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  1. Inkyways

    My Dip Pens

    I am setting up my Dip pens.
  2. I'm trying to catalogue my collection of dip pens and I'm having problems with some Chinese pens. There are two brands that use only Chinese writing and, although I have been trying to identify the brands drawing the characters in Google translator, it's been to no avail. The imprints for the first brand can be read relatively clearly. My closest identification is 灯告; it does look similar but no exactly and, anyway, I'm in no position to verify if it's correct or no as my knowledge of Chinese is almost non-existent. The second brand is more difficult to read and I haven't been able to figure out which characters may be there. Any help to identify one manufacturer or another will be extremely welcome. Thanks in advance!
  3. I got this pen with a calligraphy dip pen set I received as a gift some years ago. I'd say it is a regular, cheap Chinese 'student pen' of some sort. At the beginning I didn't pay much attention to it, as I use mostly left oblique and italic nibs (for writing in the Arabic and Latin alphabet) and flex nibs on occasion. Here are a couple of pics of it (side up and side down): It has no flex and gives a regular EF line with no line variation at all. It isn't the smoothest writer (it's a bit toothy) but it has a huge deposit on the back, meaning I can fill about three quarters of a regular A4 sheet with a single dip. Also, I'm a right-handed overwriter and my hold of the pen is usually between 120-150º. I obviously switch to underwrite for traditional calligraphy, but then I write very slow with attention to detail. However, I have relatively recently discovered that, with stiffer pens, as this one and other 'general purpose' pens (such as Leonardt 256, which is readily available where I live, to give an example), I can write with my usual hold (and my usual handwriting) while using a wider variety of inks than a fountain pen would safely allow. The big question is I have been looking for a pen with this kind of reservoir elsewhere, to replace this in case it gets damaged, but to no avail. The only pens that appear to be sold with a reservoir in the UK are Brause and Leonardt square pens (and Mitchell's with the removable reservoir) and while I have found some pens with apparently similar characteristics and a reservoir over the nib on Ebay and AliExpress (sold as comic sets) I haven't found even those on specialized websites (such as Scribblers or Penmandirect in the UK). The pen has the number 126 written on it, together with two Chinese characters which appear to be 灯告 (although I'm not sure because Google Translate says this means a 'lamp' and I sadly know nothing about Chinese). Anyway, this information hasn't helped me on my search. So do any of you know of any similar pens (possibly smoother) and where could they be had?
  4. AAAndrew

    Harrison & Bradford Steel Pens

    George Harrison and George Bradford were Birmingham-trained tool makers brought to the US to start up the Washington Medallion Pen Company factory in NYC in 1856. In 1862 they bought the dies and stamps and machinery from the Washington Medallion Pen Co. and started making the pens under contract. They also formed Harrison & Bradford and started making pens under their own name as well. In late 1863 they realized the original design patent for the Washington Medallion Pen had run out so in 1864 they started making the Harrison & Bradford Washington Medallion Pen, and were promptly sued along with Eberhard Faber, their sole distributor. They lost. They continued to make Harrison & Bradford pens together until 1875 when George Harrison left the company to join John Turner, another Birmingham-trained steel pen tool maker who had helped start up Esterbrook's first factory, to found Turner & Harrison Pen Company. George Bradford continued producing Harrison & Bradford pens by himself in their Mt. Vernon, NY factory until about 1880 when he started marketing his own 1879 patent pen design under his own name. In 1881 he sold the factory and his patent to Miller Brother's Cutlery who wanted to get into the pen business. Bradford stayed and was given the role of Superintendent of Pen Production for Miller Brothers.
  5. sidthecat

