Stephens Scarlet Ink


I can never resist a big old bottle of ink!  This Stephens Scarlet is 20 ounces or 563 cc.  The ink seems especially translucent and may have faded but I can always find a way to intensify it should that be the case.
I can’t put a date on this bottle but the packaging looks as if it may be late 50s or 60s.  I believe that the company stopped making ordinary inks sometime in the 1960s, though it went on producing specialist inks.  I don’t want to cover the whole history of Stephens Inks as you can find that easily on the web – Wikipedia for example.  Apparently some drawing inks and registrar’s ink are still issued under the Stephens name.  I believe they may be produced by Ecclesiastical Stationery Supplies.
I particularly like the Stephens Inkblot Man on the side of the box.  At one time many companies used personifications of their product like this but it isn’t so common now.  I think that we have lost a cheerful and endearing tradition with their disappearance.

Actually, I never use red ink.  Though it looks nice on paper I have something of a prejudice against it because of the amount of time that I’ve spent trying to get it out of old pens.  Nothing seems more persistent nor stains so readily as red ink.  However, I think I’m going to have to set a pen aside purely for red ink.  The colour is so beautiful and it seems a shame not to make use of it.


4 thoughts on “Stephens Scarlet Ink

  1. Nice bottle, does it still have its non-drip pourer?

    Why not set aside a nice Stephens pen to use the red ink in?

    1. Believe it or not, I don’t have a Stephens pen of my own. I haven’t sold any either for quite a while. Anyway, if I did have one I wouldn’t put that red ink in it for all the reasons that I gave in the article. Instead I’ve put it in a cheap (but rather good) Chinese Parker 51 clone. Having now tried the ink, I can say that it hasn’t faded. It’s strong and bright and quite a beautiful ink. To be honest, I’m not entirely sure what the non-drip pourer is. I filled the pen directly from the bottle.

  2. My guess is that the pourer will be some sort of rubber bung thing with a spout.

    I got some Windsor & Newton drawing inks in the week. The red has gone very thick, but a single drop instantly stained the dip pen holder I was using!
    I buy old ink bottles sometimes (I bid on your bottle) but I’m never brave enough to use the ink in them, maybe I should.

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