Esther and Peacock Blue Ink

Many years ago as a kid visiting my Baba and Zada’s house on West 15th Ave, I used to roam the basement looking at all the odd things down there, like the wringer washing machine, various rusted tools, and the inevitable box of pens and pencils.

Among the old Laurentians, pencils stubs and dried-up ballpoints was a rare treasure, a Shaeffer fountain pen. Esther explained that they had to write with fountain pens in high school and this belonged to her sister Ruth. It’s long lost but was a faded green patina and when you held it in your hand you felt its quality. (Of course, I could find one online for sale

Undoing the barrel I found a near-empty bladder for holding the ink and when I put it in the sink, a beautiful shade of turquoise ink wafter out from the barrel and meandered through the clear warm water. When I took it to a stationery store they recognized the ink as “Peacock Blue.” I remember buying a bottle of it and practicing trying to make the flowing writing that characterized my Mom’s handwriting.

These many years later, I went by my favourite pen store, The Vancouver Pen Shop on West Hastings, drawn by this year’s Lamy special edition, one they call the AL-Star pacific.



When I asked the salesperson about whether Lamy also made Peacock Blue ink for it, she smiled and reached behind her to show me the new ink cartridge:


I asked why she smiled when I asked and she told me that the only people who call this colour Peacock Blue are “of a certain vintage”, which seemed a very nice way to refer to those of us old enough to remember Shaeffer pens and bottles of ink, even if we had only known about them by rummaging through our grandparents basements.


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