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Why Did Manufacturers Stop Making Steel Flex Nibs?


22 replies to this topic

#1 steve50

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Posted 09 July 2018 - 21:24

As many members have pointed out and anyone who has used a dip nib knows, steel nibs can be as flexible & soft as vintage gold flex nibs. Gold has nothing to do with flexibility. In fact, you can see in this video how flexible steel nibs can be. () Given that fountain pens are coming back into fashion and demands for flex nibs are soaring, I don't understand why manufacturers would not return to steel flex nibs. 

 

I don't think the following responses hold water:

 

1) They don't have the recipe for the 'special alloy' for flex nibs any more.

 

-> This is clearly false because flexible dip nibs are widely available. 

 

2) People will bend the nib.

 

-> Steel nibs don't get easily sprung and anyway they're very cheap to replace.

 

3) The market is too small. Only a fraction of fountain pen users are interested in them.

 

-> Apparently not, given how everyone is talking about them all the time even outside FPN! Plus, a number of companies are already diving into making semi-flex nibs but only in gold. 

 

4) They are already making them. (Noodler's, Fountain pen revolution, Conklin 'omniflex', etc.)

 

-> Yes, but I'm talking about real flex nibs, not stiff nibs modified so that tines split only with a ridiculous amount of pressure. 

 

In short: I'm quite happy with the flexibility of the zebra G nib although I prefer Hunt 101. Why is welding a tipping on them an impossibility at the moment?

 



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#2 Honeybadgers

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Posted 10 July 2018 - 01:28

While it's not true that steel nibs will wear out if the alloy is right, my ideas on why NOBODY makes flexible nibs as good as they used to be is exactly that. Alloy.

 

Steel comes in pre-made sheets that nib makers buy. They don't smelt it themselves, and nobody makes steel or gold alloys specifically for nibs anymore. I doubt the alloys themselves are lost to time, alloy recreation is fairly trivial. But finding a foundry willing to create those alloys just for you is expensive. Economies of scale and all that.

 

Steel will never reach the same levels of ductility and durability of gold (the chromium added to the steel to create stainless also increases brittleness, and dip nibs are made from spring steel, a different material that is prone to rusting.) But we all know that some vintage steel nibs were real, honest to god semiflex nibs with XXF-B/BB range, like some german and the japanese shiro nib. 

 

Tipping a dip nib is not impossible (vintage gold dip pens were tipped and there are a few vintage ones that were tipped that were used for accounting and bookkeeping.) It's just not economical. the nibs will rust and the steel does wear out from all that flexing, so the extra cost of tipping, slitting (the tipping will wear a slit saw blade faster) and then hand-grinding it (tipping is much harder to grind properly than bare steel, as anyone who's tried to grind their tipping to a stub vs just cutting it off and grinding the steel into one) to the required obscene fineness required is just not worth it, as your $0.50 nib would likely have to cost 4 or 5 bucks for no real increase in lifespan. You can always smooth the steel tip yourself easily a couple times before the nib is toasted.

 

I'd love to see a modern reproduction of the japanese shiro nib (that's the nib in the video, though the user is REALLY taking it to the max, that nib is not going to enjoy that kind of flexing for long. A B or BB line is as much as you could rationally ask.) If they made a #5 and #6 version with an XF or XXF point, I'd be all over it like stink on cheese.


Edited by Honeybadgers, 10 July 2018 - 01:32.


#3 Karmachanic

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Posted 10 July 2018 - 05:45

If you take the time to dig around the forum using the search bar you will find the answers you seek. The demise of the flex nib is mostly due to "progress". The reason no one is making them at present is, as Honeybadgers pointed out, insufficient demand to justify the cost of manufacture.

 

Reading this thread should get you started:

http://www.fountainp...= demand, flex


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#4 Bo Bo Olson

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Posted 10 July 2018 - 09:00

People will bend the nib.

 

-> Steel nibs don't get easily sprung and anyway they're very cheap to replace.""""

xxxxxxxx

Most fountain pen companies out side of Japan or China, are minor twigs on a conglomerate's tree.....so really don't matter much in the scheme of things.

