Posted in Ink, Pens, Stories

The Airplanes go up, and down, and all around with me and my pen aboard

Atmospheric pressure is assumed to be a constant everywhere, but it isn’t. The constant flow of air around the planet brings with its fluctuations in the local air pressure. Normally not an issue for fountain pen users. Altitude also impacts air pressure and does spell troubles for fountain pen users. Why you ask, the sudden drop of pressure outside the pen can lead to a lot of ink being forced out of the pen by a trapped bubble of high-pressure air from a lower altitude.

Do not, become complacent in the belief that modern pressurized aircraft will eliminate the issue unless you are flying out of the lofty airports in these cities: Shennongjia, China; Toluca, Mexico; Arequipa, Peru; Bogota, Columbia, and Cuenca, Ecuador – all located 8,000 feet above sea level (roughly 2,500 meters), or about 75% of the pressure at sea level.

Have you ever opened a bottle of water in mid-flight seal it then looked at it once the plane lands?

Three Options

  • The single best way to avoid ink leakage on a plane is to travel with your fountain pens empty. No ink, no leak.
  • The second best way to avoid problems is to travel with the pen nib pointing up, as cabin pressure changes shouldn’t result in the pen leaking. But if the nib is pointing down or horizontally, it will most assuredly result in some ink leakage.
  • There are those who subscribe to the idea of traveling with an inked fountain pen and keeping it filled with as much ink as possible. The less air there is in the ink reservoir, the less room for an air bubble and the less likely it will leak.

Using the pen in Flight

Using a fountain pen in flight? Yes, once the plane is at cruising altitude it is safe to take the pen out and begin writing. A little care is prudent. Some caps seal extremely well, and pressure equalization within the pen won’t happen until the pen is uncapping. It is best to hold the pen, and nib up, when removing the cap. Also, have a cloth or tissue handy just in case there is a splatter from ink trapped in the feed.

Bottom Line

I do not subscribe to flying with a pen completely full of ink, as it is nearly impossible to achieve. But a little bit of planning will reap benefits and prevent embarrassment.

  • When traveling with fountain pens in a briefcase or backpack, empty them.
  • If a fountain pen is riding in a pocket, as full as possible is preferable, there will be no space to trap air in the reservoir. It is important to keep the nib pointing up to prevent issues.

If vintage fountain pens are your thing and they are accompanying you on the flight, Sheaffer Snorkels, and Parker “51”s, they are less likely to cause issues but they are still subject to leaking. Generally speaking, contemporary pens seem to travel more reliably.

In conclusion, keep fountain pens as full as possible, or completely dry when flying. Give them at least half a chance to not let you down.

Do you fly with fountain pens? What are your experiences?

Posted in Ink, Pens, Stories

The Color of Your Ink and You

Welcome to installment #3 of “What This Says About You.” Today we are going to look at the color of the ink you choose, its association with stuff, and what it says about you. In case you missed the first two installments I’m including them here:

Maybe you don’t give your selection of ink color a second thought, or maybe you select the color of your ink to match emotions, or maybe to match the pen, or maybe to suit the writing material.

In the broadest of terms, colors are grouped as either warm (red, orange, yellow) or cool (blue, green, violet). Warm colors evoke energy and excitement while cool colors are calming – guess that is why I prefer cool colors.

Personality Studies (so they claim)

Blue ink: people choosing blue ink, including the palest sky blue right to deepest dark midnight blues, are seen as having an outgoing personality, are friendly in nature with a warm and welcoming temperament. Are someone who conforms but still has a personality of their own.

Black ink: people choosing black ink are in charge of their life, the captain of their destiny, considered dominant and a force to be reckoned with. Possibly conservative and maybe a little uptight, rarely showing emotions, and thinking with their head rather than their heart.

Red ink: people choosing red ink are emotional, passionate, and love being the center of attention, everyone knows exactly how you feel. Emotions and their heart are worn on your sleeve! Someone who is creative and artsy and loves to experiment and try new things.

Typical usage of ink by color

Black is the ink choice of business. Projects professionalism, is often a requirement when signing legal documents and completing forms. Copiers and OCR equipment are better at picking up black ink.

Blue is the typical day-to-day ink. Blue ink is a pleasing and clear contrast to the black print on forms.

Red ink is used often used to correct or identify errors, and provide warnings! The use and impact of red ink is a blog post unto itself.

Green ink, back in the day was used for stocktaking and my preferred ink color.

Purple ink is often associated with poetic writing and literature. Historically, purple-colored ink was used to indicate power and sacred knowledge (royalty and religious orders).

The Skinny on Colors

  • GREY/WHITE: balance, neutral, clean, purity, innocence, perfection, timeless
  • PINK: romance, feminine, creative, sweet, cute, fun, sensual
  • RED: provocative, energy, urgency, excitement, passionate, powerful
  • ORANGE: youthful, creative, aggressive, action, fun, playful, lively, exuberant
  • YELLOW: optimistic, youthful, cheerful, happiness, friendliness
  • GREEN: plentiful, healthy, fresh, balance, relaxation, youth, growth, sustainable
  • BLUE: trust, honesty, security, intelligence, confidence, calm, stability, integrity
  • PURPLE: royalty, regal, soothing, imagination, wisdom, creative, calm, spiritual
  • BROWN: stability, simplicity, dependable, rugged, outdoor, natural, sustainable
  • BLACK: elegant, classic, powerful, luxury, dramatic, sophisticated, edgy, sleek

Just For Fun