Pelikan M200/M400 and Rohrer & Klingner Iron-gall-inks (Salix & Scabiosa) – my ideal combos


Since I wrote the text below I have been made aware of that the inks Salix and Scabiosa have some issues in regard to fading over time and being less resistant to light. I have no further details but urge you to take this in consideration, especially if you are planning to use these inks for journals.

I am not a collector of pens and inks per se, but in order to find the ideal combinations for me, I’ve had to try quite a few. I’ve absolutely no interest in having a lot of fancy pens in the drawer or a lot of bottles on the shelves, but I want that special feeling when I reach for the pen in the shirt pocket and put a trail of ink on the paper and can say: Man, this is classy!

Just recently I think I’ve gathered enough experience to share it with you dear Reader.

Paper is a factor that I cannot completely control. I have to use different kinds of paper qualities from Moleskine and ordinary office paper to G.Lalo ”Velin de France”. The settings in which I write are often far from optimal. I often write in a Moleskine while travelling on commuter trains.

When it comes to pens I’ve decided to go for Pelikan M200s, (and a M400 with friction fit nib unit). Sturdy, reliable, with interchangeable nib-units and they hold a more than decent amount of ink. Pelikan is also a brand with excellent customer service and is a company that you can communicate with, both with the HQ in Germany as well as with your national office, at least in Sweden. You can also buy nib units separately. I also love the Sailor Professional Gear series but the ink capcity is to low for my needs and the Sailor Company is not easy to have a deeper corversation with, at least so for me. Yes, I have a PG Realo that I love and that takes a lot of ink, but I don’t want to have an accident with that nib.

I’m now down to three inks. First Im still using Noodler’s BP Black. Someone called it the ”King of Inks”. Excellent permanency, good flow and a minimal tendency for feathering and bleed-through. But it smears badly even when dried, on paper of decent quality that is. It has costed me some trouble over the years. I’m only using it in my edited diary which I can leave open to dry overnight. When this QV Habana in one of the bigger sizes is finished I plan to say goodbye to this ink. Other inks from Noodler’s just don’t attract me or are not an option for one or another reason. J.Herbin inks are classy with good flow but are bleeding through too much to be usable in, for instance, a Moleskine. Just recently I took the plunge to try iron-gall-inks, Rohrer & Klingner Schreibtinte 40-710 ”Scabiosa” and 40-711 ”Salix” to be more precise. These two inks have blown me off my feet. Fast drying, minimal feathering or bleed-through, waterproof, no smearing and looks classy and a bit antique, and with beautiful shading. I need no other inks besides from these two. Period. The Scabiosa is for letters, signing of documents and ”external communication” in general, and the Salix for everything else.

9 responses

  1. I do have Salix, but have not have a chance to try it yet. Scabiosa entirely elevates my writing experience to a whole new level. It is well-behaved, nicely colored, economical, and water resistant. What else can you ask from an ink?


  2. Scabiosa is in competetion with Diamine Bilberry to be my next ink purchase. How does Scabiosa perform in a dry pen such as a Pelikan 200? Can you still see shading with it?


    • Dear Mrs Duffy,
      A handwritten letter to you is next in the pipeline. Next week I´ll be working away from home and hope to send the next Scabiosa-written letter to you by then.
      First I don’t regard the M200 to be a dry pen in general but I think that Scabiosa works best with a pen with a generous flow. Too dry and thin line lacks the shading and don’t get the rich brown-purple color when dried.



  3. Lennart,

    I am again pulled pulled into a philosophy such as yours of, “I’ve absolutely no interest in having a lot of fancy pens in the drawer or a lot of bottles on the shelves, but I want that special feeling when I reach for the pen in the shirt pocket and put a trail of ink on the paper and can say: Man, this is classy!”.

    I’m downgrading my fountain pen collection and have a need for inks that just work with a pen of the same nature AND the ink needs to be “permanent”. I have given up on Noodler’s inks as they are not to my liking.

    After a few months of your use, do you still love the inks Salix and Scabiosa?

    Some people claim that Iron Gall inks are too acidic for continual use in a fountain pen. Have your pens held up well over the months?

    Yours truly,


    • Dear Dave,

      Yes, I´m still only using the Rohrer & Klingner Salix and Scabiosa, and I´ve had absolutely not a single issue with any of them. Both are fast drying unlike Noodler’s Black. Both are permanent, but Scabiosa is leaking color somewhat when a dried paper becomes wet again. Both have a “mature” and vintage look.

      My personal standpoint in regard to iron-gall ink is that all modern Iron Gall inks are perfectly safe for both pens and paper. (If otherwise was the case there would be a huge outcry on Fountain Pen Network.)




  4. Dear Lennart,
    I too, have discovered the depth and beauty of iron gall inks. I was avoiding them for the reason that they would damage pens but after much persuasion and looking at samples, I bought the Montblanc Midnight Blue. When I first wrote with it, it was like an epiphany! I cannot recommend this ink highly enough (have you tried it?).
    Anyway thanks for your review here (perhaps you could post photos of your writing with this ink?) and these are two inks that I want to try very soon!


    • Thank you Ron for your kind words!
      Now as the daylight is returning after the long winter it is quite possible that I might try to take a picture of some of my writings with these inks. (Or if you send your full name and postal address I could send you a letter on Clairefontaine “Pollen” Ivory)

      Best Regards




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