MB, Pelikan, Waterman......Lamy is still family owned...or controlled.

xxxxxxxxxx 

 

That is the reason companies went away from even regular flex nibs.....Ball Point Barbarians with Jack Hammer hands bending the hell out of the nibs.....holding the pen like a ball point stresses nibs but one can't tell the idiot how to hold the fountain pen....it would be too complicated and he won't buy one. (Which is why Pelikan went from a nice regular flex nib on the 400/600/800 to fat and blobby double kugal/ball nibs....semi-nail for the 400/600, nail for the 800.

 

....then you have to have pay trained workers to replace the nibs....need more stock....have to pay the mailing of the pen back....more admin.

 

As time went by.....Fountain pens did have to deal more and more with carbon paper....and in the Day of One Man, One Pen.....folks didn't have a nice soft writing fountain pen, but a one size fits all nail.......well, regular flex did hang until the '90's. By then you had a ball point for your carbon work, if you enjoyed writing.

Which many don't, because a nail's not a lot of fun....but does near as good as a ball point.

 

The bottom line....is no longer that dead word Dividend, ie make and sell more pens, but Bonus, hold on to market share ... or don't lose enough to affect the Bonus. 

 

Once baseball caps didn't have snaps...you bought one that fit.............that's real hard to do today.

 

Just as likely fountain pen companies like Pelikan and MB make more ball points and roller balls than fountain pens. I'm fairly sure Lamy does....if not it's close. They sell 600,000 pens a year....but the tour leader didn't answer my question of how many were fountain pens. They have many, many ball points....some real nice. Some a bit better than free. MB and Pelikan make high class ball points and roller balls.

 

Had there only been nails to use....or even just semi-nails.....I'd be .... One Man, One Pen....my semi-nail P-75. But then I ran into semi-flex and lost my mind.

They stopped making them @ 1970 in Germany....too much comp from ball points, regular flex cost less to make..............then in the late '90's semi-nail/nails cost less to repair in there are fewer needing repair.

 

This is modern days.....no more stock option :rolleyes: s....only a Bonus, so customer wishes are minor and filled with the used pen market. The manager will be gone to another lemon tree, in a couple of years anyway.

 

The Japanese do worry about tomorrow and the next three generations....as proved by the Toyota, and the Pilot pen companies. In the early '90's Japanese pens were nitch local market items. I certainly never heard of them.

 

In the mid-late '90's, they come out with a fantastic cheap loss leader fountain pen. They listen, folks want a soft writing fountain pen, they give them that. They want semi-flex, so with the half moon Pilot mod, they give them semi-flex.

 

Toyota pays it's top 26 managers a total of 26 million..........they do have job security and plan to take over the world car market, (no Bonus!!! :huh:  :o  :yikes: )  which they are doing by making a better product. It may not be as modern as an Audi, but it works.....my Toyota is only 22 years old...Once Volvo made such a good car. Once the mean age of a Volvo on the road in Sweden was 25 years.

I will swap in my Toyota at 25 for a new one, when my wife retires....that will last us till we end up in old folks prison.

My MX-5...has some silly name that sounds like the Moth that ate Tokyo, elsewhere than in Europe, ..... well, as long as I can get out of it....I'll keep it, and it's only 18 years old. Quality at a very good price. IMO it looks like a Jag that got caught in the rain and shrank.  ;) It too is a company that looks ahead, and don't pay bonus money.

Different culture.........how ever right after the War, the Japanese were forced to adapt the US 1930's manufacturing ideas, and kept it. Way back then....bonus was paid only for increasing market share. What a silly idea.


Edited by Bo Bo Olson, 10 July 2018 - 09:04.

Everyone says poor Mozart dead at only 36. None say poor Mendelson, dead at only 38. His family only allowed him to start at 20, but before, musicians use to come to the Mendelson garden to steal the music of Mendelson and his sister. A good artist also, can still buy prints of his famous Scottish drawings in Scotland.

 

www.nibs.com/blog/nibster-writes/nibs-germany      Info on Bock nibs

 

The cheapest lessons are from those who learned expensive lessons. Ignorance is best for learning expensive lessons.

 

Pens/inks/paper on hold for a year....new addiction pocket watch chains. :happyberet:


#5 steve50

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Posted 10 July 2018 - 11:39

Thanks Honeybadger and Bo bo, what you folks say make a lot of sense. 

 

But..

