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Thread: Penmen ink duration.

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    Senior Member FredRydr's Avatar
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    Question Penmen ink duration.

    What term of years did Parker make their classic Penman inks available to the public, and which Parker pens would most often be paired with Penman in advertisements?


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    Default Re: Penmen ink duration.

    Penman ink was developed in the mid 90’s at Newhaven UK at the then cost £38K

    It was offered in the UK in 1998 to 2001

    The sales were very poor and it was withdrawn.

    It was designed to be used with the then Sonnet & Duofold models


    Have you ever written with it ?


    I will leave any expert remarks about using it to Chrissy ( ‘Our in house’ Expert on all things pen ink )

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    Default Re: Penmen ink duration.


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    Senior Member Wile E Coyote's Avatar
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    Default Re: Penmen ink duration.

    Most references I have seen say Penman inks were produced from 1993-2000. In 1993 Parker was acquired by Gillette, and the Sonnets appeared. In 2000 Sanford took over. Don't know if Gillette had anything to do with it, but the date range coincides with the ink.

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    Default Re: Penmen ink duration.

    Read your comments with interest.

    Can you show me any reference pre 1998 please.


    Many thanks

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    Default Re: Penmen ink duration.

    Hold up.

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    Senior Member manoeuver's Avatar
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    Default Re: Penmen ink duration.

    Quote Originally Posted by manoeuver View Post
    Hold up.
    Penman Sapphire is from the 90's?

    the Nineties?

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    Default Re: Penmen ink duration.

    Edited: I just checked and it does appear that Parker Penman ink was first made in 1993

    Years ago I was advised by two different UK repairers that they found evidence of damage to internal feeds in pens where it was used. I don't remember which Parker models they were.
    Last edited by Chrissy; November 19th, 2020 at 04:32 PM.
    Regards, Chrissy | My Blog: inkyfountainpens

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    Senior Member Jon Szanto's Avatar
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    Default Re: Penmen ink duration.

    A few days ago I posted the following over on Pentrace, replying to a question on the rehydration of Penman carts:

    If you aren't aware, the Spring 2020 issue of "The Pennant" (thrice-yearly magazine from the PCA) has an article: "Parker Penman Inks - a Classic Contextualized". It is an interview with Parker's chemist of that time, Dr Leighton Davies-Smith, on the creation of the Penman ink line.

    Of all the inks, he goes into greatest detail regarding Sapphire, though the article touches on many areas, including modern pens that work best with these. It is interesting to note his comment on rehydration:

    "I see people writing about this. You can't do it. The reason why you can't is that there is a unique blend of solvents and preservatives that go into these inks. If the water and other solvents evaporate, and all you do is add more water, you're not adding back those solvents, and you are diluting the preservative. The preservative stops the inks from going moldy, and the color can change as a consequence. The last thing you want to do is dilute an ink, unless you're diluting it with water plus the correct blend of solvents and preservatives. You might think you're solving the problem just because you've got the ink to flow a little better, but you've introduced a number of other potential issues, including feathering."

    All in all it is a fascinating 5-page article, full of insight into the complexities of developing advanced ink formulas. Recommended. Unfortunately, it gives no hard dates for start and end of manufacture, but it definitely started in the early/mid-90s.
    "When Men differ in Opinion, both Sides ought equally to have the Advantage of being heard by the Publick;
    and that when Truth and Error have fair Play, the former is always an overmatch for the latter."

    ~ Benjamin Franklin

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    Senior Member Jon Szanto's Avatar
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    Default Re: Penmen ink duration.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chrissy View Post
    I have a feeling that I bought my Parker Penman Sapphire ink before the 90's. Am I wrong about that?
    Wrong. Dr. Leighton Davies-Smith, Parker chemist who created the inks, wasn't hired by the company until 1989, and the Penman series began development in the following years.
    "When Men differ in Opinion, both Sides ought equally to have the Advantage of being heard by the Publick;
    and that when Truth and Error have fair Play, the former is always an overmatch for the latter."

    ~ Benjamin Franklin

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    FPG Donor ♕ Chrissy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Penmen ink duration.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Szanto View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Chrissy View Post
    I have a feeling that I bought my Parker Penman Sapphire ink before the 90's. Am I wrong about that?
    Wrong. Dr. Leighton Davies-Smith, Parker chemist who created the inks, wasn't hired by the company until 1989, and the Penman series began development in the following years.
    Yes I was editing my post as you posted.
    Regards, Chrissy | My Blog: inkyfountainpens

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    Default Re: Penmen ink duration.

