Noodler's Fountain Pen Ink

Why is it called "Noodler's"? "Noodler's Ink"? The ink with the catfish on the label symbolizes a southern sport that attempts to equalize the struggle between man and animal in the quest for a sense of fair play...and thus a fair price. 100% made in the USA from cap to glass to ink and bottled with care by Nathan Tardif in Massachusetts.

Noodler's Black ink is waterproof and fraud proof and cannot be altered on a check or envelope by rain or bleach/ammonia. It consists of over 97% water content, rinse or simply rub off lucite/celluloid/acrylic/ebonite pens. If dried in the bottle it can be reconstituted with tap water, but once on cellulose paper it will stay on as a bulldog biting the leg of the enemy despite rain/soaking and the soaps of a check forger. One word of caution - if mixed with conventional ink the fraud proof ink WILL REVERT TO CONVENTIONAL INK and all those properties will be lost. It is a delicate formula best left alone if one wants the features to remain constant.

After extensive testing, the Noodler's formula resembles 1950s Skrip and Quink ink - no feathering and a good safe ink for all of your pens. Thus an ink one can use on the newspaper crossword puzzle, most recycled smooth papers, and even card board and industrial brown paper, rice paper and tissue thin papers from the far east. Feathering has been virtually eliminated (unless you use paper towel or blotting type materials!)

Still need more info? Please contact us via email and we'll be happy to answer your questions

Ink Permanency Tests From Our Customers

Legal Lapis Permanency Test

Thanks to Diane Louie for providing us with
this great set of Noodler's Legal Lapis photos.

Legal Lapis - Before
Legal Lapis, fresh on paper

Legal Lapis - soaking in water
Soaking the Legal Lapis

Legal Lapis - after soaking in water
Voila! Still looks fresh!

Thanks to Harald in Norway for the
illustrations & testing results, shown below!

I am testing Noodlers ink on pink paper in Norway.
(Fox red, Hunters green, Black bulletproof, Eternal brown.)

Noodler's Harald Tests - First

Eight months later, as you can see, the paper is now white, but Noodlers ink is the same colour.
The paper is glued to a window, facing west, in my tool shed.

Eight Months Later

January 20, 2005

Information provided by Nathan Tardif, owner of Noodler's Ink, LLC

In the 1930s, pen manufacturers increasingly began to turn towards fountain pens with seal based mechanisms. The rationing of rubber during the war accelerated this trend for a time as well. Eversharp, Sheaffer, Onoto, Gold Bond and many others all had plunger fillers....Pelikan, Conklin, Mont Blanc, and many others all had piston fill pen models...Dunn, Pilot, Sager and Ford had sliding pump mechanisms. Parker and a few other manufacturers had no need to maintain lubricants on a mechanism's seals as their pens had no sliding or moving seals....and thus they began to add detergents to inks (such as "Solv-X" tm). In theory this increased flow in a greater variety of conditions and upon being rinsed out a pen would theoretically rinse out cleaner. There were drawbacks to this trend: as you increase detergent content in an ink, it will rinse off cellulose paper faster (put such an ink on paper...dry...then rinse the paper under tap water and you'll witness it wash away faster than any other) AND the detergents will rob piston and plunger seals of their lubricants over time - resulting in recent (during the past 10 years especially) threads on the pens newsgroup and other online pen forums complaining of "stiff pistons" and "stiff seals" which invariably have been cured through the manual disassembly of part or all of the pen and the application of silicone grease lubricants to the seals in question (many such pens wind up broken due to such procedures!).

Starting in the 1930s, certain ink companies such as Carter's Ink of Boston, Massachusetts - experimented with lubricant components in their inks. However, the concept never truly took off because of a fundamental flaw: dye could not be impregnated in rubber/ebonite safe water based lubricant additives. Obviously this resulted in a faded line, reduced color contrast, and other flaws in the appearance of such inks.

