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  1. phaus

    The Myth Of The Artist Pen

    Greetings, It has been a while since I have posted. While I have many pens the focus of my collection is vintage Waterman pens. In particular, I focus on pens with flexible nibs. A few years ago I picked up a Waterman Artist Pen (Model 751) from the Fountain Pen Hospital. I can't remember if it was advertised as "New Old Stock" but it appeared to be brand new. Recently I was looking for more information about it. Having not found much at all, I decide to post my observations from the limited information that seems to be available. If anyone else has any experience with these pens, please feel free to share, as I am curious to find out whether or not my observations are accurate. As you probably know, much like the Pink nib, and the Black nib, the Artist nib has reached mythical status. Over the years there have been posts describing the writing qualities of the Artist nib. They are alleged to be the ultimate "wet noodle" with amazingly soft flexibility and the most delicate hairlines. Furthermore, one of the trends I have noticed is that many of the Waterman nibs that are called "artist" nibs, have unusually long tines. Generally, the long-tined flexible pens do indeed have incredible writing capabilities. While long-tined, ultra-flexible nibs exist, I am not so certain that these had anything to do with being examples of Waterman "artist" nibs. When it comes to the actual pen marketed by Waterman as having an Artist nib, I can only find a few photographs and mentions on the Internet. However, based on the little information I have found, the three examples of legitimate "Artist Pens" seem to have very similarly shaped nibs, and none of them have long tines. If you check the links to two other posts, the nibs seem to have an almost identical shape to mine. However, whereas my pen is not very flexible at all, other examples of "official" artist pens with nearly identical nib shapes are in fact very flexible. https://www.fountainpennetwork.com/forum/topic/98222-watermans-late-hard-rubber-safety-with-artist-nib-box-and-eyedropper/ https://www.fountainpennetwork.com/forum/topic/220347-watermans-artist-pen-882/ As you can see in the photos above and in the examples I have linked ,the nibs seem to have a moderate length, but as it gets close to the tip the taper gets much sharper to form a needlepoint. This aligns well with the pen's documentation that claims it can write lines from "filament width to 1/32nd of an inch" or from hairlines to about .8mm. I initially purchased the pen hoping that it would live up to the legendary status of the "artist" nib. My example is semi-flexible. It feels moderately soft, but the tines only open up very slightly, from XXXF (maybe thinner) to approximately an F. However, the nib is about as smooth as one could hope for such a fine point and it has become one of my favorite pens. I do have a couple of other nibs that are not on Waterman Artist pens that have unusually long tines and have all of the wonderful properties that are typically associated with what is popularly known as an "artist " nib. However, I think perhaps due to a lack of information the times have caused two separate, distinct things to be conflated. Another observation I have from pens from Waterman's Safety / 52 lever filler era is that, generally speaking, nibs that are fine or smaller with round breather holes seem more likely to have excellent flexible writing properties. I doubt its from the breather hole alone. Perhaps the round breather hole on a fine nib indicates that it was manufactured as an artist nib. Finally, if a vintage Waterman nib has unusually long tines, there is a really good chance that it is going to be an amazingly flexible pen. I don't see pens with what I consider abnormally long tines often, but from my experience its the most reliable indicator of flexibility other than the pens that are labelled as such. So in parting I leave some pictures, a writing sample, and a question. It has been a while since I have used any of my fountain pens, so my handwriting with the Artist pen is very shaky. The lines would probably be even thinner if I was able to use it confidently, but right now I'm a bit rusty. Notice that my writing with both EF nibs is much smoother. Does anyone know what era the Waterman 751 was manufactured in? I believe they were from the 1930s but I'm not certain. As you can see from the picture, the clip is rather modern looking compared to a Waterman 52. The paperwork that came with the pen doesn't have a date:





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