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I was wondering when the first dip nibs with a modern, Speedball-type ink reservoir on the top of the nib appeared.

 

(I spotted one in a TV production of Hound of the Baskervilles, in which Watson writes to Holmes and I said, 'Hey! I have that nib!')

 

Would these have been in common use in Victorian England?

 

Thanks!

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Steel pens first started to become mass produced, and thus widely used, in the 1820's in Birmingham, England. I have found references to a "reservoir" on a fountain pen as far back as the 1860's. These early ones were usually called a "fountain" pen as the reservoir held more ink. So, yes, something like that could very well have been around in Victorian England, especially the later years when Holmes was around.

 

See #19 in the list below.

 

fpn_1457637043__1869_harrison_bradford_p

 

I know mostly the American pens, but especially in the early decades, up through the 1860's, the British pen makers were far ahead of the American counterparts so could very well have had such reservoirs much earlier than the 1860's date I've seen in the US. The earliest American-made steel pen of any kind I've found evidence for is from the 1840's, C.C. Wright was making steel pens in N.Y. City. So, it was a much less mature industry than the British counterparts, but it caught up quickly by 1870.

 

fpn_1457636940__1842_ccwrite_ad.png

Edited by AAAndrew

 

“When the historians of education do equal and exact justice to all who have contributed toward educational progress, they will devote several pages to those revolutionists who invented steel pens and blackboards.” V.T. Thayer, 1928

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"No one is exempt from talking nonsense; the mistake is to do it solemnly."

-Montaigne

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Thanks, very interesting. Would such a pen look just like a modern Speedball lettering pen, with the reservoir on top?

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The early ones I've seen have the reservoir on he bottom. And I found a British (Gillott) reference to a fountain pen in the 1830's.

 

“When the historians of education do equal and exact justice to all who have contributed toward educational progress, they will devote several pages to those revolutionists who invented steel pens and blackboards.” V.T. Thayer, 1928

Check out my Steel Pen Blog

"No one is exempt from talking nonsense; the mistake is to do it solemnly."

-Montaigne

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Then, I throw the Shenanigans flag on that particular segment of the show. I know a Speedball when I see one. ;)

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I don't know how much this contributes to the discussion but I have some pens with feeds. I suspect they are at least from the 1940's or earlier. The top ones are Esterbrooks, the one on the left with a bottom feed is dated 1921 and is an E.G. Henry. The bottom row from left to right is an Esterbrook missing the over feed, a Moore, a made in England Grumbacher and a Brause.

 

http://i262.photobucket.com/albums/ii101/matthewsno/DSCN3340_zpsepb86ygt.jpg

And the end of all our exploring

Will be to arrive where we started

And know the place for the first time. TS Eliot

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Thanks. This gets pretty interesting.

 

I may need to go back and freeze-frame.

 

Allow me to re-cap.

 

 

Come, Watson! The pen's afoot!

 

As I am currently on a Holmes kick, and a Baskerville jag in particular, I began wondering when the first dip nibs with a modern, Speedball-type ink reservoir on the top of the nib appeared, for I spotted one in a Hollywood production of Hound of the Baskervilles (perhaps the best-known of all the adaptations), in which Watson writes to Holmes and I said, 'Hey! I have that nib!')

 

Would these Speedball lettering pens, I asked, have been in common use in Victorian England? The answer was 'no.'

 

Yet there is more to this Pen of the Baskervilles mystery than meets the eye. There is one other point in particular which is of interest.

 

In the BBC Peter Cushing Baskerville production, 1964, Dr. Watson appears to be writing with a fountain pen....posted! Even though he dips it into an inkwell.Yes! It's a FOUNTAIN PEN!!! (Screen shot coming)

 

 

 

http://extras.ourpatioparty.com/files/7514/5774/9861/Hound_of_Baskervilles__1964_-_Fountain_Pen-640p.jpg

 

Now, in 'Sherlock Who,' with Tom Baker, 1982, different production, different era, different cast....it's the VERY SAME EXACT FOUNTAIN PEN!!!! Have we unearthed...'The BBC Fountain Pen Prop?' A modern, clip-style fountain pen which posts would certainly not be in use at that time.

 

http://extras.ourpatioparty.com/files/7414/5774/9862/Hound_of_Baskervilles__1982_-_Fountain_Pen-640p.jpg

 

Finally: The 1939 Rathbone film is the guilty Speedball party!

 

http://extras.ourpatioparty.com/files/2614/5774/9860/Hound_of_Baskervilles__1939_-_Dip_Pen-640p.jpg

 

You can clearly see the shadow of the Speedball nib!

 

Therefore, I throw the Shenanigans flag on all three productions.

Edited by Sailor Kenshin

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Yeah. That last one is as egregious as the others. The first one might be a portable dip gold nib. The clip pen is definitely wrong, as is the speedball. The last one also is completely the wrong kind of writing, but it is easier to read than the real period round hand.

 

“When the historians of education do equal and exact justice to all who have contributed toward educational progress, they will devote several pages to those revolutionists who invented steel pens and blackboards.” V.T. Thayer, 1928

Check out my Steel Pen Blog

"No one is exempt from talking nonsense; the mistake is to do it solemnly."

-Montaigne

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Yeah. That last one is as egregious as the others. The first one might be a portable dip gold nib. The clip pen is definitely wrong, as is the speedball. The last one also is completely the wrong kind of writing, but it is easier to read than the real period round hand.

 

Aha! I suspected that the writing itself was incorrect. But it is, as you say, legible.

 

The first two pens are one and the same....which is evident when you watch the clips, but I'm not sure how to capture them. In any case, it's been fun.

Edited by Sailor Kenshin

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<a data-ipb='nomediaparse' href='http://busterverse.tumblr.com/' class='bbc_url' title='External link' rel='nofollow external'>My other blog is a tumblr.</a>

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