 

Regarding Honeybadger's point, couldn't they just order different, softer alloys from whoever is supplying the metal sheets? Surely these companies don't just sell one type of alloy? It's hard to believe that in this day and age, figuring out some alloy..for a PEN...should be that difficult.

 

And to Bobo's point, you are right, but it seems that the majority of those who go and buy these semi-flex nibs aren't exactly the ham-fisted ballpoint savages as you say. After all, there are softer nibs like Pilot FA and Omas extraflessibile available, and when they get bent it's usually because the users expect them to be like vintage full flex, not because they use them as if they were ballpoints. 



#6 Honeybadgers

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Posted 10 July 2018 - 20:43

Thanks Honeybadger and Bo bo, what you folks say make a lot of sense. 

 

But..

 

Regarding Honeybadger's point, couldn't they just order different, softer alloys from whoever is supplying the metal sheets? Surely these companies don't just sell one type of alloy? It's hard to believe that in this day and age, figuring out some alloy..for a PEN...should be that difficult.

 

And to Bobo's point, you are right, but it seems that the majority of those who go and buy these semi-flex nibs aren't exactly the ham-fisted ballpoint savages as you say. After all, there are softer nibs like Pilot FA and Omas extraflessibile available, and when they get bent it's usually because the users expect them to be like vintage full flex, not because they use them as if they were ballpoints. 

 

Economies of scale. The omas and pilot nibs are still made from those "normal" alloys and it's why they have absurdly long tines or cutouts, they're trying to make the nib simulate an alloy that they don't have access to. Which is why, good as they are, they're absolute mush compared to a vintage wet noodle. Even my extremely heavily customized 14k JoWo, while it'll go broader whan a waterman pink, doesn't have the snap back.

 

Foundries are big. They use custom tooling. There are no "mom and pop" smelters out there that are willing or able to create a custom alloy of gold or steel specifically for fountain pen use at a reasonable price. It'd be like asking honda to just fire up the tooling and make you a part from a 1960's motorcycle. It's possible, yes, but the cost of doing so would be hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of dollars to accomplish.



#7 AAAndrew

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Posted 10 July 2018 - 20:45

I don't buy the alloy argument. There was nothing particularly special about the steel except it being good-quality Sheffield spring steel. 

 

I think that the reason now is that it requires new types of tooling, and the thinner, more flexible nibs I would imagine require greater precision in manufacture and either more hand-finishing, or a higher failure rate. It just may not be seen as worth the initial investment to address a "fad" for flexible nibs. There really are only a small handful of makers of nibs. 

 

Plus, flexible steel nibs are generally sharper than most fountain pen nibs. 

 

And making feeds that work well with flexible nibs is not as easy as stamping out generic feeds. 



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#8 steve50

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Posted 10 July 2018 - 21:19

One thing I noticed with my two Platinum 3776s is that the soft fine nib is not only thinner but also made of a different metal from the stiff nib. I don't have a good camera so I can't show you this, but when you put them next to each other, the colour difference is quite clear where the B nib is slightly darker and SF more yellow. This makes me believe that they used different alloys on them. So clearly companies can buy different alloys. 

 

From Pilot, I only have a FA nib so I don't know if they use a different alloy for that or they are all the same. Perhaps I'll compare them should the chance arise.

 

Also check out custom made Bock nibs for Scribo. The stiff 18k nib and semi-flex 14k look the same. So it must be the thickness and possibly a different alloy. On the video the semi-flex looks like a legit semi-flex, not a push with all your might and you'll see a tiny crack flex. 


Edited by steve50, 10 July 2018 - 21:22.


#9 Bo Bo Olson

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Posted 10 July 2018 - 22:14

"""but it seems that the majority of those who go and buy these semi-flex nibs aren't exactly the ham-fisted ballpoint savages as you say."""

 

How are the savages to know it's semi-flex?....most folks starting out buying fountain pens are as Ignorant as I was.  That's a pretty fountain pen...what's an Omas?

Gee what a piece of (bleep), the nib thingy bent; as soon as I used it.

 

It don't require a majority....just a solid minority..........if 1/4th of the new to fountain pens or nail users with Jack Hammer Hands....bent the nibs.....suddenly one is operating at a loss, or closer to a loss.

 

The half moon semi-flex Pilot nib is relatively 'new'...WOG in the last 5-6 years, due to market demand. I'd not expect a 'noobie' to buy it...in it's a 'special' nib. But they could. .. Whoopps!!!

