A blue ink standard?

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j-la...@neiu.edu

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Apr 20, 2001, 3:33:54 PM4/20/01
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To all the ink mavens out there, just an idle question.

My impression is that black ink was the standard, back in the days of
only having fp's, or even feather quills.

Was it with the introduction of the ballpoint (pardon the term) that
somehow blue ink became a standard? If I buy a ballpoint pen that
takes refills, it always comes with a blue ink refill. If I prefer
black ink in my ballpoint or rollerball, I have to buy a separate
refill, and throw out the blue that came with the pen.

I've noticed that all my life (only about the last 120 years), and
have always wondered.

If there is an answer, it's probably in the minds of the
manufacturers. Maybe it's one of those, "Everybody else does it, so
we should too."

OTOH, on some brands of bp refills (like Cross, in my experience) the
blue refills write smoothly, but the black ink has smoothness and
color density problems. Maybe, just maybe, there's something in the
materials of the ink that makes blue a more consistent performer than
black.
...


Karen Afton

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Apr 20, 2001, 4:11:07 PM4/20/01
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might be relevant or not, but a related observation: carts that are
included with FP purchase in the US come in black, while those
from europe come in blue. for example, low end sheaffers have
jet black carts, while watermen come with florida blue ones.
einv (from home)

Fdu...@aol.com

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Apr 20, 2001, 4:37:53 PM4/20/01
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j-la...@neiu.edu wrote:
>
> My impression is that black ink was the standard, back in the days of
> only having fp's, or even feather quills.
>
> Was it with the introduction of the ballpoint (pardon the term) that
> somehow blue ink became a standard? If I buy a ballpoint pen that
> takes refills, it always comes with a blue ink refill. If I prefer
> black ink in my ballpoint or rollerball, I have to buy a separate
> refill, and throw out the blue that came with the pen.
> If there is an answer, it's probably in the minds of the
> manufacturers. Maybe it's one of those, "Everybody else does it, so
> we should too."
> OTOH, on some brands of bp refills (like Cross, in my experience) the
> blue refills write smoothly, but the black ink has smoothness and
> color density problems. Maybe, just maybe, there's something in the
> materials of the ink that makes blue a more consistent performer than
> black.


I'd say blue was the standard at least since the 1930s. The main reason
being it washes out easier from clothes and more important it is harder
to copy, or at least was harder to copy on older copiers. So there is
little chance of mixing up a copy from an original with an original in
blue and a copy in black and/or the signature in black. Many lawyers
and others in the government and law only use blue for that reason. I
have never used black at all in my life, nor with the exception of
school where it was the standard (Skrip Washable Black, in fact) have
the vast majority of fountain pen users used I've known used anything
other than blue or blue blaack. I can tell you locally blue outsold
black by at least 4 to one even in the mid to late 1950s. Black ink
seldom can perform as well as blue since the dyes are different and
stronger and may contain things like carbon which is hard to make flow
properly. One brief florish of black popularity was WW2 when it was
required for Vmail, which of course was a photo copy process, and
therefore blue didn't copy well. I can also tell you that blue was
almost always the ink that came in the cartridges sold with almost any
cartridge pen before the 1970s. I'd say that about at least 95% of the
time. Black or even blue/black cartridges almost always had to be
purchased seperately. Standard was to give a cartridge pen with the
pourchase of 12 cartridges for 98cents. (Dicscounted locally to
68cents) So it was cheaper to buy a new pen just to get the 12 blue
cartridges than ever buy cartridges themselves. Wearever even uped it
to 14 cartridges around 1960 for 68cents with a free pen. And a well
made nice performing transparent barrel pen at that. Frank

FDubiel

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Apr 20, 2001, 4:55:42 PM4/20/01
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>might be relevant or not, but a related observation: carts that are
>included with FP purchase in the US come in black, while those
>from europe come in blue. for example, low end sheaffers have
>jet black carts, while watermen come with florida blue ones. einv >

I've noticed this as well, which is an exact oposite from the way they used to
be sold back in the 50s thru 70s. Kinda dumb on pen companies part IMHO, but
many things they do defy logic in the last 20 years. Cross especially had
major problem with all their black carrtdiges supplied from Pelikan some years
ago resulting in virtually all pens they made skipping like crazy due to the
bad ink therin. Had they shipped em with blue the problem would not have been
as bad and at least limited to those that bought black cartridges, but since
the blacks came with the pen these pens simply didn't work when first tried
with the enclosed cartridges. It seems Pelikan shipped millions of cartridges
and quite a bit bottled black as well with too little or no wetting agent in
the ink which simply made it impossible to flow properly in any pen. The
problem was eventually corrected but at a huge money loss to Cross for returned
pens. Frank

john cline ii

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Apr 20, 2001, 6:04:41 PM4/20/01
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<Fdu...@aol.com> wrote in part:

> I'd say blue was the standard at least since the 1930s. The main
reason
> being it washes out easier from clothes and more important it is
harder
> to copy, or at least was harder to copy on older copiers. So there
is
> little chance of mixing up a copy from an original with an original
in
> blue and a copy in black and/or the signature in black. Many
lawyers
> and others in the government and law only use blue for that reason.

As an attorney working for the Feds, I can speak to this. I started
as a government attorney in 1981. The then correspondence manual
REQUIRED the use of BLACK for signatures. Some time in the past ten
years, most government attorneys have switched to blue, about the same
time, ironically, as colour copiers became much more common and much
more accurate!

Also, the use of fountain pens was STRONGLY frowned upon when I
started. That is no longer the case.

john cline ii who suspects soon enough many legal documents will be
electronically signed, sigh....


Robert Rothman

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Apr 20, 2001, 6:18:32 PM4/20/01
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I suspect there was a time when the legal profession paid some attention
to things like photostatic reproducibility and longevity of ink used for
document signatures, but that's largely a thing of the past. In two decades
and probably several million documents worth of legal practice, I have never
run into a lawyer who cared about ink color. A very few lawyers recommend
"document pens" (ballpoints which are supposed to have greater archival
stability) for wills and the like, but I think even that is very much the
exception rather than the rule. In a complicated corporate closing, where
something in excess of a thousand separate signatures may be required in
order to make a deal happen, the last thing anybody worries about is the pen
or ink used to apply those signatures.

Then again, I suspect that many of my colleagues are totally unaware
that ink is available in different colors--even when they see it right on a
page in front of them.

As a matter of personal preference, I always used to use nothing but
black extra-fine ballpoints. When I bought my first fountain pen, I filled
it with blue-black ink because, for no real reason that I can point to, it
just seemed to me to be more in keeping with the character of a fountain pen
than black ink. Currently, on any given day, I carry one pen filled with
blue or blue-black and one pen filled with black (although when I'm feeling
flighty I sometimes substitute red for the black).

RPR

Fdu...@aol.com wrote in message <3AE09E...@aol.com>...

RAClifford

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Apr 20, 2001, 7:23:35 PM4/20/01
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>I suspect there was a time when the legal profession paid some attention
>to things like photostatic reproducibility and longevity of ink used for
>document signatures, but that's largely a thing of the past.

I haved been told, (only that) that in fact due to the quality of photocopying
now, that blue ink is a qiuick way to determine the originals.

Burt Janz

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Apr 20, 2001, 7:24:21 PM4/20/01
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Fdu...@aol.com wrote:
> blue and a copy in black and/or the signature in black. Many lawyers
> and others in the government and law only use blue for that reason. I

Frank,

The US Military requires blue/black or black ink on *all* documents.

Blue is frowned upon simply *because* it can't be copied. You won't
find any documents, statements, ship's logs, or other official paperwork
using blue ink. Just black or blue/black.

I'm right on this one, Frank: I was in the Navy for 10 years... and
still have a box of Skilcraft black "US GOVERNMENT" pens in my closet...

\burt

--
Burt Janz 603-880-0482 voice
CCS New England, Inc.
bj...@earthlink.net
http://home.earthlink.net/~bjanz

"There is no such thing as bad weather - only inappropriate clothing."

do...@mail.com

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Apr 20, 2001, 8:44:30 PM4/20/01
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om> wrote in message news:3AE09E...@aol.com...

Mike W

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Apr 20, 2001, 9:03:28 PM4/20/01
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nice thread!
Lots of tid bits in there!

mini tanks eveyone

Fdu...@aol.com

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Apr 20, 2001, 8:57:16 PM4/20/01
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Burt Janz wrote:

> The US Military requires blue/black or black ink on *all* documents.
>
> Blue is frowned upon simply *because* it can't be copied. You won't
> find any documents, statements, ship's logs, or other official paperwork
> using blue ink. Just black or blue/black.
>
> I'm right on this one, Frank: I was in the Navy for 10 years... and
> still have a box of Skilcraft black "US GOVERNMENT" pens in my closet...

I think you misread what I said or I didn't express it clearly. By your
standards it would, in some cases not be possible to tell a copied
signed document from an original signed document, at least not with a
quick inspection and in the case of a top quality copy not without a
very throuogh lab inspection. The military is not the same a buying a
house, or any other simple legal document where back in the 1930s thru
60s it was often signed in blue for the very reason it could NOT be
easily copied to therefore tell if any document was actually a SIGNED
document and not just a copy of such. In fact some blue inks were
clearly labled at the time as "non-reproducing blue for legal
documents." Some legal documents were even printed in blue ink to avoid
copying. In my original post I even alluded to some milatary uses like
Vmail where black ink was required. So you are, I'm sure correct when
it comes to a ships log using black ink. But I'm not sure in the 30s
thru 1950s a billl of sale for a ship to say a scrap yard would be
signed in black ink. At any rate, this is one of those rather aimless
threads than can only end up with--use whatever color ink your want.
Frank

Reuben S. Pitts III

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Apr 20, 2001, 8:22:38 PM4/20/01
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Burt Janz wrote:

I have been an engineer with the Navy for 33 years, and have watched the pen
color policy shift from one to another and back again. Before photocopiers,
signatures on official documents were most often in blue, but some commands
wanted either black ballpoint or "permanent black" fountain pen ink. With
the early photocopiers, blue did not reproduce well, so there was a black
ink mandate to ensure signature legibility on the copies. Today, many
documents have fine print in parentheses indicating "(please use black
ink)", but no one enforces it. I assume the reason is that the copiers can
reproduce blue as well as they can black. I produce several dozen
"official" signatures each week, and my pens are filled with Pelikan Royal
Blue, Aurora Blue, Waterman Florida Blue, etc. So far, no one has come to
take me away. However, I expect a new policy most any day now (just because
there has not been a recent change---wouldn't want our government to be
stagnant, would we?).

Reuben

j-la...@neiu.edu

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Apr 20, 2001, 10:32:21 PM4/20/01
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><Fdu...@aol.com> wrote in part:


Same here. In opposiion to Frank's post (not that I would EVER be
opposite to Frank :)

In past decades, as a state employee, we were required to use black
ink on all official forms, so that they COULD be copied clearly.
Hence my initroduction to the irritation of having to buy a black
refill every time I bought a new pen (or even got one from the office
supply closet) that invariably came with blue.

I was just reminded of this today when cleaning out an old desk drawer
(actually, the drawer of an onld desk), and came upon a load of blue
refills, of several brands. A pen ran out, I'd get a new one from the
supply closet, and still have to go out to the drugstore on my own
time and expense and buy a black refill.

Even years back I was enough of a self-designed snob to boycott Bic,
but ballpoints were still necessary to write through carbon-pack
government forms.


fdu...@aol.com

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Apr 20, 2001, 11:11:56 PM4/20/01
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On Sat, 21 Apr 2001 02:32:21 GMT, j-la...@neiu.edu () wrote:
)
>
>In past decades, as a state employee, we were required to use black
>ink on all official forms, so that they COULD be copied clearly.
>Hence my initroduction to the irritation of having to buy a black
>refill every time I bought a new pen (or even got one from the office
>supply closet) that invariably came with blue.
>
For the third time I will explain the above assumes the documents are
DESIGNED to be easily copied in which case common sense has always
required the use of black ink and probably always should. My point
was and is about signed specific legal documents that were desgined
NOT to be copied. Many ORIGINAL signed documents must be easily
indentified as such vs a copy of same. I was, and am, only talking
about certain critical documents that require an easy way to ID an
original signature from a copied signature. But yes, its also true
that such rules are seldom enforced. Iin some countries there was
also a requirement that ONLY iron-gall ink be used for signatures on
certain doucments. Again, its a rule seldom enforced and by today
most such rules have gone by the wayside. FD

BARRY R

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Apr 20, 2001, 11:30:59 PM4/20/01
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One more tid bit.

I'm a physician, and like most docs I use black ink at work because there's
a general belief that we're supposed to (I never actually confirmed it). I
always assumed that the reason was so that the chart would reproduce well,
although I do occasionally see other colors (rarely anything other than
blue).

Anyway, now that I've taking to writing with FPs with such gusto, I'll have
to talk to medical records and find out the regs (although, it'll probably
be hard to get a straight answer). Maybe I'll mix up something nice.

"Mike W" <mik...@mindspring.com> wrote in message
news:9bqlrr$q6b$1...@slb4.atl.mindspring.net...

Tim McNamara

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Apr 21, 2001, 1:05:17 AM4/21/01
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In article <9bqutt$40o4$1...@newssvr05-en0.news.prodigy.com>, BARRY R
<BAR...@prodigy.net> wrote:

> One more tid bit.
>
> I'm a physician, and like most docs I use black ink at work because there's
> a general belief that we're supposed to (I never actually confirmed it). I
> always assumed that the reason was so that the chart would reproduce well,
> although I do occasionally see other colors (rarely anything other than
> blue).
>
> Anyway, now that I've taking to writing with FPs with such gusto, I'll have
> to talk to medical records and find out the regs (although, it'll probably
> be hard to get a straight answer). Maybe I'll mix up something nice.

If there's a reg about ink color it will be from HCFA or Medicare. No
one else in health care (other than medical records departments) seems
bothered by it. I've been writing in charts for years with whatever
color I have in my pen and no one has ever said "boo" to me about it.

Nurses had a specific tradition of chart notes in black, medication
notes (e.g., orders) in red. I suppose that was to make the latter
stand out for the docs when doing rounds. Many manufacturer's pen sets
for nurses included one for red ink, one for black ink with some sort
of coding on the pen cap to tell which was which, and possibly also a
fake pen holding a thermometer.

john cline ii

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Apr 21, 2001, 5:17:19 AM4/21/01
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<j-la...@neiu.edu> wrote in part:

> In past decades, as a state employee, we were required to use black
> ink on all official forms, so that they COULD be copied clearly.
> Hence my initroduction to the irritation of having to buy a black
> refill every time I bought a new pen (or even got one from the
office
> supply closet) that invariably came with blue.
>
> I was just reminded of this today when cleaning out an old desk
drawer
> (actually, the drawer of an onld desk), and came upon a load of blue
> refills, of several brands. A pen ran out, I'd get a new one from
the
> supply closet, and still have to go out to the drugstore on my own
> time and expense and buy a black refill.
>
> Even years back I was enough of a self-designed snob to boycott Bic,
> but ballpoints were still necessary to write through carbon-pack
> government forms.

GIGGLESNORT! While you, Lattie, were out buying things other than
Bics, we at the Federal Government were supplied with great hordes of
Skilcraft black barrel ballpoint pens. Pens which gooped at the
slightest provocation. A goop-goop here, a goop-goop there, here a
goop, there a goop, everywhere a goop-goop (sung to the tune of Old
MacDonald).

My first manager was a piece of work right out of A Christmas Carol.
Insisted that I use the Government pens, and not my own. There was no
such rule in reality, but he thought there was. And in my early days,
I subscribed to the Lyndon Baines Johnson theory: To get along you
have to go along...

