Sunday, June 23, 2013

Nib talk

The manner in which tipping material was applied to nibs a century ago often differs markedly from how it is done today. This is particularly pronounced with broad nibs; two good examples recently crossed my repair bench, one of which is shown above (the other was a Waterman slender #2 New York nib, mounted in a 402 straight-cap). At first glance, it seems there is no tipping at all.
Flip the nib over, however, and it is apparent that there is a healthy chunk of tipping present -- but attached so as to be covered with gold when viewed from above. The tip has not been worn down; rather, the tipping material was soldered into a recess ground into the underside of the nib's tip, so that the gold of the nib wraps around and supports the tipping material to the greatest extent possible.

This nib is a New York-made Mabie Todd #3, from a slip-cap eyedropper with an ebonite underfeed and a gold overfeed. Note that the forepart of the nib's underside has deliberately been roughened: a carryover from gold dip pen nib manufacturing practice, soon abandoned for fountain pen nibs.

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