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Review Of Old Style Two-Chick Ob And Obb Nibs

pelikan ob obb pre-97

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#1 LyaT

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Posted 02 June 2019 - 09:13

I am very new in the fountain pen hobby. Only six months into it, I read so much about old style nibs. I am very lucky to have acquired two old style nib: 14k OB, and 18k OBB, both in the modern M400 size.

I searched on this forum for reviews of old style pelikan factory oblique nibs before buying them, but what I found were a bit confusing. Some user experience centered around line variations, some claimed obliques were not meant for line variations, as they were designed for people who held their pens rotated to the left.

I cant say if the OB and OBB nibs were designed for line variations, but they certainly delivered such, when held in rotated position.

My quick review:
1. The nibs used here are 14k OB in used but excellent condition, 18k OBB in NOS. They both two two-toned nibs with two chicks, likely made in mid 80s to early 90s. They might be nibs for old style M600 or toledo M700. The more common old style M400 or M250 nibs are single tone.
2. They are both wet writers. Maybe thats my luck, I like wet nibs very much. The wetness is similar to modern M400/M600 nibs.
3. When held rotated slightly to the left, they gave beautiful line variations. The horizontal lines are thicker, the vertical lines are thinner. Thats the same to what we call architect grind, opposite to the more common cursive Italic grind.
4. When held normal, not rotated, they write less smooth but still very good. In this way, I dont see much line variations, and the lines are thinner, something between a modern 14k F and M nib.
5. The OBB is really not THAT thick. I thought it would be of no use except for playing with inks. That was a misconception. The OBB in not-so-wet Robert Oster ink is really great for everyday use. I use my pens on A5 notebooks, for meeting notes, my research notes, and journal.
6. The OB nib is inked with Ironshizuku, which is very wet. Thats why the writing sample showed little difference between OB and OBB. Line variations look better with dryer Robert Oster inks.
7. The 18k nib is more stiff than the 14k.
8. My M101n M nib is softer, but that maybe my own perception.

Enjoy the pictures and writing sample!

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#2 Bo Bo Olson

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Posted 02 June 2019 - 11:01

Canted is the proper word, for a rotated position....most folks don't know the word.

 

I like the semi/maxi-semi-flex 1950-65 era semi-flex obliques. They are like the regular flex '82-97 era a half a width narrower than modern. Modern is in the 400/600 semi-nail and have big blobby double kugal/ball nibs.

 

The vintage era obliques are not only semi or maxi-semi-flex they are stubbs, so give a wonderful pattern.

A find poster said, "Stub and CI are 100% line variation. Semi-flex is line variation On Demand."

I have some 16 obliques of that era, in matching 15 & 30 degree grinds I have OBB, OB, OM & OF. I also have a maxi-semi-flex 30 degree grind OBBB Pelikan 500. Too wide to write with actually, a pure signature nib using up 2/3rds to 3/4ths a page for a legal signature.

 

I had a couple nail obliques. One a Lamy 27 I sold, the other a Lamy Persona OB (absolutely no line variation :gaah: :wallbash: ) PB made it into a real nice CI. His writing.

EIj4i9e.jpg

 

In there are idiots in Germany who refuse to mail out of Germany, I trans-mailed Pelikan 200 nibs to a passed pal in England. I became enthused with the regular 200 nib....eventually even getting some 200's. The 200 oblique was a disappointment.

I do like the springy regular flex 200's nib and the gold '82-97 era regular flex nibs. They are thinner than modern and have a clean line.  A comfortable ride.

 

There was a W.Germany 200 OM in a lot of pens at a live auction I won. :(I had had hopes the slightly more springy W.Germany nib would do the trick and be close to semi-flex............. :crybaby:It wasn't. Didn't do the trick...............takes a wold of pressure to get any 'real' line variation. Too much pressure for writing.

The 381 ('80's-90's era cartridge pen) gold nib was to my surprise a OB..... :(hadn't even noticed it. :headsmack: 

An amusing story.....being too cheap to buy an live auction catalog, I wrote just the numbers down. The was nearing the end and Pelikan Pen was flashed up and only said Pelikan pen.

There was a small W.Germany  600 I really wanted and a 1005 I didn't....would take if I could get it dirt cheap. Only 5-6 people left in the auction hall.

Both pens start price was E-80.

:wacko: :angry: Some jerk on the telephone kept driving up the price of that 600. Going in 20E steps....160 was about max what a old 600 was worth.....but I WANTED IT. At 200E it was mine......over priced as all hell.

Two seconds into the next lot another black Pelikan I realized, I'd made a mistake and bought that 1005 OBB....for more than I wanted....was willing to go 140-160....but at a cheap enough price. Sort of a delayed :rolleyes:.

I got the W.Germany 600 OBB for 130E a fair price....had hoped for 110-120....but was real happy I got it at an affordable price.