There are enough noobies that jump from nails to that fancy do Olympic splits, once, nibs, with out going up the flex ladder.

 

Pilot has to do a modification to make the soft nib semi-flex....and takes decades off the nib life. But it is worth it...only Aurora is back to making semi-flex but due to marketing are calling it a some sort of 'Flex' pen when it is not.

 

Omas...I don't have one, nor did I ever want one....it's not semi-flex...or it wouldn't need such a fancy say nothing name....just a soft....and from my reading a slightly mushy nib. I would have looked very hard for a used affordable one had it been semi-flex.

The  modified Pilot and the Omas were more expensive pens, so might, just might have been bought by someone that knows what they are doing..............but there's always the ignorant with more money than good sense.....the ones who push the Buy Now Idiot button.

 

 

Out side of Aurora, semi-flex died out by @ 1970 (in Germany were it was more prevalent.***). By Aurora it was @ 2005....before the comeback under a different name.

 

***Eversharp made superflex in the '30's...semi-flex in the '40s. Sheaffer made a rare semi-flex in the '50s. It was cheaper to stub a manifold nib for line variation. 

 

I'm sure there were folks that mangled nibs way back in the day, if they were more than regular flex....or tried to press too hard for Carbons..

 

:bunny01: :P '30's Parker nails had less repair costs so survived in America.....while Waterman of the more flexible 30's nibs ended up in France.  There are more reasons for that more than likely.... :happyberet:


Everyone says poor Mozart dead at only 36. None say poor Mendelson, dead at only 38. His family only allowed him to start at 20, but before, musicians use to come to the Mendelson garden to steal the music of Mendelson and his sister. A good artist also, can still buy prints of his famous Scottish drawings in Scotland.

 

www.nibs.com/blog/nibster-writes/nibs-germany      Info on Bock nibs

 

The cheapest lessons are from those who learned expensive lessons. Ignorance is best for learning expensive lessons.

 

Pens/inks/paper on hold for a year....new addiction pocket watch chains. :happyberet:


#10 Bo Bo Olson

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Posted 16 July 2018 - 18:01

Sometime in the early-mid '60's American shoe makers decided that the 10% of the people who had a C foot was too small to worry about.......so on the whole outside the real expensive ones, they stopped making C's....which didn't bother me. I wore a B. Then I put on normal 40 pounds of weight as one goes from young to old teenager. I needed a C and they became scarcer than hen's teeth, and remained so the rest of my life......

Narrow don't mean much....is it a B?...doubt if it's a C.

D was and is still too wide for my foot. Much like those who wanted a semi-flex or more flexible nib, they were cut out of the market, like a C shoe.

 

So, if a pen company or a few of them (they spied heavy one each other so no one could get 'a head'.) stop making more flexible nibs for a small minority, like the 10% that wore a C shoe, less of the newer pen users will know about those nibs with more flexibility, nor ask for them, when not offered. 

Advertising will do wonders.....the better Conklin pen of 1930 died from lack of advertising; a foolish shortsighted management decision even if in the depth of the depression. Wall-Eversharp went from a 'flexi' nib of the '30's  to semi-flex in the '40's. Then died and was bought up and had it's name ruined by Parker in the early '50's..

I don't know if Eversharp advertised it's semi-flex nib....or advertised it enough. 

 

But if the majority of the companies are saving money, by not making a semi-flex (C shoe), the customer was not given a choice.......and way back then in the One Man, One Pen days, there was no 'Used Pen' market like modern days....Where one can get the nib one wants.


Everyone says poor Mozart dead at only 36. None say poor Mendelson, dead at only 38. His family only allowed him to start at 20, but before, musicians use to come to the Mendelson garden to steal the music of Mendelson and his sister. A good artist also, can still buy prints of his famous Scottish drawings in Scotland.

 

www.nibs.com/blog/nibster-writes/nibs-germany      Info on Bock nibs

 

The cheapest lessons are from those who learned expensive lessons. Ignorance is best for learning expensive lessons.

 

Pens/inks/paper on hold for a year....new addiction pocket watch chains. :happyberet:


#11 Nail-Bender

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Posted 17 July 2018 - 14:53

 I'm quite happy with the flexibility of the zebra G nib although I prefer Hunt 101. Why is welding a tipping on them an impossibility at the moment?

