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Dear Printing Ink Co.

Christopher L. Jorgensen
P.O. Box 93042
Des Moines, IA 50393


October 4, 2010

Peter Welfare
145 Westcreek Drive
Vaughan ON L4L 9N6
Canada


Dear Peter Welfare,

I watched your “How Ink Is Made” video on the internet and have to say I thought that was pretty darn cool! One thing you didn’t go into though was where you get the pigments. If there’s another video out there called “How Pigment is Made” I didn’t see it. Does the pigment just get shipped to you? Making ink seemed pretty labor intensive and fairly controlled, but I bet pigment making has to be as difficult and fun to watch!

It was a bit strange to see how clean the ink factory and the workers were. I expected people to be covered head to toe in bright primary colors. I expected to see a blue smile or two. But there isn’t. If you don’t believe me rewatch “How Ink Is Made” and you’ll see ink making must be a humorless job. There’s not one smile (blue of otherwise) in the whole video!

I love watching how things are made. The ink video made me surprisingly hungry. I don’t think you’d advise me to eat the ink though, right?


Sincerely,


Christopher L. Jorgensen

 

 

Sponsor:

Reply:

The Printing Ink Company™
Rycoline

 


October 18, 2010

 

Christopher Jorgensen
P. O. Box 93042
Des Moines, IA 50393

 

Dear Christopher,

Hello and thanks for writing.  We had a lot of fun making the video and are really pleased with how it turned out.  Yes, we just get pigment shipped to us.  I have not seen a video for how pigment is made either.  Generally, it is made by combining chemicals in water and allowing those chemicals to react under certain conditions.  These chemicals react to form insoluble salts (the pigment).  The really interesting part is getting the pigment out of the water and then the water out of the pigment.  We need pigment in a dry form and the pigment producers go to great lengths and expense to dry them out.  I have been to a pigment plant here in Toronto and I can tell you that it is a messy operation.  Even the sealed administrative offices had red stained floors.

As for us not smiling, well what can I say.  The guys that made the movie told us not to look into the camera and not to smile if the camera was on us?  I guess they felt it would have more impact if we looked serious.  Plus we had never done anything like this before and many of us were nervous about making a mess on camera for the world to see.  Speaking of messes.  We do make them but since ink is sticky it also travels quickly.  All messes are cleaned up right away to keep it from spreading too far.  My production manager is a real stickler for keeping the place clean.

As far as eating ink goes.  You are right, I wouldn’t encourage you to eat it.  These are industrial products made from a mixture of petroleum and nature sources.  Pine trees and gum trees make up the bulk of the vehicle in inks.  These materials are renowned for their bitter tastes and that is what I think ink would taste like.  Some of my contemporaries claim to have eaten spoonfuls but I doubt it.

Thank you again for writing. And thanks for watching.

Kind regards,

[not signed]

Peter J. Welfare
Research and Development

 

 

 

 

CALGARY /  TORONTO /  OTTAWA Head Office: 145 Westcreek Drive, Vaughan, ON L4L 9N6 /  Telephone: 905-850-3905 /  Fax: 905-850-3906 /  www.theprintinginkcompany.ca

Printing Ink Co. website: www.theprintinginkcompany.ca

Scan of the letter from Peter Welfare of The Printing Ink Company

Commentary:

I watched the video in question with the girlfriend/editor/typist and she asked, “But where do they get the pigments?” So I decided to write and ask.

I love when someone is passionate about what they do. You can also tell Peter took the time to answer this personally. If you haven’t watched the video yet, here it is:

If I am ever allowed into Canada I’ll have to go visit these guys. I might even eat some ink.

By Christopher L. Jorgensen

Website: http://jackassletters.com

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