Well, I owned ONE expensive shirt. VERY expensive. For me at least.
Even still, I think it was the most expensive shirt I have ever owned.
I had bought it for an interview with McDonalds in Oak Brook right
after law school. It had not performed its goal, to get me a job
there! It was an ivory coloured Halston, came from J C Penney
(remember THAT?). In a small move to be different, I insisted on
using the white barrelled stick pens from Skilcraft (all Skilcraft
writing instruments, then and now, except for the black barrelled
retractables (which also come in red and blue, but are seldom seen,
and a version without the retractor at the top, which is even less
seen nowadays) are direct copies of someone else's pens/pencils).
Nowadays I suspect some are even made by the manufacturer whose pen
they emulate. (Skilcraft pens are produced in sheltered workshops by
handicapped or otherwise disadvantaged individuals. They also
make/sell clocks and other office products.)

So, anyway, I have a white barrel stick Skilcraft pen with black ink
in my Halston shirt (100% polyester, shiny as heck and stunk to high
heavens) pocket. I go out on a real estate closing and reach in my
suit pocket to pull out the pen only to bring back a goopy pen covered
with black ballpoint pen ink, and look inside to find, to my horror, a
huge black stain on the shirt.

When I got back from the closing, I marched into the bosses office and
LOUDLY informed him that I would never use Government pens again
unless he bought my shirt. He was a terribly cheap man, and I knew I
would be allowed use my own pens! Nirvana, at the expense of about
$40. Try as I may I could never get the ink out of that shirt. Years
later, after I had lost about 100 pounds (most of which has sadly been
regained), a drycleaner got it out for me. Yes, I had tried the hair
spray thing, but it hadn't worked! By the time the shirt would fit
again, it was woefully out of style! And since leaving his office, I
use Government pens if I feel like it, which I don't very often.

So why the gigglesnort above? Many of our forms back then required
the use of ballpoints. And we got deeds signed by landowners, who you
sure didn't want using your fountain pens, for many reasons! Back
then, ONLY Skilcraft pens and pencils were supplied to us. Pentel
pencils, particularly, were definitely out, under the Buy American
Act. So while you were out buying black ballpoint refills, I was out
haunting office supply stores buying ballpoint pens and Pentel refill
lead, many times the pens were those same Bics that many others seem
to abhor. I love Bic pens. They are a well made product and have
their place. I also love my Watermen, Sheaffers, Parkers, Lamys, etc.
But I NEVER diss Bic! For many, many years I ALWAYS carried at least
one Bic Clic and one orange barrelled fine point Stic, usually black.

Somehow I like the mental picture of Lattie out buying black ball
point refills and cline out buying Bic pens! Kind of silly that both
places would not buy what the employees needed/wanted for supplies.
But that is the way it was. Things have improved drastically on the
supplies side since, at least at the Federal agencies. A lot of the
older fuss budgets who had all these rules (many of which only existed
in their own head) have since retired. I am sure, though, that
someone under me and the rest of us sees US as those old hide bound
fuss budgets that THEY can't wait to see retire! That is the way life
is!

john cline ii who nowadays has a reputation for being that somewhat
eccentric attorney who carries four or five fountain pens at a time,
has a pocket full of Bic pens, and usually is out riding rolley
coasters somewhere or other most weekends!


Tetractys

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Apr 21, 2001, 8:32:09 AM4/21/01
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Reuben S. Pitts III wrote:

> I was in the Navy for 10 years... and still have
> a box of Skilcraft black "US GOVERNMENT"
> pens in my closet...

So you're the reason taxes are so high!

Anyway, I was in the publishing bidness at one time,
and we used "non-repro" blue for markups, of course.

