Old dip pen nibs

I paid $13.98 for a little packet of dip nibs on eBay. Most of that amount was the $9.99 postage from Beer-Sheva, Israel. This lot attracted my attention because of the range of nib types and sizes; far more interesting than the usual tin of fifty identical needlepoint nibs. I’m hoping to use them for graphics and calligraphy.

I’m testing them here on Rhodia dotPad paper with Sailor Red Brown ink. My nib holder is a glass Bortoletti pen from Venice.

dip nibs from eBay

The first two nibs wrote a fine line (I’ve written reservoir there — I meant overfeed, which is the metal clip on top of most of the nibs, designed to hold more ink from each dip.) The Speedball is very fine, with some flex, whereas the next Speedball (A4) writes like a fat felt tip. The oblique Esterbrook Textwriter is a disaster: too wet. The next two Speedballs are nice with smoothness and flex respectively. The last is another wet one with some old dry ink caked on it.

dip nibs from eBay

The Brause is wet but consistently so. The next two pens are designed for ruling: effectively two nibs in one. They worked well, first time.

The rest of the nibs are wide italics made by William Mitchell. The Decro writes well. The others are Poster Pens marked L13, L16, L17 and L20. The L20 is 1 cm wide! It reminds me of a coal shovel.

Mitchell L20 and L17 nibs

These nibs have an “underfeed” with four holes to store ink under the nib. They look like bed warmers. I shall have fun with these.

Update: The “double line”/”ruling” nibs are in fact called scroll pens and are still on sale from suppliers such as Green & Stone, as is the L20 for £1.85.

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