Fountain Pen users face a difficult challenge when deciding which brand of basic black fountain pen ink to use as their personal standard. Two of the more popular brands of fountain pen ink are Aurora and Pelikan. While each of these two inks has its advantages over the other, a thorough comparison of each of these inks in my own daily usage has shown that Pelikan brand black fountain pen ink has the overall advantage over the Aurora black ink.
For my testing purposes I utilized a Waterman Phileas fountain pen with a medium nib. While there are other, more expensive fountain pens in my collection, I find that the Waterman Phileas provides a nice baseline reference for ink comparison due to its rather wet nib and nice wide line. Plus Waterman’s plunger-type ink reservoir makes it easy to perform a quick ink change. For this ink comparison, I used each brand of black ink for two days straight, starting with the Aurora ink and ending with the Pelikan ink.
My initial impressions of the Aurora ink were quite good. In addition to having a nice unrestricted flow through my Waterman Phileas pen, the ink seemed at the time to be a nice and rich shade of black. It was more of a true black ink than the Waterman brand ink that was included with my Phileas pen, which always seemed to me to be more of a dark shade of gray than a true black ink. Since it is primarily professionals who are known for preferring a fountain pen for a writing instrument, a rich and true black is a top priority. Keep in mind, however, that this was my initial impression of the Aurora ink. That initial impression would be shown to be mistaken when I shifted to the Pelikan brand black ink.
Before I discuss my experience with the Pelikan brand black ink, however, there was one other primary observation I made about the Aurora brand ink. Since fountain pen ink must be quite thin and watery to flow through the nib of a fountain pen, a common feature of all fountain pens is a runny, watery consistency. This can create problems of certain types of writing paper that are highly absorbent. If a paper is too absorbent, rather than creating a well defined line, the ink from a fountain pen will tend to bleed into the absorbent paper and leave one wishing he/she had chosen to write with a ball point pen instead of a fountain pen! An immediate observation I made about the Aurora ink was that it bled into the paper far easier than most other fountain pen inks I have worked with in the past. The result was a spindly and spidery line rather than a well defined and precise line. I find this to be unacceptable in a fountain pen ink.
So after two days of working with the Aurora ink, in spite of its true black hue and especially because of its tendency to bleed into my writing paper, I was anxious to switch over to the Pelikan ink and see if the results were more promising. After loading the Pelikan black fountain pen ink into my Waterman Phileas, I immediately performed a color comparison between the Aurora ink and the Pelikan ink. After seeing the lines drawn by the Pelikan ink, I realized how mistaken my earlier impressions of the trueness of the Aurora black ink’s color had been. The Pelikan ink was a richer black than the Aurora by far; so much so that the Aurora black ink appeared to be a shade of dark brown by comparison. So in terms of color density, the Pelikan ink was the clear winner.
In addition, a clear advantage of the Pelikan ink was its balance between flow and firmness. Recall that the Aurora ink had a tendency to bleed into the writing paper. The Pelikan ink did not demonstrate this problem nearly as much as the Aurora ink. The Pelikan ink dried onto the paper with a much crisper line than its browner Aurora counterpart. Needless to say I was very pleased with this result, and I have been using the Pelikan ink as my primary black ink ever since this comparison.
In conclusion, the Pelikan black fountain pen ink is the clear winner over the Aurora black fountain pen ink. The Pelikan ink demonstrated a much richer color density than the Aurora ink, and the Pelikan ink did not have as great a tendency to bleed into the paper as did the Aurora ink. So if you are shopping for a good black fountain pen ink, I would highly recommend the Pelikan over the Aurora. You will not be sorry.