Where Does Pen Ink Come From?

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Pen ink is made from dyes that are suspended or dissolved in solvents, making it very similar to paint. The first inks were vegetable or fruit juices and the protective secretions from squid, octopus and cuttlefish. Black ink is made from carbon black and uses white pigments like titanium dioxide.

Modern inks contain additives such as drying agents, surfactants, waxes and lubricants to aid printing and impart any desired special characteristics. About 4,500 years ago in Egypt, the first man-made ink originated from vegetable and animal charcoal mixed with glue. Pigmented-based inks that contain solid pigment particles are rarely used, because unlike dye-based inks, they clog the narrow passageways of pens.