Does Fountain Pen Ink Expire


A fountain pen is a writing instrument used by the nib or point of a pen with an internal reservoir that allows it to write without requiring constant dipping in ink. The pen draws ink from this reservoir through a feed to the nib and deposits it on paper via a combination of gravity and capillary action. Fountain pens can write more smoothly and accurately than ballpoint pens because the flow of ink is continuous.

Does Fountain Pen Ink Expire

A common myth is that fountain pens will not work if the user does not periodically lift the pen from the paper to allow air into the reservoir. This myth may stem from confusion with dip pens and quills, which required dipping in ink after writing each word and internal capillary action working against gravity. This article will discuss “does fountain pen ink expire” and all the relevant information regarding fountain ink. So let us get started.

Working Procedure of a Fountain Pen:

1. Ink passes through the feed and into the converging channel of the nib.

2. Increased pressure from writing forces ink to flow out of the tip onto paper.

3. The ink from the inner-most chamber of the barrel flows to prevent air bubbles from forming – continually refilling with the new ink from inside of the barrel as you write (capillary action).

4. Lubricating liquid helps ink to flow from pen point smoothly, preventing clogging or dryness – ensuring a ‘gliding’ feel throughout your writing process continuously being re-lubricated by fluid in a reservoir within cartridge filler pens (e.g., Parker, Lamy) or piston filler pens (e.g., Montblanc, Visconti).

5. Vacuum created by capillary action causes the ink to flow from the reservoir through the feed channel into the nib.

6. The pen’s weight is supported by an internal filler, e.g., a rubber sac or a piston mechanism that draws in fresh ink from inside the barrel as it empties – allowing you to keep writing without interruption (e.g., Waterman Hemisphere).

Piston Mechanism That Draws in Fresh Ink

7. Once not in use, air pressure causes fluid to be expelled back up towards the ink chamber – keeping your cartridge/converter pen full of ink over a long period of time between uses (up to a week for some converter pens).

8. Cleaning out procedure ensures that no drying occurs within converters and cartridges.

9. Some pens are fitted with a pressure bar at the back of the pen to ensure ink flow at all times from the reservoir and feed channel into the nib chamber while you write (e.g., Parker ballpoint).

Does Fountain Pen Ink Expire- A Detailed Discussion:

Fountain pen ink is usually marketed and bought in glass bottles that are sealed with a cork. A common question among pen collectors is whether this ink will spoil or expire if left unopened for long periods of time. After all, the seal hasn’t been broken, which means air cannot enter. And to set the record straight, here’s what we say:

The Quality Of Fountain Pen Ink Is Not Affected By Age

It does not matter whether you have an unopened bottle from five years ago or even a hundred! The quality of the ink held inside is not altered by age. As long as it has been stored properly (cool, dry area), there should be no change in its chemical composition over time and, therefore, no risk of spoilage.

Use to Write or Draw

Fountain Pen Ink Will Not Harm Your Fountain Pens

The ink properties have no negative effect on the pens you use to write or draw with, even if left unopened for long periods. The only times that a bottle of fountain pen ink becomes dangerous is when it reacts adversely with another substance, such as rubber (in erasers) or metal (such as your fountain pen nib).

Therefore, if you feel like you will have some time away from using your fountain pen, scrupulously clean it well, then fill it up with just plain water so that any residual ink within the barrel does not mix with other substances that cause harm. Remember to always store in a cool, dry place between uses, and also, don’t forget to keep an eye out for the ink as well!

Fountain Pen Ink Is Best Used Within 18 Months After Opening:

If you don’t use it, it will not go well, just like the food. So try and get your pen into action at least once every eighteen months to not alter its properties by age. Remember that the ink formula itself depends on the ingredients used in production, and those may not last forever.

If there is a problem with the seal of a bottle of fountain pen ink or if they are exposed to harsh conditions via transport, e.g., hot cases in airplanes where all other bottles are able to withstand without damage but yours, then spoilage may occur before you even have the chance to use it. So keep your bottles away from any such extreme conditions.

Should You Refrigerate Fountain Pen Ink?

It is not recommended that you refrigerate your ink when it is unopened as there will be no air exchange. In addition, the cork may dry out or crack and thus allowing moisture to enter. It is best to store it in a cool, dry place otherwise, but after opening, you can also consider placing the bottle into the fridge for some time before use so that it flows easily from the nib upon writing or drawing with it.

Do Not Freeze Fountain Pen Ink:

A bottled ink that has frozen will remain usable, though, just like milk which freezes, so does ink thaw at a much slower rate, leaving it defrosted but unusable. In addition, it will be slightly darker in color and not flow as well from the nib. So avoid freezing ink if at all possible!

Fountain pen Ink Can Age In The Bottle:

The ink formula itself will age over time due to exposure to air molecules. This can cause a change in properties such as viscosity, density, or even color/shade with age. Thus before you use your ink, make sure that you shake it up for about 3 mins so that its consistency is more uniform throughout the contents of the bottle.

Use a Fountain Pen Ink

What Causes A Fountain Pen To Stop Writing?

A fountain pen may stop writing: The nib becomes clogged by either hard particles or dried ink deposited during usage without the cap is tightly in place. In addition, the nib becomes worn out or damaged beyond repair by hard usages, such as scratching the surface of a metal pen body with it, bad storage conditions, or dropping the object, which could cause damage to the tip end of the nib itself.

When a fountain pen is not writing properly, if you already cleaned it and there are no broken parts, then first check for any dried ink on the feed itself since this could be what’s causing the problem. A quick blow dry with compressed air may gently loosen some of those dried particles that were caught onto its surface but don’t overdo it to avoid damaging by too much heat to a component that’s made of plastic.

If the pen was for regular usage, it might take a few weeks before those dried particles will be deposited on the feed. But, again, this would depend on how diligent you are in cleaning its nib section by either using water or ammonia. Another pen cleaner is called methylated spirits. This is also good for removing dried ink from almost any part of the fountain pen, not alcohol, since it doesn’t evaporate fast enough to leave any residue behind.  

Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Use Old Fountain Pen Ink?

Yes, you can use old fountain pen ink with a few precautions. The main thing to remember is to test the ink first in an inconspicuous area to make sure it will not damage your clothes or skin. If the ink is safe to use, follow these steps:

1. Fill a small container with water and add enough white vinegar to cover the bottom of the container.

2. Swirl the ink around in the pen until it is completely mixed in.

3. Dip the nib of the pen into the water and vinegar mixture, making sure to wet both sides of the nib.

4. Let the pen dry completely before using it.

Does Fountain Pen Ink Dry Out?

Yes, fountain pen ink can dry out over time. However, there are a few things that you can do to prevent this from happening. First, make sure that you store your pens in a cool, dry place. Second, make sure that you keep your pen capped when not in use to prevent the ink from drying out. Finally, if you notice that your ink is starting to dry out, try using a wetter nib to write with and see if that helps restore the ink’s flow.

Does Liquid Ink Expire?

Liquid ink does not expire. However, it is important to store your liquid ink in a cool, dry place to prevent it from becoming brittle and difficult to use.

Important to Store Your Liquid Ink


I hope this article has been beneficial for learning “does a fountain pen ink expire”. Ensure proper precautions while using a fountain pen. Thank you and have a nice day!

Jennifer Branett
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