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Letter Codes On Mabie Todd Nibs


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I often see Mabie Todd nibs with a letter stamped on the nib below the size number. The most common examples seem to be D, G and H. Is it known what these letters designate?

 

Examples:

 

http://i.imgur.com/IzQiBvd.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/VkefZtW.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/8g0UJCD.jpg

 

http://i.imgur.com/utQ9Ep9.jpg

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I noticed that one of my Swans has a "K" nib:

 

http://i.imgur.com/vKyoeW3.jpg

 

It's a 3240 self-filler. The nib is a reluctant semi-flex, fairly stiff, despite the long tines. The Swan logo round the breather hole is unlike the other letter nibs above, but in common with those the nib has the "14C - 585" line of text underneath (14 carat, 58.5% gold).

 

I've been comparing it to a "D" nib in a safety eyedropper, which has a wider, easier flex, almost a full flex.

 

So far, then, all I've concluded is that D > K (assuming that the letters do indeed refer to flexibility).

Edited by Goudy

http://i.imgur.com/utQ9Ep9.jpg

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Just spotted a flexible "H" nib on eBay - which would appear to rule out the "H = hard" theory.

 

From the writing sample it looks like it's flexier than my "K" but less than my "D": D > H > K

 

So maybe the firmer nibs were the ones with the letters later in the alphabet.

 

I don't think it has to do with nib width, as suggested in the comments on a goodwriterspens blog post. Here's another "D", which as a stub is considerably wider than the other "D" I posted above:

 

http://i.imgur.com/nFicDBd.jpg

 

Some other info gleaned from the comment by "Mike" on the goodwriterspens link: "As far as I know they didn’t start adding letters to the nib numbers till the late 40s, and didn’t adopt the European-style “14C-585″ designation till the early 50s."

 

[Edited to remove eBay link in accordance with Forum rules]

Edited by Goudy

http://i.imgur.com/utQ9Ep9.jpg

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