I’ve written several times about my continuing love affair with flexible nibs from the 1940s and earlier. While there are flexible nibs still being made nowadays by Nakaya and Pilot, to name a couple, to my mind none of them give the flex you get from vintage pens. While I’ve posted several sets of pictures of writing samples done with flex nibs, I haven’t shown you yet how flex nibs perform their magic.
For this demonstration I chose the Parker Duofold Jade ringtop from the late 1920s.
Fountain pens are easier and less stressful to use than ballpoint pens because a light stroke lays a line of ink; you don’t need to press down as hard as you do when you use BPs. For long sessions of note-taking, poetry-writing, or doodling, that’s an advantage.
However, when coaxing line variation from flex nibs, you need to bear down harder to make the tines spread and make wider lines. To make thinner lines, ease up a bit – or a lot – on the pressure. With practice, you’ll explore the individual personalities of your flex nibs and find out how best to get the most out of them.
The ink glistens as you write; the outlines are darker than the fill.
Vintage nibs were made of gold, a “soft” metal, and the way nibs were created decades ago, they spread and sprung back to their original shape, a necessary feature to create the thick and thin lines of copperplate and Spencerian handwriting.
For the serious fountain pen user and collector, a vintage flex-nibbed pen purchase is one of the best investments you can make to possess a thing of beauty that will be a joy forever, to crib a line from that poet guy Keats.