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Why "radio" Nibs?

radio nibs esterbrook

13 replies to this topic

#1 tadas

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Posted 21 February 2018 - 02:17

I don't use dip pens, but the nibs constantly come up on my eBay searches, as I collect Esterbrook fountain pens. I've been intrigued by the designation "Radio nib" - why a special nib for writing for radio? I did some searching on Google, and found, from the "Esterbrook Project" site, that they were introduced in 1913 and were nickel-plated versions of regular nibs.

 

Where I'm confused is that, in 1913, radio was the bailiwick of scientists, and the turn-of-the-20th version of what we now call "geeks" or "nerds". How did Esterbrook come to name their plated nib line after what was then an obscure technology? If it was the 1920's, I could understand, just like the products from the '50's that had stylized atoms, or '60's "space age" products.

 

Just some idle curiosity on my part....



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#2 Corona688

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Posted 21 February 2018 - 02:28

"Radio" became a buzzword for a while. We do the same thing now and just don't notice. "ipod nano", etc.

#3 tadas

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Posted 21 February 2018 - 02:36

"Radio" became a buzzword for a while. We do the same thing now and just don't notice. "ipod nano", etc.

 

I agree, but would have expected that for a 1920s or 1930s product, not something from 1913. If they wanted to reference the sexy new tech from 1913, I'd have expected "Aero".



#4 pajaro

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Posted 21 February 2018 - 03:08

That's all there is to it?


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#5 sidthecat

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Posted 21 February 2018 - 03:09

It might also reference radium, the hot new element of the time. Why is a toy wagon a “radio flyer”?

#6 linearM

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Posted 21 February 2018 - 03:11

You will find your answer here:https://vintagenibs....so-special.html.


Edited by linearM, 21 February 2018 - 03:19.


#7 Corona688

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Posted 21 February 2018 - 03:19

The thing is, we don't actually have nanotechnology. For a long time the possibilities seemed wide open. What did it do? We're not sure, but it modern, new, interesting, and good. Even now that the dream of super keen microbots has unraveled into new ways of making sensors and paints, our fondness for the term "nano" hasn't entirely left. We can cram it into any product and it won't look weird to our generation, just the next.

Edited by Corona688, 21 February 2018 - 03:20.


#8 ian1964

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Posted 21 February 2018 - 07:39

You will find your answer here:https://vintagenibs....so-special.html.

That is a really interesting link...thank you.



#9 tadas

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Posted 21 February 2018 - 15:42

You will find your answer here:https://vintagenibs....so-special.html.

 

Had to read the entire article to find the answer, mentioned in passing in a discussion of the differences between two nibs produced at different times:

 

"The pen from 1926 is made from steel imported from England and is plated first with copper, then with a nickel silver alloy called “Radio Plating.”.



#10 Larry Barrieau

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Posted 23 February 2018 - 20:57

Still, why "Radio"?


To better see my icon     http://fpnlcb.shutterfly.com/pictures

Looking for a black SJ Transitional Esterbrook Pen.  (It's smaller than an sj)


#11 Astron

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Posted 23 February 2018 - 22:09

Radio parts would be plated with such material. Silver would be the best but is expensive. It's done to protect the parts from corrosion without affecting thermal and electrical conductivity.
 
I guess the "radio" would have made the nibs seem very modern and sturdy. Today you might plate them with some titanium alloy to suggest your nibs are the best. Even in space.

» Oh, yeah. Oooh, ahhh, that's how it always starts. But then later there's running and... and screaming. «

#12 Larry Barrieau

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Posted 24 February 2018 - 18:36

The first commercial radio broadcasts are dated to 1920, so naming a nib "radio" in 1913 is puzzling.


To better see my icon     http://fpnlcb.shutterfly.com/pictures

Looking for a black SJ Transitional Esterbrook Pen.  (It's smaller than an sj)


#13 rwilsonedn

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Posted 28 February 2018 - 20:33

The first commercial radio broadcasts are dated to 1920, so naming a nib "radio" in 1913 is puzzling.

 

According to all-knowing Wikipedia, the term radio was in common use by the turn of the century, well after scientists had begun experimenting with radio transmission of information. By 1912, Marconi was in volume production on radio receivers, and vacuum tubes were being used. I imagine that, like today, marketing people snap up any new jargon that might capture the imagination, or at least the attention, of the buying public. If there was some incidental association with the technology actually used to build radio sets, all the better.

ron



#14 Corona688

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Posted 28 February 2018 - 21:14

The first commercial radio broadcasts are dated to 1920

That's just the first commercial audio broadcast. People were beginning to realize its potential in the late 1800's. Shipping and especially the military possessed working radios as early as 1905, albeit morse, not audio. Part of why it took so long for commercial broadcasting to take off was the lack of selectivity in early transmitters and receivers, until tubes and filters were greatly improved there were only so many channels so to speak, any continuous broadcasts would have been very rude and possibly illegal.

Edited by Corona688, 28 February 2018 - 21:18.




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