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Stub O' The Day


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#1 dcpritch

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 23:02

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:

fpn_1358980987__strand_3-17-12_1024x228.
fpn_1358980233__strand_pen_891x1024.jpg
[url="http://www.fountainp..._1_1024x767.jpg"]fpn_1358980281__strand_pen_1_1024x767.jp[/ur
l]


Edited by dcpritch, 05 December 2013 - 21:21.

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#2 jacksterp

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 00:18

Great idea for a thread - can't wait to see additional posts.

Thanks.

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#3 cedargirl

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 00:29

I agree. I'm looking forward to more of your posts here.
(BTW, your handwriting is good and very easy to read.)
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#4 penmanila

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 01:46

stubs do have a special appeal, and i've taken to stubbing many of my pens. sometimes, though, i've gotten lucky and found factory stubs, like these rather hard-to-find ones on vintage parker vacumatics (my prime collecting focus):

Posted Image

Check out my blog and my pens


#5 Sasha Royale

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 02:03

stubs do have a special appeal, and i've taken to stubbing many of my pens. sometimes, though, i've gotten lucky and found factory stubs, like these rather hard-to-find ones on vintage parker vacumatics (my prime collecting focus):

Posted Image



Fascinating ! What makes it a "stub", rather than "italic" ?

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#6 penmanila

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 02:17

there's more than one thread here on FPN devoted to the stub vs. italic question, but my understanding is that while both ends are flat, the italic has sharper corners; the stub's are slightly rounded. i have both, and not being a calligrapher, i find the stub easier to use.

stubs do have a special appeal, and i've taken to stubbing many of my pens. sometimes, though, i've gotten lucky and found factory stubs, like these rather hard-to-find ones on vintage parker vacumatics (my prime collecting focus):

Posted Image



Fascinating ! What makes it a "stub", rather than "italic" ?


Check out my blog and my pens


#7 sumgaikid

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 02:30

It might interest you to know that the celluloid on your Strand
pen is similar to that which Sheaffer used on their Balance pen
in the 1930's--it was a red-veined,silver celluloid.


John

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#8 dcpritch

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 02:33

... my understanding is that while both ends are flat, the italic has sharper corners; the stub's are slightly rounded. i have both, and not being a calligrapher, i find the stub easier to use.

stubs do have a special appeal, and i've taken to stubbing many of my pens. sometimes, though, i've gotten lucky and found factory stubs, like these rather hard-to-find ones on vintage parker vacumatics (my prime collecting focus):

Posted Image



Fascinating ! What makes it a "stub", rather than "italic" ?


Great nibs on those Vacs - we need to talk!!!

And I agree completely with the way you differentiate between stubs and italics nibs (which to me includes all of the "italics" nibs iterations). I have a few wide nibs that are near to being sharp italics and, while they provide remarkable line variation, they are not as easy or fun to use for one as unskilled as myself.
How small of all that human hearts endure,
That part which laws or kings can cause or cure.

— Samuel Johnson

#9 jenna

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 02:39

Posted Image


SO PRETTY!!!

#10 penmanila

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 02:43

thanks!

among the modern stub nibs out there (and there are quite a few), i like most my 1.3mm palladium nib on the visconti wall street LE:

Posted Image

and this 1.1mm titanium nib from a stipula ventidue that i moved to a bexley titanium pen:

Posted Image

Check out my blog and my pens


#11 dcpritch

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 02:49

It might interest you to know that the celluloid on your Strand
pen is similar to that which Sheaffer used on their Balance pen
in the 1930's--it was a red-veined,silver celluloid.


Thanks John, I don't think I've seen the Sheaffer celluloid you're talking about or, if I have, I didn't make the connection. Interesting, too, because as I understand it (info from this blog :thumbup: ), the W.H. Smith company sold their own store brand of pens - The Strand Pen - and contracted out with well-known makers for the pens. I wonder if they contracted at one point with Sheaffer, or got hold of some Sheaffer stock? Thanks so much for the insight.
How small of all that human hearts endure,
That part which laws or kings can cause or cure.

