The dark fluid that faintly gleams with a hint of red wouldn't perhaps look so appealing if it wasn't for the elaborate Victorian paper label on the glass bottle that contains it and the dark red stopper where the iconic script is imprinted: Stephens’. Henry Charles “Inky” Stephens was the inventor in 1832 of the blue-black writing fluid which was to become Stephens’ Ink, an English household name for some 130 years. This bottle was made in the ink factory in Aldersgate London from where Stephens moved in 1872. This is a seriously old ink.
It is hard, dear Readers, to avoid the (admittedly) sentimental analogy with memories: old, obscure, forgotten, gleaming darkly under their tattered labels yet should they be allowed to surface their colour is unchanged. Dipping a paintbrush in Stephens’ Scarlet and spreading the ink on paper the most unexpectedly luminous red emerges. Scarlet! An astonishing red orange undiminished by age. Scarlet Writing Fluid No. 451 looks as bright as it was the day it was born.
The ink flows easily from the tip of the steel pen, and wonderfully saturates the paper. Mr Stephens, it has been a pleasure.