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BY DON FLUCKINGER • Gold, you’ve most likely observed for those who haven’t been concealing in a mine shaft, is investing at record prices. That, states Barbara, equals hundred-dollar-plus surcharges on pencils with gold nibs over those with metal.

Hence, metal nibs have actually out of the blue be well-known now than they've been since Esterbrook folded its tent in the belated sixties, or earlier in the day, depending on your viewpoint. (Jim Lampley could have called the fight over-long before that.)

Authors just who think silver nibs compose much more efficiently than steel are purchasing into a fallacy. You don’t compose using nib, but rather the tipping material.

Richardspens.com offers numerous pens with either gold or steel nib choices, a somewhat brand-new development. Total product sales, Barbara says, remain degree and even much better — nevertheless site’s moving more steel-nibbed pencils than ever before. It’s a throwback toward despair era 1930s and postwar 1940s, when metal and gold nibbed fountain pens competed mano-a-mano for the consumer dollar.

I’ve always been a gold-nib snob. That does not rather jibe with my passion for classic junk pencils, the joy which I’ve promoted frequently inside space. It’s already been the main topic of spirited conversations between Richard and me personally over the years. He contends that I’m not a gold-nib snob, per se, but I like a particular nib semiflexiness.

That, he states, can be easily reproduced with the proper metal alloy. His theory keeps water, whenever I contemplate it, because several of my beloved fat-sectioned Wearevers have actually these large #6-ish sized metal nibs being thinner than, state, Esterbrooks. They feel perfect. The Wearever Deluxe 100s I gather also come outfitted with metallic nibs.

While I appreciate Esterbrooks and love their energy and functionality (you usually takes all of them locations one couldn’t dare take along an even more fragile and important pen — and look pretty cool), every Esterbrook nib is like a stiff manifold for me, with the exception of the 9788 Flexible moderate — so when a lefty, any nib labeled “flexible” ought to be off-limits, but this one’s near perfect for my hand.

Steel or gold just why is it that we notice it by doing this?

“No energy, ” Richard describes of contemporary nibs, “is meant to match characteristics. They make steel nibs and silver nibs equivalent real dimensions (including depth) so they’ll interchange in a stock feed/sleeve set up, nonetheless they don’t adjust the rigidity of this respective metals; they just use the cheapest alloys that write precisely. It doesn’t simply take a great deal extra width to make a gold nib feel just like the steelie, therefore’s in addition feasible to modify the alloying metals to create such a nib stiffer without thickening it.”

It’s long been their contention that authors just who believe silver nibs compose much more effortlessly than metal tend to be purchasing into a fallacy. You don’t compose utilizing the nib, but instead the tipping product; the smoothness or scratchiness thereof is the reason why a nib write well — or not. In the beginning we dismissed this out of hand, but arrive at consider it, he’s got a point. My primary work pen, a trusty Sheaffer 444, possesses an inlaid metal nib, since do a few chrome and brushed metal Targas we tote. We don’t even notice the metal nibbed components of those.


As a nib professional, Richard sees exactly how modern-day pencils with 18K and greater (i.e., some pens have actually to 23K) gold-content nibs are soft. Excessively soft. They spring, and can’t be written with from then on takes place. I actually do possess some vintage 10K nibs that most likely have actually lived through the decades since they have actually less gold in them. His advice if you’re a gold fetishist? 14K in the event that you must, 10K if you're able to.

The entire gold-nib thing, he claims, started out because authors needed to utilize metal gall inks, the standard regarding the 19th century. Iron gall consumed metal, but gold had been impervious. Today, since there’s no metal gall in many inks, steel — metal, really, that has been unknown within the 19th century — works as well.

Truly the only classic pens I’ve held with steel nibs — save a fistful of cool Wearever combos Everyone loves — are Wearever Deluxe 100s. A couple old Wearevers with hopelessly damaged original nibs Richard helped me rehabilitate with modern Pelikan steelies, and I really do enjoy them.


So my issue with steel nibs boils down to silver becoming the standing sign, and metallic playing the role of red-headed stepchild. I suppose. If it were a 2005 silver market, i mightn’t be having this argument with myself; I’d just be buying pencils with gold nibs. Obligated to consider it with gold at fifteen hundred an ounce and gasoline at four bucks a gallon, fine. I’ll appreciate steel nibs. For the moment, about.

Additional Checking: To the Point: Steal the Metallic
If you’re still not convinced, have a look at this informative article that Richard published in his regular line in December 2004/January 2005 issue of Stylus magazine. It’s brief and "to the stage."

Don Fluckinger lives in Nashua, brand new Hampshire, and is the son-in-law of Richard Binder. Their articles have been published in Antiques Roadshow Insider, The Boston world, as well as on the Biddersedge.com collectibles Web site. Please note: Any opinions reported inside column tend to be Don’s alone and never necessarily mirror those of Richard Binder or this internet site.



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