 

k5ItbY8.jpg

 

 

The W.Germany semi-vintage OBB nib is 1/2 a width narrower............and that famous W. Germany tad springier than later regular flex.

The 1000 is now regular flex. In the time Bock made the 1000's nib it was semi-flex.

Yep, the 600 is a slightly better nib.........writes with a cleaner line also. the nib tipping is tear drop shaped instead of the double round balls of the modern Pelikans (outside the 200/100 nibs of course)

Both are 18K, both regular flex.

 

PS...both the modern 1005 and the 600 have two chicks...........

xKQhD00.jpg

 

 

 

I am surprised the 18 K is stiff, except it could well be a 600's nib from '98. After '97 the 400& 600 became semi-nail, from having been regular flex. It should also be fatter. (My 600's nib is two toned but from an earlier flex 'generation'.)

My '90's 400 nib is monotone gold (so is my 381 and gold nibbed Celebry (have one in steel, just as good)).

I think two toned gold for the 400 came in with the switch to a semi-nail nib in '98, when the 400 got like the 200 the old 600's 'gold' rings at the piston knob. I am sure the early 800's were also two toned (the good springy nibs were a real nice springy nib, some were 14K). From my reading I don't have an 800 and want only a W. Germany one if.

Well did find the 1005 not to be quite a honking monster that I thought.


German vintage '50-70 semi-flex stubs and those in oblique give the real thing in On Demand line variation. Modern Oblique is a waste of money for a shadow of line variation. Being too lazy to Hunt for affordable vintage oblique pens, lets you 'hunt' for line variation instead of having it.

www.nibs.com/blog/nibster-writes/nibs-germany & https://www.peter-bo...cts/nib-systems,

 

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

 

 

 


#3 LyaT

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Posted 02 June 2019 - 11:55

Thanks for your pictures! My 18k OBB looks exactly like your 600. Stiffness is only my perception. I found it slightly harder to spread when I wrote those horizontal strokes.

E130 is a great price for that 600! I paid that price for the 18k nib alone.

I am very happy with these two nibs. Not sure if it is worth it to keep chasing a 400nn with OB or OBB nib. Buying vintage is always a risk. Never know if the nib will be smooth and wet. I like really wet nibs. My other 400nn in M wrote dryer, even after being tuned to write wetter by a professional.

#4 Intensity

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Posted 02 June 2019 - 23:04

Are the modern “classic” M101N nibs a bit softer than the modern 2-tone M400 nibs? Or are they basically identical except for the cosmetic difference of logo engraving and silver color plating on M400 nibs?

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#5 TheDutchGuy

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Posted 03 June 2019 - 04:37

I’m intrigued by the line width variation. Horizontal and vertical strokes appear to be of equal width, but when actually writing some text, line width variation pops op (see the phrase “OBB”, for example). I love that. Some of my older pens do the same; they’re not stubbish, they’re not architectish, yet line width variation pops up when writing. My ‘50s Parker P51 M and Dutch-made Boston pen come to mind.

#6 eerestis

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Posted 03 June 2019 - 09:44

Nice pictures. The actual writing angle was not mentioned, so it's a bit difficult to asses the line variation. I'm amazed that the OBB writes like a F/M without rotation.

#7 Bo Bo Olson

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Posted 03 June 2019 - 11:34

OB semi-flex has a wide sweet spot, a tad of rotation is needed or it is just a tad scratchy. OM&OF  in semi&maxi need precise cant not to be scratchy. (Hadn't noticed my 381...a '80-90's pen was OB....so wasn't scratchy when not canted.....only a whisper of line variation if that....it not being semi-flex.)

Neither of my 600/1005 OBB's required any cant, and were not scratchy.

 

My Pelikan 500....OBBB requires cant because it has a 30 degree grind. & maxi-semi-flex....a pure signature pen.

 

I have other vintage wide obliques; Osmia/O-F-C OBB's that require cant. One is a 30 Degree grind, the other not. Now there is a 1/2 a width difference between both OBB's. One is only OB 1/2. :P


German vintage '50-70 semi-flex stubs and those in oblique give the real thing in On Demand line variation. Modern Oblique is a waste of money for a shadow of line variation. Being too lazy to Hunt for affordable vintage oblique pens, lets you 'hunt' for line variation instead of having it.

www.nibs.com/blog/nibster-writes/nibs-germany & https://www.peter-bo...cts/nib-systems,

 

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

 

 

 


#8 LyaT

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Posted 03 June 2019 - 16:25

Are the modern classic M101N nibs a bit softer than the modern 2-tone M400 nibs? Or are they basically identical except for the cosmetic difference of logo engraving and silver color plating on M400 nibs?


M101n is softer than modern M400 and M605 nibs. I have the nib grind to CI, while my M400 and M605 nibs are factory original. I dont know if the CI grind would make the nib softer, I dont think so.

