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History of Sheaffer Nibs!


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10 replies to this topic

#1 woodwindmaster06

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Posted 07 November 2005 - 00:55

I am trying to go out and get a vintage sheaffer, could someone tell me the complete rundown on all types of nibs that Sheaffer produced, the benefits of each, how they evolved over the years, if sheaffer nibs have much flex (vintage or modern)
Thanks for unraveling this history for me!!
Tim
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#2 PenHero

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Posted 07 November 2005 - 01:10

The two nibs that are distinctly Sheaffer are the Triumph and the Inlaid nibs. No other manufacturer made anything like them and both have had long histories of production.

Here are two articles you might find interesting:

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The Sheaffer Triumph Nib 1942-1998

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The Evolution of the Sheaffer Inlaid Nib 1959-Present

Edited by PenHero, 07 November 2005 - 01:11.


#3 woodwindmaster06

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Posted 07 November 2005 - 01:12

Any personal expierences on these nibs, and did sheaffer use any other nibs?

2: Do Sheaffer nibs rare in the flexible form do they have some give for line variation.

3: Also while on the topic of nibs what are warrented nibs????????

Thanks for the info so far great links!
Tim: The Music Pen Guy
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#4 KendallJ

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Posted 07 November 2005 - 02:03

WWM, I am a triumph nut, and have several as well as an inlaid nib on my Legacy II.

I find that these are probably the smoothest nibs out there. Almost all of the mediums and many fines are in the realm of buttery.

I have also found these nibs to always be generous in flow, in whatever pen they are in. Sheaffer specifically used palladium plating on teh tips because this metal wets more easily than gold, helping flow.

Line variation in Triumphs, if there is any, come from shape of the nib. They are not generally flexible nibs, although I have heard tell of some flexy triumphs, but they are rare. The nib has a slightly upturned nose and the curvature of the nib in this configuration is like a "saddle" which gives it rigidity. I have some of my nibs which have line variation but most are generally rounded.

Sheaffer i think more than any other company reached the true heigh of nibcraft.
Kendall Justiniano
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#5 Michael Wright

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Posted 07 November 2005 - 02:31

2: Do Sheaffer nibs rare in the flexible form do they have some give for line variation.

It is said that there are flexy Triumph nibs, but mostly they are rigid, and about as good as rigid nibs get. Ideal for multi-part forms.

The inlaid nibs have a bit of flex much more frequently. I've got about 6 inlaid nibs, of which at least two give noticeable line variation.

I *think* that the Sheaffer nibs made of a palladium-silver alloy are much less likely to be flexy.

The one problem with the inlaid nibs, IME, is that they can get a bit oozy with ink finding its way through the inlaid part, and onto your fingers. Otherwise they're great.

Best

Michael

#6 Mannenhitsu

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Posted 07 November 2005 - 08:19

WWM, I am a triumph nut, and have several as well as an inlaid nib on my Legacy II.

I find that these are probably the smoothest nibs out there. Almost all of the mediums and many fines are in the realm of buttery.

I have to agree whole heartedly with Kendall. I like the 14k Triumph nibs very much, and they represent the next or second era in fountain pen nib construction. Likewise, they are very smooth writers, and I would put them up against other manufacturers nibs any day.

I also like Sheaffer's open nibs just as well. They are very smooth, well crafted, durable, and came in many styles. However, most of the ones I ever find either come with fine or medium nibs, they are a pleasure to write with.

The three pens that I have with open nibs are the Balance II, which has a classic "Feather Touch" nib that once broken in has been a very, very, smooth writer. In addition, the 14K two-tone nibs that I have used on the Snorkel and Touchdown models that I own, which have a very generous ink flow, and are very smooth, including the "F3" on a Snorkel that I just got back from Richard Binder, which floats across the paper like an airplane crosses the sky with ease.

All in all, Sheaffer made some of the best American made nibs your money can buy. Although they were very flashy like some European nibs, with engraved designs on them, they were made to write in every day use, and their pens put on a command performance even under the toughest of conditions. My neighbor was a U.S. Marine and he had a Sheaffer fountain pen with him all the time while in combat and it never once failed him, even though a bullet did nick the cap once.

Sincerely yours,

Ronnie Banks
"Like a prized watch, a good fountain pen is a trusted companion for life."

#7 PenHero

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Posted 07 November 2005 - 10:43

What's very interesting is that with few exceptions, Sheaffer has always made their nibs in-house. Starting in 2006, Sheaffer nibs will be made by a German manufacturer, probably Bock. I wonder if Sheaffer nibs will have the same character if made by Bock, including writing feel, wetness, flexibility, and line width. The likely tendency will be for them to be buttery, wetter, more bouncy, and wider, just like most other European pens, most of which have Bock or Schmidt nibs. The interesting anomally in Europe is Aurora, one of the other very few pen makers that still make their own nibs and one which has very similar writing characteristics to Sheaffer nibs. And yes, the German nib maker will start out making Inlaid nibs - for Legacy Heritage and some new models.

Edited by PenHero, 07 November 2005 - 10:44.


#8 Kees

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Posted 07 November 2005 - 12:44

The sad thing is that any change will be for the worse. :(

Only recently, I bought a (new) Balance with a 14K medium gold nib, and though my Crest with its 18K Triumph nib remains my first choice, I am (again) amazed at the joy of writing it conveys...

#9 PenHero

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Posted 07 November 2005 - 13:07

Unfortunately, BIC has made the decision and Fort Madison and all the experienced people there through generations of pen making are going to be out to pasture in just a few months.

If there is a silver lining, there are some select BIC employees that are trying hard to reconstitute Sheaffer as a standalone brand with a standalone team of volunteers (in the words of the USA Sheaffer National Account Director) who have requested to form a separate Sheaffer team. I have one of their internal presentations, and they are definitely thinking along the lines of what makes a Sheaffer pen distinctively a Sheaffer and how to pull off Sheaffer as a separate unit in a BIC world of jobbed outsourced manufacturing.

It's going to be interesting and difficult emotionally to watch. Unlike Cross, which made an executive decision to offshore, like many publically traded companies, Sheaffer is nothing more than a brand at BIC that happened to have a dedicated manufacturing plant. This is actually how corporations think - insane for sure. The Sheaffer people inside BIC are trying to "intraprenure" Sheaffer into a stand-alone entity within the BIC structure. Apparently they have enough gas to get that off the ground. Let's see what they can do.

Another interesting piece of the puzzle is that Sheaffer pens will have final assembly done in Charlotte, NC, at an existing BIC location. I wonder why they chose to do that, but I'm sure it goes back to the economics of paying for a 1,500 person building in Fort Madison with only 100 people in it.

Edited by PenHero, 07 November 2005 - 13:09.


#10 woodwindmaster06

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Posted 07 November 2005 - 19:55

This is a sad story a terrible way to close one of the greatest pen companies ever, another evil of BIC that will not be forgotten anytime soon. I wish that Sheaffer could seperate from BIC and keep up their production I think they would survive without BIC. I wonder if there will be some physical mark to seperate the Iowa Sheaffers versus the new Euro Sheaffer pens???
Tim: The Music Pen Guy
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#11 Manenpitsu

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Posted 26 April 2012 - 05:52

Wow, whatever happened to the Sheaffer story?