Stub o' the Day
I've been reflecting on the fountain pens in my collection, trying to resolve a question, "What is my focus?" What I've come to realize is that I purchase nibs more than I purchase pens. Without doubt, certain pens attract me because they are lovely and I buy them because my resistance is low, but really my focus has for quite some time been on pens with wide nibs. I have some pens with narrow nibs, a few pens that qualify as nails and many that are flexible in varying degrees, but by far the most prevalent nibs in my pile of pens are stubs.
Of course, others are likely to have far more pens with stub nibs than I do, and better examples. I'm also quite sure I will continue as time goes on to find some amazing stub nibs that are not yet in my collection - no doubt such discoveries will empty my wallet. However, I currently have a fair number of pens with stub nibs that are just a pleasure to use, and I would like to share with my fellow FPNers my love of stub nibs.
Some of you may be wondering what I mean by "stub" nibs. The most informative explanation I have seen is Richard Binder's reference work on nibs, found here. By the way, the reference pages found at RichardsPens.com are a marvelous wealth of information, and I recommend the site highly as a place to begin research on almost any pen related topic.
I tend to like stubs more than italic nibs because the stub shape is more forgiving and, to those (like me) with little or no training, easier to use. This is because the edges of a stub nib are smoother and less angular than found on an italics nib. However, while they are smoother and easier to use, stubs also provide less line variation than italics nibs, and I covet line variation in my writing, so occasionally I will use a nib that is more of an italic than a stub.
Disclaimer: There are many here on FPN whose writing makes me stop and stare with gaping mouth at its sheer artistry; you will not mistake my writing for anything like that. My writing, unfortunately, is not of the quality I would like it to be and so I am unable to illustrate what any of my pens could truly do in the hands of a master. I will, however, attempt to show what I can of each nib's ability to create line variation and, if applicable, flexibility.
I plan to add an entry to this thread as often as I am able and each time I hope to provide photos and a writing sample. I don't have any set plan or order for showing these pens, just an off-the-cuff approach based on pens I have inked and am using. Also, I am completely unable to rank my pens in terms of what I like best; as one FPNer put it, try asking someone to say which of their children they love best. Please feel free to add comments and information. I hope this will be a thread that is useful to those who have an interest in wide nibs.
The Strand Pen
The first pen I'll show is a fairly obscure British pen sold back in the day by W.H. Smith and Sons, Stationers, as the "Strand Pen." The model I have is, based on my limited understanding of styling and materials, from the late 1930s.
It has a Warranted 14k "1st Quality" nib with a heart shaped breather hole and a wide, stub tip that still has plenty of iridium. The nib writes a medium to broad line and is both stubbish and flexible, in my mind the best of both worlds. The nib is a joy to use. At normal writing speed the nib performs flawlessly with the line variation common to stub nibs, and if one wants a wider line then a slower hand and more pressure will yield a line two or three times as wide as the nib.
The pen is smallish at 128mm capped and is made of a striking grey and black marble with red flecks and swirls; the barrel imprint proudly reads: "Strand / British Made." It has white metal furniture that may at one time have been gold plated, though none remains, and peaked ends. The hard rubber cap top has mellowed with age to a dull, greenish brown, providing a patina I find quite attractive and which makes me comfortable using the pen when I'm out and about because it already is something less than perfect.
I quite like this pen and hope you might someday have opportunity to find one for yourself.
Here are a couple of pictures:
Edited by dcpritch, 05 December 2013 - 21:21.