Due to the prevalence of piston and plunger filled fountain pens in the modern pen market, Noodler's began to research this question of ink robbing seal lubricants through the use of detergents last year. A discovery was made whereby a water based non-detergent ink could be made with high concentration dye impregnated water based lubricant additives...and not only avoid the 1930s era problems with faded colors...but to ENHANCE the color and contrast of the ink! The second problem from the 1930s involved adding shelf life to the ink by protecting it from contagions which may be introduced to a bottle of ink through the repeated exposures to contaminated nib dust during fillings. A preservative as strong as that used in the 1930s inks, yet that is also safe and legal (the 1930s preservative was banned long ago, and unlike certain European based inks - Noodler's refuses to use Phenol due to its being a suspected carcinogen - Google the words "phenol" and "cancer") - this preservative has permitted the ink to be not only viable but to have a much longer expected shelf life (one rivaling the vintage 1920s and 1930s inks).

This new formulation has gone through extensive testing and is being introduced as the first truly lubricating ink in decades: the Noodler's American Eel series. Any Noodler's label with the smiling eel contains lubricants for use in moving seal mechanisms. Added benefits are the slightly higher dye contrasts, a slick/super smooth writing effect, and the reduction of wear for BOTH synthetic rubber, natural rubber - as well as nylon seals (previous inks did very little for rubber seals).

January 20, 2005
Information provided by Nathan Tardif, owner of Noodlers Ink LLC

A researcher in the Arctic contacted Noodler's Ink about the problem of inks in general...for virtually all pens failed (including ball pens, which even when warmed up would freeze down after only a few words) to write in cold conditions. Pencils were the only option - and even they could fail to write well if there was any frost build up on a document or report. This last problem proved difficult to solve. However, Noodler's produced a prototype...then several more...then, finally - one which was sent out all over North America and other arctic areas of the world (as well as limited amounts to a handful of researchers in the Antarctic) for comment and review in live situations. The ink was placed in convertors, cartridges, eyedroppers, etc.... Sac filled pens could not be refilled at a certain temperature as the rubber had frozen solid - yet such pens still wrote with Polar Black. Polar Black has "Freeze Proof Ink to -20F" on the label....yet this limit is only due to some dilution caused by frost effects when the user has to breath near the paper - which results in "exhaled vapor to frosted paper" that can mix with and weaken a line. Frost will dilute (the ink reduces ice particles and dilutes if they are in contact) and can also cause feathering (the ink will follow ice crystal patterns through capillary action). If there is no frost to deal with the ink does not freeze down to -110.2F, though it does thicken slightly after falling to approx. -45F and lower and will have slightly reduced flow at such temperature levels.

Another frequently mentioned problem in the past with fountain pens has been that if somebody living in a cold climate happens to forget about their pen in a car parked outside - that pen (or its convertor) can quickly burst and form hairline cracks from ice damage. Particularly in piston filling pens where the ink chamber is the barrel itself, freezing has been problematic. The average car interior can fall to temperatures that can freeze ink solid within fifteen minutes if the temperature outside is cold enough. Polar Black solves this problem. Several of the prototype ink testers have taken to leaving a pen in their car for note taking, something that could not be done before with a fountain pen. They have also reported using the ink in pens commonly left in coats, vests, briefcases, pocket books - without fear of any freeze damage caused by frozen ink.

The distributor of Noodler's Ink in North America (Luxury Brands USA, LLC of Tyrone, GA) suggested that the new ink also be made as part of the American Eel series. Thus,along with the Polar bear the label has a smiling eel through the logo indicating that it is the first freeze-proof, bulletproof (Greg Clark's definition), lubricated ink ever produced for use in fountain pens. The ink was further adjusted at the suggestion of arctic researchers to write on a grade of paper used in government copy forms - and is the only bulletproof ink made by the company capable of writing well on such semi-coated papers. Lastly, some mentioned the prototype could "smudge" when used at higher temperatures such as 80 F indoors if the dry time was not long - this also was adjusted to make the ink far more "smudge proof" even on the government form papers sent in as samples by arctic researchers.

