Tuesday, October 21, 2008

N is for Nib: ABC Wednesday Round #3

We have always written with a 'pen'. In the western world the pen's most common form was originally a quill from our feathered friends. Geese were popular. The quill had to be sliced to hold ink, and sharpened to write; then resharpened until pencil-like it wore out. That's what a penknife was for.
With the industrial revolution steel pens (nibs) were invented. These needed a pen holder, the shaft into which the pen was inserted. Still, unlike the man of steel, they wore out or clogged up with ink. But these were cheap and the penholder fancy.
Gold became the pen of choice. Tipped with iridium, it wore in, not out. And the shaft became a fountain, a ready pocket supply of ink. Ergo the 'fountain pen'.As language changed the replaceable ends came to be called 'nibs', and 'pen holder' reserved for the fancy desk resting place.But the nib, shaped to match the writer or the task, like music pens, stubs, accounting nibs, etc, is the pen's heart. N is for nib.
Text by David, photos by Ann.
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My appreciation and thanks to Mrs. Nesbitt's Place for hosting ABC Wednesday Round 3. To view more ABC Wednesday posts via Mr. Linky please click HERE. For viewing the new format of ABC Wednesday Round 3 where all posts can be seen in the same place, please click HERE.

24 comments:

marina said...

Excellent post! And you have such a big collection of pens!!!

antigoni said...

Oh, i love pens. Your collection is so beautiful. Great post and so unusual.

photowannabe said...

This is a fascinating post. You have a wonderful collection of nibs and pens. I like the statement that the Nib is the pen's heart.

crete said...

Lovely post, enjoyed it very much.

Ray

richies said...

great photos and informative post. I have tried writing with the old pens, but was never very successful. Come to think of it , I'm not that good with a ball point pen. Thank goodness for keyboards.

An Arkie's Musings

Aileni said...

Brilliant! And D'star told me to get my pens out again... but I never thought of nibs.

babooshka said...

What a wonderful choice, I would never have thought of.

Rebeckah said...

Really cool collection! Thanks for sharing! Hope you have a wonderful week! God bless.

Rambling Woods said...

What a clever and informative post Ann!

dulce said...

Fantastic choice and what a collection!!
Have a great week.

leslie said...

What a NICE history lesson about NIBS! I remember learning how to write using one that we'd dip in the inkwell. Oops, maybe I'm letting on my vintage! LOL Great post for our N-day! :D

Bear Naked said...

What a lovely collection of NIBS you have shown us for ABC Wednedsday letter N.

Bear((( )))

D Herrod said...

Nothing beats the feel of writing with a good fountain pen.

spacedlaw said...

Brilliant post! I'd never seen industrially produced non metallic nibs before, these tended to be something that was home made.
I learned to write with a nib and we had loads of fun inthe class room playing with ink.

Suburbia said...

What an original idea! I would love one of those old boxes :)

bobbie said...

I enjoyed this post so much. I'm old enough to remember learning to write with pens like this. Our school desk had an ink well, at just the right spot so that the boy in back of me could put my pigtail tip into it.

Jay said...

That was a delightful post! One of my interests is social history, and I love to read about the way people lived on a day to day basis. I've never seen a box of quill nibs before, that alone was a treat!

ellen b. said...

What a wonderful educational post and great collection!

ChrissyM said...

Wow fascinating post! What an awesome collection you have there.

Mary said...

This is very interesting because most of us have little experience with nibs and pen holders. I've never seen goose ones before...what a lot of work to get it right! I love pens and never use a pencil....but I probably would make a huge mess using one of these!

Kim from Hiraeth said...

As a calligrapher and a collector of nibs and all things calligraphic, I LOVED this post! You have some wonderful treasures.

I must now repent of my sin of covetousness. . .

TSannie said...

What a fabulous post! The photos are wonderful and the writing filled with Neat information. Never knew the history of Nibs.

A perfect N post!

Dragonstar said...

Beautiful! Such a collection of pens, nibs, and stands, as well as a fascinating post.

starnitesky said...

Thank you for an informative post, I remember having to learn to write with a pen and ink. You have a lovely collection.