 

 

This is a Hunt 101 with a custom feed in a Desiderata Icarus.

IMG_0865.JPG

Nice hairlines but doesn't flourish well (at least for me)

 

If you want a smooth & very soft hybrid, try a Leonardt-G in a #6 Jowo w/ custom feed.

I can go full speed with that one & it's not as catchy as the Zebra-G.

 

Or grind a long-slit (18.5 mm) Creaper to XF and expose 20mm of nib from the section. (you may have to shim with mylar)

It will flex like mad up to 1.5 mm & out perform all gold I have tried without R/R for $16. (not kidding)


Edited by Nail-Bender, 17 July 2018 - 15:00.


#12 steve50

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Posted 17 July 2018 - 16:22

 

This is a Hunt 101 with a custom feed in a Desiderata Icarus.

attachicon.gif IMG_0865.JPG

Nice hairlines but doesn't flourish well (at least for me)

 

If you want a smooth & very soft hybrid, try a Leonardt-G in a #6 Jowo w/ custom feed.

I can go full speed with that one & it's not as catchy as the Zebra-G.

 

Or grind a long-slit (18.5 mm) Creaper to XF and expose 20mm of nib from the section. (you may have to shim with mylar)

It will flex like mad up to 1.5 mm & out perform all gold I have tried without R/R for $16. (not kidding)

Nice example. But I can't be bothered to go through all that hassle haha.. I don't mind dipping now and then. I got used to the scratchiness as well so I can use Hunt 101 alright. Honestly people should give them a try before buying flex fountain pens. Of course dip pens don't have much collector value. 



#13 AAAndrew

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Posted 18 July 2018 - 05:21

Of course dip pens don't have much collector value.

Not at all. None. Dont bother collecting them. If you should have any, just send them to me for appropriate disposal.

“When the historians of education do equal and exact justice to all who have contributed toward educational progress, they will devote several pages to those revolutionists who invented steel pens and blackboards.” V.T. Thayer, 1928



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#14 Bo Bo Olson

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Posted 18 July 2018 - 09:47

I am assuming there is not major reason why fine steel dip pens like a Hunt 101 can not be tipped.

Could be wrong in the heat of the tipping could ruin the temper of the dip pen nib.

I saw an article that showed how much real hand work went into dip pen nibs in the 1860's...and Andrew has many fine articles.

 

In the States for only $80 you can get a Hunt 101 tipped. There is someone in Spain that will do it for E40.

The Hunt 99-100-101 make the best Weak Kneed Wet Noodle fountain pen nib, look uncooked.

 

Before spending $80, do buy the 99-100-101 Hunt's or Gillette 303/404  I mentioned, to see if you can handle such ease and width of flex. If you can....then having one tipped makes sense if you have a fast feed and pen to fit it too.


Everyone says poor Mozart dead at only 36. None say poor Mendelson, dead at only 38. His family only allowed him to start at 20, but before, musicians use to come to the Mendelson garden to steal the music of Mendelson and his sister. A good artist also, can still buy prints of his famous Scottish drawings in Scotland.

 

www.nibs.com/blog/nibster-writes/nibs-germany      Info on Bock nibs

 

The cheapest lessons are from those who learned expensive lessons. Ignorance is best for learning expensive lessons.

 

Pens/inks/paper on hold for a year....new addiction pocket watch chains. :happyberet:


#15 Nail-Bender

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Posted 18 July 2018 - 11:15

I am assuming there is not major reason why fine steel dip pens like a Hunt 101 can not be tipped.

 

Tipping was a solution to a problem.

Steel pens don't need tipping.

 

Putting a blob of gunk on a Hunt 101 would be like putting a burka on a supermodel.



#16 Bo Bo Olson

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Posted 18 July 2018 - 16:55

One don't need a glob, EF/EEF would do....and dip pens wear out....even with resharpening.

 

You mean they don't have lace mesh Burka's?


Everyone says poor Mozart dead at only 36. None say poor Mendelson, dead at only 38. His family only allowed him to start at 20, but before, musicians use to come to the Mendelson garden to steal the music of Mendelson and his sister. A good artist also, can still buy prints of his famous Scottish drawings in Scotland.