Initial production of Polar Black is limited - as there may be changes in the formula by the second run based upon feedback from the public. However, current feedback from those who have tried the prototype inks indicates that thus far it is a very positive development in the ongoing ink renaissance.


Also - the Polar is pretty much smear proof after 10 seconds or so. This is a byproduct property due to a demand made by the original arctic researchers that the ink WRITE on FROSTED paper at 40 below AND write on carbon copy forms/duplicates. It does this (although the label says writes to 20 below due to conservatism. It has been tested by 32 people and 4 lab freezers, the labs all indicate -110.2F thus far!!!). However, this smear proof and frost writing ability also means that the cheapest grades of paper can show feathering at 65+ degrees F. International Paper, Boise Cascade, etc...their recycled lower 5% of the market seems to exhibit this trait.

(Updated January, 2006)

Noodler's Ink is offering a $1,000 $2,000 reward/prize to the first person who can safely remove "Noodler's Black™" ink from a security bank check (watermarks, numbered signature line, all standard security features present, standard check paper containing no gloss or polymer coatings, no plastic or wax content!). The ink must first be permitted to dry completely upon the cellulose based check paper, then the ink must be completely removed without altering the paper or its security features such as watermarks.

As many people know, ball pen ink and many roller ball and fountain pen inks can be removed through the use of alcohols/acetone and carpet stain removers respectively. Noodler's Black™ ink cannot be removed...but if you can figure out how to remove it without voiding/altering the security features of the check...and do so before anyone else - then the prize is yours. You must disclose HOW you did it in detail to the company, however (process must be capable of being duplicated on standard checks repeatedly including cellulose security checks provided by the company as a final test, which are cellulose standard security checks made by Harland Inc. - this is to exclude checks people print on plastic sheets, plastic or polymer paper composites and other such possibilities...Noodler's Black™ washes off plastic with tap water) this information is desired in the company's quest to make Noodler's Black™ ink the most forgery and fraud resistant ink in the world.

If nobody is able to safely remove Noodler's Black™ ink from a security check as explained above by November of the following year...the prize will increase by another $1,000...and so forth each November until it is claimed - if ever.

"Noodler's Black™ - bulletproof on cellulose paper, yet washes off plastic with plain tap water...100% water based ink - counterintuitive design at its best!"

Comments from Nathan Tardif, owner of Noodlers Ink, LLC

December 21, 2004 - As the smallest ink company in the world, the batches made are often as low as 20 bottles (especially for the more costly "Eternal Ink" line). There can be as much as a 5% variation in some of the more complex colors - and Ottoman Azure is one of the most tricky and detailed to make along with Army Green, Kiowa Pecan and Antietam (Antietam has a certain burnt orangy red aspect to it that can be missed even if the batch is off only a fraction of a single percentage point! It also represents a copy of the oldest colored ink bottle in my vintage collection - a dip pen ink from the Civil War era that was rehydrated...the name was chosen for similar reasons as well as historic significance. The Azure likewise is aiming for the tiles of the famous Blue Mosque in Istanbul - not quite a lapis, not a turquoise, not an ocean or sky blue...but a shade unto itself - and being that it is matched by hand and not by computer there is a potential of a 5% variance in my estimation).

Navajo Turquoise is the brightest blue...if "bright" is what you are after. Navy is nowhere near as waterproof as Legal Lapis - which is also impervious to UV light, & Navy is a replica of a 1930s Navy ink made for a local drug chain by the Old Colony Ink Co. of Massachusetts - a deep/darker blue with faint turquoise tingeing.

I'm also pleased to say that Noodler's: Black, Zhivago, Blue-Black, Walnut, Aircorps Blue-Black, Eternal Brown and Legal Lapis.....ALL were graded as "Bulletproof" past sixty-six days of testing.

From my own experience: Noodler's Black can also be tested against bleach and 90 days of sun (provided the cellulose paper stands up to it before reverting to pulp mush)... ;-) If you have seen the check forgery tests - you know how extreme they are... Ballpoint pens are worthless within the first 8 seconds of those tests - rinsing off with either acetone or alcohol before one's eyes.

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