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What Is A Folded Nib ?


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14 replies to this topic

#1 sajiskumar

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Posted 15 December 2011 - 11:52

Hi All,

Recently I bought three Schneider Pens, and all these pens have an old type nib ( like the nibs fitted in low quality, old Indian Pens). The nib tips are made by folding the nib ends. No iridium or any kind tipping materials are seen.

Are this kind of nibs inferior to tipped nibs, or is it just another type of nib, which have no quality/performance concerns?

thanks in advance for your valuable inputs,
-saji

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#2 sajiskumar

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Posted 15 December 2011 - 12:00

Here is the link about these pens

Shneider Easy Pen
Schneider Voice Pen
Schneider Voyage Pen

#3 richardandtracy

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Posted 15 December 2011 - 12:17

Folded nibs are cheap & inferior nibs.

The normal base material of a nib is relatively soft & wears away quite quickly, so when it's folded over to make a lump at the end, it's not going to last too long. Writing paper is, after all, wood fibres and china clay, so is actually quite abrasive.

The material that's called 'Iridium' that tips most nibs is very hard, and on reasonable paper should last at least one lifetime of use.

Regards,

Richard.

#4 Uncle Red

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Posted 15 December 2011 - 17:31

An American company named Esterbrook made a lot of these folded over stainless steel nibs. The have a reputation for wearing out faster than the "Iridium" tipped nibs but I've never heard from anyone that actually did wear one out. The Esterbrook all stainless steel nibs can be quite smooth. I've got 2 of them and love them both.
The Indian made all stainless steel nibs are different and I don't know how smooth they are or how fast they'll wear out.

Edited by Uncle Red, 15 December 2011 - 17:35.


#5 Bo Bo Olson

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Posted 15 December 2011 - 20:15

An Esterbrook nib as far as I know was expected to last or a year or so, with constant writing.
Back in the day one didn't have but two or three family pens.
the difference between a $0.25-30 nib and one that was expensive with iridium which cost $1.25- or more.
$0.50-0.75 was normal wages for unskilled workers an hour.

I have Esterbrook nibs a 2968 the rolled steel one, and a 9268 the one with the 'iridium' one and even after the brown paper bag trick the 2968 is smoother.
I've read that a number of times over in the Esterbrook section.


But today, it makes no sense to buy a cheap Chinese or Indian with a rolled steel tip. Iridium is not expensive for today's market.

Some one gave me a cheap Chinese rolled steel nibbed pen. I wished for micro-mesh....in it took me 20 minutes with the brown paper bag to get a functional nib out of it. It's been a while back...could be I touched it to the stone too.

No reason today to buy one....but don't think an Esterbrook rolled steel or Osmiroid nib are 'bad' because they are 'rolled steel'. They ground it better or used a better steel.

German vintage '50-70 semi-flex stubs and those in oblique give the real thing in On Demand line variation. Modern Oblique is a waste of money for a shadow of line variation. Being too lazy to Hunt for affordable vintage oblique pens, lets you 'hunt' for line variation instead of having it.

www.nibs.com/blog/nibster-writes/nibs-germany & https://www.peter-bo...cts/nib-systems,

 

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#6 rwilsonedn

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Posted 15 December 2011 - 21:27

In principle previous comments are correct: the alloy on tipped nibs should be harder, and therefore should wear more slowly, than the nib material itself. But I have some reservations about the theory. First, tipping started when the nibs were made from relatively soft alloys containing gold. It is possible that modern stainless steel formulations are much harder than the old gold alloys, even though not as hard as tipping material. So a modern rolled nib might last a lot longer than an old one.
Second, the rolled nibs I've seen in the wild on vintage pens have never shown much sign of wear, and most of them have been quite smooth. This suggests that the rolled nibs are soft enough to smooth out quickly during use, but not so soft as to wear quickly. I suspect that in practice, if you are using the pen occasionally (maybe a few times a day) and especially if it's in rotation, you might not see any difference in wear rate between a good rolled nib and a good tipped nib. That would explain why there are so many 1xxx and 2xxx Esterbrook nibs around that are still excellent writers.
ron

#7 Mike 59

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Posted 15 December 2011 - 22:37

The current range of Bic school pens use these nibs. Line thickness on one I tried was nearer to fine than medium, not too bad to write with, but needed some smoothing out. Probably worth the £3 it cost. Made in France.

Edited by Mike 59, 16 December 2011 - 11:28.


#8 raging.dragon

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Posted 16 December 2011 - 04:54

In principle previous comments are correct: the alloy on tipped nibs should be harder, and therefore should wear more slowly, than the nib material itself. But I have some reservations about the theory. First, tipping started when the nibs were made from relatively soft alloys containing gold. It is possible that modern stainless steel formulations are much harder than the old gold alloys, even though not as hard as tipping material. So a modern rolled nib might last a lot longer than an old one.
Second, the rolled nibs I've seen in the wild on vintage pens have never shown much sign of wear, and most of them have been quite smooth. This suggests that the rolled nibs are soft enough to smooth out quickly during use, but not so soft as to wear quickly. I suspect that in practice, if you are using the pen occasionally (maybe a few times a day) and especially if it's in rotation, you might not see any difference in wear rate between a good rolled nib and a good tipped nib. That would explain why there are so many 1xxx and 2xxx Esterbrook nibs around that are still excellent writers.
ron


It took a few decades of extensive writing, but my mother wore the iridium off a Sheaffer nib and had it replaced (the pen is a black Imperial II with touchdown filler, and is still going strong with it's second nib). Back in the day some professions required alot of writing, which today is done with a computer and keyboard. The vintage folded nibs were stainless steel, but subjected to such extensive use wouldn't have lasted long.

