Fountain pen ink can be a funny thing, there are tons of different characteristics about it that can make one person love it, while another might hate it. In the case of this new Noodler’s Bernanke Blue, the funny thing about it is the name. This new fast drying ink from Noodler’s is named in “honor” of Chairman of the Federal Reserve Ben Bernanke. Bernanke has long been criticized for the massive amounts of stimulus and government spending that is achieved by simply firing up the hypothetical printing presses to print more money. I picked up this bottle from the very friendly folks over at the Goulet Pen Company, using all twelve dollars and fifty cents of my own freshly printed Bernanke bills. That’s a lie, I used my debit card to order online, I’m not printing any money.
Noodler’s always has some very creative names for their ink, and in this case, the Bernanke Blue (there is also a Bernanke Black) hones in on the need for quick drying ink for the oh-so hypothetical situation of doing something like firing up your printing presses to print as much money as humanly possible. In the most unlikely situation where someone would want to engage in this kind of
stimulus inflation printing, wouldn’t it make sense that they would probably want to use ink that dried really fast so they could stack it all up in piles to drop from their helicopter? If that last line about the helicopter doesn’t make sense to you, I would recommend checking out some reading materials from the late Nobel Prize winning economist, Milton Friedman.
Removing ourselves from the world of economics and politics, and migrating back to the world of fountain pens and ink is probably in order at this point. Lets take a look under the cap to see what this new Noodler’s Bernanke Blue ink looks like. I always like the under the cap picture because the smatterings on the inside of the cap, and on the insides walls of the glass ink well give the first insight as to the shade of the product inside. It will always appear darker than the actual color presented once pen hits paper, but to me it is always something that I anticipate in order to get my first idea of what to expect.
Once I filled up my Lamy Studio with Extra Fine nib and set off to start writing with the Bernanke Blue, I immediately noticed that the fairly dark shade of blue coincidentally happened to be almost an exact match with the actual color of my blue Lamy Studio. The ink wrote very smoothly across the 90g paper in my Rhodia Web Notebook. There was absolutely no feathering, show through, or bleed through to be found with the ink.
After jotting down a few words, I couldn’t help trying to test the smear-proof quality of the Bernanke Blue fast drying Noodler’s ink. To my surprise, it dried almost immediately. For the most part, I was seeing the ink dry after only about two seconds of leaving the nib and hitting my paper. The writing sample above shows my dry time test, which I repeated with the same results on a few sheets of scrap paper in the front of this notebook. The mix of this Noodler’s Bernanke Blue with the high quality Rhodia 90g paper is a great pairing because of how well they behave together. For a little bit of contrast though, and to show how important your paper selection can be, lets take a look at how this ink did on my Levenger Circa paper.
In comparison to the Rhodia 90g paper, Levenger paper is quite a bit more thirsty (ie. dry an absorbent) for ink. The above scan shows a page from the end of my Junior Size Levenger Circa Daily Planner, and you might be able to see some differences in how the ink behaves on this paper. If you look at both scans closely, you will see some slight feathering. You may also note that the writing in the Rhodia is a finer line due to the fact that the ink doesn’t spread as much on that paper as it does on the more dry Levenger paper. The trade-off here though is two-fold. On one hand, the absorbent Levenger paper is great because the ink dries almost instantly once it hits the surface. On the other hand, the ink does spread, and also results in significant show through on the back of the paper.
Noodler’s Bernanke Blue final thoughts.
My final thoughts on the Noodler’s Bernanke Blue are that it is certainly a worthwhile acquisition if you are in the market for some fast drying ink or if you are a left-handed writer. Just keep in mind that you need to be aware of what kind of paper you will be using it on, and be aware of how it reacts with those types of papers. I probably should also mention that if you ever plan on getting the Bernanke Blue wet once you have written with it, all of your hard work and writing will vanish into thin air. This is likely the same thin air that our gobs and gobs of freshly printed money is coming from.
Also, a quick thanks to Chris over at The Pretense of Knowledge, because if I didn’t enjoy reading his fantastic site so much (my favorite non-office supply related blog) I’d have missed out on this.