Vintage fountain pens are highly-prized by many collectors not just for their unusual materials and designs. For those connoisseurs who actually use these pens, not merely keep them tucked away in protective cases, the nibs are the biggest draw of these oldies but goodies.
Older nibs, those manufactured up to the 1930s with higher gold content, tend to be more flexible than steel nibs. They are also resistant to the corrosion that may be a side effect of some types of inks.
These pens hail from the 1920s. One is a gold-filled Wahl, the other a celluloid Moore vest pen.
The Wahl has a Greek-key design. It is slim and perfect for ladies’ smaller hands. The notebook is a Ruled Pocket Moleskine.
Its 14k gold nib looks like a stub with most of the iridium worn off. A heart-shaped breather hole in the nib helps with the exchange of air for ink the pen’s reservoir. It’s a lever-fill.
A beautiful monogram on the cap tassie.
Moore is a lesser-known brand, yet the quality of this particular pen is admirable.
Celluloid body, lever-fill, 14k gold nib.
The name engraved on the barrel may be that of the first owner.
The Moore also has a heart-shaped breather hole.
No matter how agile and lithe David Beckham is, he can’t bend it like the nibs of these vintage pens can.
Writing samples – top, the Wahl in Private Reserve Shell Pink; center, the Moore in a plum color, a mixture of Shell Pink and Tropical Blue. The Moore’s nib gives more line variation.
Flexibility was an important characteristic for early 20th century pens because they suited the handwriting styles of the period – Copperplate and Spencerian.
Having used flexible pens, modern pens feel stiff and rigid. “Like a nail”, is how some collectors describe them. Many FP users have both a vintage flexible and a stiff modern writer in their everyday pen case for different purposes.
Photos taken with a Nikon D60.