Feeling Blue, Washable Blue

Sheaffer Skrip Washable Blue #42 ink bottle and box

Can I tell you how excited I was to find this vintage Sheaffer Skrip Washable Blue #42 box? Can you imagine how freaked I was to discover there was still a bottle inside the box? And then can you imagine the pure elation when there was still usable ink in the bottle?!?! I thought you might understand.

Top of the Sheaffer Skrip bottle

With shaking hands, I carefully removed the bottle from the box. The flap was missing but the tabs that fold in were still on the box and proclaim “Throw away your ink wiper — use Sheaffer’s Snorkel Pen. It’s the cleanest pen in the world! POINT NEVER NEEDS WIPING! See it today at your Sheaffer dealer!” On the bottle cap the Scrip logo is bright and shiny and the cap instructions say “Tighten cap. Tip bottle to fill well”. I had noticed the unusual color accumulation at the top of the jar but assumed the ink had collected and dried at the top of the bottle.

Sheaffer Skrip bottle

When I opened the bottle, I realized that there is a little divided compartment in the jar that allows you to tip the jar and fill this well with ink and then insert a fountain pen to fill it. How tidy! The ink was just as liquidy as a new bottle of ink and it didn’t smell odd or anything. So I took a chance…

Sheaffer Skrip #42 Washable Blue

I dip-filled my nearest Esterbrook and tried writing a few words to see if the ink still flowed. And it did! Inspired by this success, I decided to go ahead and do a full ink test.


I sloppily copied out the editorial from the bottom of the box. It reads that Sheaffer Skrip was available in four permanent colors: blue-black, royal blue, jet black and red — and eight washable colors: blue, emerald green, purple, brown, black, peacock blue, melon red and Persian Rose. These colors were “washable” because they were not permanent and could be washed out of clothing. Ah ha!

I never really considered myself a fan of blue ink in the past but I love this color! Its an indigo dye blue with a lot of character and shading. I may just use up this ink and then refill the bottle since the filling well is so convenient. It looks like there’s about a half an once left. Sheaffer still sells the Skrip Blue (though its only labelled “Blue” and not “washable Blue” as well as several other colors) so I could refill the vintage bottle and no one would know the difference! Goulet Pens sells the whole line of modern Sheaffer inks for $8.50 a bottle, so I might have to do a little head-to-head and see if they are the same color.

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  1. Nostalgia time!! I can remember watching my Dad fill his Sheaffer snorkel FP in these bottles, usually blue-black as I recall. He always inserted the snorkel into the upper reservoir so that he never had to put the pen all the way into the bottle, let alone into the ink. My guess is that the sole purpose of the reservoir was to accommodate the snorkel pens. Anyone know the history of all this? Did this type of bottle pre-date the snorkel pen or accompany (or post-date) its release?

  2. I’m glad I have one of those bottles left but sure wish that Sheaffer still used them. Had I known that one day they’d stop producing them, I would have saved all of my (or mostly my dad’s) used bottles. I don’t think he had any snorkel FP’s but it’s the only ink I remember him using because that reservoir made refilling FP’s so much easier, .

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