks, Stephens ink was permanent,
    'Fixed Blue' wasn't a choice in South Africa in the 60s and 70s, I think the only choices were Royal Blue, Green and Red in Stephens. Pelikan was not an option in those days.
    Stephens also did stamp pad inks.

    I wouldn't worry too much about whether it changes colour as it dries. Other inks do the same, the most notorious is modern Quink Blue-Black which starts off bb and changes to teal. You may also find the ink reacts differently on different papers.

    If you are wanting to do some sample swapping of old inks, I have a few, mainly Parker and Sheaffer, I can swap.

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    Senior Member Deb's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stephens Fixed Blue

    Thank you all for your efforts on my behalf. I had a good hunt online for any reference to the Stephens Fixed Blue and I found these various articles but no specific mention of the ink I have. I'm entertained more than worried by the colour change. It seems likely that it is an iron gall ink and I shall treat it as such.

    That's very kind of you, Whych. I have some old Parker ink but no bottled Sheaffer, though I have various colours by Sheaffer in elderly cartridges!
    Regards,
    Deb
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