Three Months and Counting: An Extended Test of Platinum Classic Line Iron Gall Inks with a Stainless Steel Nib Fountain Pen

Pilot Plumix

Holy hell: it’s been more than three months.

Back on June 9, I filled a clean, empty cartridge with an iron gall ink and fitted that into a clean Pilot Plumix fountain pen. The ink was Platinum Classic Cassis Black, one of Platinum’s new line of colorful iron gall inks for fountain pens. I put it nib upward in the pen cup at Fountain Pen Follies World Headquarters and Laboratory of Fancy Science. The experiment had begun.

I wanted to see how the iron gall ink would react over an extended period in contact with the Pilot’s stainless steel nib. Would the iron gall ink stain, corrode, gunk up or otherwise cause problems? Remember that we don’t worry about using iron gall fountain pen ink in pens with gold nibs, because gold does not react to the iron gall’s acidic element. But is there a problem with the more common, and cheaper, stainless steel nibs?

After a month, on July 11 or so, I thought it was time for an interim look at the Plumix.Β Click here for the full report, if you like, but the short answer was, all was well. The ink flowed, and the nib and pen were still perfect. I only used the pen once more, on July 22, briefly. Then I put the pen back in the pen cup and ignored it until earlier this week. Now it’s time for a three-month report.

(click Page 2 below to continue)

17 thoughts on “Three Months and Counting: An Extended Test of Platinum Classic Line Iron Gall Inks with a Stainless Steel Nib Fountain Pen

  1. Thank you for this very interesting test!
    Maybe the results would have been different with a gold plated steel nib, which may be prone to galvanic corrosion (bi-metallic corrosion).


  2. I really appreciate how thorough your review is! I’ve been telling people that modern IG inks are safe for years, but some folks just won’t believe it. Now I can point them here and they can’t argue! πŸ˜‚

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The color may not be archival, but the iron gall component would be, correct? I have seen some say it is archival, and then some that said it isn’t. I am confused about that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Among iron gall inks, the group of permanent inks considered archival or “document inks” includes Registrar’s inks, as well as KWZ Iron Gall Blue Black — all these are more traditional, in the color blue-black, with a heavy load of iron gall.

      The iron gall is the source of permanence. There is iron gall in the “lighter” or “modern” iron gall inks like the Platinum Black inks, the other KWZ iron gall inks and the iron galls from the other brands mentioned above. If you look at my reviews of Platinum and KWZ iron gall inks, and go to the water tests, you’ll see their core of water-resistance after being soaked in running water. That is from the iron gall component. It remains.

      So the answer is “yes, broadly speaking.” My only hesitation is that I don’t know if these modern iron gall inks have been submitted to testing under archival standards. (In fact, I assume they haven’t been.) However, the iron gall part is certainly permanent. Thus I see them as the best of both worlds: they have iron gall for permanence, shading, good behavior on poor paper, and interesting color change, but they are much lower-maintenance and more suited to use in fountain pens than the Registrar’s inks I’ve used.

      Platinum describes the Platinum Black inks as “highly water resistant and suitable for permanent preservation.”

      Liked by 1 person

      1. <<>> I think that was the statement that led me to question it. Your last paragraph said it all for me. Especially this <<>>.
        Now once I read that, it reminded me that I had read that before. It has been so long since you’ve spoken about this line of ink, that it wasn’t fresh in my memory. Thank you Laura. Someone is sending me a sample of the Platinum Classic Forest Green. That will hold me down for a little while, and let me try ONE of the Platinum Classic inks. I already have a pen waiting on it.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Well I tried quotes, but once I hit send, it didn’t put my quotes in. :-0 Oh well. It was the comment you made on the 14th. You start out saying yes you should.


  4. I wondered if you had fallen off the earth! Glad to see you alive and kicking. πŸ™‚ I am relieved to hear the ink held up in the torture test. Good news. You’ve convinced me. I am just waiting on enough money to buy some.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This is good news. I am glad that the experiment had a favourable outcome. I can imagine the relief of the busy technicians at Fountain Pen Follies World HQ, in their identical lab coats as in an old James Bond movie. Welcome back.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’ll appreciate that it’s been hard to keep our staff of scientists busy for so long, especially when the laboratory is located inside a volcano, and we wouldn’t let them leave. But they were dedicated to the cause.

      In ferro (gall) veritas.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, you should! πŸ™‚ We all should! And not just this one — all of the Platinum Classics, plus the other non-archival iron galls from those brands mentioned, like KWZ. It’s an iron gall ink renaissance. πŸ™‚

      I am not surprised at the safety, because I’ve been using iron gall inks for years, and they’ve always been safe to use. But I am surprised, even shocked, happily, that Cassis Black started up immediately after seven weeks of not being used.


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