When I write with my M101n, with a little pressure, the tines spread and makes a wider line. The modern M400 spreads only a little, the modern M605 does not spread.

#9 LyaT

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Posted 03 June 2019 - 16:31

My pictures did not do justice to the nibs. The line variations look very natural compared to the M101n CI grind. The nib guides me to the cant position. It is really fun writing with these nibs. I ordered one more 18k OB, just to have a back up for my future pens!

I have nearly three times as many nibs than pens now! (Maybe I have too few pens...)

#10 SenZen

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Posted 03 June 2019 - 17:56

Thank you, this is very useful. I've come across a few pens which I ultimately gave up on because I though the BB or OBB nibs would be way too broad for my writing.


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#11 LyaT

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Posted 03 June 2019 - 20:34

Thank you, this is very useful. I've come across a few pens which I ultimately gave up on because I though the BB or OBB nibs would be way too broad for my writing.


I found oblique nibs write narrower, and the pre-97 nibs write narrower than modern. I was pleasantly surprised by the OBB. I am yet to try a BB.

#12 Bo Bo Olson

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Posted 04 June 2019 - 10:45

Post 97 400/600 nibs are semi-nail.

'82-90 are very nice and springy....'90-97 are nice and springy....there is a difference, but one needs to have both era's nibs to see and feel the difference.

I have a W.Germany 200 OM and that W.Germany OBB,...and for regular flex..... :thumbup: 

Piembi, a passed poster who was very much one of the leaders of the Pelikan sub forum, told me when I asked her about chasing a '82-90 400 nib, not to do it.........in I'd been spoiled by my semi-flex 140 OB and 400nn OF.

The difference is the semi-vintage  '82-90 very springy regular flex is nice, but the vintage semi-flex nibs are grand.

 

:unsure: :angry: :gaah: :wallbash: I had bought a '50-54 OB 400, and found out someone had changed nibs to a OM....and  :crybaby: I had an OM...........................very late '54 Pelikan started marking nibs instead of bodies................sigh....going to have to sell the one marked OM...folks pay more for a properly marked pen, instead of buying an OM in an OB marked pen. 

I have a few OB's, and my 140 OB does the trick in Pelikan if pushed. :D


German vintage '50-70 semi-flex stubs and those in oblique give the real thing in On Demand line variation. Modern Oblique is a waste of money for a shadow of line variation. Being too lazy to Hunt for affordable vintage oblique pens, lets you 'hunt' for line variation instead of having it.

www.nibs.com/blog/nibster-writes/nibs-germany & https://www.peter-bo...cts/nib-systems,

 

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

 

 

 


#13 LyaT

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Posted 04 June 2019 - 19:34

I never had an OM. From your description, it sounds like hard to use, as in the small sweet spot.

In a way I am happy the 400 tortoise pen with OM nib went missing in the mail. I got the refund and used the cash to buy 80s-90s OB nib, which gave me lots of fun.

#14 Bo Bo Olson

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Posted 04 June 2019 - 22:14

There is a trick I invented. Once there were many threads on folks having problems with their obliques.

Part was folks wanting to make the nib do something....but that is another story.

Hold the nib to the light.

If it has a 15 degree grind, align the clip right between the slit and the right hand edge of the nib. Grip the pen in the air, looking only at the clip. Place the nib to the paper, it will be properly canted....then just write.

Some rarer nibs have a 30 degree grind. (not run into a 22 degree grind)....align the clip to the right edge of the nib, grip in air and put it to paper and write. It will have the right cant.

 

In I don't have a OBBB nib in 15 degrees; only a maxi-semi-flex Pelikan 500 in 30 degree.... 

I have nibs in a mix of semi&maxi, in both 15&30 degrees in OBB, OB, OM, & OF..............my eyes are not sharp enough to chase OEF and I wouldn't see any pattern at all any way with such a skinny nib. (doubt if they are ground to 30 degrees, in there's hardly any tipping as is ....for 15 degree, much less 30.)

 

Outside of Osmia's small diamond semi-flex flex and Large Diamond & or Supra nib which is a maxi, all the rest of my maxi-semi-flex nibs are pure luck of the draw....have them in MB, Geha and a couple others.............the 30 degree grinds are pure luck also.

I have a theory of semi& maxi that makes  sense to me.....for later. Not important.

 

xxxxxxx

 

Especially with semi & or maxi-semi-flex some folks want to make the nib do 'flexi' things....when the semi-flex is a flair nib, not a 'flex' nib.

The maxi can do some fancy writing easier.....but remember 3 X tine spread is the max, or one can cause metal fatigue. (There are folks who are going to become aquatinted $$$ with the great nibmisters who insist, they can flex their semi-flex more than 3 X....yep, some say 5X....but for how long?)