#9 79spitfire

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Posted 16 December 2011 - 05:49

I have a couple of Esterbrook nibs that came to me with the folded points worn off. They still write ok, but the 'sharp' edges from wear will catch on the paper from time to time. They have lovely line variation.

Many older nibs that are tipped can have the tipping worn off. Earlier tipping bits were often tiny bits of rough iridium, that wasn't actually refined, welded to the gold. These nibs can have very UN-predictable wear, as the actual amount and grade of iridium naturally varied. Later nibs made from the '20s on started becoming more predictable, as the technology to build alloys of various platinum group metals were concocted to provide better performance than a rough iridium tip. Better details are available on Richard Binder's site.

Folding the tip on a Stainless Steel nib was a way to provide a better wear surface than a non tipped nib. In the days of steel dip pens the points were disposable, they were used until they were worn and replaced, often several times a year. This is the reason they are often seen (or found) in 'bulk' packing of 20 or more tips. This was a years supply.

A fountain pen had to last longer than that so they folded the tip on inexpensive fountain pens to make the nibs last longer. Folded stainless nibs were a sign of a 'second tier' or lower pen. Esterbrook took advantage of this in their 'renew' point line. By folding the tip they made a 'cheap' nib that would last about a year, '1000 series' '2000 series' were folded and soldered (as I understand) and rare 3000 and 8000 had tipping and '9000 master series' had iridium tipping, these were the most expensive, but are often found even today with a generous amount of tipping left and are still usable. When these wore they were easily replaced, as intended. Lesser pens the nib had to be changed by a technician, making the cheap pen essentially disposable, because they could be replaced for less than the cost of repair.

Don't think I'm bashing rolled tip nibs, (or un-tipped, for that matter, many 'calligraphy' nibs are un-tipped), they can be wonderful writers, in fact many pens with .9 and larger 'stub' or 'italic' nibs are un-tipped and they will likely write fine for years to come. For me it's all about performance, tipping is nice, but not a necessity! (except on a gold nib!)

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#10 sajiskumar

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Posted 16 December 2011 - 08:08

Thanks Richard, Uncle Red, Bo Bo Olson, Ron, Mike59, Raging Dragon and 79spitfire for the valuable information.

Some of my pens with folded nibs are writing very well, even with the other side of the nib. And I doubt some of my folded nibs are tipped with some kind of alloy(iridium ?). Is it possible?

One more question- Will the steel folded nibs last for 1,000 hrs. of continuous writing ?

thanks,
-saji

#11 akrishna59

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Posted 16 December 2011 - 08:40

dear saji,

from what i know, i have not found much of a difference in writing experience between folded / rolled points and tipped points. a pen enthusiast told me some time ago that iridium is no longer used for tipping, it is some mix of alloys.

folded nibs do last for years, depending on your writing and the pressure that you apply. i have one colleague in office who wears out a tipped nib in a matter of eight or ten years, he has a paw for a hand and has a vice like grip on his fp, i usually gasp when i see him writing with such force that he almost tears the paper. it does not help that he is an elderly, burly, short tempered, loud voiced, always english speaking, tension filled senior manager who is always in a hurry.:ltcapd:

if you wish to have an fp for decades it will be better to go for a tipped point (camlin SD) or some other brand, otherwise if you get bored with an fp after six or seven years and changes them, a folded one will suffice. usually i have found that good folded points last for six years with daily writing (the really cheap ones excluded), it will give service for at least three years, but i also apply some pressure.

rgds.

krishna.

Edited by akrishna59, 16 December 2011 - 11:20.

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#12 basterma

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Posted 16 December 2011 - 09:09

I have many folded nib pens since Blister pak pens is a theme of my collection. The tend to write smoothly in a narrower range of angles than tipped nibs. Line width really varies between vertical and horizontal strokes for the really cheap nibs. Oddly enough its a Pelikan that is the worst in this regard. I have a couple (A Wilson and a Solid) which are insanely smooth writers. When your hand is at the right angle, the effect is a lubricating effect more than writing... Tip wear is hard to assess since my rotation includes a large number of pens, so usage of a given pen is low. From what I know about materials, the wear on the nib shouldn't be an issue unless you intend to write a thesis or dissertation with one pen. Even in that case, I doubt you would wear the nib out, increasing line width would be more likely. Depends on the paper smoothness.

#13 richardandtracy

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Posted 16 December 2011 - 10:52

I used a Woolworth's 'Worth It' pen with a folded nib for about 6 weeks, and in that time I had half worn through the fold. I may write for 4 hours a day, 20 pages or so. At that rate 1200 pages/ 240 hours would be life of one of those nibs in my hand.

Regards,

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#14 fabrimedeiros

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Posted 16 December 2011 - 12:20

A couple year ago I bought a pair of german pens (piston fillers) with folded nibs and I hated them. They scratched like crazy. The only untiped nibs I'll bought from now on are the italic (non-folded, flat steel nib), even though, in my experience, untipped italic nibs (eg. Lamy italic nibs) used to loose their line variation after a 6 months of intense use.




#15 basterma

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Posted 16 December 2011 - 14:35

A couple year ago I bought a pair of german pens (piston fillers) with folded nibs and I hated them. They scratched like crazy. The only untiped nibs I'll bought from now on are the italic (non-folded, flat steel nib), even though, in my experience, untipped italic nibs (eg. Lamy italic nibs) used to loose their line variation after a 6 months of intense use.


So how long did you keep the pens? Was it long enough to assess wear. Were they modern pens? I've never seen new piston fillers with folded nibs. Curious about your answer.

I tend to think that newer folded nib pens won't wear as much as some of the vintage ones. Have not used a vintage nib to compare to my new ones though. I don't mind the scratching because I've found its far less if I keep my hand at a certain angle. Writing speed also seems to make a difference some nibs seems to resonate more if written at a certain speed on rougher papers.






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