Noodler’s Polar Ink Goes to Antarctica

Brrrr…. temperatures are falling as winter finally sets its grip on us here in Virginia. With the cold weather of winter descended upon much of the country, we get questions about ink freezing. So much so that we wrote a blog on ordering ink in winter just last year.

The innovative creator of Noodler’s ink took up this problem and came up with a solution to this ink freezing issue by formulating Noodler’s Polar Ink. Offered in 4 colors in 3oz and 4.5oz bottles, this ink is said to be freeze resistant up to -20F. We had a unique opportunity to test this claim!

Over a year ago, Casey B. from Australia, won Monday Matchup Giveaway. While emailing with her, I discovered that she works part of the year in Antarctica. What better chance to test the freeze-resistant quality of Noodler’s Polar Ink than to send it to a fountain pen enthusiast on her way to the frigid South Pole?

To make a long story short, Casey ended up not being able to make the trip, but she sent the ink and a Pilot Metropolitan down south with her friends Cath & Marie. They conducted some experiments, writing outside in the Antarctic summer, leaving ink samples strapped to a pole overnight, and leaving the filled pen, ink, and bottles in a freezer overnight.

Noodler’s Polar Ink Samples in Antarctic snow.

Noodler’s Polar Ink samples zip tied to a pole overnight.

Marie writing with the Pilot Metropolitan filled with Noodler’s Polar ink in Antarctica.

When Cath and Marie left the samples out overnight attached to the pole, they didn’t freeze! While sitting outside, Marie was able to write with the Pilot Metropolitan filled with Noodler’s Polar Ink despite having to wear a thick parka against the cold. On to the next experiment!

To guarantee that the ink stayed at a steady temperature well below the freezing point, they placed the pen, ink, and ink samples into a -20 degree freezer in the science lab.

Noodler’s Polar Ink in the freezer.
Marie showing the temperature. It’s kept at -20C!
They left the ink in the freezer for over 30 hours! The results were as you might expect. The ink had frozen solid in the test tubes and bottle.
Ink is frozen solid.
The Pilot Metropolitan still writes!

However, the fountain pen, miraculously, was still able to write, despite having spent the same amount of time in the freezer as the ink samples and bottle.

With this in mind, I think it is safe to say that if you are planning on carrying a fountain pen in your coat pocket and writing outside with it, Noodler’s Polar ink is a great option. If you live somewhere very cold (Canada and Montana come to mind), and are worried about your ink freezing while shipping, as long as temperatures stay above -20C, you should be fine to have this shipped to you.

If you have more questions about shipping or using fountain pens in cold temperatures, Brian answers your questions in this helpful Goulet Q&A Slice.

Do you live in cold temperatures or write outdoors? What ink do you uses? Leave a comment and let me know!

Write on,

2017-10-11T14:37:50+00:00 January 4th, 2017|Ink Reviews|17 Comments
  • colddeadhand

    best post ever

  • Pam

    Have you ever considered offering a shipping option with mini heat packs for ink in the winter months? I know there are heat packs (and cool packs) designed for shipping that will keep a package warm 2-3 days. Being in one of the colder parts of Canada, I would consider a more expensive option like that for a mid-winter ink supply top up!

    • Lydia At Goulet Pens

      That is definitely something I could recommend, Pam. I am not sure about that.

  • Tom Johnson

    Madigan, this is a wonderful report on the experiment, what a way to test the Polar inks – get them to Antarctica! By the way, I should mention that you use -20 F in one place and -20 C in a couple of places more. Note that -20 F = -29 C and -20 C = -4 F. I think the ink is manufactured to resist -20 F, and I imagine the tests in the cold room at Antarctica was at -20 F too. For those who care, -40 F = -40 C. They deviate above and below -40.

    I have not needed to write outside in the cold at all, and if I did my fountain pen would be in my shirt pocket keeping nicely warm. The weather service is predicting that my area of Virginia will be 10 F Sunday night. That is cold enough for me!

    How about a round of applause for Casey B for getting her ink and pen to Antarctica and to Cath and Marie for performing these wonderful experiments in the bright frigid sunshine of an Antarctic summer! They did a wonderful job and shared some great photographs. Madigan, is this the furthest that inks and pens from Goulet Pen Co, have traveled? I wonder what the humidity there was, maybe only 1 or 2 % relative humidity. An uncapped pen would probably dry out quickly.

    colddeadhand is right, this is one of the best Goulet posts ever.

    • Lydia At Goulet Pens

      Good point, Tom! I’ll share this with Madigan to fix her temperatures. Thanks!

      I hear you about the cold. We are expecting snow this weekend and frigid temps as well. I am certainly thankful not to be back in New England right now. Brrrrr!

      I do believe this is the farthest our pens and inks have traveled.

    • Marla Clayman

      You can see that the thermometer is in C. And it would be weird if it wasn’t, as almost all countries use C, and scientists (even from the US) use it, too.

      • Tom Johnson

        You did not understand what I wrote, I did not disagree with the temperature of the freezer. The second paragraph above says that Nathan Tardiff makes these inks to withstand temperatures down to -20F. He develops and makes all Noodler’s inks himself. He is a very old fashioned New Englander, and may very likely use F instead of C. I don’t know, but read the second paragraph again.

  • MP

    Coolest post ever! (ba-dum-cha)

    • Tom Johnson

      Good one!

  • prairiegl

    That was a fascinating experiment!

  • MP

    I would love more of these extreme fountain pen and ink tests. Thanks to the wonderful ladies for doing these experiments!

  • Kathy

    This is one of the best Goulet blogs. How incredibly cool (no pun intended) is it to test the ink and pen under these conditions! I’m sure you have a lot of customers all over the world. It would be interesting to see some other extreme experiments, perhaps writing at extremely high altitudes. (I’m a poli sci major; I have no idea what writing at high altitudes would prove, but perhaps Tom can come up with some good experiments!)

    It was just fantastic that Casey was able to get the pen and ink to Antarctica even though she couldn’t go. Thanks to all three adventurous ladies for these experiments!

    • Tom Johnson

      At higher altitudes, the recuced air pressure would probably be a little like flying and the ink might evaporate and dry a bit faster. I’m sure fountain pens were taken on Mt Everest expeditions in the past, be good to learn how they performed there. Not sure I’d want to fill a pen wearing gloves 😉

  • Nicole

    I think I need some of this in Minnesota! I’m always afraid my ink is going to freeze in my pen during the winter months.

  • Now into the volcano! j/k 😉
    So does freezing and thawing ink degrade it in any way?

  • Uniotter

    Love it! Agree with many that this is the coolest post ever! 😀

  • Miranda Wilkinson

    Hm, very interesting experiment! By the way, not so long ago I was in Antarctica too. It was an amazing cruise you know! If you want to visit Antarctica too, view this site, you will find there great cruises for you and your family.