Fountain Pen Restoration

Fountain Pen Ink Tablets

I like to mix up my posts to include non – pen items from time to time. I have covered advertising, tools, and inks and here is an interesting Ink topic with historical significance – INK TABLETS.

In my June 8, 2008 post titled Stylographic Pens I discussed the restoration of a cool JUCO (Jacob Ullrich Company) Stylographic Pen.  His Company was in the New York City / New Jersey area from the late 1800s until the 1920s.

I recently came across this tin of Violet Vulcan Ink Tablets. The pictures below show the top and bottom panels as well as the inside and tablets.  You can see from the bottom of the tin that at the time of manufacture Ullrich was at 27 Thames Street in New York City (currently home to the Five Star Shoe Repair Corporation!).


Ink Tablets are an interesting historical fountain pen – related niche.  During World War I (1914-1918), soldiers could not carry ink bottles to refill their pens, so pen companies developed the idea of powder or tablets, which could be combined with water inside the fountain pen to produce ink.

As eyedroppers were a common pen of the day, this was a good solution for the soldiers.

Many companies made the tablets and a noteworthy pen that was produced to store these was the Parker Trench Pen.  An interesting thread at Lion and Pen regarding the Parker Trench pen can be found here. (thank you to all who contributed to this lengthy and informative discussion on Trench pens)



I mixed one of the tablets with water and here is a sample using a Waterman 12 Eyedropper (I can only dream of finding a Trench Pen….)  One tablet provided more than enough ink supply to fill the Waterman 12, which is not a particularly large pen.  Here is a sample:


So, the next time you are in an antique store lamenting the lack of vintage pens for sale, don’t forget to check the cases and shelves for ink tins – you might just get lucky.


November 3, 2008 - Posted by | Ink Tablets, Jacob Ullrich, JUCO Pens, Parker Trench Pen | , , , ,


  1. Kind of ironic that today, ink tablets would be easier to get through airline security than a bottle of ink. However, I do not think they will make a comeback. By the way, the ink looks like a very attractive blue-black.

    Comment by jonro | November 3, 2008 | Reply

  2. Hi! Firstly, thanks for keeping this blog It’s informative and, in my case, a little inspiring. I’ve started to dabble in pen restoration too.

    In your earlier posts you described how you restored a Sheaffer Skyboy. Might I ask — what do you use to knock the feed and nib out of the section?

    Do you simply use a thin rod as usual and just be careful not to break the breather tube?

    Thanks in advance, and I look forward to seeing more posts from you 🙂

    Comment by leon | November 6, 2008 | Reply

  3. I have a very nice RHR Parker trench pen. Black ends.
    Its a lot smaller than I thought it would be.

    Comment by Max | June 15, 2009 | Reply

  4. l have a very old pen i got it from my grandfather the pen marked (ju&c) black color with two golden rings one each side also the following words were written: made in america. .Independent
    Iwill be very glad if you recognize that pen

    Comment by mohsen balbaa | March 10, 2014 | Reply

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