In appreciation of Gold Nibs.
Exchanging views on gold nibs with both a fellow blogger and an anaesthetist (from way back when I was a student nurse) we discussed unpredictability of gold nib use at times.
There is a fascination for ‘all things vintage’ in Summersville. And fountain pens that have been lovingly used over decades are often amazing to own. Being blessed with the ability to write with them and continue their stories. Early nibs on the pens, having been eBay fingers crossed bought, are gold mostly.
Gold nibs. Have I changed my mind that I prefer them over steel nibs? No not really. Gold can play up. It’s fantastically flexible to write with. So much so that it loves to drop an ink bombshell onto the page. Less so over the last months of writing with them though. I have been softly checking their housing in the ink feed from time to time by gentle twist, push manipulation. Sometimes they are slightly loose. A minuscule movement of positioning makes all the difference. Designs of section/feed/nib combinations are diverse and the quirky nature of pens determine the results. Like the VeeDub 1972 Crossover Type 2 ‘Bus’ (hippy camper van) I drive. The gears engaging on the end of a long gear stick have a life of their own. Someone else gets behind the wheel, puts it in first and goes backwards. Not really. It wouldn’t pass the MOT would it? Actually, side issue….the historical vehicle it is doesn’t require to have a MOT.
Anyways. Back to gold nibs. Gold? I should imagine, gets softer over time. Certainly my wedding ring of 40 years, worn with love and appreciation, has not retained its initial perfect circle. Gold only nibs therefore would be too fragile/soft over the decades. So…Gold is usually tipped with a harder material like iridium. I usually blow up the photograph of the nib on a seller’s upload. If it is a decent sharp photograph it gives a great indication of ‘buy it or forget it’.
Please tap on individual photographs below to enlarge.
Gold nibs and ink? Ink choice is usually the standards for myself. The content of inks, I have read in the past, are far less harsh than very, very early iron-gall inks. The reason for gold consideration as nib choice ‘way back when’ was due to the steel becoming corroded due to the nature of ink quality. Dip nibs I own are mostly all steel? But after use with India/China inks they are washed clean and dried. It goes without saying to never put an India/China ink inside an ink reservoir of a fountain pen where ink lay in the nib ready for action. The steel nibs are still great to write with and are probably more reliable in general than the gold ones. I don’t own a titanium nib so no experience to proffer. I have a titanium tie pin. But last I heard it behaves badly as a writing tool.
There is a modern fascination for colours and inherent ‘sparkles’ in inks. Thousands of colour choices. Some blog sites are wholly dedicated to ink choices. These, in vintage pens, would never be on my wish list. I do love the Diamine basic colour makes though. Their palette of colours are truly beautiful. Vintage pen choice though is the standard old school. Used Parker Quink in school. Wish I had kept the bottles now? So, as I still use the same school owned nib (now into my 66th year on the planet) Quink stands true. Waterman, Sheaffer, Parker Quink, Montblanc, Diamine inks are the ever presents. One ink I have never tried and will order when my pension monthly pay goes in the bank, is Pelikan.
Green, red and blue bottle inks are rarely, if ever, used by myself and like most of my steel nibbled pens too, black is preferred. Cartridges are the main source of colour. As the vintage pens are reservoir fillers the only bottle ink colours introduced from time to time are the Diamine Oxblood (a wonderful deep rich red), Sherwood Green (again deep and rich) and Sheaffer standard green. Pretty basic attitude when it comes to choice of black ink as #1 on the list really. It’s like Henry Ford said, “Any customer can have a car painted any colour that he wants…..as long as it’s black”. Interesting that he uses ‘he’!! How times change.