Ink Woes

I’m not a pen collector but as many of you will know I have a shameful addiction to old ink bottles – all the better if they contain ink. Last week I bought a couple of large bottles: a very old Hides (or Hydes) Hindoo Red in a stoneware bottle and Parker Superquink Blue/Black. They both arrived today. The Superquink was well packed in a large box with plenty of bubblewrap and the bottle was contained in two plastic bags. The ball had a rubber stopper/pourer that didn’t really close the bottle. The seller wrapped the top with parcel tape a couple of times and regarded that as an adequate job.

It wasn’t. As I opened the layers of packing ink began to appear. By time I got down to the final layers it was everywhere. I donned rubber gloves and finished unwrapping the bottle very carefully to contain the ink. It was a waste of perfectly good ink and I had to wash the bottle and dispose of the soaked packaging. Not a dreadful disaster but very annoying.

I contacted the seller to make him aware of the problem. The appropriate response would have been an apology but that’s not what I got. Here’s the conversation that took place:

You made a pretty poor job of sealing the bottle. The packaging was full of ink. I am left with a considerable mess to clean up.

The bottle was sealed in two bags wrapped in packing tape. Then placed in ots original box in another book with a second box placed within that box to secure it?????

That is how you wrapped the bottle, not how you SEALED it. There is no ink left in the bottle – it leaked out into the plastic bags, and onto my hands and my table when I removed the bottle from the bag. The ink obviously came out of the not-well-secured top of the bottle. I have photos if this is unclear to you.

Exactly so how you opened item is your issue should i have left instructions on the box?

You are very rude and defensive. It was your resposibility to ensure that the bottle was sealed properly for mailing. Once the ink was out of the bottle and into the plastic bag, it was a disaster waiting to happen. There was no way that the package could be opened without ink escaping.

If stating the obvious is rude and defensive thats just your observation. I will say again the bottle in its box was wrapped in two plastic bags and sealed with brown packing tape. Then placed in a carboard box and another small box wedge in to stop it moving. How you opened the parcel is not my responsibility. I have carried several of these bottles around to fairs and events ovet last few months with no issues.

You aren’t reasonable. There’s no point in communicating further.

Had the seller been sensible I wouldn’t have pursued the matter. I wasn’t looking for a refund. I just wanted him to be aware that he had caused me a problem. As he was so unreasonable he got a negative, his third in a year, and goodness knows how many before that. He seems to have an inability to communicate without being rude and unpleasant.

By contrast the very much older bottle of Hindoo Red is completely full and arrived in perfect condition. I can’t find any reference to it online. I guess that it’s very old, at least 1930s and may be older. I haven’t opened it to see the condition of the ink yet.

I often scan the old inks on offer in eBay. There are so many varieties. At the end of the Victorian period and into the 20th century almost every town must have had its ink works. Here in the UK Stephens, Diamine and latterly Parker Quink dominated the market and all those smaller manufacturers gradually faded away.

4 thoughts on “Ink Woes

  1. Well, good story, obviously the man couldn’t care less. He also made quite a few spelling mistakes. At least the other one was fine.

  2. Could the description “Hindoo Red” be a reference to the colour that daubed on the forehead of Hindoo’s, just a thought.
    Your ink seller appears to be particularly dim, luckily the ink did not leak through the packaging.

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