pens, inks, stores, companies and about the pleasure of owning a fine pen


Sheaffer first introduced its Skript ink back in 1922. At the time, Sheaffer sold Skrip as a near product, an improvement over the current fountain pen ink. I used to have one of the old Skript ink bottles with the metal lids and the handy well for filling a pen. I used the Blue Black and Peacock Blue (remember that name) ink in some of my first pens.

In the 1990 Sheaffer closed its US ink production plant in the USA. Ink was produced elsewhere. I was not a big user or thier ink so I did not follow their changes.

In 2002 the Shaeffer line of ink was manufactured in Slovenia and sold in an updated cone-shaped bottle. The updated bottle had a plainer label, and a nib pointing up. While the bottle certainly had stability on the desk, shallow bottle designs are not good for having the ability to fill pens when the ink level gets low.

Then in 2011 they updated the bottle with a band of colour meant to represent the colour of the ink, and the classic sheaffer nib is on the right side pointing down.

I had tried some of the inks on the first switch to production in Solvenia, but found them to be thin, watery and lacking good colour depth. As such I did not use the ink and never recommended it to others.

I one visit to my local pen storee I met the local Sheaffer sales representative. He asked me what I thought of Sheaffer ink. I told him my view: inks tended to be watery and the colours were too light. He was surprised and asked me to write with his pen. I did, and the Blue ink looked good. My first response/defense, was that his pen was a medium nib, and I use mainly broads, and the ink would not be able to perform in a similar method producing a broader stroke.I was given the challenge. Use the line of inks and then draw my conclusion. So I called this "My Week with Sheaffer" - kind of a play on the movie My Week with Marilyn.

Off I went with a bottle of each colour. The only colour I did not get was the Blue Black. For the next week I loaded various pens with Sheaffer inks. I used various brands of pens that included Montegrappa, Delta, OMAS, Waterman, Laban, Stipula all with different nibs, primarily broad but some stubs and even a medium.

Overall I was pleasantly surprised. The inks had more punch in terms of colour. They all performed well. My only wish is that they would have selected a different design of the bottle.

Bottle design is an important issue as it impacts the ability to get all the ink out of the bottle. Sheaffer has a relatively low bottle versus taller and narrower bottle. This is great for stability of the bottle on the desk, but means that more ink sits in the bottom of the bottle that at the upper portion of the bottle. No problem with the first couple of fills, but if you use a big pen, with a big nib, as the ink goes down, it becomes impossible to submerge the nib in the ink and get a good secure fill.

Some manufactures like Waterman, or OMAS has various flat sides along the bottle that support tilting the bottle when the ink level gets low. 

2021/22 Changes

Enter a new line of Shaeffer inks released in 2021 in the US and UK markets. In 2022 it was available in Canada. I picked up at bottle at Nikaido in Steveston and also in Paris (June 2022) where the ink was was available in some of the larger pen stores.

The new bottle is like a small jam jar, a straight tall bottle. It includes the small reservoir to collect ink to assist with filling. There are nine colours: Retro Sunset (orange), Inferno (red), Latte (brown), Amesthyst (purple tone), Coastal Blue (turquoise), Very Verde (green), Renegade Blue (blue), Bling (grey) and No Fuss (black).

The new bottle is smaller, 30 ml versus what had been a traditional 50 ml bottle. The smaller bottle is a trend for a number of companies. Maybe it is a good idea given the explosion of colours and the regular reservoir of inks that is taking place. But for me, when I like a colour, I use it, and I like the larger bottle.

The bottles comes in a very sturdy box that slides out of a sleeve, and sits in a foam insert I actually have found opening the boxes difficult. They are seals in a number of places which have to be cut with a small knife.

Shaeffer ink bottle

Retro Sunset

Retro Sunset

The colour is rich and saturated. The flow is good. I have not experience bleeding or feathering with ink - and that includes using it in some notebook journals which other inks have bleed through the paper. The colour, in some pens, comes out almost like a red orange. The boardering on red is more evident when I have other orange-tone inks on the same page. But I like the colour.

I have used the ink in a variety of pens and the colour is consistent as the pens have different nibs which can have an impact of how the ink sits and looks on the page.

The bottle only holds 30 ml but in a number of stores is priced close to 50 ml bottles of ink.