    I postulate that the enthusiasm for Penman Sapphire can be traced/attributed to one person.

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    Default Re: Penmen ink duration.

    Quote Originally Posted by manoeuver View Post
    I postulate that the enthusiasm for Penman Sapphire can be traced/attributed to one person.
    Prove it.

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    Senior Member Jon Szanto's Avatar
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    Default Re: Penmen ink duration.

    Quote Originally Posted by manoeuver View Post
    I postulate that the enthusiasm for Penman Sapphire can be traced/attributed to one person.
    Dude. As if there aren't enough conspiracy theories floating around. I'm gonna sic Fetterman on you.
    "When Men differ in Opinion, both Sides ought equally to have the Advantage of being heard by the Publick;
    and that when Truth and Error have fair Play, the former is always an overmatch for the latter."

    ~ Benjamin Franklin

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    Junior Member corgicoupe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Penmen ink duration.

    To help with the dating, I purchased a Limited Edition World Memorial International Duofold [02736/10000] on February 16, 1993. I was issued a "Platinum Card" valid until 02/16/2003. Included in the purchase was a bottle of Penman Sapphire ink, which has about two ml left in the bottle. From what I've read, the closest match may be Private Reserve American Blue, but there are a couple of reasons that this could be problematical: it mistreats ink sacs and diaphragms, and the latest owner of the company has been reported to have died.

    I have decided to use my remaining two bottles of PR [one American Blue and one Velvet Black, a really black black] in more modern converter pens.

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    Default Re: Penmen ink duration.

    Quote Originally Posted by corgicoupe View Post
    To help with the dating, I purchased a Limited Edition World Memorial International Duofold [02736/10000] on February 16, 1993. I was issued a "Platinum Card" valid until 02/16/2003. Included in the purchase was a bottle of Penman Sapphire ink, which has about two ml left in the bottle. From what I've read, the closest match may be Private Reserve American Blue, but there are a couple of reasons that this could be problematical: it mistreats ink sacs and diaphragms, and the latest owner of the company has been reported to have died.

    I have decided to use my remaining two bottles of PR [one American Blue and one Velvet Black, a really black black] in more modern converter pens.
    I found several more inks that are similar to Parker Penman Sapphire. Even these don't form an exclusive list.

    Blue Swabs1.jpg
    Regards, Chrissy | My Blog: inkyfountainpens

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    Senior Member FredRydr's Avatar
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    Default Re: Penmen ink duration.

    Thank you for that chart, Chrissy!

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    Default Re: Penmen ink duration.

    You're welcome. I have many more LOL
    Regards, Chrissy | My Blog: inkyfountainpens

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    Senior Member FredRydr's Avatar
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    Default Re: Penmen ink duration.

    Well, that chart confirms my predilection for Serenity Blue (or whatever it's called today), Sargasso Sea, Shocking Blue, Visconti Blue, Sapphire Blue and the like. I have those and I don't need to add more, but it's good to know about all those alternatives you've listed.
    Last edited by FredRydr; November 20th, 2020 at 06:51 AM.

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    Senior Member manoeuver's Avatar
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    Default Re: Penmen ink duration.

    Quote Originally Posted by FredRydr View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by manoeuver View Post
    I postulate that the enthusiasm for Penman Sapphire can be traced/attributed to one person.
    Prove it.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Szanto View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by manoeuver View Post
    I postulate that the enthusiasm for Penman Sapphire can be traced/attributed to one person.
    Dude. As if there aren't enough conspiracy theories floating around. I'm gonna sic Fetterman on you.
    google trends didn't have anything for me and FPN is down.

    I saw in real time Eric Schneider ignite enthusiasm for the Pilot MYU pens (Chatting with Richard Binder at a show once, he mentioned he had trouble selling the reissues when they came out.)
    Brad Dowdy has done wonders for sales of orange pens, don't try to tell me different.

    I was under the impression that Sapphire was an old stalwart color that earned its reputation over decades, only to find out it was a flash in the pan. In the 90s, when there was nothing resembling the FP community that has flowered over the past decade.

    I maintain that it's plausible, and even likely, that there is a single tastemaker to whom the Sapphire mania could be traced. probably not Susan Wirth, but somebody in that neighborhood. Maybe an early power user on FPN or pentrace.
    Last edited by manoeuver; November 20th, 2020 at 07:06 AM.

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