 

www.nibs.com/blog/nibster-writes/nibs-germany      Info on Bock nibs

 

The cheapest lessons are from those who learned expensive lessons. Ignorance is best for learning expensive lessons.

 

Pens/inks/paper on hold for a year....new addiction pocket watch chains. :happyberet:


#17 Honeybadgers

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Posted 18 July 2018 - 19:43

I don't buy the alloy argument. There was nothing particularly special about the steel except it being good-quality Sheffield spring steel. 

 

I think that the reason now is that it requires new types of tooling, and the thinner, more flexible nibs I would imagine require greater precision in manufacture and either more hand-finishing, or a higher failure rate. It just may not be seen as worth the initial investment to address a "fad" for flexible nibs. There really are only a small handful of makers of nibs. 

 

Plus, flexible steel nibs are generally sharper than most fountain pen nibs. 

 

And making feeds that work well with flexible nibs is not as easy as stamping out generic feeds. 

 

You really don't know much about metallurgy if you don't understand why a truck chassis doesn't bend and flex the same way a leaf spring does.

Metallurgy is CRITICAL with about a dozen different elements going into the steel at precise amounts with extremely precise heat treatment. a hundred degrees higher or lower in the heat treat alone will drastically alter the ductility of steel, as will a 1% difference in chromium or molybdenum content.



#18 AAAndrew

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Posted 18 July 2018 - 22:24

My point is that the steel pen makers used a rolled steel from Sheffield. There’s no evidence that they dictated the specific alloy. Steel technology in 1850 produced pens as good a quality as steel technology in 1890, and better than the steel used in 1930. In other words, I’ve found no evidence that the pen makers over the decades used any esoteric alloy beyond a good quality spring steel that was relatively cheap and plentiful.

Other sources say that until WWI British and American companies all used Sheffield steel made from Swedish iron. I understand there were different kinds of steel wih different properties. Perhaps you can help me understand what kind of steel would work well wih the manufacturing process of the 19th-century pen factory.

As a metallurgist, it would be useful to have you read my article on how they made pens in 1857 and in 1890 and tell us what kind of steel would respond well to the manufacturing process and yield good pen points. https://thesteelpen....-1857-and-1890/

“When the historians of education do equal and exact justice to all who have contributed toward educational progress, they will devote several pages to those revolutionists who invented steel pens and blackboards.” V.T. Thayer, 1928



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#19 Mech-for-i

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Posted 23 July 2018 - 06:09

I also do not buy the alloy / metal composition part. in fact if one take a look at todays ready supply of metal as a material for making parts and mechanical parts we seen in daily use it would be a simple conclusion to see that making a flex steel nib would not be a issue and of course all the dip pen nibs still in production pretty much testify to that .. what matter is the market condition and market overall volume vs the investment return .. in short you can only sell to a very limited market at a vastly over inflated price ( that likely no one would care for ) with at best questionable return ..

 

Its likely more economical to just take a stock nib and device additional work / steps / alteration to made it more flexible and hat's exactly what almost all new flex nib had .. and then there's seems a mis-understanding of the term flex ( a noun ) here .. actually what people ask for is not flex, but an easiness to flex ( a verb )  and degree of flex ( how much it can flex before it fail ) instead. in fact if a certain metal piece ( or any material / parts )  is flexible it just mean it would return to its original shape after being bend out of it and how much out of shape it is is how flexible it is, so say two spring of same physical dimension and profile that can be compressed to a value of 30cm for one and the other 50cm before they would permanently deform ; then we would say the one that can stand 50cm compression had more flexibility / more flex ... how much force required to flex it to that extent is something else .. in fact all the technical term are otherwise but tha's the general idea. And as far as small parts like a nib goes, the mechanical design / profile of the nib had a very large part to play , usually a lot more than the material .. and that's why you see all the so call flax / soft nib ( including dip pen nib ) had all those wonder mechanical design ..

 

So if its mine for decision, I would probably go for making a gold flex nib instead ... the working steps required would likely be pretty much similar and tools / man-hours too. the material is in itself inherently softer ( easier to flex ) and the mechanical design part pretty much mean less material used ( good when you are dealing with gold ) ... but then the need for new tooling ( jig , press die etc ) would be the same and since that pretty much demand a price of certain value, might as well go for a gold ( which likely justify the price point ) instead of steel ( which likely do not justify the price point asked )



#20 Bo Bo Olson

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Posted 23 July 2018 - 18:37

The world is ruled by book-keepers that can prove they have saved a cent. It is very hard prove that saved cent cost them $10.00. The spread sheet is cent based.

