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"willow" Nibs

willow nibs

6 replies to this topic

#1 RustyRaven


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Posted 13 April 2019 - 02:09

I've been seeing this term in the description of nibs recently and I've no idea what it means. Could those in the know please explain what "willow" nibs means. Recently saw as Gillott's 404 Willow Nib and Gillott's 170 Willow nibs. I have some Antique Gillott 170 nibs and they are all stamped/embossed with the word 'Warranted'.  How is this different (if it is) from the 'willow'? TIA

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#2 BaronWulfraed


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Posted 13 April 2019 - 20:49

I wouldn't be surprised if someone though "willow" was nicer sounding that the classic "wet noodle". IOWs, just meaning a springy flex nib that doesn't require much pressure.

#3 Inkysloth


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Posted 14 April 2019 - 11:42

I wouldn't be surprised if someone though "willow" was nicer sounding that the classic "wet noodle". IOWs, just meaning a springy flex nib that doesn't require much pressure.

If Im understanding correctly, willow will be stamped into the nib, as the manufacturers name for that nib model.

There are thousands of different dip nib names, and they dont always relate to some specific feature of the nib. However, I wouldnt be surprised if Willow was used to elicit an idea of suppleness.

Edited by Inkysloth, 14 April 2019 - 11:43.

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#4 Karmachanic



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Posted 14 April 2019 - 13:55

Warrented refers to guaranteed gold content. Willow was an early Gillot marketing name which changed in 1920, in conjunction with changed design, to Victoria.


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#5 RustyRaven


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Posted 20 April 2019 - 15:42

Thanks everyone for their feedback.  I finally got through to the person who originally posted on eBay two different style Gillott nibs with "willow" in the description.  Turns out he was actually referring to the original boxes - the blue and white 'willow' pattern on the paper, that these nibs came from.  Good Grief!  He said that you could date how old the nibs were by the pattern of the paper on the box and that the 'willow' pattern was (he was told) the oldest. It has not been my experience that the willow is the only paper used on the Gillott boxes of any particular time period.  Thoughts on this anyone? 

#6 AAAndrew


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Posted 29 April 2019 - 19:44

I have some 19th-century 303's and 404's and none have the word "Willow" on them. The 303's and 404's were known only by their names, which is one reason why Gillott sued Esterbrook for using those numbers. (Esterbrook changed their pens to the "completely different" 333 and 444). 


Many old pen boxes used Japanese paper on them. In the later-half of the 19th-century and a bit into the 20th, decorative Japanese paper was very popular. It was also tough, and relatively inexpensive, so it worked quite well for boxes. 


Here are some early Esterbrook boxes from my collection which used Japanese Paper. 






I know less about the British boxes, but some Gillott boxes I've seen pictures of do seem to use some Japanese paper. I highly doubt they are the earliest boxes, but they should indicate that they are relatively early. (i.e. pre-1930). If you go out onto Pinterest you can find boxes with different patterns, including a "Blue Willow" pattern. I doubt there is anything particularly special about the Blue Willow pattern except that it is from the period when they used Japanese paper. I've seen other patterns used for the 303 boxes that seem equally old. 


Here's an image of Gillott boxes in which there are two 303 boxes with Japanese paper and one has the willow pattern, while the other does not. 





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#7 sidthecat


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Posted 02 May 2019 - 01:38

I just bought a brace of them based on this thread.

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