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Why Are Conklin Nibs So Fragile?


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I have a few old Conklins, and I've looked at many online, and it's very hard to find one with an intact nib: I see many with the tipping broken off. I dropped my little ringtop Student Special on a carpeted floor the other day: it didn't land on its nib, but the nib cracked right across.


I love Conklin nibs, but they seem weirdly fragile compared with other nibs of the same vintage. Does anyone know enough metallurgy to give an informed answer to this perplexing question?

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They are prone to cracking, even the bouncy, flexible nibs. Maybe it's just age. I have three very old crescents and one has cracked; the one that I never flexed. It still writes but I fear if I tried to flex it the crack might spread.

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Greg can fix stuff nobody will even LOOK AT.


I got scammed on an ebay bait-and-switch vacumatic and was sent the pen with a nib that had bilateral breather hole cracks. Nobody else would even touch it, but Greg's proficiency with a laser welder (it was about $120 for the welding and tuning but the pen was a gift from my mom so I was kind of obligated at that point) saved it and even kept it flexible, but I only barely give it more than a 1.5x spread just to be safe.

Edited by Honeybadgers

Selling a boatload of restored, fairly rare, vintage Japanese gold nib pens, click here to see (more added as I finish restoring them)

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Please remember the technology behind the production of the nibs in question was rather simple and crude in regard to the testing of the materials involved and how they were treated back when they were made.

It reminds me of how many aspects of metallurgy were clouded in mystery for a very long time. Today the structure of a metal can be carefully designed, but it is expensive to do so to get the characteristics one wants and needs. And so even today often parts are not designed optimally due to it being cheaper to build in redundancy than use highly engineered materials.

The nibs likely were not over engineered to adress a metal structure that lacks the needed tensile strength for long term use. Meaning they don't have redundancy if for some unknown reason the metal structure is lacking and so they crack or break.

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The nibs that have cracked or lost their tipping are from the gold-filled small ringtops someone called student specials. I wonder if those nibs are simply more cheaply made? I have other Conklins that seem to simply have sturdier (though still flexible) nibs.

Tis a mystery.

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  • 1 year later...

While I have seen and bought many older Conklins with broken nibs, I have not had one break one me and I used to use them as my daily pens.  


AS you are experiencing this problem with just the one line of pen, I suspect that that line used less expensive nibs.

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