Quickness and Adaptability: Fast-drying Inks and Waverly Nibs

Being a fountain pen enthusiast requires a certain openness to discovery and a healthy dose of curiosity. Add to these a dash of the spirit of adventure to make for a lifelong journey that continues to evolve as you learn about and hone your tastes with regards to your preferred writing instrument and its accessories.


With all the options available to us nowadays — fountain pens, inks, and paper — the urge to experiment and experience is a common challenge just simmering below the surface. Finding the perfect working dynamic between these three main ingredients particularly suited to your needs is what makes the quest more rewarding and unique.


Allow me then to present you with these two options when considering your next foray into the world of fountain pens — fast-drying inks and Waverly nibs.


Fast-drying Inks

One caveat when it comes to using fountain pens is the longer time it takes for the ink to dry as compared to gel and ballpoint pens. Personally though, I think that the delights of using a fountain pen more than make up for this issue. When it comes to choosing inks, there are general considerations that come into play. Fountain pen inks which are specially formulated to dry quickly are quite important for left-handed users, as well as rapid writers and speedy sketchers. Another way of looking at it is that using a fountain pen is a conscious choice, since it entails a slower pace and encourages more intentional mark-making. This is why preference and perspective are important factors in finding that happy medium that works for you.

There are several primary elements tied to choosing a fast-drying fountain pen ink. One is the pen itself. A wider or flexy nib and a wet writer all lay down a juicier line — meaning more ink is deposited on the paper surface resulting in a longer drying time. Another is the paper being used — less absorbent or sized/coated paper lets the ink sit longer on its surface, making the drying time more dependent on evaporation and ambient conditions such as humidity and air flow. Fast-drying inks themselves are specifically formulated to be absorbed quickly, which gives them the tendency to feather and bleed on certain kinds of paper. Furthermore, fast-drying inks are generally dry. All this to say — it takes a little bit of effort to find out that personal combination to satisfy your specific needs.


Fast-drying Ink Recommendations

These inks are generally considered to be fast-drying when smearing does not occur after approximately 20 - 30 seconds’ waiting time. Since I have yet to try most of these inks, I have drawn upon the extensive, cumulative experience of the fountain pen community to provide some examples —


LAMY Ink Bottle (50ml) T52 Black, Blue-Black, and Blue

LAMY T52 50mL ink bottles come with an in-built roll of blotting paper around the base and ink residue collecting basin for effortless and mess free refilling of your fountain pen. These are available in a variety of colors and specifically engineered to suit LAMY fountain pens.


Pelikan Ink Bottle (62.5ml) 4001 Brilliant Black

The refined formula guarantees bright, shining colors, an even ink flow and a strong, expressive writing. It is the expert knowledge of the Pelikan corporation that ensures the excellent features of the high-quality 4001 fountain pen inks. (Please check back to see if it is in stock or select the Notify Me button to be updated once available.)


Platinum Ink Bottle (60ml) Dye Ink Black and Red

These are pigment-based inks. Formulated with very fine, solid colorant particles suspended in water, these inks are water-resistant and lightfast. Additional care should be taken by not letting the ink dry out in the pen.


Pilot Ink Bottle (50ml) Iroshizuku Yu-yake, Kosumosu, Kiri-same, Shin-kai, and Fuyu-syogun

This ink series was inspired by the natural scenery in Japan. It was launched in 2007, with 24 colors in total. (Please check back to see if a particular color is in stock or select the Notify Me button to be updated once available.)


Herbin Ink Bottle (10ml / 30ml) Bleu Pervenche, Bleu Nuit, Perle Noire, Cacao du Brésil, Bouton d’Or, Ambre de Bermanie, Bouquet d’Antan

Herbin is the oldest name in pen inks in the world. "The Jewel of Inks'' was created in Paris in 1700. Herbin uses all-natural dyes in their fountain pen inks. This natural composition is reflected in the very neutral pH of the inks. (Please check back to see if a particular color is in stock or select the Notify Me button to be updated once available.)


Diamine Ink Bottle (30ml / 80ml) Twilight, Raw Sienna, and Grey

Diamine has a long and rich history, dating back to 1864. Diamine inks are produced in the UK and are made with a gentle formula safe for all fountain pens. It has quickly become one of the most popular and sought-after brands around. A wide selection of ink colors is available.


Waterman Ink Bottle (50ml) Tender Purple

The highest quality of ink ensures supreme performance, and guarantees an exceptionally comfortable writing experience. With nine beautiful color options in 50ml ink bottles, you have the opportunity to cultivate your own sense of style, and make your words stand out from the crowd.


The Waverly Nib

Historically, this specialized nib traces its origins from the Waverley nib produced by the Scottish firm Macniven and Cameron in 1864. However, similar nibs were patented earlier — such as those of Charles Bayliss’ in 1840 and Josiah Longmore’s in 1843. Other pen manufacturers followed suit within the 100 years that the Waverley nib was still in production. Esterbrook is one, with their pen nibs being described as having “turned-up” points . Another is Waterman, with their Turned-up or Ball Point pens. Conklin, Parker, and Sheaffer likewise adopted the design of this nib, as well its more common, descriptive name. It was in 1923 when the term “Waverly” was first introduced in a Wahl service manual. Lastly in 1926, Pilot listed Waverly, Turn up, and Ball point as synonymous in an illustrated volume on nib grinding. (A more extensive discussion of the nomenclature’s evolution can be found here.)

The Waverly nib as we know it today is one with a gently bent, upswept profile — which looks as if the fountain pen has landed on its nib. This upturned tip shape is designed to provide a smooth writing experience no matter the writing style or paper texture. This is due to more tipping material having contact with the paper surface, in turn providing greater ease during the pushed upstroke when writing. Some left-handed users have found this configuration quite comfortable, as it provides a smooth writing experience regardless of the grip or angle of the pen from the paper’s surface.


As for current examples — Sheaffer is known for its upturned Triumph nib. I have recently acquired a Lady Sheaffer 620 with a Waverly nib and can attest to how it just glides on the paper as I write or sketch. Reverse writing is also possible should I desire a finer line, with that feedback that I like. Another fountain pen with a Waverly-type nib can be found within the Pilot Custom Heritage line — commonly seen in the 912 model with the nib labeled as WA.


Parting Words

Specially formulated inks and specialized fountain pen nibs are just some of the choices that make being a fountain pen enthusiast a lively interplay between discovery and proclivity. Given the extensive array of options available to us, it is no wonder that we are inclined to try out new things that would make our experience more meaningful and pleasurable. Oftentimes, even the most steadfast among us with established tastes still feel a thrill of interest that ripples through the community whenever a new or different story starring a pen, ink, or kind of paper is shared. It is as Heraclitus said — The only constant in life is change.



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Written by @lekzumali
Check out her musings on Instagram!

Author: Lekz

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