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Vintage Conklin Pens - Nib Characteristics


ArchiMark
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Hi,

 

Hope that there are some Conklinista's here that can please provide some input.....

 

Interested to get some idea as to what vintage Conklin nibs are like. For example, do they tend to be on the firm side or some give or flex to them, etc.

 

Does these vary much by which model pen it is? ie, Nozac, Symmetrik, Endura, etc......

 

Also, does the size vary much?

 

And what are the Cushion Point nibs like to write with?

 

Thanks for any and all input!

 

Mark

FP Addict & Pretty Nice Guy

 

 

 

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Not an expert by any means, but I do have four vintage Conklin Crescents. Two of them have the #2 nibs, one has a #3, and the other has a #4. The 2s are the smallest nibs, the 4 is considerably larger, and the 3 is in between. The 2s and 3s have some flex, but I don't really want to test their limits; as far as I'm concerned they are semi-flex. The 4 is a firm nib, although it's gold like the others.

 

Don't take this as being generally true for Conklins, or for the specific nibs I mention. There may be a lot of variations, and I've certainly read of Conklin nibs with a lot of flex. No experience with Conklins other than the Crescents.

"So convenient a thing it is to be a reasonable creature, since it enables one to find or make a reason for everything one has a mind to do."

 

- Benjamin Franklin

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From what I've experienced, the earlier Conklins, as in pre-1930, often have nibs capable of flex. The 1930s Conklins I've had - mainly Symetriks and Enduras - have all had fairly stiff nibs, often a nail and sometimes with a very little spring; never with real flex. That's been my experience, but I don't have near enough experience with vintage Conklins to speak with certainty. Oh, and cushion is spelled by Conklin as "Cushon", must have been a marketing deal. :)

How small of all that human hearts endure,
That part which laws or kings can cause or cure.

— Samuel Johnson

 

Instagram: dcpritch

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Thanks for chiming in with your experience, dcpritch!.......

 

As for Cushon....maybe they meant there's a lot of Cush On the nib?.....suppose that couldn't hurt, right?...... ;)

FP Addict & Pretty Nice Guy

 

 

 

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I have eight Conklin Endura Seniors, and the nibs are all different, a Nozac Oversized that has an incredible flex, vintage pens will surprise you, you have to try them !

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Good points, Wahl.....and I agree that vintage pens can often be a surprise......

FP Addict & Pretty Nice Guy

 

 

 

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I have over 20 vintage Conklin crescent filling pens and no two are alike. Some are close to another I have but not the same. Back when these were being made, perhaps there was some uniformity amongst the same nib styles, but there isn't with the ones I have. I have one, a number 3, that is so flexible I thought I broke it on first use and I have a no. 5 nib that is almost a nail while another 5 is semiflex.

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Very interesting info, Tinjapan.......

 

So, it's clear from analysing all the data provided that the conclusion is that the only consistency in vintage Conklin nibs is that there is no consistency!

 

:)

FP Addict & Pretty Nice Guy

 

 

 

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I own about two dozen vintage Conklins ranging from a 1905 S3 Crescent up through the first of the Chicago pens in the late 1930's. Like Tinjapan, my nibs are all over the map from rigid nails to full flex. My early models tend to be more flexible. The other factor you need to watch for, of course, is how the nib has been treated during the years between manufacture and today. Abnormal use, abuse, etc. all affect how the nib performs. Most needed adjusting after I got them and two needed major surgery from an expert. I favor the Toledo nibs over the Chicago nibs. They just feel better. Once the Chicago investors bought and moved the company in 1938 the quality went downhill in a hurry. They used Toledo parts until the stash ran out and they must have had crates of nibs. I have a couple of Gliders with Chicago barrels and late production Toledo nibs that are two of my favorite writers. My full size Endura, on the other hand, has a nib that makes a railroad spike look flexible in comparison. That probably didn't help much but I will say that I enjoy my vintage Conklins and almost always have at least one in the rotation. Enjoy the hunt.

Dave Campbell
Retired Science Teacher and Active Pen Addict
Every day is a chance to reduce my level of ignorance.

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Thank you, Dave, for your detailed input and history.....

 

You further reinforced the idea that the only consistency in vintage Conklin nibs is that they are inconsistent in character......

 

:)

FP Addict & Pretty Nice Guy

 

 

 

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If the nib has this shape, then it´s flex

 

http://i117.photobucket.com/albums/o68/clint_039/Plumas%20y%20relojes/Imagen012r.jpg

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No hands-on experience here, just a supposition based on what I've read.

I believe the early Conklins were made in the golden age. When you bought a high-end pen such as these, the pen dealer or stationer would ask about your preferences, maybe watch you write with a semi-flex shop pen, look at the pen you were carrying, and then select a nib for you. He would then install it, set the feed if necessary, make a final adjustment, and you were ready to go.

So it makes sense that there would be a variety of Conklin nibs: for favored customers they would be practically custom-fit pens.

ron

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If the nib has this shape, then it´s flex

 

http://i117.photobucket.com/albums/o68/clint_039/Plumas%20y%20relojes/Imagen012r.jpg

 

Thanks for the input and photo, Wahl!.....makes sense when you look at it.....

 

 

No hands-on experience here, just a supposition based on what I've read.

I believe the early Conklins were made in the golden age. When you bought a high-end pen such as these, the pen dealer or stationer would ask about your preferences, maybe watch you write with a semi-flex shop pen, look at the pen you were carrying, and then select a nib for you. He would then install it, set the feed if necessary, make a final adjustment, and you were ready to go.

So it makes sense that there would be a variety of Conklin nibs: for favored customers they would be practically custom-fit pens.

ron

Great points, ron........makes sense.....

 

Wish we still had those kind of stores around.........

 

:)

FP Addict & Pretty Nice Guy

 

 

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Conklin offered a wide range of nibs, especially during the crescent filler years. They made some of the very best flexible nibs, including lots of noodles, when flexibility was the preferred style. Use of carbon copies became prevalent during the 1920s and most companies expanded their selection of manifold nibs, which are very firm. Most Endura nibs are on the firm end of the scale and were routinely very smooth. The firm trend continued into the 1930s,but you can occasionally find Nozacs, Symetriks and streamlined Enduras with nibs showing some flexibility. Incidentally, you can usually get an idea of the flexibility of a nib by its geometry. Long tines (from shoulder to tip) are usually more flexible while very short tines are more firm.

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Conklin offered a wide range of nibs, especially during the crescent filler years. They made some of the very best flexible nibs, including lots of noodles, when flexibility was the preferred style. Use of carbon copies became prevalent during the 1920s and most companies expanded their selection of manifold nibs, which are very firm. Most Endura nibs are on the firm end of the scale and were routinely very smooth. The firm trend continued into the 1930s,but you can occasionally find Nozacs, Symetriks and streamlined Enduras with nibs showing some flexibility. Incidentally, you can usually get an idea of the flexibility of a nib by its geometry. Long tines (from shoulder to tip) are usually more flexible while very short tines are more firm.

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Dave,

 

Thanks for your helpful background info on Conklin nibs!

FP Addict & Pretty Nice Guy

 

 

 

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