[Histonet] Re: Marking inks

Robert Richmond rsrichmond <@t> gmail.com
Fri Oct 1 12:47:48 CDT 2010

Richard Cartun asks about marking inks used for surgical pathology specimens.

if I just need one color (great majority of specimens) I use india ink
bought from a stationer or craft supply store - cheap, easily
replaced, and it gets the job done.

If I need colors, I prefer the Davidson marking inks, available
through some though not all vendors. They offer seven colors,
including orange (they have to sell their product in Tennessee and
Texas, after all!) and purple. (I have no commercial connection with
Davidson inks.)

I blot my specimens thoroughly dry, and don't use a fixative. If I
did, I'd use white vinegar (5% acetic acid), possibly diluted 1:1 with
water. Bouin's fixative and acetone both have obvious environmental

Some people use tattoo inks. Cheap and available in a huge number of
colors, but you have to read some truly disgusting catalogs to get

I didn't know about green Davidson inks gumming up processors - thanks
for that tip. (I wonder why other inks should be different.)

With all marking inks, it's very important to re-cap the bottle as
soon as you're through with it. If you re-cap promptly, an opened
bottle will keep for years.

Bob Richmond
Samurai Pathologist
Knoxville TN

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