Review: Birmingham Inks Edgar T. Steel Works (Coking Coal Black)


I’ve been using this ink for a week and it’s about time to write a short review. What surprised me most when I was only beginning to explore different kinds of inks for fountain pens is that not all black inks are alike. I’ve come across several interesting black inks like Diamine Onyx, which has some subtle hints of purple. My least favorite is Parker Quink which seems so diluted and has terrible flow with most of my pens. It seems weird to review black ink, but if you look closely enough, different kinds of black ink do look…different.

Birmingham Inks Edgar T Steel Works (Coking Coal Black)

So, Birmingham Inks’ Coking Coal Black. While wet, I had the impression that it was a bit on the warm side. A little purplish brown. As it dries, the color develops to a more slate grey hue. It reminds me of the color of the core of a pencil. Under certain lights, it reminds me of the color of nori wrap. I wouldn’t say that it’s highly saturated, it doesn’t look jet black and it doesn’t look “thick” on paper, like J. Herbin’s Perle Noir. It doesn’t look watered-down either. For a dark-colored ink, it certainly shows some nice shading which highlights different gradations of gray. There’s a slight hint of purple, too.

The flow is really nice, it flows moderately wet in a medium nib. The pen glides on paper while using the ink, I like the flow a lot. It dries relatively fast, too. About 10-15 seconds. It’s definitely not too water resistant, only leaving behind a faint purplish line after 30 seconds of soaking in drops of water. Overall, it’s a pretty nice coal-black ink. Here are some closeups of the writing sample:

Birmingham Inks Edgar T Steel Works (Coking Coal Black)

Birmingham Inks Edgar T Steel Works (Coking Coal Black)

Birmingham Inks Edgar T Steel Works (Coking Coal Black)

Birmingham Inks Edgar T Steel Works (Coking Coal Black)

Birmingham Inks Edgar T Steel Works (Coking Coal Black)

Birmingham Inks Edgar T Steel Works (Coking Coal Black)

Birmingham inks are available at Everything Calligraphy.

Review: Birmingham Inks Smithfield St. Bridge – Truss Blue


Here’s another blue Birmingham Ink that I’ve been using for the past few days. It’s Smithfield St. Bridge (Truss Blue). This is another dark blue ink, which looks conservative and behaves pretty well.

Birmingham Inks - Smithfield St. Bridge - Truss Blue

It’s a bit dark when wet, reminds me of the color of Tsuki-yo, but it seems to get a bit lighter as it dries. I used a Waterman Gentleman with a fine nib for this writing sample. It’s a wet, European fine nib, though. I’m very much pleased that the ink flowed so well, even in a fine nib. The drying time is a little over 5 seconds, and the flow is moderate to wet. I like that it’s a very well-behaved ink, it doesn’t feather a lot and it doesn’t clog up even if I don’t use the pen for a few days. Even with a fine nib, I love that it still shows beautiful shading.

The color is dark blue, and it’s not a crazy blue with sheen or anything like that. It’s a straight up blue that’s nicely saturated and conservative-looking enough for you to use even at work. You probably can’t use sheen-y, shimmer-y inks for official documents, but this kind of blue can be a staple for everyday writing.

It’s not water-resistant, though it leaves behind a faint but noticeable purple line. Here are a few close ups of the writing sample:

Birmingham Inks - Smithfield St. Bridge - Truss Blue

Birmingham Inks - Smithfield St. Bridge - Truss Blue

Birmingham Inks - Smithfield St. Bridge - Truss Blue

Birmingham Inks - Smithfield St. Bridge - Truss Blue

Birmingham Inks - Smithfield St. Bridge - Truss Blue

Birmingham Inks - Smithfield St. Bridge - Truss Blue

Birmingham Inks - Smithfield St. Bridge - Truss Blue

Birmingham inks are available at Everything Calligraphy.