    Thick Inks For Big Nibs

    Ive been working with some old gold dip pens, and I managed to get my greedy little hands on a pen with a Leroy Fairchild nib: a Number Six. Ive bought a couple of large-scale nibs, but its hard to find them in a usable state. This one, however, is. But its size creates its own problems: the inks I have are too thin to pool nicely in the tines. I have a bottle of Platinum iron-gall, but all my other nibs prefer Pelikan Edelstein Smoky Quartz, which isnt an IG but just works really well and gives my most frivolous jottings the patina of age. So I ask the ink fancy: recommend me an ink for this monster. Whats out there? Many thanks.
  6. Esterbrook made millions of their flagship 048 Falcon steel pen. It was their best-selling pen for over 70 years. They're still common, relatively inexpensive and generally dismissed by those seeking the "grail pens." (they don't fit in an oblique holder, for one, so calligraphers tend to not be interested) They can vary in quality over the years, but even the worst, the most recent made (1940's) are still, in the end, a decent pen. They actually don't get the praise I think they deserve. This one is from the late 20's, but even the later ones are relatively nice. So, here's to the common, the plain, the ordinary Esterbrook 048 Falcon. Long may you be ignored by everyone but me. Andrew
  7. Some people really like the big pens. Well, for them, I have a pair of dip pens you may want to see. These are fully-functional, though really novelty pens. The pens are called "The Midget" made by the American Pencil Co. in NY. The holders are 11.25" (28.5cm) long without the nib, 13 7/8" (33cm) long with the nib, 3/4" wide at the thickets part. You can see them with a standard holder and Esterbrook Jackson Stub for scale. The two nibs are interesting. One is the Esterbrook Mammoth, a nib so big it requires a special holder. Until I found these, it was the biggest dip pen nib I had seen or heard about. The other one, which is almost identical in size and proportions, was made in England but then imprinted and sold in the US by M. L. Leman of New York and is called a Jumbo Falcon. I've never seen an English pen this large before, and none from anywhere as large as the Mammoth Falcon. But these nibs totally fit the size and proportion of the pens. These super-large, novelty dip pens come in a few different styles. I've seen a couple of others, but none quite this large. So, have any ultra-large, novelty pens or pencils you'd like to share?
  8. I got a new toy for my birthday, a digital microscope. I decided to test it out with a bag of unsorted dip pens I had on hand and so I took pictures of the difference between a turned-up tip and a Oval or Round or Ball or Dome point tip. (depending on branding). These types of tips were originally made to create a smooth-writing pen. Instead of a sharp tip resting on the paper, the deformation of the very tip of the pen created a broader surface and allowed for smoother writing across the paper. The earliest form was the turned-up tip. This was just by turning up the very tip of the tines to create the broader surface. This is a Barion Pen #45. It's harder to see from the tip view, but the side view shows it very clearly. And on the bottom you can see the slightly broader, more rounded surface. The next is a Spencerian #42 Gilt Point Dome Point. This is the Spencerian version of the type of point made by using a very small and very hard punch to create a small bowl shape into the very tip of the tines. This creates a round shape on the bottom which makes for a very smooth writing experience. And then the bottom of the Spencerian. The last pen is an Esterbrook 902 Oval Point. You can see the shape of the bowl or indentation is slightly different, but the effect is basically the same. These various kinds of tips were quite popular. Esterbrook's 788 was one of its best sellers. But because of the slightly broader surface area, you can't use these pens to get very fine hairlines. They will always make a slightly broader line than a sharp-pointed pen. As a result these were pretty much exclusively used for business, correspondence and other general uses, and not calligraphy. I think I'm going to like my new toy.
  9. Steel pens come in a myriad of shapes. US pens tend to have less variation than European pens, especially by the early 20th-century. As I've worked to rigorously catalog my collection of mostly US pens, I've felt the need for some kind of standardized name for the shapes of my pens. I've not encountered any standard list from the old days, and different companies often used different names for the same shape. So, I've finally gathered a modest list of shape names and descriptions that seem to make sense to me and are useful for the pens I've cataloged so far. Take a look and let me know what you think. As I say in the intro, I'm sure not everyone will agree with either my names or my categorizations, but that's OK. I'm willing to hear suggestions, especially if you can point to an older source (and even better, multiple sources) that use another name. Also, if you have better images, especially for the shapes for which I only have imperfect images from old catalogs, I'm happy to accept contributions. Thanks to the Esterbrook Project for letting me use so many of their images. Until I photograph my own collection, theirs is the best source out there for American shapes. https://thesteelpen.com/2018/12/07/pen-shapes-a-proposed-glossary/
