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The inks that can be used for the fountain pen are an approximately 99% aqueous solution in which pigments are dissolved which remain in suspension thanks to the presence of gum arabic. The pigments used for coloring the inks have the characteristic of releasing a small quantity of acid into the solution. All fountain pen inks are therefore generally acidic, although to different degrees depending on the different formulations and pigmentations.


 The degree of acidity is one of the factors to consider when choosing ink, since not only does acidity promote the deterioration of the paper, but also the alteration of the materials from which the fountain pen is made. In particular the metal parts, which are more easily eroded by the very low passive currents that are established between the ink tank and the nib. Passive currents are in fact favored by the acidity of the liquid contained in the pen's tank and power supply.


For this reason Stipula has selected a color formulation that is very careful to minimize the acid residue contained in the ink and entrusted its protection to brown glass, capable of filtering almost all ultraviolet rays, the main source of degradation of the essential parameters of the ink.

Netto Deluxe pittorico


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The loading systemNetis a mechanism patented by Stipula for cleanly loading fountain pens. Netaccompanies and assists excellent quality writing instruments allowing for comfortable and easy use.


Netconsists of a device to be applied to the neck of the Stipula ink bottle.  This device allows you to load the fountain pen not by immersing the nib and part of the pen directly in the ink, but in a well to which the liquid flows via micro-ducts that exploit the principle of capillarity of liquids. 


The benefits of using Netto are multiple:

  • loading withNetit is carried out with maximum cleanliness and hygiene, quickly and practically;

  • the bottle supplied with theNetit can be filled with your favorite ink mixtures and it will always be possible to identify which ink you are using thanks to the practical bib supplied and the absorbent paper color marker that marks it at a glance;

  • the ink from the bottleNetit is used until the last drop;

  • use theNetcontributes to the correct maintenance of fountain pens. Precious materials such as celluloid, cellulose acetate or silver are in fact subject to the potentially corrosive effect of the ink and continuous contact with the inks causes them to lose their shine and colour;

  • in the event of an accidental spill of the ink bottle, only the few drops present in the well will escape.

For those who do not use their own personal blends, with theNetwe recommend using Stipula ink, in any of the available colours. The Stipula spare parts bottles are in fact themselves able to accommodate the deviceNet, which can replace the cap.

The system Netit is supplied complete with:

  • Stipula ink bottle, with treated glass to protect the liquid from oxidation caused by exposure to light;

  • gag to be applied to the neck of the bottle to identify the color of the ink;

  • capillary tube for operating the charging siphon.




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Ferro-Gallic was essentially the reference ink from the Middle Ages until 1950 and, if of good quality, has considerable qualities of durability, resistance and colouring. The chemical reaction between tannin and iron salts has been known since ancient times. Gaius Pliny the Elder (23/79 AD) describes an experiment in which he wets a papyrus previously impregnated with a solution of tannins with a solution of iron salts, with the result of obtaining the immediate blackening of the papyrus, originally cream-coloured. Only a few centuries later Marziano Capella (5th century) provided a formula for the preparation of an ink, which he called "gallarum gummeosque commixtio". The time of the transition between the so-called India ink and iron gall ink is unclear, but the increased demand for inks and the possibility of easily producing it made the latter in common use already in the Middle Ages. Many domestic life manuals also indicate among women's tasks that relating to the production of ink. The formulas were passed from one generation to the next and this aspect of the issue also often makes it problematic to intervene on documents for the purposes of restoration and conservation, in cases where the same document presents problems related to ink. Iron gall ink was still officially used by the German government until 1973.



Its basic formula was composed of four substances: galls of various plants (oak galls, Aleppo galls, Chinese, Japanese, acorns, etc. etc.) vitriol (or iron sulphate), resin or gum arabic (obtained from the plant of acacia and which constitutes the "binder" between paper and ink) and water. Various substances can be used (and have been used) to modify the final characteristics of the ink, increasing or decreasing the quantity of gallic acid obtained with the first boiling of the galls. Using beer or wine to modify the timing and characteristics of the fermentation which will transform the gallo-tannic acid into gallic acid. Using vinegar or other acids slows down the precipitation of the preparation too early. Using sugar, honey or resins increases the brightness of the ink and slows down drying. Due to its solubility, this ink penetrated deeply into the paper, making it almost indelible. A curious characteristic of the original preparations, freshly made, is their particular and very clear color when used. Once applied, the ink is almost illegible and begins to darken after a couple of seconds, with exposure to atmospheric oxygen. This forced the ink to be prepared well in advance in order to produce a partial blackening and allow what had just been written to be read easily. On the other hand it was not possible to wait too long to use it, because oxidation caused precipitates which reduced the quality of the ink. Sometimes, to reduce the "precipitates", colored pigments (red, blue, aniline, etc.) and different acids (vinegar, sulfuric acid, etc.) were added. In order to protect Ferrogallic ink from frost and cold, it was usual to add brandy (therefore alcoholic preparations) as an additive.