One mfg co I worked for had a corporate policy that
all internal forms had to be printed in brown ink so
one could tell a copy. A side benny of this was the
filled-in parts were easy to see.

so what

unread,
Apr 21, 2001, 10:37:56 AM4/21/01
to
I work at a facility for troubled children (no, they are NOT related to me),
but I am just a mental health tech (transsation: just try to keep the mayhem
down). Everyone *has to* chart in black (except in charts for those residents
who are on suicide precaution, that's charted in red), so I just use a black
gel pen for work. I do not use black ink except at work.


>Nurses had a specific tradition of chart notes in black, medication
>notes (e.g., orders) in red. I suppose that was to make the latter
>stand out for the docs when doing rounds. Many manufacturer's pen sets
>for nurses included one for red ink, one for black ink with some sort
>of coding on the pen cap to tell which was which, and possibly also a
>fake pen holding a thermometer.


delete 1.

Satrap
titanic cruise? I think not!
much safer on a ruby yacht

Reuben S. Pitts III

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Apr 21, 2001, 12:29:54 PM4/21/01
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Tetractys wrote:

Ouch!! I'm really insulted. Not because you accused me of being the
reason your taxes are so high, but because you might think I would use
one of those gov'ment Skilcraft pens. Yucchh!!! Somewhere else in this
thread John Cline II eloquently described the goop-goop nature of those
little black pens from hell. I'm just enough of a pen snob that I
absolutely refuse to use one. The quote you attributed to me was really
me quoting Burt Janz who can defend himself for stooping to use the
little goopers. On second thought, maybe he was hiding them from his
shipmates to save them from themselves . . . I'm in John Cline's
camp---I became a pen subversive to avoid stained shirts and big globs
of ink that smear anytime sheets of paper rub together. Like John, I
was always irritated that our office couldn't even supply Bics, only
Skilcrafts. Like John, my younger subordinates consider me somewhat of
an eccentric because I always have a matching FP, BP, and Pencil in my
pocket. Now that I think about it, I'm saving you tax money because I
don't raid office supplies for pens, pencils, erasers, or legal pads (I
use Ampad Gold Fibre, which I buy myself).

Another issue more to the point of the NG. Does anyone know what makes
those cheap Skilcraft pens goop-goop so badly? Is it poor fit between
the ball and the refill tip, or is it some characteristic of the ink?
Maybe both??

Reuben

john cline ii

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Apr 21, 2001, 2:08:44 PM4/21/01
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"Reuben S. Pitts III" wrote in part:

> Another issue more to the point of the NG. Does anyone know what makes
> those cheap Skilcraft pens goop-goop so badly? Is it poor fit between
> the ball and the refill tip, or is it some characteristic of the ink?
> Maybe both??

My guess is the former. I am sure they were made to exacting
specifications, probably 126 pages of them, for the General Services
Administration. Interestingly, more recent examples are no longer gloss
black, but matte black in barrel. They claim to be made of recycled
materials (knowing our luck, probably Vacs and Maximas). Also, the refills
are now plastic shelled. Alas, they still goop. The best place to find
them is the Post Office, which, as we all know, is an independent
quasi-Federal agency. What this means is that when it is convenient to
management to claim they are a government agency, they do; and when it is
not, they claim to be commercial!

john cline ii who saw nothing wrong with using tax dollars to subsidise the
one service most taxpayers actually appreciated (except, of course, the
bulk, (er, junk) mail)

j-la...@neiu.edu

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Apr 21, 2001, 3:04:09 PM4/21/01
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"Reuben S. Pitts III" <rpi...@va.prestige.net> wrote:

--------SNIP------


>pocket. Now that I think about it, I'm saving you tax money because I
>don't raid office supplies for pens, pencils, erasers, or legal pads (I
>use Ampad Gold Fibre, which I buy myself).

Like Rueben, I buy my own supplies -- pens, pencils, esp. paper, and
even paperclips that don't tear the paper! I used to have a problem
of colleagues who knew I paid for this stuff myself still raiding my
office for supplies. So I had the resident locksmith put a new lock
on one file cabinet where I kept my treasure horde. One new secretary
(innocently?) got the same locksmith to make for her a copy of the key
to my cabinet. Harrumph!! That civil service type did not get
renewed at the end of her probationary period. <snap>

j-la...@neiu.edu

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Apr 21, 2001, 3:27:07 PM4/21/01
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Fdu...@aol.com wrote:

>Burt Janz wrote:


Well, maybe this thread strayed to the side of "rather aimless." But
I started it even stating that this was an idle question from an idle
mind. I work for the government, so I'm supposed to be idle and
aimless. My research record proves that.

But actually, while we veered off to the side on government forms and
official signatures, what I was really idly speculating about was not
required colors to use, but, rather, why most of the pens, of all
types, on store shelves, usually come with blue ink. There had to
have been a tradition started, somewhere.

OTOH, my own simple-minded guess is that, just perhaps, blue is easier
to manufacture, or less likely to goop-clog-skip than black.

My present department chair, a Persian lady, just loves the color
purple (ink, not the movie). We keep that color in stock in all forms,
and many of us have taken to using purple ink. And as a bunch of
psychologists, we tend to avoid using red to mark up student papers
(non-threatening and all, donchaknow).

When I had to do the annual proofreading of our section of the
university catalog, I used purple instead of the traditional red.
The dean's secretary piously returned my sheets to me with a note
saying the corrections are "required" to be done in red -- do it over.
(Of course, I suspect her real problem is that she doesn't understand
standard editing proofreader's symbols, but the people in the print
shop do know them.)

I sent the package, including her note, to her boss, the dean, with a
formal memo requesting to know (1) Why is my time being wasted like
this? and (2) is this secretary allowed to presume to give me orders
such as this, speaking in the name of the dean? The documents were
accepted and I received an official apology. <meow>

Oh yes, the dean is also a Persian lady. I wander if purple is some
sort of national or traditional color. I should ask them some day.

Oops, I strayed off the thread myself! :)

SteveE

unread,
Apr 21, 2001, 3:27:41 PM4/21/01
to

> "Reuben S. Pitts III" <rpi...@va.prestige.net> wrote:
>
> --------SNIP------
> >pocket. Now that I think about it, I'm saving you tax money because I
> >don't raid office supplies for pens, pencils, erasers, or legal pads (I
> >use Ampad Gold Fibre, which I buy myself).
>
>
Also like Reuben and Lattie, I buy many of my own supplies -- and I'm in
"corporate" America. I work at a small metal fabricator, supplier to the
auto and electronics industries. Since I do not like the legal pads we buy
for the office (generic, recycled, etc.), I buy the ones I want and pay for
my excess myself. I think of it this way, "Since I supply my own pen, ink
and paper, then they shouldn't feel they have control over what I write!"

In reality, I feel that if I wanted to use their supplies, I could. But
since I choose to purchase to a "higher standard" I will pay my own way. A
small price to pay for the feel of a good FP, writing with good ink on high
quality paper.

SteveE

j-la...@neiu.edu

unread,
Apr 21, 2001, 3:29:39 PM4/21/01
to
Tim McNamara <tim...@bitstream.net> wrote:

If they make a mistake and try to write with the thermometer, is the
resulting text brown?

<quickly running back to a room, any room>

Burt Janz

unread,
Apr 21, 2001, 4:00:43 PM4/21/01
to
john cline ii wrote:
>
> "Reuben S. Pitts III" wrote in part:
>
> > Another issue more to the point of the NG. Does anyone know what makes
> > those cheap Skilcraft pens goop-goop so badly? Is it poor fit between
> > the ball and the refill tip, or is it some characteristic of the ink?
> > Maybe both??
>
> My guess is the former. I am sure they were made to exacting
> specifications, probably 126 pages of them, for the General Services
> Administration.

Weeelllll.... not really.

All kidding aside, folks: Skilcraft employed ('cuz I don't know if
they're still around) disabled, autistic, and retarded (Down's syndrome)
employees to run the injection molders, make the refills, assemble the
pens, and put 'em in the boxes. Rather honorable work for those who
were mainly *ignored* by society. Kudos to Skilcraft for doing this.

Flip side: Skilcraft got *huge* subsidies and tax breaks from the
gov-uh-mint to do this. Kudos to them for being *paid* for it... ;-)

(At one point, my father ran a shop doing contract work specifically
oriented to hire handicapped people. He learned sign language... and
said that they were probably the most willing, nice, and polite people
he had ever worked with. One Downs syndrome guy hugged him several
times a day. Dad sometimes came home crying...)

The ink in those pens is real gunk... and still writes after 12 years in
the box!!! Just tested one to make sure. These are the old style,
brass refill type. Maybe the ink is gunk, but it doesn't go bad "in the
jar" -- maybe *that* was part of the specification. What I do know is
this: Navy warehouses are mostly *not* temperature controlled, neither
are shipboard supply compartments. Heck, any unused void (empty space)
is used for something onboard a ship. Over the years, I had occasion to
withdraw pens from supply, and I can't remember ever opening a box of
pens that didn't work properly. Stored right-side up, upside-down,
sideways, frozen, almost melted... didn't matter. They almost always
worked.

Maybe the specs worked?

Why did I keep the last box? First, they cost something like $1.79 in
1980 dollars, so I didn't feel like the Navy was losing anything --
wanna know what they were *paying* me to be a radar/crypto/satcom repair
technician?? I figgered the least they owed me was a box of pens...

Standing Navy orders in 1982 (when I got out) was that blue/black or
black was to be used on all official documentation *including
signatures*. Sure, you could use blue on anything you wanted... but
you'd be disciplined for using anything other than blue/black or black
on official documentation.

Working with the Navy, being a contractor, a civvie, or just working on
base *is not the same thing as being an enlisted member*! Don't think
it's the same thing - it ain't. Trust me on this: I've seen it from
*both* sides, and I was treated *much* better as a civvie than as an
enlisted. Heck, I got away with stuff as a civvie that'd get me
keelhauled as a blackshoe!!!

Burt Janz

unread,
Apr 21, 2001, 4:02:43 PM4/21/01
to
BARRY R wrote:
>
> One more tid bit.
>
> I'm a physician, and like most docs I use black ink at work because there's
> a general belief that we're supposed to (I never actually confirmed it). I
> always assumed that the reason was so that the chart would reproduce well,
> although I do occasionally see other colors (rarely anything other than
> blue).
>
> Anyway, now that I've taking to writing with FPs with such gusto, I'll have
> to talk to medical records and find out the regs (although, it'll probably
> be hard to get a straight answer). Maybe I'll mix up something nice.

Oh man... I can see it now... something.... red..... ;-)

Eric

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Apr 21, 2001, 8:50:29 PM4/21/01
to

Burt Janz wrote:
>
> BARRY R wrote:
> >
> > One more tid bit.
> >
> > I'm a physician, and like most docs I use black ink at work because there's
> > a general belief that we're supposed to (I never actually confirmed it). I
> > always assumed that the reason was so that the chart would reproduce well,
> > although I do occasionally see other colors (rarely anything other than
> > blue).

Medicare does in fact require black. Used to be they thought only black
copied well. Now it's just another pointless rule, used to determine
the "quality" of your medical care.
-Eric

Tim McNamara

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Apr 21, 2001, 11:44:06 PM4/21/01
to
In article <falE6.1089$yW2....@ord-read.news.verio.net>,
<j-la...@neiu.edu> wrote:

> When I had to do the annual proofreading of our section of the
> university catalog, I used purple instead of the traditional red.
> The dean's secretary piously returned my sheets to me with a note
> saying the corrections are "required" to be done in red -- do it over.
> (Of course, I suspect her real problem is that she doesn't understand
> standard editing proofreader's symbols, but the people in the print
> shop do know them.)

Heh. The print shops I have worked with required a specific blue
pencil that was to be used for all proof corrections because stray
marks wouldn't be picked up in the copying/printing process.

Kurt A. Elting-Ballard

unread,
Apr 24, 2001, 7:13:00 PM4/24/01
to
So am I. I use blue quite frequently.

keb

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