  10. Brandon McKinney is a collector of Esterbrook's steel dip pens, and he has finally finished his book on the subject. I have corresponded with Brandon for a couple of years now and he has helped me better understand my collection and Esterbrook. Other than that, I have no connection with him, and I am writing this review based on my personal copy of the book which I purchased myself. The book covers several major types of information. 1. Company history, general information 2. The pens and their physical characteristics, especially changes over time, maintenance, grinding vs. stamped grooves, etc... 3. Chronology of the pens and their boxes. The history is a sketch just to set context, and is not meant to be complete nor thorough. There are some interesting pieces of general information including a list of presidents, office locations, and patents and trademarks that are useful. The sections on the pens themselves better show the great care and time Brandon has spent looking at the pens, especially important numbers like the flagship 048 Falcon and the 128 Extra Fine Elastic. For collectors, it's the sections on the chronological dating of nibs and boxes that is the most useful and is not found anywhere else. I have been using this system for dating Esterbrook's steel pens for over a year now with my own collection and research. So far, I've not found any problems with his system. I have found one example of a stamp he does not have, but it's a very rare copper-coated example he and I are still trying to figure out. For 99.9% of all of the examples you will find in the wild, his system of dating to general eras will work perfectly well, and combined with his description of how the earlier differed from some of the later pens, should help you find just what you're looking to add to your collection. Overall, despite a weak area here and there (especially the history, but then the history is my area of interest, so I'm not sure how much would be enough), and I may not agree with every conclusion Brandon has (see the "gravity well" section), and the very rare error (the 314 Relief was made of a brass alloy, not bronze), the book is a highly welcome and useful resource for anyone interested in Esterbrook and their steel pens. You can purchase the book from his Etsy store in either a digital version, or a limited-run physical copy.
  11. Hello, I was wondering if anyone knows where can I get dip pens and India ink in Mumbai (or Thane and Navi Mumbai) areas? What are they known in the Hindi/Marathi, I am mean I am pretty sure India Ink isn't called as such :-) Thanks! Abhishek
  12. Where can I get dip pens in Mumbai? and what is the local name for India Ink? Anyone?
  13. Hello all, I am trying to write on a dark blue paper (paper source) with a golden color. I use to use a golden-color ball point uni-ball 1.0 mm. However, 1.0 mm nib is too wide and I need more precision. I ordered some golden color ink samples for fountain pens from Goulet Pens and they do not work on dark blue paper at all. I did some search and it seems that it is not possible to use fountain pens to write with golden color on a dark page. Is that true? If fountain pens are not an option, do I have to use a dip pen? Is there any entry-level dip pen you would recommend that is similar to Pilot Metropolitan Medium nib? What golden ink I should use for the dip pen? Thanks in advance. Sample writing using uni-ball 1.0 mm pen: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1umEH9cZepIvsn2EJY5r-IN0naxXwBtXG/view
  14. Hey Y'all! So I have been taking an interest in dip pens lately.. I have a glass dip pen from Rohrer and Klingner and I love it! It's fantastic, but since it is made of glass, I don't want to EVER drop it. What's the best material for a dip pen? Glass, resin, a nib holding dip pen? I don't know much by way of dip pens. Can you make one yourself? Are they only to be found as vintage pens? Sorry for the bombardment of questions, I just like to be thorough. Thanks!!! -Charles
  15. Hi FPN, Today I was in a antique shop looking around and found this dip pen. I wasn't going to buy it, but then I noticed the nib said "City of Cranston" on it. This is a city in RI near my house. I'm thinking this pen was either used in an official document signing ceremony, or, more likely, it was school-issued equipment to students back when dip pens were used. What are your thoughts on this? Do you know who may have manufactured this nib?
  16. I recently purchased a few bottles of Sailor's Kiwa-Guro Nano Carbon Ink and absolutely love the stuff in my fountain pens. Even the smell is awesome. I'm curious though if there's a downside to using an ink like this for dip pens? How well does this ink work relative to the Iron Gall and Oak Gall inks that so many calligraphers use with their dip pens? Anyone? http://www.scriptorius.net/sailor_black.jpg
  17. galem

