I confess: I'm a mimeograph sniffer

Discussion in 'The Nib' started by IronHammer, Jun 26, 2012.

  1. Hi everyone,

    I have a few fountain pens now and I am really enjoying using them. But I am really disliking the Noodler's Midnight Blue I currently use. I would love to trade it for something similar to the purple ink used in mimeograph machines from when I was in grade school. That unique smell of freshly mimeographed papers will forever be etched into my mind!

    Anybody have any ideas on an ink with that character, whether it's from Noodler's or someplace else?

  2. Isaac

    Isaac Moderator Emeritus


    Now that was a good smell. I was lucky enough to catch the end of life for this machine.
  3. No, but would be interested in the answer. My mother made church bulletins using an AB Dick mimeograph, so I know well the smell you are speaking of.
  4. Are you looking for an ink that looks the same or smells the same.
  5. LOL! I know it's confusing. I am looking for an ink that looks the same. The smell would just be the cherry :001_cool:
  6. The great smelling copies were produced by spirit duplicators, or Ditto machines, which used methanol to transfer a negative image to copy paper. The master was made by writing on a sheet of paper which was on top of another sheet coated with a solid ink.

    Mimeograph copies were made by forcing ink through a stencil, and did not have that smell.


  7. Wow. I had no idea I have been using the wrong term all these years. Thanks for the clarification. I can now call myself a "spirit duplicator sniffer"
  8. strop

    strop Moderator Emeritus

    It's been a long time since I've seen a copy like that, but seems to me that Kung to Cheng comes close.
  9. Thanks for the tip, Mark. I found this blog that has an example of the color. Perhaps my monitor is displaying it all wrong but the color I am seeing there seems more like the Midnight Blue that I have now.

    BTW, we should get together for lunch again sometime. Perhaps you might do a trade for my bottle of Midnight Blue, hmm?
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2012
  10. If you have an old copy, perhaps you could mail it to the Goulets and they could choose the correct match. Scans and photos are too inaccurate unless everything is color calibrated on both ends.
  11. Unfortunately, I do not have anything I could send them.
  12. Since they were so common, I'm sure it would be easy to find friends or relatives who would still have lots of papers from their school days in the 60's and 70's. Does anyone here have any? You want a good dark copy, since the stencils faded as more copies were made.
  13. Oh man. I haven't thought of that smell and purple color for years. That was a great smell. To bad it was usually followed by us taking a test.
  14. I remember it being more of a dark plum than purple - BUT, it has been a few years....
  15. nemo

    nemo Moderator Emeritus

    Some of my older inks (containing phenols) have a similar chemical smell to that purplish stuff we all sniffed in the in the '60s classrooms.
  16. strop

    strop Moderator Emeritus

    Doug, that's good to know. I have a couple of bottles that smell like that, but was afraid to use them. Thought they might have "gone bad".
  17. Doc4

    Doc4 Moderator Emeritus Contributor

    Skip right to the end ... (or at least to 1.35 to avoid the NSFW comment)

    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 6, 2017
  18. Well, this (to my chem geek self) is pretty fascinating. It seems that the purple color on dittos was aniline purple, aka mauveine. Mauveine was the starting point for the organic chemical industry.
  19. I have Kung Te-Cheng, and I would say it is close to "ditto purple", but maybe a bit too dark.
  20. This thread gave me a great olfactory memory. Thanks :001_smile

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