— Samuel Johnson

#12 dcpritch

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 02:54

among the modern stub nibs out there (and there are quite a few), i like most my 1.3mm palladium nib on the visconti wall street LE ...

and this 1.1mm titanium nib from a stipula ventidue that i moved to a bexley titanium pen ...


Those are great! I have a Visconti Dreamtouch stub that I'll be bringing out eventually - its been put into an Indian eyedropper - but I especially like the Stipula Ti nib combined with that Bexley Titanium. What a good looking combo!
How small of all that human hearts endure,
That part which laws or kings can cause or cure.

— Samuel Johnson

#13 geoduc

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 06:45

Great idea for a thread! I look forward to seeing more of your nibs and the lovely pens they're attached to...or is that 'to which they are attached'? Sounds awkward. Hey, I majored in science, not English.

Anyway, please keep it going. Your handwriting is fine and does perfect justice to the nibs.

#14 phlosar

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 18:10

Great thread! I fall hard for vintage pens with stub/italic nibs. I open my purse a bit more for these. I will take some pictures this weekend. I recall a Snorkel stub, a Vacumatic stub (or italic), a Mentmore that reads Osmi 14ct (using that one today). I forgive them their occasional fussiness. I am looking forward to more pics. The OP's pen is itself very pretty and then it has that beautiful nib. :puddle:

#15 dcpritch

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 19:25

I'm glad to see some folks tuned in, and now here is one of my go-to pens:

Bexley Poseidon Magnum

This pen is made of a transparent tortoise acrylic, which as far as I can tell is a non-production color, and the section is made of the same material instead of the usual black acrylic, so this pen may well be a prototype - I'm not sure. There is just enough transparency to offer a hint of what's inside, but not the level of clarity so as to be considered a "demonstrator." I really like the thickness of this pen and, at 139mm, its length is perfect for a non-poster like myself.

The main feature of this lovely instrument is the nib - a stock Bexley 18k Stub nib made by Bock, unmodified but as sweet a writer as one could ever hope for. It is smooth, butter smooth, and yet there is enough ooomph left in the corners of the nib that it provides great line variation. The converter allows me enough ink to enjoy using this pen for several pages of writing, but with the wet line laid down by this wide nib I won't stray far from my ink source, especially if I'm sitting down for an afternoon of writing (which actually never happens, so no worries).


fpn_1359054538__bexley_poseidon_magnum_5
fpn_1359054898__bexley_poseidon_magnum_6

Here you can get an idea of the tortoise acrylic's transparency. I've noticed Shawn Newton has used this or a very similar material for some of his custom pens. I especially like the way Howard Levy used the same material in making the section.

fpn_1359054990__bexley_poseidon_magnum_5
fpn_1359055007__bexley_poseidon_magnum.j

And the nib:

fpn_1359055046__bexley_poseidon_magnum_3
fpn_1359055065__bexley_poseidon_magnum_1
fpn_1359055088__bexley_poseidon_magnum_2


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— Samuel Johnson

#16 saskia_madding

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 20:14

Can other people play too, or is this a one person show? I've got a few stub nibs I wouldn't mind sharing!! :cloud9: Nothing that rivals yours though, dpritch. They are AMAZING!

#17 ethernautrix

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 20:52

Love this thread!

Great idea, David. Am watching with great interest.

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#18 dcpritch

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 21:09

Hey, I majored in science, not English.


This makes me laugh, especially because I often say to my boys, "Hey, I majored in History, not Science/Medicine/Engineering/etc."

Can other people play too, or is this a one person show? I've got a few stub nibs I wouldn't mind sharing!!


I'd love to see some other pens! Share away! :thumbup:


... watching with great interest.


Don't be afraid to show us some of your beauties, Lisa, or to jazz up the thread with some great art! Lord knows there won't be any great art uploaded from my computer. :huh:
How small of all that human hearts endure,
That part which laws or kings can cause or cure.

— Samuel Johnson

#19 gwoodbridge

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 21:37

Hmm....stubs....may need to visit them sometime. LOVE this thread! Can't wait to see more examples!
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#20 JonSzanto

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 22:10

Love this thread!

Great idea, David. Am watching with great interest.

+1
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