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How much does a nib weigh?


jonro
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A US penny weighs 2.5 g (per the Mint). Looking at one, if rolled as thin as a nib, there is enough metal to make several nibs, so I will estimate less than 1 g. That estimate rules out MY scale for weighing it.

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I weighed a few of my steel Spencerian nibs for you:

 

Ivison & Phinney #1 = 0.2981g

 

Lady Falcon #29 = 0.3175g

 

Dome Pointed Falcon #50 = 0.5638g

 

Service Pen #49 = 0.4990g

 

 

Paddler

 

Can a calculator understand a cash register?

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Danitrio Mikado nib weighs 1.11 gm

Parker Duofold Senior nib, (circa 1926) 0.96 gm

Large Stipula nib 1.01 gm

De La Rue Onoto London 14K, 3, stub nib 0.37 gm

Edited by Blorgy
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Just for fun, assume 0.5 gram average mass of a medium size nib, divide by 31.10 grams per troy ounce, multiply by 0.75 for an 18kt nib, and then by the current spot price of gold, about $675 per troy ounce, yielding a result of about 8 dollars of gold in the average 18kt nib (or about 6 dollars for a 14kt nib). Save those nibs!!! tongue.gif tongue.gif tongue.gif

Nihonto Chicken

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Thank you all. That's exactly what I wanted to know. By the way, I don't know the price of stainless steel, but it's probably no more than !% of the price of gold. At an average of $6.00 in raw material costs for a 14 kt. gold nib, why do they seem to add about $80 to the cost of a pen (except in China, where every $30+ pen seems to come with a gold nib)?

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Unless one wants to write with a raw gold nugget, I assume the cost has to do with manufacturing a good quality nib...

 

Makes perfect sense in relation to cost of gold nibs from parts of the world where labor is comparatively cheap...

 

PS

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Don't forget that the jewellery value of gold is much higher than the 'actual' value of that metal. Gold rings are far more expensive than their actual value in gold content. It's the same for nibs.

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I was also thinking that labor has a lot to do with the cost. But labor on a steel nib must be close to the same cost as labor on a gold nib. And steel nibs have iridium tips, too. Except for the $6.00 difference in materials cost, steel and gold nibs probably cost about the same to manufacture. If anything, the labor cost for gold, being softer than stainless steel, should be less expensive than the labor cost for steel. Even if you multiplied the material cost by 5, there's still a big difference. There may be other reasons for the price difference, but I don't know what they are.

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I remember reading somewhere that gold nibs tend to be hand-crafted, whereas steel nibs were more often machine-crafted. That would account for the difference in labor costs.

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Well, I'll await to be shot down by the experts, but, as has been said in the past by a number of others with greater expertise than I, the gold nibs are basically marketing. Now, I have seen a write-up by someone who championed the engineering positives of work hardened gold alloys, but I've lost the source. However, I cannot believe that a decently designed and fabricated stainless steel nib cannot be superior. Realize that the business end of either gold alloy or stainless steel nibs is the same, and "iridium" tip (or some combination of rare earth, very hard metals). And gold alloys are very limited in their stress-strain response, mainly modified by work hardening. OTOH, steels, particularly stainless steels, are quite well modified by heat treatment phase changes. I'm guessing that the "superiority" of gold nibs is based entirely on the care and concern put into their fabrication. Were stainless steel nibs given the same care, they would be equal, more likely superior, in application. JMHO, FWIW.

Nihonto Chicken

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This is fascinating. Could it be that a fountain pen nib is the most efficient use of the smallest amount of metal? At least irrespective of electrical conductivity. Hmmm... I wonder?

Edited by MYU

[MYU's Pen Review Corner] | "The Common Ground" -- Jeffrey Small

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The fountain pen is such a traditional writing instrument, that I think there has been relatively little innovation in an attempt to recapture the golden age of fountain pens. That's a good thing. I'm very drawn to the appearance of fine craftsmanship in many pens. Do my written words deserve any less? wink.gif However, there is room in the marketplace for real innovation. There are new materials and fabrication methods that could make the fountain pen interesting and relevant to a large number of new users. That would benefit all of us.

 

For example, what if inkjet printer companies devoted some of their expertise to developing a new fountain pen ink? We might end up with archival-quality inks and kits to mix the exact pantone shade that we desired.

 

Who knows what a nib maker could do with some of the new composite materials? I tend to agree with Nahontochicken when he says that stainless steel nibs could probably outperform gold nibs if that were the goal. Gold will always be desirable in a very fine pen, but not necessarily because it's the best material for the job.

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Jonro I agree with all you said but I'm afraid that all that inovation would be dictated by supply and demand....IMO. I'm sure there are plenty of craftsman out there that can design and make nibs from all the materials that exist today and they would perform beutifully. Mr. Esterbrook and Co. stamped out God knows how many nibs for FP's and dip pens and unless those things were sitting out in the rain, they look and work just as well today. Problem is...supply and demand. He was fullfilling a demand. Again, all in my opinion. If there is ever a copmany created to produce FP's like the good ole days, I will be the first to apply to work there.

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I think today's nibs are made with gold (those that are) because of the attractive color: the jewelry aspect of the pen. Back when fountain pens (and even dip pens, before that) were first being sold, most people were using corrosive iron gall ink. This ink can't corrode a nib with a high gold content. Platinum would probably resist corrosion just as well as gold, but it is much more expensive.

 

We don't have to worry much about corrosive inks today, so stainless steel, if properly passivated after the nib is made, should stay bright and shiny for generations.

 

Paddler

Can a calculator understand a cash register?

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