 

Richard Binder has a great article on metal fatigue on his site. I call it 'how to spring your nib'.

Richard..........once before he retired, he was one of the One Name folk, like Rick or Ron; B) came up with the other part of the trick of using an oblique.

Some still had problems using an oblique even with my trick. He suggested instead of having the paper at 45 degrees holding it at 90 or 180............after that there were few to no more how to make an oblique work threads.

 

:rolleyes: Of course I repeat that often :P ......in the last 5-6 years since we invented the couple of tricks. 

I was lucky and started with an OB, that has a fatter sweet spot, and didn't have much problem once I started canting the nib a bit..the slight tad of scratchy vanished....in OB a little bit will work, where with OB&OF one has to be a bit more precise.


German vintage '50-70 semi-flex stubs and those in oblique give the real thing in On Demand line variation. Modern Oblique is a waste of money for a shadow of line variation. Being too lazy to Hunt for affordable vintage oblique pens, lets you 'hunt' for line variation instead of having it.

www.nibs.com/blog/nibster-writes/nibs-germany & https://www.peter-bo...cts/nib-systems,

 

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

 

 

 


#15 OMASsimo

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Posted 06 June 2019 - 00:23

Honestly, I don't think that any OB/OBB nib produced later that the 1960s is really worth the extra money if you look for line variation. It's certainly good for people who can't control canting the nib, though. I'll try posting a writing sample with "the real thing" tomorrow when I can take a picture with good lighting.



#16 OMASsimo

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Posted 06 June 2019 - 09:17

image.jpg



#17 LyaT

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Posted 06 June 2019 - 16:32

Thank you for that writing sample! Your vintage OBB is very nice, very dreamy!

To be fair, my own writing sample does not do justice to my OBB. I could see much more line variations than shown in my poorly taken photo. My OB is somewhat stubbish, the OBB is much more so. OBB gives more line variations than OB.

I like them because are fun and wet. The line variations and stubbish add to the fun part. They are regular-flex, which also adds to the fun compared with modern nibs.

I really like wet nibs. My only 400nn nib is M. I ink the 400nn nib with Ironshizuku, which is the wettest ink I own, and semi-vintage OB/OBB with Robert Oster Fire and Ice, which is medium dryness. Yet the OB/OBB write much wetter than the vintage M. I guess nib size is a factor. The feeds play a bigger role. The horizontal feed lines (dont know the correct terminology!) is wetter than vintage vertical ones.

Your vintage obliques are really nice, but I cannot agree on post-60s obliques are not worth owning. To me, the two 80s-90s nibs are really fun additions to my small collection. I am using them everyday and absolutely satisfied with the performance.

#18 OMASsimo

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Posted 06 June 2019 - 19:07

Well, I didn't phrase is carefully enough. I do have Pelikans with OB/BB nibs later than the 60s and they are great writers. But they give much less line variation because the tipping is already too blobby compared to the pre-1966 nibs. And, as you noted correctly, the pre-1998 nibs are regular flex rather than semi-flex. If you look carefully you can see that with the pre-1966 nibs you can draw very fine lines which simply isn't possible anymore with post 1965 nibs due to the tipping. That's at least my experience. And then the option of mild flex comes on top. I experienced the rather drastic change in nib style when I got a M30 with OB nib, which hit the market some time in 1965. The nib was made a regular flex (and was advertised as being adapted to the "new style of writing") and had a much fatter tipping reducing the line variation quite significantly. I think this pretty much stayed the standard style of Pelikan nibs till 1998.

 

One more thing: I don't think that the pre-1966 feeds are any dryer than the post-1965 ones. M nibs usually feel a little less wet due to the smaller contact surface with the paper. My vintage OB and  OBB nibs are all rather wet but in a perfectly well mannered way. My later Pelikans have similarly well controlled ink flow. There is some degree of variation in both vintage and modern regarding ink flow but that can be adjusted easily. So, if you have a chance to try an old style pre-1966 OBB nib, grab the chance and see for yourself.



#19 LyaT

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Posted 06 June 2019 - 19:40

Thank you for the detailed reply! I am only in the pen zealous for a few months, so nice to read a little history from experienced pen fans:)

Glad to know the vintage OBB writes wetter than M. Now I need to look out for one... but not this year. I spent way too much on those birds already! I have another coming my way, a Piazza Navona, which will be THE LAST pen this year:)

#20 OMASsimo

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Posted 06 June 2019 - 19:50

... which will be THE LAST pen this year:)

 

I always say that myself :lticaptd: But how did I end up with a three-digit number of pens then??? No, seriously, there are so many great vintage Pelikans in the orbit that you won't have to hurry. Wait for a good chance and keep in mind that a 60 year old pen might need a little service before it can serve the next 60 years. It's definitely worth it. And congratulations for all the great pens you already have.







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