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Trying Noodler’s 54th Massachusetts

I’ve slipped back into fountain pens. I’m sure that writing letters was the cause because it doesn’t feel right to use a ballpoint to write a letter. Not only have I gone back to fountain pens but I’m favoring permanent inks. Since no switch in pen habits shall go without a celebratory purchase of some kind, I ordered some ink.

My ideal color would be a dark blue. Really dark blue. In most light it would seem near black, but upon closer inspection it would clearly be blue. Private Reserve Midnight Blues was pretty close, and I used nearly half a bottle of the stuff during my last fountain pen phase. Nice color, but not in any way permanent.

Enter Noodler’s 54th Massachusetts. It’s a blue-black that is permanent. I knew it wasn’t going to be my ideal color, but I wanted something that wasn’t black, and My simple tests with running water and finger-rubbing confirmed this. I bought it because if I can’t find a nice dark blue, at least I can find something that’s blueish and dark.

The color is a blueish gray. My first reaction was that it was lighter than I would like, and not all that blueish to me. It’s more blue when it goes down than after drying. The name doesn’t really suggest a color, so it’s hard to argue that it’s been misrepresented, but I had something darker in mind.

However, in most light (this time of year) it is dark when on a page by itself. Sitting next to black it seems much lighter, but that’s not really a fair comparison.

As an alternative to black and being permanent, it’s a nice color. While it’s not my ideal color, it is a very fountain pen color. It’s a color that is not going to come out of any pen you find at a store with “office” in the name, or anywhere that 99.9% of the population does it’s shopping. The color makes me think of the movie “Hindenburg” – don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean it’s a failure – the 1930’s feel to it. I know, it’s named for a civil war military unit and there’s quite a substantial history behind the name, but to me it makes me think of dirigibles.

I’m not a very picky person when it comes to the performance of inks. I don’t get into shading much, and nib creep doesn’t bother me either. This ink seems well behaved in that it doesn’t do anything that bothers me. It works about the same as Noodler’s black.

It also has a distinctive odor. Not bad, just unusual.

So, while I didn’t achieve the color I was after I don’t find myself in a hurry to flush it out of the pen. It’s growing on me.

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