Here’s a bottle I will quixotically defend: the Diamine 30 ml bottle.
A plastic, rectangular prism, relatively tall and slender. Many people seem to dislike this one. And it does not induce a swoon. It’s just a functional container.
But this bottle is easy to live with. It’s inexpensive. It’s lightweight. It takes very little room. Those are very nice qualities when one likes to buy a lot of different inks.
Yes, the bottle opening is narrow. But it is as wide as a sample vial. Yes, the bottle seems tippy for filing. But just place it between two heavier objects, or inside a small cup — it’s amenable.
That height at least means you can fill a pen even when there is very little ink left.
The Diamine 30 ml plastic bottle will never make you say, “hello, gorgeous,” but it’s reliable and works just fine.When you spend time with it, you realize that the Diamine 30 ml bottle has a lot of good qualities for the long haul. That means I give it a “marry.”
Let’s compare a different Diamine bottle. Here’s the triangular 40 ml bottle Diamine uses for its more expensive 150th anniversary inks.
The 150th anniversary ink bottle shape is distinctive and attractive. Made of glass, the bottle is nice and steady. But such a wide bottle takes up a lot of room. And that nice packaging is costly: this bottle only holds 40 ml, but costs twice the price in the US as a 30 ml Diamine bottle.
And functionally, the beautiful 40 ml bottle has at least one flaw: filling a pen is easy when the ink level is high, but not so easy when you use up more of the ink.
It’s not terrible. It’s more like someone who looks great at first, but is expensive to hang around with, and as time goes on, you discover some shortcomings. But you enjoy most of your time together. It’s a good one to date.
Worse, for me, is the Pelikan Edelstein bottle.
This is another attractive bottle shape. Nicely heavy, with a stable base. Swoonworthy curves. But the ink chamber is really short.
Here’s an Omas Paragon. With any pen with a larger nib, even Pelikan’s own M800 and M1000, you don’t have to use up that much ink before you can no longer fill from this bottle.
Pelikan charges more for the premium Edelstein line, in part because of the heavy, attractive bottle. So let’s compare the Edelstein bottle to a few other premium bottles.
Pilot Iroshizuku and Caran d’Ache Chromatics bottles stand tall, and you can fill from them very easily. The shortest is the Graf von Faber-Castell bottle, but look how much more roomy it is.
And a Graf von Faber-Castell bottle gives a buyer 75 ml of ink, versus only 50 ml for the Edelstein.
The Edelstein bottle reminds me of the tiny square bottle Montblanc uses for some of its limited edition inks.
I don’t like either of these bottles, for filling purposes, but the Montblanc bottle holds just 30 ml of ink. A 30 ml bottle has to be small. Why squash the Edelstein bottle when you don’t have to?
For me, the Edelstein bottle is a pretty face, but a pricey companion, who quickly becomes hard to live with. I see its good looks, and I think “ooh, marry.” But over time, I end up at muttering at it under my breath.
Now for the bottle I really want to kill.
Sailor Jentle ink bottles look nice. They are thick and feel strong. In their square boxes they are easy to store and stack. But they still fall short in functionality for me.
You can’t see it, because I have removed it from this bottle, but each Sailor Jentle ink bottle contains a plastic insert, in the shape of a goblet, that is presumably designed to make filling a pen easier.
The reason I removed it is that the plastic insert is too small for larger nibs. So I usually have to pry and pull out that insert, and throw it away, before the first fill. You’ll get ink all over your fingers, but at least you’ll make room for bigger pens.
Still, even without the insert, there’s only so much room. You can remove the insert, but you can’t do anything about the short and squat shape of the bottle. Here is a Sailor Professional Gear in the bottle with the insert removed.
That bottle is nearly full. If you angle this Sailor pen as far as possible in that nearly full Sailor ink bottle, you can indeed submerge the entire nib to fill the pen. But you can see it won’t take long for the ink level to drop too far below the top of the nib.
At that point, you have to hold, or prop, a Sailor bottle at an angle, and therefore expose more ink surface area. But beware: the bottle mouth is very wide, so the bottle can’t stand up on its own at an angle, without the risk of ink spilling out, until the bottle is pretty empty.
I do hold the Sailor bottle at an angle to fill. But looming over my consciousness the entire time is the nightmare image of 45 ml of bright Sailor ink spilling forth from that giant bottle opening, should my hand ever slip.
An attractive bottle, yes. But I don’t care for it. I don’t want to date it; I would never marry it. It is a bad boyfriend.
But, yeah, I still buy all these inks. Because I like what’s inside.