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

Platinum Classic Cassis Black

Fast forward to September 12, more than seven weeks after last using the Plumix, and more than three months after first inking it up. I picked up the pen and found that … the ink flowed perfectly and the pen wrote the minute I touched nib to paper.

The Plumix certainly looked neglected, though. Some drops of Cassis Black ink had crept onto the top of the nib, and had been hanging out there, inside the cap, over those two months.

stainless steel nib

In fact, the ink had actually crept along a little farther: it also had collected on the cap and section threads, above and below. And neither set of threads looked pretty.

Pilot Plumix cap

Awesome. This promised some drama, finally. Could two months of this have damaged the nib or section threads?

Well, after swiping with a damp paper towel, I could see just how much damage the ink had wrought. Check out the photo below. (Spoiler alert: no damage.)

stainless steel nib with iron gall ink

But look how much the cap threads were damaged by contact with the ink for months. (Oh, again, not at all.)

Pilot Plumix cap

So, there we go: no damage. No issues. No permanent gunk. No staining. No pitting or corroding of the nib. No crumbling feed. No destroyed or melted threads. No scratched-up plastic. And not even a moment’s hesitation in the ink flow. All after being left unused for almost two months, and inked up for more than three months. No drama at all.

So, I think our experiment has reached the end. I don’t see the point of extending this test. The question has been answered, and we can all see the answer with our own eyes: a modern iron gall ink, for fountain pens, from a trusted ink maker, can sit for more than three months in a pen with a stainless steel nib, without issue. (Gold nibs also are safe, as we already knew.)

Now, of course this doesn’t mean I’m saying, “Leave this ink in your pens, mostly unused, for three months.” No, heck no. I don’t think that’s a good idea — with any ink. I torture-tested this pen to show that this category of iron gall inks is perfectly safe when used normally, with no special precautions. If it passes the three-month, extreme neglect, test, we don’t have to worry keeping it inked up for a month or so between cleanings.

Also note that I’m only talking about (1) an iron gall ink expressly for fountain pens, and (2) from a trusted ink maker.

I define a trusted ink maker as a company that tests its inks to make sure they are safe in fountain pens. Based on my years of experience using iron gall inks, I am confident in iron gall inks from KWZ, Platinum, Pelikan and Rohrer & Klingner. Add Montblanc, Lamy, which have in the past sold iron gall fountain pen inks which in my experience are also excellent and trustworthy.

Finally, these results don’t apply to iron gall inks that are “document inks,” designed for archival document permanence. Iron gall document inks are higher maintenance, and I recommend more caution if using those in fountain pens. This list includes one KWZ ink (Iron Gall Blue Black), and the Registrar’s inks made by various companies.

But that leaves us with a wide world of super safe iron gall inks like Platinum Cassis — the non-archival iron galls from the brands listed above.

So let’s celebrate. Good iron gall inks for fountain pens can be used in any fountain pens, even those with stainless steel nibs, without worry or special precautions. We know this, because we have seen it with our own eyes.

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

  1. 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! 😂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. 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.

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  3. I wondered if you had fallen off the earth! Glad to see you alive and kicking. 🙂 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

  4. 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! 🙂 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. 🙂

      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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