The “Forgot About It” Experiment

Outside the scientific community the most commonly executed “experiment” is the forgot-about-it experiment.  The experimenter places leftovers in the refrigerator and then forgets about it.  Alternative approaches are ignored pieces of fruit or vegetable.  Weeks later someone, finding the item, pulls it from the fridge with the exclamation of “Ewwww….yuck.”

We’ve all done these experiments and they don’t lead to much insight,but we’re prone to do it again…and again.  Today, however, I want to talk about a forgot-about-it experiment that did yield some interesting results.

First, an aside.  As reported here, my leg problems caused me to shut down my street sketcher activities and COVID resulted in multiple postponements of knee replacement surgery.  BUT, it finally happened and I have to say I’m thrilled with the results.  I’m regaining my energy levels and starting to walk, climb stairs, etc. like I haven’t done in years and to do it without pain.

Ok…what’s one got to do with the 0ther?  I started digging through my sketching stuff, trying to get things in order.  What I found initially scared me – my own forgot-about-it experiment.  In this case it was two of my fountain pens (my daily users) still sitting in my sketch bag.  They’d been there for SIX MONTHS.  Surely they were dried up beyond use.  These pens were:

Platinum 3776, fed from a Platinum Carbon Black cartridge

Wing Sung 3008, fed from its piston-filler with DeAtramentis Document Black ink

There has been a lot of digital ink spilled about how pigmented (ie waterproof) fountain pen inks require lots of maintenance.  I’ve always argued that this was not true, citing the fact that the only time I clean my sketching pens (with these pigmented inks) is when I’m going to store them or if I’m changing colors.

The rebuttal has always been “Well, you’re using them daily and that’s why you have no problems.”  That was true  and I was defeated by their logic.  Today I present some evidence to contrary.  I have two pens that haven’t even seen the light of day for six months and each carried one of the two most popular waterproof fountain pen inks used by sketchers.  And while only a quick scribble, here are the results when I opened each of these pens.

No dipping water or shaking was required.  Both of these pens just wrote.  How can that be?  There are two reasons, I think.  The first is that all the fears of using pigmented fountain pen inks are exaggerated.  I do think people have become less concerned about this than back when they were first introduced and so I’ll talk about the second reason.  Both of these pens seal VERY WELL.  Unlike pens that us a simple rubber washer seal, each of these pens have an inner seal that wraps around the nib.  In addition to that, the cap itself sports a fine-thread (screw on) attachment to the body of the pen.

I know we live in a “facts don’t matter” world and only opinions/beliefs are important, so take this observable evidence in whatever way suits you, but I want to make one more point.  You CAN buy pens that work like this.  These two pens cost me $150 and $4 respectively.



3 thoughts on “The “Forgot About It” Experiment

  1. Hey, good to see you and your science experiments back! 😉 I don’t have a Wing Sung, but I can attest to the 3776’s seal. I’ve certainly left mine loaded with Platinum Carbon ink for months (maybe not 6, but several) while I was distracted by other pens, and it was as good as ever when I used it again. Equally good “faggetaboutit” pens but much cheaper: Pilot Petit1 and Platinum Preppy.

    Hope to see some sketching action in the remainder of the summer with your new knees! 🙂

    • It does seem that Platinum works hard to create pens that don’t dry up. I guess that’s why I like them so much. You’re right about the Petit1 and Preppy. I wasn’t a fan of the Petit1 cuz it just isn’t long enough for me. And, to me, the Preppy is an anomaly. Its biggest flaw is a cap that loosens and even splits open over time and yet it seals beautifully until that happens.

      I hope to be sketching again ‘real soon.’ I still expend too much mental and physical nenergy with the walking. I’ve limped for so long that regaining “normal” requires me to think about it. But I’m getting to a point where I can walk a couple kilometers without exhausting my brain and the pain is gone. Yesterday I walked a bit and then sat and did a quick sketch. It felt good.

  2. So glad to hear you’ve had the surgery and it has gone well! Hope you’re able to get out sketching soon.

    I corroborate your findings. I have a Preppy with Carbon Black in my “museum bag” (which I take when I volunteer at Museum of Flight). It hadn’t been used for a least a year. Wrote like champ first time out.

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