Full of hope and glory: A short review of Noodler’s 54th Massachusetts ink

IMGP1171 “I know not where in all human history to any given thousand men in arms there has been committed a work at once so proud, so precious, so full of hope and glory as the work committed to you.” Governor John A. Andrew of Massachusetts

Call me an old romantic but I love the ability that we have as humans to celebrate one thing with another, as here a bottle of ink commemorates the ideals and bravery of the first black regiment called to armed service in the American civil war of 1861-65. Two full years into the conflict, at nine o’clock on the morning on May 28, 1863, the 54th’s 1,007 black soldiers and 37 white officers gathered in the Boston Common and prepared to head to the battlefields of the south… the rest as they say is history, perhaps to many most prominently remembered in the 1989 movie “Glory” whose retelling the story of the 54th Massachusetts Infantry won three ‘Oscars’.

IMGP1168The founder and inkmeister of Noodler’s ink decided to entitle one of his inks in a way that celebrated these pioneers (check his video here). To be honest I’ve never met Nathan Tardif but from a distance I like his style, and I like his inks. This one is no exception. So here we go…

IMGP1175Presentation:  This ink has only been around since late 2012, and if you’ll pardon the pun has made quite a splash since its arrival. The ink comes in a standard Noodler’s ink box and 3oz bottle. Nothing flashy but eloquently functional. The most striking element is the label. The artwork is remarkable, a beautifully detailed scene depicting the 54th Massachusetts assault on the defences of Fort Wagner near Charleston, a historic engagement for the regiment. The picture is surrounded by inscriptions  and the label proclaims the phrase ‘Freedom forever, serfdom never”.

Oh an extra note before I forget. If you haven’t bought a Noodler’s ink before, do be careful the bottles are FULL. This is no accident but in a sense just a telltale sign of the philosophy behind Noodler’s ink. Be careful opening them… you have been warned!

IMGP1165On Test: This ink is a deep blue-black. It is also classified as bullet-proof  and as such it is a permanent ink. It achieves this permanence by bonding to the cellulose of the paper. I tested it for water resistance and it passed with flying colours, no worries about ink washing away  with this baby. This ink is a full-bodied, highly saturated blue-black that cries out to be used regularly. The drying time on my test paper was truly phenomenal, I had to repeat it just to be sure.. It doesn’t display much in terms of shading but in my view doesn’t need to. The colour is easy on the eye and will be a winner in most instances. You will be at home with this ink in the office as well as the study as it will be a true all-rounder

IMGP1164Summary: I couldn’t be more impressed with this ink. Noodler’s 54th Massachusetts ink pushes all the right buttons as far as I’m concerned. I love the  whole idea behind it as well a its performance. The ink is dark and inviting, really well-behaved with a phenomenal saturation and drying time, even on my Rhodia test paper. I particularly liked this in use with the fine nib in my Sailor Reglus pen. Another ink for the essentials list methinks…



10 thoughts on “Full of hope and glory: A short review of Noodler’s 54th Massachusetts ink

  1. What a great looking ink. I have tried a couple of the Noodler’s Inks (Apache Sunset, X-feather, and Black Swan in Australian Roses), and this one looks very nice. I’m impressed with the dry times too; the inks I have take ages to dry, and as a lefty this can ruin letters.

    I may pick up a sample of this once I’ve used up my current Blue-black sample (Private reserve Ebony Blue) since I have too many blue-blacks.

  2. I don’t like to comment on the writing in a review since I’m not your editor. Just I’m not sure calling someone a “grand ink wizard” right after talking about an 1860’s American black regiment is the best choice of words given the historical context of that title.

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