This blog post was written by our own Andrea Goulet Ford – she is our content lead, social media/marketing strategist, and Brian’s big sister!

Drum Roll Please…

The Goulet Pen Company 2013 Ink of the Year is…

Noodler’s 54th Massachusetts!

Distinct. Historic. Bulletproof.

What more could you want in an ink? Not much, evidently. We looked back on our sales and reviews, and even though this ink has been out for just over a year — you bought it — a LOT of it.

Noodler’s 54th Massachusetts, when units of full bottles and ink samples were combined, was our top-selling ink this year. We can’t say we’re surprised though. When Brian reviewed this ink about a month after we started selling it he predicted its success saying “It’s going to become a classic, staple blue-black in the fountain pen community. I’m just calling it now.”

Speaking of Brian’s review, here it is:

So, what are some of the star qualities that make this ink worthy of our “Ink of the Year” title? We’re glad you asked!

Distinct Color

We compared Noodler’s 54th Massachusetts to all of the lines we carry, and the mid-toned bluish-greenish-grey stood out among the pack. It’s appropriate for the office, but asks for a subtle, second glance. When you write with Noodler’s 54th Massachusetts, you’re making a statement, because there’s no way it will be confused with a disposable pen.

Our customers also raved about the color. Here are just a few of the things they had to say:

“I am currently conducting an experiment to find the perfect legal black/blue-black for me. Ladies and gents, this is the best I’ve found so far… The color is dark enough to be professional, but unique enough to make a statement.” – Charles H.

“Color varies from paper and lighting from a blue/black to grayish to greenish or tealish… It’s dark enough to use in the office, and colored enough to stand out from the printed black.” – Matt L.

“It quickly became my second default drawing ink (together with platinum carbon black). It has a slight blue undertone but I don’t mind for drawing, it adds a little softness to it.” – Tanja O.

“I’ve received many compliments on the colour of this ink. It is a very dark blue bordering on black with a slight grey-green hue. Clearly distinguishable from any blue or black ink I’ve ever seen, while still being perfectly appropriate for work or legal documents.” – Simon P.

“This is a great colour — and I say that as someone who generally avoids blues and blue-blacks because I tend to think they are boring.” – Alea M.


Noodler’s inks are made by Nathan Tardif, and he puts his full passion behind every ink he develops. Noodler’s 54th Massachusetts is no exception. If you’ve seen the movie Glory, you may be familiar with some of the history.

The 54th Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry was one of the first official African-American military units in the United States. After the Gettysburg Address, white abolitionists actively recruited free blacks to fight. They did. Bravely. Unfortunately, they didn’t get paid the same as their white counterparts. After the regiment protested, Congress passed a bill to get the men paid. This is an ink that is inspired by equality and American freedom.

There are also a number of interesting ties to the Society of Friends, to Frederick Douglass, the whaling industry, and more.

Be sure to check out Nathan’s video where he tells the full story.


On their website, Noodler’s describes their “Bulletproof” designation as: “Any Noodler’s Ink that resists all the known tools of a forger, UV light, UV light wands, bleaches, alcohols, solvents, petrochemicals, oven cleaners, carpet cleaners, carpet stain lifters, and of course…they are also waterproof once permitted to dry upon cellulose paper.”

It passed our water drip test with flying colors, and it did for a number of our customers, too. Here’s what they had to say about the durability of Noodler’s 54th Massachusetts:

“My running water test shows that this ink DOES NOT BUDGE from paper when dry (about 60 seconds).” – Kai H.

“Also, it is totally waterproof, like ‘put the paper in a bucket of water and nothing changes whatsoever’ waterproof.” – Benjamin D.

“THIS INK IS WATERPROOF…amazing for drawing and then going over with watercolour washes…if left to dry for a bit first.” – Janis J.

“I wrote a few lines with 54th and immediately plunged the bagasse sheet into a warm water bath…54th did not respond to the bath. It stayed exactly as it was when I wrote it.” – Phil

As Nathan Tardif puts it, “I hope American freedoms last at least as long as this ink.”


On top of all this, Noodler’s 54th Massachusetts is an incredible, all-purpose ink. It performs well on all types of paper, has good saturation while retaining some nice shading, and cleans up nicely (especially for a bulletproof ink). It’s a medium-flow ink, so it performs well in nibs of all sizes, too. It does have a longer dry time, especially on non-absorbent paper, but we think that’s a small price to pay for all the other positive attributes.

So, what do you think? Are you one of the many raving fans of Noodler’s 54th Massachusetts? Or would you pick a different color as your favorite for this year? Let’s keep the conversation going in the comments!