How Diamine Ink is Made
January, 2022. A Friday. A grey and uninteresting Friday. But one that was about to become VERY interesting indeed, because two Cult Pens team members were about to be admitted into the portals of Diamine HQ in Aintree, Liverpool. We felt like Charlie Bucket and Grandpa Joe on the steps of the Chocolate Factory. And in we went!
It was a compendium of colour, a smorgasbord of the small bottles and boxes we know and love and marvel over, though it was the fabulous Christine and Phil - rather than Willy Wonka - who were on hand to give us the guided tour. It was great to see them in person on their home turf.
Diamine is steeped in history (and ink) and has been running in one form or another since 1864 - yes, 1864, a very long time ago - so to say they have a wealth of experience is an understatement. A book shown to us by Christine demonstrates its long and fascinating history, and also explains why Diamine is so good at what they do - and yes, we did request a copy to share with you all!
The means of getting the ink mixed, made and marching out the door is down to a combination of machinery and the human touch. The ink mixers are all custom-made and tailored for specific types of ink, and can deal with batch sizes from 5 litres right up to an astonishing 200 litres! And still in place is Phil’s old mixer. While it’s still used occasionally for one specific mix, it’s kept more for sentimental reasons, because it was the first mixer Phil ever used as a 17-year-old apprentice! Nothing lasts forever, though, and it will soon be decommissioned. There’s also a bottle filler, which reduces spills, and a fancy doodah – a capping machine actually – that tightens lids on the smallest ink bottles. And every single member of staff has their own filling machine!
But all else that happens at Diamine HQ is done by hand. And carefully watched over as well. The care and attention that goes into ink-making is clear to see, perhaps in part because it's very much a family business, with husbands, wives, aunts, uncles, in-laws, nieces, nephews and lots more involved, with around a third of the team being related in some way. There is a lot of love as well as ink going into every bottle! This is Karl mixing inks.
The building we were shown around wasn't the only building though. There was another. But we weren't allowed into that one because that's where all the Secret Squirrel ink experimenting goes on. Maybe there were Oompa-Loompas in there! So we didn't get to find out exactly how all this magic alchemy occurs because, well, it's magic isn't it? Or at least a trade secret.
But it was nonetheless a brilliant visit, which filled us with wonder and delight at just how amazing Diamine are at what they do. Oh, we did get to see one raw ingredient; here it is:
No, we didn't know what it was either.
But never mind. We're super-proud to be stocking the entire Diamine range at Cult Pens and very excited to be working with a business so filled with history, expertise and passion for their product, not to mention innovation. Their Ink-Vent calendar was inspired, and we were pleased to see the individual bottles from the previous edition being picked and packed ready to ship.
And here's Team Diamine all together: