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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The little ink bottle that couldn't...

If you read my reviews here, chances are you’ve come across my comments on how much I dislike the J. Herbin ink bottle design. Nothing wrong with the ink inside it (usually), but the shape of the bottle is so un-fp-friendly that I can’t help but wonder what they were thinking.

Since I've been ranting about this for a while, I thought it'd be good to actually show why I dislike the bottle, instead of just complaining for no apparent reason.
For those of you who have never seen a J. Herbin ink bottle, allow me to share:

Here's me trying to fill an Esterbrook from a bottle of J. Herbin Eclat de Saphir.

So you’re wondering what exactly is wrong with this ink bottle. A multitude of things actually, but here’s a list of the big issues:
  • The bottle is too shallow to fit most pens once the ink level reaches about 50%. That kind of sucks, epically when you’re not in the mood to get ink all over you trying to transfer it to a different container.
  • The neck of the bottle does not allow you to fill as easily, and there a few pens that simply won’t fit in. With a wide mouth, yo can tilt the nib at an angle to get a better fill. No luck with the J. H. bottles.
  • Because the bottle is so wide, and the neck is so small, a lot of ink can remain in the bottle, even though you can’t get get at it. This is obviously frustrating, having 1/2 - 2/3 of the ink sit in there, and no way to get at it.
That’s a good summary of my issues with this ink bottle shape. It’s obviously designed for looks and not functionality. At least J. Herbin can be commended for this - the bottles are beautiful. The labels, with their hand-drawn “exotic” pictures, and the funky bottle design are wonderful for display on a desk. They even have a built in pen rest!

So, there you have it. The foundation for my dislike of J. Herbin ink bottles. I honestly think this bottle could use a little reengineering. If J. Herbin could just widen the mouth up, and stretch the bottle taller instead of wider, we could potentially have a beautiful and functional ink bottle. Until then, I will continue to dislike the bottles, and transfer the ink to other containers.

Let me know what you think of the J. H. ink bottle design. Love it? Hate it? I doubt I’m the only one who dislikes it, but I’m willing to bet there are a few folks who love it too.

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