Ink Pens

Tips on working with Ink Pens

Ink Pens

Styles, materials and pen technologies may change radically - but one element that has undergone the least visible changes is the ink. For ink pens - be it a quill pen or gel pens - are all linked by their use of ink as a writing medium.

Over the centuries extensive attention has been paid to the ink we put in our pens. Chiefly due to its inate ability for spillage, leakage and smearing, all of which are not exclusively confined to the writing paper. Just about everyone who has ever handled an ink pen will have experienced, at least once in their lifetime, smudged writing, a pen leak in their pocket and the transfer of ink from paper to hand and then to face.

Since the late 19th century pen manufacturers have spent million of dollars and work hours attempting to make ink as reliable and mess-free a medium for writing as possible. But it was not until advances in the design of the fountain pen and the eventual introduction of ballpoint pens that the worst excesses of ink were finally curbed.

Inevitably, ink pens still go wrong, or, to be completely fair, their owners mess up with predictable results. Most inks can be washed off skin, albeit with some vigor if permanent marker pens are involved. Ink stains on clothing can be another story.

Ink stains on clothing

Fresh stains can normally be removed easily, dried-in ink stains may need several treatments before they will be eradicated. Stubborn or heavy stains, meanwhile, may require specialist dry-cleaning. In most cases, these companies prefer you not to attempt removal as this often makes their job more difficult.

For smaller, lighter ink stains the following products are generally very successful: DidiSeven, Amodex Stain Remover and Lifter-1. These and other stain removal products are widely available at your local supermarket or discount store. Always read the instructions carefully before proceeding.

Of course, prevention is better than cure where ink pens are concerned. So what are the top ink pen tips?

1. If your pen has a cap always secure it properly. Button-operated pens should always have the nib retracted after use.

2. Fountain pens should always be capped and kept in an upright position.

3. Avoid dropping any capped pen onto its nib, especially fountain pens, as this will usually result in ink leaking into the cap.

4. If your pen came with a carrying or presentation case be sure to use this. The case will protect the pen's nib from damage.

5. Ink pens, in particular fountain pens, are prone to leaking during air travel due to changes in cabin pressure. Ink pen cartridges should be full or left empty and all pens uncapped with the nib pointing upwards.

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