In collaboration with the CSGI - Center for Colloid and Surface Science and the Department of Chemistry of the University of Florence, Stipula has developed a new formulation of Ferro-gallic with absolute balance of the chemical components, rich in all the typical characteristics of this ink (in particular its permanent action on the paper and the persistent legibility over time of the line obtained with this ink), but at the same time fully compatible with its use in fountain pens and in contact with their delicate metal components, and especially the nib.

Stipula Ferrogallic ink is produced under the high supervision of scientists from the University of Florence with materials of a purity greater than 99% and with perfectly congruent reagents, and therefore represents a modern ink of superior quality.



The inkstro iron gall is a waterproof ink and requires compliance with a series of recommendations.

By following these guidelines you can prevent any problems that may occur when using iron gall ink in fountain pens.

The user must be aware of the fact that, if well preserved, iron gall inks are authentic saturated solutions, i.e. there is no solid residue suspended in the ink. Only after the application of iron gall on a substrate (ideally paper) and the evaporation of the aqueous component do most of the reactions occur which give rise to a series of complex iron compounds, insoluble in water, characterized by an intense color dark.

- The same reactions that are responsible for darkening and formation of water-insoluble iron complexes are sometimes possible within pen. This can happen if the fountain pen is not used for a long time or if the fountain pen has a tendency to dry out quickly. Cleaning dry iron gall is not particularly difficult, but it requires a lot of time and patience (especially if you can't or don't want to disassemble the pen). We therefore recommend using iron gall inks in fountain pens that we use regularly.

- It is normal that if the fountain pen is left unused for a week or two, to start writing you will need to apply a little pressure, or you will find that the pen will initially write a little darker. However, if the pen dries out after leaving it alone for a day or two, avoid using iron gall inks, or other highly water-resistant inks, with this pen.

- If by shaking the bottle, the iron gall ink begins to form solid deposits on the walls and bottom, the ink should not be used. The spontaneous formation of sludge of this type in iron gall inks is caused by improper use or contamination with other substances.

- Before inking with iron gall, fountain pens must be carefully washed - especially if other types of waterproof inks have been used in the same pen. Iron gall inks can in fact interact with other inks, giving rise to the formation of sediments that are difficult to remove.


Here are some cleaning methods (from best to worst):

1. Disassemble the fountain pen and wash it under running water or better in an ultrasonic cleaner with a little detergent, reassembling the pen after the parts have dried.

2. Rinse the fountain pen with water and detergent, proceeding as follows: fill the pen with water and detergent; then leave the pen with the nib in contact with fabric or other absorbent material, so that the liquid with detergent contained inside flows slowly through the entire pen. At the end of the operation, rinse the pen with clean water a couple of times.

3. Any other methods that rely on simply rinsing the fountain pen are not as effective. In fact, even if after rinsing it may seem that the pen is clean, in fact the supply channels will still contain ink residues. It is possible to check complete cleaning by filling the pen with water and leaving it to rest for a day, in which case the water contained in the tank must be completely colourless.

4. Changing ink in your fountain pen without washing is not recommended and anyone who does so does so at their own risk. Different inks have different properties, and ink mixtures may not be compatible with each other, resulting in the formation of precipitates that are difficult to remove.


- If iron gall is left in a fountain pen unused for a long time and has partially dried out, it should not be put back into the inkwell; in this case the pen must be rinsed with water, as before changing the ink. Putting the old iron gall back into the bottle will reduce the stability of the ink that is left in the inkwell. Iron gall inks require stabilization to prevent the premature formation of sludge and to protect the metal parts (such as the nib) that come into contact with the ink from corrosion. This stabilization is compromised by the addition of ink residues potentially altered in their composition and humidity.

- Iron gall inks should be stored in a cool, dark place to protect them from the negative effects of light on their stability. Iron gall inks should not be diluted with tap water - the water is rich in various salts and contains traces of compounds used for water decontamination (such as ozone, chlorine, etc): those compounds will have a negative effect on the stability of the 'ink. If we want to dilute the iron gall we must only use distilled or demineralized water.

- Our iron gall ink does not cause corrosion in normal use with fountain pens using stainless steel, titanium or gold nibs. But sometimes there are some pens with ordinary steel nibs, where the nib is protected against corrosion, for example, with passivation layer (usually chrome). With this type of nib, traces of corrosion are possible, especially if the passivation layer is mechanically damaged. To verify the nature of the nib steel, take into account that most stainless steel species interact very little with the magnetic field. So if the nib is attracted to a magnet, with a high degree of certainty it can be concluded that it was not made of stainless steel or the steel was not properly processed. 

If rinsing with a solution of dishwashing liquid has not given satisfactory results, add ascorbic acid (which can for example be obtained from crushed vitamin C tablets) to the water and rinse the pen with this solution several times: they should this way you can remove any very stubborn residues of Ferrogallic ink from the fountain pen.

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