Saturday, November 12, 2011

Day Eight: Senator Windsor with Bad Blue Heron

For day eight, I had planned to use a completely different pen, an interesting post-war piston filler from Europe. I filled that up with Noodlers Burgundy, settled it down in my pen case, and went outside to write, since it was a nice, warm day. When I got out there, and took out my pen, it didn't appear to have any ink in it, even though I'd just filled it. I'm not sure just what I was going to do, but I began to remove the blind cap to reach the piston knob - and burgundy ink leaked out all over my fingers. It was a fifty year old pen, so it is no surprise the rubber seals finally gave out, but it was a very inconvenient moment. And cost me at least half an hour.

So I grabbed the first pen I could easily reach, and the ink that was closest to hand. The pen turned out to be a German Senator Windsor, a pen that is no longer made but isn't that old. And the ink was Noodlers Bad Blue Heron. The Senator Windsor is an interesting pen, a relatively inexpensive plastic piston filler made sometime around the 1990s.

Although there are many other piston fillers with larger ink capacity, the Windsor holds enough for a day's writing, even when using a wet medium nib, which goes through ink more quickly than a fine or a dry nib would tend to do. The nib on these pens is interesting, in that it appears to be made differently than any other nib I've ever seen. I don't pretend to be a nib expert, so there may be other nibs like this out there, but the nibs on the two Windsors I own are the only nibs I've personally seen like this.

The slit between the tines is thinner than on any other nib I've ever seen. Where most other nibs show a tiny gap of air between the tines, and even the ones that don't seem on the verge of doing so, this appears almost more like a line in the metal than an actual slit. On any other nib, such a narrow gap between the tines would spell trouble, and would require some serious readjustment. But both of these nibs are smooth and wet, and write very nicely. In terms of the writing experience, the Senator Windsor has a lot to teach many much more expensive pens.

For that reason, and the fact that they do hold a fair amount of ink, I'd recommend to any writer who has the opportunity to do so that they pick up a couple of these and take good care of them. They are great everyday writing tools. While they don't have the quality or the flair of most vintage pens, for a fairly modern pen, they are one of the best deals you can get. I don't take the risks with these that I am willing to take with the cheap Chinese pens I own, but they aren't so precious that I don't dare use them except under ideal conditions, so they represent a nice compromise between those extremes.

As for Bad Blue Heron, which is one of Noodlers "Wardens" series of inks, this was the first time I had used it. With the exception of turquoise, I am not a huge fan of blues, and so it took me a while to get around to buying a bottle of this. I'm glad I did; in a single day, it has become one of a handful of inks I'd use for just about any project. The name is very appropriate; it is a nice, dark, muted blue with a distinct shade of grey to it, a real slate blue.

It is also a nice, wet ink that does a great job of lubricating the nib as it slides over the paper. And this is one of Noodlers inks that you can get wet without losing what you've written. So I consider this an ideal ink for every writer, a nice soft colour that is easy on the eyes, safe even if you spill your coffee, and works well. You could use this for a full manuscript, and enjoy a full range of colours for markup, including any good, deep black, or you could mark up a black manuscript, although it might not stand out too sharply in that case.

Altogether, I wrote a total of 2,709 words, for a total so far of 17,576 words. Although I dare not grow complacent - and I'm still struggling hopelessly to catch up with just about everything else - I am still ahead of my target. I don't have a huge margin, but I'm not in any trouble yet. And the further I go, the easier it will become to maintain the momentum of the story, unless something goes drastically wrong. So I'm cautiously optimistic.

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