    New Member From Missouri

    I have always loved fountain pens and generally use a Pilot or Lami for writing. I was an exchange student my junior year of college in Germany and was amazed that the young students learned cursive from the beginning (and not printing first) and used "junior" models of fountain pens. As a matter of fact, you will still see " beginner" fountain pens among office supplies in a grocery store! I am into calligraphy in a major way and use a Pilot Parallel pen for my practice and have all four sizes. I do not like some of the ink in the Pilot cartridges, especially the black. It feathers and soaks through many types of paper, and I wonder why they don't improve it. There are a lot of complaints out there! I load my Pilot handle with ink or refill cartridges with a syringe. I just tried Noodler's bulletproof black in my Pilot pen and it is wonderful. I also have two Osmiroid pens that I have cleaned up and am using again. Hope to hear from other calligraphy fans.
  18. AAAndrew

    Pens For Sale 1918

    Two pages of the May, 1918 catalog for Chicago stationers Cameron, Amberg & Co. Oh, and I guess they were selling fountain pens as well.
  19. Hi all! This is my first post, but I've been lurking and learning from you wonderful people for some time now. I am a public high school English / Language Arts teacher trying to start a calligraphy / handwriting club for my students. Many have shown great interest which is both amazing and scary when you consider that most of them have never learned a proper handwriting system / style in the first place. My school is big on technology and all students are issued their own laptop which, of course, drives me crazy because the worst thing you can do to kill kids' creativity when they are writing is to put them in front of a keyboard. The number of students that are pushing back against doing everything electronically and want to learn to write by hand, especially ornamental and calligraphic styles is overwhelming! So... Can any of you recommend a website or source to get large quantities of inexpensive, but reliable, fountain and dip pens and supplies? I'm looking for: About 40 fountain pens, preferably converter filled as to save on ink costs and so I don't lose my mind refilling cartridges with a syringe. About 40 nib holders for dipping. A whole mess of flex nibs for ornamental / Spencerian style writing (the more the better as kids tend to be hard on everything). Mass quantities of black ink A decent paper that can be bought in bulk without breaking the bank. I can print guide sheets and templates here at school on our copiers, but the paper we normally use is like writing on newsprint.I am paying for this out of my own pocket as I feel that the art of writing by hand is dying more and more everyday. These kids are expected to do everything on the computer, which you would think they'd love, but they actually prefer to write by hand! Any help / input / information will be very much appreciated.
  20. Here's a juicy one! Michael Sull made individual name place cards for all the students in his class yesterday at The San Francisco Pen Show. This is mine and it's really spectacular, wouldn't you agree!? The class was from 1:00-5:00 but it got a bit frazzled at the start* so he continued on past the allotted time by an hour and a half....he is such a giving person and a wonderful teacher. He helped me get my pen 'hold' in order and it's made a remarkable difference. I bought two of his pens for the flanges are especially made by him to facilitate proper Spencerian. Also such a treat to hear him tell all the stories he's accumulated over the years of being a calligrapher. I feel overwhelmingly privileged to have taken his Spencerian Class. Never forget it. *I was frazzled and late as well, because I got a very scary full blown out tire on a super busy S F Bay Area highway on the way to the Sofitel Hotel. His mannerism was so calm and relaxing however, that I completely let go of the stressed mental state in which I started the class. We should all be so graced by our teachers. Here is a book he signed. I also have a video of a book signing but I am unsure if those are allowed on FPN and/or if it would be proper/acceptable to be putting up someone else's work.
  21. TassoBarbasso

    "buttery Smooth" Whaaaat?

    I remember the good old times when I was a child and I would get a new fountain pen: whatever its writing features, it was always good. I used to write with some horribly scratchy nibs. Yet after thousands of hours on the FPN, after reading hundreds of reviews and watching tens of videos about fountain pens, I also developed what I call the "buttery smoothness obsession": an overwhelming majority of collectors seems to believe that a nib is not "good" unless it glides on the paper like a piece of ice wrapped in silk thrown over an oil-covered glass. Influenced by this behaviour, I started freaking out every time a pen shows the minimum sign of tooth. Only recently (and thanks to my Auroras) did I realize that a nib doesn't actually need to be "buttery smooth" to be enjoyable; quite the opposite: buttery smooth most of the times means dull. And if you think with a bit of perspective, when has humanity ever treasured "buttery smoothenss"? Were dip pens smooth? Not at all. Were quills "buttery smooth"? Even less so. Is any single one of my vintage pens (up until the 1950s) "buttery smooth"? No way. They were all toothy, feedbacky, even to some extent scratchy. So why are we so obsessed with this feature? Why do we measure the quality of a writing experience based on how similar it is to that of a... ballpoint pen???
  22. I tried yesterday evening to get back to my old pre-FP days and write with my dip pens, but I found them extremely scratchy. Possibly this is a quality issue, but maybe I am spoiled by the last year's use of modern, barely 50-year-old FPs. Way back when, I thought they wrote fine. Are there any dip pens that are smooth (i.e. comparable to toothy FPs), or is this the inevitable nature of dip pens? And where can you get solid, high quality dip pen nibs?
  23. These two are Epic Dip Nib Holders. Diameter at the grip is around 12mm, and the pens are around 130mm long. The top holder is made from Mineral Sea Lava Explosion, and the lower holder is made from Green Teal Mist Lava Explosion. These are my short, fountain pen sized holders. I also make longer dip nib holders in the Literati style.
  24. Looking for recommendations of super flexible and/or italic-ish nibs to try for a dip pen. I figure this'll be a lot less expensive than going after a full-flex fountain pen and not even knowing how to make use of it, and it'll be easier to clean too. Ink recommendations also welcome, I know they're generally different from regular FP inks.
  25. While looking for something else, I found a site with a huge selection of calligraphy nibs. It's called paperinkarts.com. Does anyone have any experience with it?





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