My fountain pen education, with the assistance of my friend Thomas, hasn't just revolved around pens, but the inks that go in them as well. Iron gall ink has always fascinated me - and confused me - and with his help I have been able to try out some of the most popular and unique iron gall inks around.
Pharmacist's Urkundentinte (aka "Document Ink") is not an ink you can order from any store but rather from a member of the Fountain Pen Network named Pharmacist. He makes his own iron gall inks based around traditional recipes, and according to Thomas, they contain twice the amount of iron gall content than other iron gall inks.
What does a statement like that mean? It means you need to practice good fountain pen hygiene. There is no need to be afraid of inks like this, as I was initially. Most off the shelf iron gall inks these days are reasonably tame, and even stronger inks like this Urkundentinte take only a little additional care. With a steel nib pen, cleaning every week or two would be more than sufficient, while non-corrosive nibs like gold you could go even longer. Some people keep their iron gall inks segregated in specific pens, but as Thomas told me "Don't be overly freaked out -- it's not going to melt your pens."
As I learned quickly, a single written review is not going to do an ink like Pharmacist's Urkundentinte justice. The inks goes on the page in a deep blue black shade and dries to black in a short amount of time. As the hours and days go by, the ink oxidizes into a deeper black and becomes permanent on the page. That permanence is why these inks were so popular historically. You couldn't sign important documents using anything else. I'll work on a video or a follow-up post to see if I can capture the ink transformation better.
Could an ink like Urkundentinte be an every day writer? I think so, especially for those looking for permanence in their ink. It dries quickly, despite the smear in my 10 second sample - I pulled the trigger a little quickly. I'd say it is dry in the 12-15 second range on this Rhodia DotPad, which is better than many inks. On standard copy paper the dry time would be much less.
For me, I don't think this will make my every day rotation due to the darkness. I prefer a bit more blue to come through, starting light then turning a darker shade but still noticeably blue. I'm testing out other iron gall inks like Rohrer & Klingner Salix that fit the bill better for me.
Still, Pharmacist's Urkundentinte is a spectacular ink if nothing else for the history behind it and the commitment by its creator to be as authentic as possible. There is much more to learn about iron gall ink and these links and reviews below helped me get started. I'd love to hear your experiences with iron gall inks so please let me know your thoughts in the comments below.
The source of the lyrics above...it had to be done: