It has been awhile – I have been super busy over the last month and had no time. I admire those that can generate output / reviews on a daily basis, I work 60+ hours a week so this has to be fitted in wherever and there has been no wherever for some weeks, that is part of the reason I am reviewing three inks at once.
Online is a German company founded in 1991. At the time the term online didn’t have the same meaning it has today it was supposed to reference writing. The company has stuck with the name and though they are well known in Germany it is only recently they have started to be mentioned elsewhere. For quite some time it has been hard to buy any of their products but there are a few US companies selling their pens such as the Penchalet. If you are interested in Online I would recommend looking at Founteinfeder – very very reasonably priced and free postage.
I came across some Online products whilst in Thailand recently. I bought a pen very similar to a Faber Castell ambition however the best part was being able to buy some of their ink. The pen did not come with a converter and the shop didn’t have any so I bought some cartridges as well as bottled ink and I will start with the Cartridges.
I think the name of the ink is self explanatory – Nachtblau translates to nightblue however that is being a little too literal as it should really be midnight blue. As the name suggest this is dark dark dark.
However, let us come back to the cartridges for a moment. I really like these as they are dual ended. As you can see from the following picture they can be used in both a Lamy and a pen that takes a standard international cartridge. I think this is a brilliant idea.
I am not sure how much I paid for these but they are currently €1.59 a packet at Fountainfeder.
As I was squeezing a cartridge to get the ink out for this I didn’t end up doing a swatch on Tomoe river but did use my col-o-ring.
From the following pictures you will see the writing experience is different it is very much a dark blue-black ink.
On Tomoe it is not quick drying, I managed to smear my writing when testing drying time. The writing colour was similar on Rhodia.
It was only on Midori paper it approached the colour seen on the col-o-ring.
This has to be the briefest of reviews for an ink I have ever done. I am not a fan of the ink colour – there are five other colours available though they are fairly standard i.e. green, turquoise, purple etc. The only attraction for me with these cartridges is the price and that they are dual ended, colourwise very uninspiring.
This brings me to the two bottled inks I bought. The standard online ink comes in eight colours in 50 or 15ml bottles. The colours on offer are a fairly standard red, green, black, blue, orange, lilac, brown and pink. I wanted to try the inks but no colour grabbed me so I went for the ruby red in a 15ml bottle. As well as the standard inks Online offer eight scented inks cedar wood, chocolate, blueberry, green tea, lavender, rose, cranberry, and lemongrass, these only come in 15ml bottles. Again, colours not that inspiring in the end I chose lavender as I like purple and used to have a De Artramentis lavender ink I loved.
I paid €6.5 for the standard ink (€3.99 on the Online website) and €8 for the scented ink (€4.99 on the Fountainfeder or Online websites).
The 15ml bottles are small glass bottles in a cardboard box with a cutout so you can see which ink is in the box.
Wrapped around the box is a thin strip of cardboard with the name of the ink on it and indicating if it is a scented ink or not.
As I only took pictures of the ruby red ink out of the box I will start with that ink. My last review was of a ruby coloured ink so I would refer you to that to read about rubies.
I think red inks for me are like blue inks – they do nothing for me but I do find them useful for marking up documents – I still prefer to do this with a pen rather than on a computer. This is a red ink!!! It is a red crayon, red colouring pencil coloured red, there is no shading no sheen nothing that lifts it above being red.
Chromatography did reveal some pink but really its just red! It was also quite interesting the way it completely washed out at the bottom as the ink moved up the paper.
On my col-o-ring it showed some promise of being a brilliant and as Online named it, ruby red.
On Tomoe river it looked washed out and this is even more apparent when the two swatches are placed together.
For the writing I started with Rhodia paper. It was red, there was no feathering or show through but nothing exciting about the colour either.
On Tomoe it was brighter than expected based on my previous Tomoe swatch.
Lastly Midori paper.
It is what it is, a red ink that is reasonably priced. It is slow to dry and I am not sure what I will use it for. I am just glad I didn’t buy a 50ml bottle.
Lavender is the common name for the genus Lavandula, of which there are 47 known species. They are flowering plants of the mint family and are native to Africa, Asia and Europe. Lavender is used in the garden, as a herb and for the extraction of essential oils for use in natural medicine. Lavender is everywhere and most would recognise the smell of the plant. The colour lavender is named for the shade of the flowers of Lavandula angustifolia
Opening the bottle the scent was awful, just awful. It smelt soapy, not lavender soap just a generic strong soapy smell. Such disappointment but at least the colour held some hope for a nice purple when writing.
Chromatography was also surprising as it did not seem to be a purple ink but rather a combination of pink, fuchsia and magenta.
The real surprise came when I did swatches on my col-o-ring and Tomoe river paper. They were so different that it looks like two completely different inks.
After the disparate swatches I was intrigued to see how it would write.
I started with Rhodia and thought I might use the ink as its bottle is small and wouldn't take long to get through also I began to find the colour a little more pleasing. From there it was Tomoe river and then Midori by which time I was over the ink again as the scent had become too obvious and it still wasn't nice.
In summary cheap inks, boring colours, badly scented – at least my scented ink was. I am clearly not enamoured of them.
Saturation – high for all three
Shading – no
Sheen - no
Flow - good
Nib dry-out - none
Nib creep – none that I saw
Start-up – had to prime my pens
Feathering – nil on any of the papers used but could be a problem with cheaper writing paper
Drying – depends on the colour but tends to be long
Cleaning – easy
Water resistance – not sold as waterproof but good residual ink after being put under running water.