Production management is too cyclic for the safety of the bonus. And increasing market share is so very old fashioned....or Japanese.

 

Any steel or gold ordered by the pen companies is small lot....there for very expensive for that 250/500 pound of ribbon steel on a drum.......which is more than likely a known standard. The steel company could make a bit more and store it....adding warehouse costs....if it is something they sell to the nib maker(s) often enough.

Gold companies like Degussa could and I think might still make ribbon gold to what ever specs are desired.....and 'cheaper' than making steel. In that is small lot as is....and normal in gold.

 

Fiddling around with a real tiny small lot of steel...that is not going to be sold often....add the metallurgist engineer and team's wages to the fiddling around**........soon, you have very expensive small lot of steel.........That had to be made, somewhere a small obsolete cold blast furnace..........has to be made hot enough to melt the various metals/alloys, costing lots of energy just to get the thing hot. Hell, a ton of steel is real small lot. $$$

**Many here assume the nib making companies cleared out old paper storage with the exact metal formula for steel semi-flex. Still the steel company would have to go through some problems getting the alloy made right. A shovel full of that, half a shovel of this. B)

 

Bock could do that today (I do have both gold and steel Bock vintage semi-flex nibs.......in what ever steel company small lots their different alloy steel nibs, has enough Bock volume to make it worth a gamble.......dam....forgot, the Book Keeper will be Against It.

I do think Bock does use different alloyed nibs...in they have 5-6 different levels of nibs................are still very expensive small lot steel for nibs that sell well.

 

A tiny....or a single once decade order of a semi-flex steel, is going to cost an arm and a leg. That is passed on to the book keepers at the pen companies.  In the used pen market has that covered, more expense than worth.

 

Aurora has come back to semi-flex...so had some one to make them tiny lots of a formula they used just a decade ago. That might have been a big gamble with the cost of those nibs so much more.

Having some skilled craftsman....thinning normal stock....in they had the old dies, would also be very costly.

They might have done the last instead of investing much in a very expensive tiny lot of steel.....at least until they see did semi-flex take off again.

Which I doubt....in all I saw was complaints in the fools at Aurora marketed it a a 'Flex' nib, instead of semi-flex**....that it was vastly over priced. There are much cheaper ...."""""Flex"""" pens out there that are not really superflex.....but the buying market wants cheap......instead of buying expensive vintage superflex nibbed pens....from someone who can tell them how much flex they are buying.

**Semi-flex has no cachet!!! .... My impression is :unsure: "I don't want semi...something I want the Whole Deal, Olympic Splits"....and dirt cheap.   :angry: ... :headsmack:  :wallbash: 

 

 

 

One can of course buy the 'hard'  semi-flex Indian nibs.........modify them like the Ahab Mod....a copy of the Pilot half moon mod. That will give you the first stage of Superflex, Easy Full Flex. I had my Ahab out in the pen cup after the mod for about a year.......having found it's semi-flex much too hard for ...found it too hard for a 'flex' pen.

 

I did have vintage Easy Full Flex vintage nibs in both steel and gold; well more Degussa steel nibs than gold at that level, so was happy I could get that Ahab to give me the same.

Buy an Ahab, if you don't have a Dremel or a friend with one, a round Swiss file and you can have the first level Superflex....and adjust the feed to make it faster. In you do need a faster feed for Superflex.

IMO the Ahab will do the trick well and inexpensively if you are inclined to fiddle. Or have a nibmeister fiddle it for you.


Edited by Bo Bo Olson, 23 July 2018 - 18:54.

Everyone says poor Mozart dead at only 36. None say poor Mendelson, dead at only 38. His family only allowed him to start at 20, but before, musicians use to come to the Mendelson garden to steal the music of Mendelson and his sister. A good artist also, can still buy prints of his famous Scottish drawings in Scotland.

 

www.nibs.com/blog/nibster-writes/nibs-germany      Info on Bock nibs

 

The cheapest lessons are from those who learned expensive lessons. Ignorance is best for learning expensive lessons.

 

Pens/inks/paper on hold for a year....new addiction pocket watch chains. :happyberet:




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