Vintage Ink Bottle Discovery: Akkerman Predecessors

For the last decade, I was always under the impression that the Akkerman bottles were unique to Akkerman. This past week though, I stumbled across some vintage ink bottles on Pinterest that look quite similar.

Waterman Ink ad

This ad for Waterman ink features a bottle similar to the Dutch Masters bottle shape, complete with the marble in the neck.

Waterman Vintage ink bottles

This clipping from a book (unknown details) indicates the Waterman bottle is from France circa 1930s. Looks familiar?

Gimborn Ink

This gorgeous vintage box and bottle above is Gimborn ink from Holland as well but the design looks distinctly 50s or 60s. That label and box is just stunning but the bottle is fluted just like the standard Akkerman bottle. The box in the background lists an address in Holland so it’s possible that Akkerman acquired the bottle making equipment from this company. Even the pen nib on the label  on the bottle is similar in placement.

There is a very interesting thread on FPN about the history of early Gimborn bottles and wow! were they ever inventive in their bottle designs. More information about the similarities between the Gimborn and Akkerman bottles can be found in this thread as well.

In my research (AKA “I went down the rabbit hole”), I also discovered ties between Gimborn and Pelikan as well as this document. The crux of the articles indicate that Gimborn sold off the pen portion (including inks) to Pelikan in the 1980s at which point Gimborn inks were no longer made or sold in the long-neck bottles. Gimborn still exists as a company, however they focus their production on the manufacturing of pet-related products.


This image, above, is the current Akkerman bottle. According to the research I was able to dig up, there is no evidence that Akkerman acquired the design or patent but there is a comment in one of the threads listed above that it’s likely that Akkerman was a fan of the iconic Gimborn bottle and found a glassware designer to remake the bottle for them. The same thread includes schematic drawings of those bottles. If FPN folks can find those drawings, I’m sure Akkerman was able to find them as well and show them to a designer when they designed their bottles.

Akkerman Gimborn bottles

The image above was culled from the internet. I tried to link to the FPN thread where it appeared but it seems the original image is no longer available so I have to make do with a screen shot. It’s the only image I could find comparing the original Akkerman large bottles and current bottles to comparable Gimborn bottles. There are slight differences in fluting and sizes but it’s fascinating to see, isn’t it?

So, maybe there’s hope that Akkerman might one day attempt to recreate some of the other Gimborn bottles? We can hope.


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5 comments / Add your comment below

  1. Wonderful article, Ana. I usually scroll right thru the “ink sample” posts here, but the Akkerman bottle (and their wonderful inks) are a fan fave of mine, and I am glad it caught my eye. Great research on the bottle origins! I didnt know it was an artful copy or homage to a bygone ink company but I am not in the least surprised that the bottle may have french origins! Thanks.

  2. When I showed my dad an Akkerman bottle once, he talked about all the ways bottles used to designed to make them easier to fill from. The marble one was common.

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