I have a moderately large stash of vintage ink, including a quart-size bottle of Carter's Tulip Purple from the 1930's or 1940's that I won on an eBay auction a year or so back. The Carter's Ink Company, based in Boston, Massachusetts, was one of the largest ink manufacturers in the world. It was acquired by Avery Dennison in the 1970s, which effectively ended all of their fountain pen-related ink operations and resulted in the destruction of all of Carter's records dating back to the 1860s. Presumably, all of Carter's formulas, etc. are lost.
The bottle and package itself are quite impressive. The packaging was in relatively good condition when I received it. You can see the entire Carter's line of ink listed on the sides, along with a list of ink properties and other sizes available. (gallons, anyone?)
This is a very vibrant, relatively well-behaved vintage ink--meaning no feathering or bleed-through--although I found that it stains like crazy. I used to have a Noodler's Ahab, and it turned the clear converter into a dark blue-purple color. For this review, I used, what else, a Carter's vintage ink cube desk pen.
My observations on the ink: It's a nice purple-blue color. It appears much more like a traditional purple when wet, and dries to a bluish tinge, as you can see from the scan above, which was done with doxie flip on the highest-resolution setting. The ink does not feather, and will not bleed through on the cheap paper that I've used, which is a heavier-weight inkjet paper I bought on special at Costco (i.e., nothing fancy). I've had really good results on both Doane and Scout Books. There is some show through on Field Notes, but nothing that to me would render the paper unusable. Dry time is approximately 10 seconds on fairly nice paper such as Rhodia or the Exacompta index card that I used for the review.
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When I purchased this, the bottle was about 95% full, but had previously been opened and used. There was no film floating around in the ink or sediment resting on the bottom, so I said what the hey... and used it. Overall, I've been pleased with the results, although I would not recommend using this ink in a very expensive pen or one that is prone to staining.